Member Rara Avis
Hey Lauren...big hugs to you. (Sneaking back in - you replied to Ron as I was writing this...)
I truly understand what you are saying, and how you are feeling. Because of that, I want to relay three different true-life anecdotes to you.
First: A christian man - a friend of a friend - took his life a few years ago, yet he was apparently very strong in his faith. A year or two before he took his life, his wife had died. One christmas he took some rope and hung himself from a tree. He left behind his two little girls. What does this mean? That he abandoned his faith, his family? That he wasn't strong enough to cope with the loss of his wife? That he wasn't strong enough to cope with life? I don't think so. I recall that he was clinically depressed.
Second story: My mother. She is mentally ill - with schizophrenia (she is also very physically ill). She lives in care, permanently now. She's just turned 51. Recently, she came into a inheritance - which she wasn't allowed to have, and it's been put into a trust for her. In her lifetime, she won't see much of this money, because she has been deemed unfit to handle such a large sum of money. Her choices have been removed from her and left to people who can make healthy, responsible decisions on her behalf. She is placed in care because she simply can't make responsible decisions in basically every area of her life. The last time she lived alone she turned off all her power, gas and telephone amenities in the dead of winter...
Third story: Me. Last year, I was clinically depressed myself. A few really hard things had happened...and I was very very low. It was on the morning when I lay in bed, unable to move, that I started thinking about where all the pills where in the house that I could possibly take. That frightened me out of the lethargy I'd been feeling for a good month. Enough to call a friend, who dragged me to a doctor and diagnosed me - and gave me anti-depressants - alongside some counselling sessions. My doctor recognised that while my seratonin levels were very low, I also needed counselling to deal with the issues that were happening in my life. Together, they worked.
I hope my three different stories show in some way the nature, and different faces, of mental illness.
As Ron has said there is a HUGE difference between feeling depressed and BEING clinically depressed.
In so many cases it's actually physiologically impossible for a sufferer of mental illness to make rational, thoughtful decisions. Like the man who took his life. Rationally, I'm quite certain he would never have dreamt he'd leave his daughters in that way. My mother, who has many lucid moments, is now permanently eccentric and simply can't make rational decisions. She must live in a position where her medication can be administered to her, or she won't take it. As for myself? I'm versed in mental illness, and recognised the signs and acted on them - (although my friend literally did drag me to the doctor..she forced me to get dressed, and took my hand and TOOK me to the car). Many people don't make that decision because they either can't, or don't recognise the warning signs.
Of course, as Susan said - it's not all-inclusive. Not everyone who is clinically depressed kills themself, and not everyone who commits suicide is clinically depressed...
However, mental illness, of ALL forms, has nothing to do with weakness, thoughtlessness, selfishness, faithlessness etc etc. Mental illness is a medical condition, like asthma, epilepsy, haemophilia. You can't see these things manifested in physical ways on a day to day basis, but they need medical treatment just the same.
God has a compassionate, understanding heart. He understands medical conditions a lot more than we do. Another example: My mother loves God. She believes Jesus is her saviour. She refuses to read the bible, she won't go to church. Yet she loves him, and she follows him in the capacity of what her illness allows her to. My mother has wished, ardently, to die. Because her life is, quite frankly, not very nice - she does not have a nice standard of living due to her various illnesses. She's also incredibly lonely - the mentally ill often are. Yet her faith in God is her own, and it's real.
So, Lauren, I can understand your frustration, and your hurt. I truly hope that this discussion, overall, can ease you in some way towards how you view your loss.
Madhatter - I'll repeat it - there is a huge difference between feeling depressed and BEING clinically depressed.
[This message has been edited by Severn (12-22-2003 02:49 PM).]