I have decided to commit suicide because I feel like I have lost everything. I have been married for thirty years. I worked long hours and was a tyrant to my wife, but I was never irresponsible. I managed to educate my five children….
Less than two years into our marriage I discovered that my wife was cheating on me with her boss at work…. I forgave her, but now she looks down on me, and I feel that she just pretends to love me…. May God forgive me, but I think I will only stop suffering when I am dead…
You know that suicide is not the answer, and that is why you took the time to write to us. Suicide leaves a stigma and causes an emotional wound on all the family members who are left behind. You do not want to do that to the children whom you worked so hard to educate. And you do not want to deprive your grandchildren of a grandpa who loves them and has a great deal to contribute to their lives.
We are not medical doctors, but your words reveal that you are probably clinically depressed. This kind of depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance in your system that usually needs medication and counseling in order to improve. We urge you to see a doctor and tell him about how you are feeling. Be sure to tell him that you have had suicidal thoughts. You have been honest with us; now be honest with someone who has the power to help you immediately.
We understand that your marital problems are real, but it is the depression that is responsible for your hopelessness. We would encourage you to read the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. It is based on the life of a king in Jerusalem, identified as “the Teacher,” who seems to have experienced the same hopelessness that you are feeling. He says, “What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.”1 But by the end of the book, the Teacher has realized that a relationship with God is the path to find the hope that he needs to go on living. God is the One who can give meaning to life and the strength to face the struggles of today and of tomorrow.
Depression hides the positive aspects of your life and highlights the negative. You can fight this destructive force by making a list of all the things you are thankful for and reading the list several times each day. Start the list with food, shelter, and safety. Many of the people of the world lack even these basic necessities. Include in the list that you can read and write and even have the ability to access the world through the Internet. And don’t forget to list the blessing of having five healthy children.
We wish you well,
Linda and Charles
1 Ecc 2:22-23