Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Fair warning, this is a long post centered around my own struggles with relationships, but I think you'll still find something of worth, if you can make it to the end.

Let me start by admitting that today is a bad day. It's been a bad week, actually. On a scale of 1(no desire to self harm) to 10(gonna self harm right now), I've hovered around a 7 for the last few days, and am currently at about a 6. There are plenty of reasons I could give you for this escalation over what has become my typical rating of around 0-2. The one we're going to focus on today, though, is best described by my therapist (we'll call him Ned) as punishing myself for living in a house where I don't feel comfortable or safe and considering ending the relationship.

To combat this punishment, my therapist looked me square in the eyes and said, "Considering ending a relationship does not make you a bad person." I dropped my gaze. I didn't believe him. I'm still not sure I do. I argued that Matthew 5:21-30 (don't be impressed, I had to look up the reference) stated "that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (5:27), so even considering divorce is a sin.

So Ned asked me a question. "If a man is with his wife on the street and a pretty woman walks by, and he looks and thinks, 'Man, she's hot,' but stops himself from undressing her with his eyes, he's committing adultery?"

"No!" I was quick to reply. "He noticed her beauty, but he stopped himself from actually lusting after---" I cut myself off when I realized his point. Ned was asserting that there were different levels of thinking. That just thinking about divorce was not sinful the way noticing another woman's beauty was not sinful for a married man.

However, a married man undressing another woman with his eyes is sinful. And this is where the analogy falls apart for me: I'm not sure what the equivalent of undressing her with his eyes is for divorce. There is no intent on the man's part to actually physically cheat, only to fantasize. Yet, I don't think fantasizing about divorce is probably a realistic equivalent, on account of there's nothing lovely about it to fantasize about, at least from my perspective.

Still, I see Ned's point, at least in most cases. There are different levels of thinking about something, and thinking about sinning but choosing not to, is not a sin. So whatever you've been shaming yourself for that isn't a real sin - let it go. Please, if you haven't yet, don't let it lead you down a path of self-destructive shame, guilt, and perhaps self harm. And if you've already been down that path, know that there is redemption - there is always redemption.

There is always redemption. You are not beyond repair.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bringing Suicide into the Spotlight

I was intrigued to learn that Miss Kansas is an army combat medic. I was excited to learn that she was refusing to cover her tattoos for the beauty pageant. I was ecstatic to learn that she's a Kansas State University student. But I nearly lost my ability to act like a sane human being when I learned that she was openly discussing her battle with bullying and suicidal thoughts while growing up.

See, Miss Kansas has the opportunity to speak out about mental health, bullying, and other important issues to a national audience. She has the opportunity to demonstrate to all of us that you CAN recover, that you CAN succeed, that you CAN become a strong, healthy woman after battling such issues. I'm unable to watch the show, but I really hope that she is taking this amazing opportunity. And I hope that she wins so that she can continue to inspire those of us who struggle to fight to get better.

Who do you know who has battled mental illness or other social issues and become a better person for it? How can you become a better person for your struggles?

One lesson we can all learn from Miss Kansas, win or lose, is this: Do not change who you are to fit someone else's standards. Ever.

Read more about Miss Kansas here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

National Suicide Prevention Day

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 10th, is National Suicide Prevention Day. Please, wear orange or yellow in support.

"But that won't make any difference," you say. "Why not actually DO something?"

If you want to do more, please do. But if you're a little shy or uncertain what to do, at least wear the colors. Why? Because those of us who are suicide survivors or who regularly consider suicide will know why you're wearing yellow or orange. We will know that you care, even if you're not sure how to express it. We will know that we're not fighting this battle alone. And that, my friend, can make all the difference.

Please also send me pictures of your yellow and orange gear, or "Love" written on your arms, of any of the ways in which you "celebrate" National Suicide Prevention Day. I'd like to feature some of your ideas on this blog. Just email them to me at

Love y'all!