God helped me grieve when religion did not

MHA Admin

Tue, 09/19/2023 – 11:04

By Taylor Adams, Director of Workplace Mental Health

Trigger warning: Suicide, depression

This blog reflects the author’s personal experience. MHA does not endorse or condone any viewpoints mentioned.

It’s been nine years since I lost someone I loved deeply to suicide. This person was kind, passionate, and gregarious. He also lacked basic coordination and often tripped over his own feet. For that, I’d add (un)intentionally funny to his long list of admirable traits. He also accepted, supported, and loved me in a way that was lacking in all my other relationships up to that point.

As a survivor of neglect and abuse, I often felt alone growing up. However, the night I was told about his sudden death, I stumbled into a deep cavern devoid of light and full of despair. The grief swallowed me whole, and my sobs stole all air from my lungs. It was the epitome of feeling alone.

The day before he passed, he hesitantly told me he struggled with depression. I expressed acceptance and support but was naïve and unprepared for the unimaginable grief and responsibility I would feel for his death the next day. During the first several months of grieving, I regularly thought, “Why would God allow this to happen?” followed by a second, more unsettling thought, “Is he in hell for killing himself?”

I was raised as a Catholic Christian, but after I moved from my childhood home, I distanced myself from the religious beliefs I’d been taught over eight years of private school education, four sacraments, and many Sunday Mass ceremonies. Accompanied by anger and grief, the deeply rooted belief that suicide was an unforgivable mortal sin managed to rear its ugly head at my most vulnerable moment.

Catholicism isn’t unique in its belief that suicide is a sin – in fact many major religions around the world view it in the same way. As I learned more about mental health in general and in my personal recovery journey, my beliefs also evolved.

I often pray to God in times of crisis. As a child, I prayed that my classmates would stop bullying me. I prayed my parents would find peace when I hid from their fights. I prayed that my first panic attack would be the last one. I prayed for relief when I lost to suicide the first person who ever understood me. Believing in God, or a force much more significant than myself, has helped me grieve the most harrowing moments of my life.

I also pray to God in times of calm. I prayed to the night sky, thanking God for the countless stars. I prayed while admiring the ocean’s enormity from the safety of a sandy beach. I prayed that my first date with this person would go well. Believing in God has helped me appreciate the most illuminating moments of my life, too.

As I grieved, I chose to believe in a god that helped me survive the difficult journey – a power that drastically differed from what I was taught to believe as a young person. I chose to believe in a power that supports love, kindness, forgiveness, and hope. I chose to believe in a power that helps me relinquish control in untenable life situations, removes the guilt and shame of feeling emotions, and allows me to feel rage in unfair life circumstances.

Having suicidal thoughts, attempting, or completing suicide does not make someone a bad person. Those feelings and behaviors likely indicate a larger mental health issue that should be addressed. Talking to a trusted person or seeking professional support can help individuals process complicated and scary emotions. If you are someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, find resources on how to cope here.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. You can also reach Crisis Text Line by texting MHA to 741741.

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DID YOU KNOW?

The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will house a “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center, that will provide case management, mental health community advocacy, and oversight from the M.I. Mother’s Keeper mental health advocates. 
 
The Capital City Emergency “Level II” Trauma & Wellness Center will offer patrons access to immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as coverage by the specialties of orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care.
 
Our goal is to help people in the best way possible in an effort to preserve and to save more lives in the Nation’s Capital and beyond.

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Emergency

Code Red
Gunshot Victim
Life Threatening Wounds
Physical Assault Victim
Severely Injured Auto Accident Victim
Burn Victim
Epilepsy/Seizures
Cardiovascular
Choking & Breathing Obstructions
and more…

trauma

Child Sex Assault Victim
Domestic Violence Victim
Drug Overdose
Rape/Sex Crime Victim
Suicide Watch
Trafficking Victim
Nervous Breakdown
and more…

Mental Health

At Capital City Emergency Trauma & Wellness Center patrons with mental health emergencies that include life threatening situations in which an individual is imminently threatening harm to self or others, severely disoriented or out of touch with reality, has a severe inability to function or is otherwise distraught and out of control, will have access to quality and psychiatric emergency services and referrals.

Physical Health

Whether your life threatening medical emergency involves excessive or uncontrollable bleeding, head injury. difficulty with breathing, severe pain, heart attack, vision impairments, stroke, physically collapsing, or seizure related, rest assured that our professionals will properly assess and evaluate the level of response that will be most needed to help provide stabilized care solutions and minimize complications as well as reduce early mortality.

Holistic Healthcare

We offer healthcare solutions that will support the whole person which includes their physical, psychological, emotional, social, & spiritual wellbeing. Research supports that because your mental state can affect your overall health we support and offer the inclusion of complimentary and alternative medicine(CAM) practitioners and naturopathic doctor recommendations and referrals as a part of our Outreach Community Resource Center’s care regimen and support.

Rehabilitative

Emergency care can typically result in traumatic injuries for which rehabilitation becomes an essential component of care in trying to achieve the best long-term outcomes for the patient. In addition to speeding up recovery times and helping to prevent further complications, rehabilitative care also helps to support a patient’s self-managed recovery once discharged from our facility. Our Outreach Community Resource Center works closely with our trauma center’s discharge department to assure that patrons requiring these services are linked with qualified professionals who will be accountable to the standard of care required to help the patron be successful in their recovery.

Social Services

Our “state of the art” Outreach Community Resource Center intends to promote “expansive” beneficial community enriching services, programs, case management, & linkage to “approved” partner resources and supports in all of the following intended areas and more:

Social Services

  • Clothing
  • Food Pantry
  • Housing/Shelter
  • I.D. Credentials
  • Senior Wellness Check
  • Toiletries
  • Transportation
  • Etc.

Extended Family Services

  • Child Care
  • Credit Counseling
  • Family Court Services
  • Legal Aide

Career Training

  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Computer/Graphics Training
  • Culinary Program  
  • GED Courses
  • Hospitality Training
  • Job Etiquette & Grooming
  • Resume’ Prep
  • Sales Training
  • Software/Technology workshops
  • Small Business Training

Return Citizen
Program Partner
(Bridging the Gap)

  • Case Management
  • Temporary Boarding/Housing
  • Transitional Program Registration

Prevention/Intervention Outreach,
Workshops, & Programs

  • After-school Behavioral Health Program
  • Civic Engagement / Volunteer Sign-up
  • Fatherhood Rites of Passage
  • Gun Violence Town Hall Forum
  • Life Coaching & Coping Strategies
  • Marriage Counseling Workshops
  • Medicare Informational Workshops
  • Mentorship Training
  • Parental Classes
  • Support Groups
  • Town Hall Discussions
  • Violence De-Escalation Training
  • Voter Registration

Nutritional Outreach

  • Cooking Demonstrations
  • Dietary Programs
  • Exercise Classes
  • Recipe Sharing Workshops
  • Meal Prep

Community Outreach

The Healthy DC & Me Leadership Coalition is partnering with the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health advocacy organization to provide outreach services on the community level as an aid in reducing the existent health inequities that many District citizens are facing as a direct result of the presence of debilitating social determinants and the lack of culturally appropriate care choices and realities for community members residing in marginalized and lower-income communities.

It is the vision and intentions of the M.I. Mother’s Keeper Mental Health Advocates organization to help improve the quality of living for citizens living in our Nation’s Capital and beyond by overseeing the delicate linkage to services and by maintaining higher standards of care accountability for deserving citizens of the Nation’s Capital.

For more information or to enroll as one of our service providers, please email us at:
info@healthydcandme.org