Suicide, Tattoo’s and Baptism


The sad news of Robin Williams death this week brought back memories for me of 6th January 1998 – the day i tried to take my own life. It was the worst and the best day of my life.

As an 18 year old almost sick to death (literally) with depression i had been prescribed Paxil Seroxat which was later banned in 2003 for under 18’s because it was found to increase risk of suicide.

I was begging God for mercy. My parents had had Mass said for me even though i had not been to mass for the last 5 years. I had no idea what was going on but can only describe it as a body-spirit split in which i was experiencing the most utter desolation and despair to the point in which it actually physically felt like my soul was being burned alive. This went on non-stop for 3 weeks.

“I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!” No profanity was to great to the God i had always believed in – but just hated for the last 5 years or so. Finally, not being able to withstand the torture i was experiencing any longer i felt i had no choice but to end it.

“I’m sorry, i don’t want to kill myself, but i just can’t live in this pain any more.” And after a failed attempt with a bottle of paracetamol, and knowing i was beaten, i turned to God and just surrendered.

“Clare, I’ve never forced you to believe in me” were the words i heard. I was aware of Jesus standing next to me, and behind Him was His Mother. And behind her were hundreds of saints all routing for me to come back to the faith.

“After everything i have done over the last 5 years, you still want me?”

“I love you.” 

And that was the first day of the rest of my life. The day of my conversion. The day i returned to the Catholic church. I guess you could say that i had some sort of an Epiphany (6th Jan – get it? Boom-Boom!!) Straight after that experience i felt the utter desolation lift and i was then able to cope with and slowly recover from what i would describe as ‘normal’ depression. 

Sometimes you have to come completely undone to discover who you are in Christ. Whatever it was that happened to me back then, however painful it was, it was pure grace. God knows where i would be now if i had not gone through that. It was so life changing i had no idea how to cope with it, so i did the normal 18 year old thing and got a tattoo. It is a picture of an electronic heart trace to remind me of the day my heart almost stopped beating, and then beat again for the first time as a new creature in Christ.

Interestingly, this evening i was just going through a box of old paperwork and discovered my baptism certificate. It seems that the date of my baptism was 6th Janurary 1980. Who would have thought that the Lord would use this date 18 years later to bring me back into His church? Unbelievable!

12 thoughts on “Suicide, Tattoo’s and Baptism

  1. Praise God! He is so awesome; never abandons or forsakes us. Seems like He knew the day of your conversion in advance. What a moment it must have been when He shared the date of your baptism with you. I expect that your beautifully shared testimony will save lives. So many are deceived into thinking that suicide is the answer because they don’t understand God’s purpose for pain. This will probably open many hearts and minds to the possibility of regaining a sense of hope and purpose.

    I was going through a box of memories five years ago during the most difficult months of my life, (I lost my wife and three sons, and my home) when I came across my baptismal candle, at which point I remembered my baptism. The date was written on the box: Feb. 21st, 1967. I was one week old. I remember being carried to the font and feeling the water on my head, and closing my eyes, hoping that they wouldn’t pour any into my eyes.

    I think God gives us ‘faith pearls’ to treasure, so that we can’t forget who we are in Christ. When the storms rage it is this identity that helps us focus, not on the waves, but on Jesus, who gently leads us back to a condition in which we are again able to receive His peace. There are many times when I’ve cried out for help, but after a while there was no question about who I needed to cry out to. The battle rages on until we die, but bravely fought at our Lord’s side, we will conquer and obtain the crown of life He has promised. I expect we may be introduced to one another in heaven. Looking forward to it.

  2. Great blog post. I tried to take my life more than once after being prescribed Seroxat at 16. I was not a believer and have battled with severe MH problems since then. I tried to take my life 8 times in total, one of which I was in a coma for 5 days and medical professionals cannot understand how I’m still alive. I look back now and know that it was God. He saved me because he has a great plan for me.
    Entering the Catholic Church and encountering Christ has changed my life in ways to numerous to mention. He is great and he is the divine healer!

    • Praise God! And you are right – God does have great plans for you, one of which is to share your testimony. You are a great witness in our culture today where suicide is becoming not just normal, but even legal. Life is precious, God bless you! Xx

  3. Reblogged this on Deaconjohn1987's Blog and commented:
    Life is precious! I don’t remember ever thinking about suicide but I’ve come close to death a few times. When I was about 12, I had rheumatic fever with 107 degree temp and placed in an oxygen tent; the docs told mom I would not last the night! God had other plans for me 🙂 I’ve had nasty motorcycle & car accidents, naval accidents, close calls numerous times, especially the one where I lost my brakes driving an 18 wheeler down hill! I thank Jesus & Mary and my Guardian Angel ever day for my life and my diaconate. Yes, God had other plans for me and for you too, Clare. May your Guardian Angel assist and protect your life until God calls you home+

    • Clare that is a wonderful testomony to God’s loving care. He had an amazing plan for you, look at all you now do. I too went away from my faith for several years in my late 20’s. Then after being made redundant, my husband having a breakdown and my Mum in law dying, unable to take any more, I shouted and ranted and raved to this God I wasn’t even sure I believed in. I went and sat at the back of the empty church and cried. Confessions were just going on although no one was there so I went in to talk to the priest. ” Father,” I said “I’ve done something terrible, I’ve fallen out with God.” Father knew me he laughed and said “Don’t worry Margaret, God’s got very broad shoulders.” This was the begining of a long journey of faith culminating at Maryvale and an eventual post as Lay Assistant Chaplain in a Catholic College. Many times we have to go through the most terrible spiritual and emotional pain to emerge like the butterfly renewed and changed by God’s own hand. Unknown to me at that time God had a plan for my life too in his service. I thank him every day for that.

      I must just mention the Samaritans on 08457 909090, or who will 24 hours a day give a confidential and non judgemental listening ear to those in distress and the suicidal. A non denominational organisation.
      God Blesss you.

  4. Beautiful story
    Been on cymbalta for a long time…before that prothiaden..hang in there….you now have lots of friends to help you

  5. Completely unbelievable because this story is untrue. You got that tattoo on your toe cos you thought it was cool, just like that pink elephant tatt on your bum. People if you believe this you will believe anything!!!!

    • If you want I can produce my baptism certificate and medical records?! Besides, why do you have such difficulty accepting it is true? At that age I was completely lost and unhappy as you well know. And my whole life I have had to keep hidden what has been going on inside me in my relationship with God. Even as a little kid playing apple cricket, I had no idea how to explain it. So in my teenage years I did everything I could to get away from it.
      It is going to be hardest to understand for those who were closest to me because you know how much I tried to reject God. I don’t blame you for finding it impossible to believe. But it’s true. Everything I’ve written is true.

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