How to Recover from a Suicide Attempt

By Steve Austin | Best of Messy Grace

Mar 02

Recovery from a suicide attempt is possible. It’s a long process and it isn’t always easy, but I am living proof that life with mental illness doesn’t have to be a death sentence.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Life with mental illness doesn’t have to be a death sentence. #graceismessy #recovery #suicideprevention” quote=”Life with mental illness doesn’t have to be a death sentence.” theme=”style3″]

Since I’ve begun sharing how I went from a being a pastor to being hospitalized in a psych ward, people often ask about my recovery. Everyone wants to know, is there a single solution? Where does the magic lie? How do they get their own lives (or their loved ones’) back? Or, as others have said, “What is the one thing that made you want to start living again?”

The truth is, there’s no magic formula, but here are five intentional steps that made my life better. I’m not a professional therapist, and everyone has a different recovery story. I can only share from my own experience.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I am a recovery rock star! #recovery #graceismessy” quote=”I am a recovery rock star!” theme=”style3″]

If you’re new to the site, here’s a few other stories to check out: 

  1. From Pastor to Psych Ward
  2. 11 Things to do Once You Decide to Stay Married to Someone With a Mental Illness
  3. A Manifesto for Hard Days
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About the Author

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.

  • Roxanne N. Crayton says:

    Good Afternoon, I read your article – you exposing your disgust for arguing with Christians and being faced with arguments and strife. “You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one I need, that it may give grace to those who hear”. Ephesians 4:29
    In this world Christians are being highly disrespected, which is honestly disrespecting The Most High God. Christians are being decapitated and ridiculed – on television, on the radio, and on the Internet. You have added to that pain.

    You are not a Christian, your church attendance is harmful and now superfluous. You have done your family a disservice and you have aided in the embarrassment of followers of Christ. If you truly studied scripture then you would have tougher skin, you should always expect the hate of the world. That article is the work of Satan, thank you for giving me motivation.

    Stop pretending, you are no longer a child of God. No repentance. No forgiveness. Epic fail.

    • Steve Austin says:

      Oh Roxanne,
      Your response breaks my heart.

      Normally, I would just delete a comment that is so full of anger and judgment and doesn’t sound anything like the Christ I have come to know and trust, but that would defeat the purpose. We’ve got to have conversations, even when we so clearly have a different view of God and grace.

      You cherry-picked Scripture in your response, so I’ll share one of my favorites with you. It’s actually the words of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

      Roxanne, I was tired and worn out. I was burned out like so many others I know, who have tried so hard to do all the right things, have all the right answers, and strived for perfection, but constantly fell short. Instead of making church the driving force of my faith, I still attend, but I am resting securely in the arms of Jesus.

      Let me be clear: I love Christians. I just wish we would be more kind with our words and realize that everyone is at a different point in their journey. No one has all the answers and we have to give people space to breathe.

      I’m really sorry for the anger that reads so clearly in your words. I will only be responding to you this once, so please don’t feel the need to continue this conversation.

      I am definitely a child of God, created in His image, and I know He loves me unconditionally. Even if you don’t.

      God bless you. I hope you find peace.

      Steve Austin

    • Jeremy says:

      I’d be interested to hear your logic on this one… And maybe a little bit of your story.

    • realmojo68 says:

      Roxanne,I pray that you will never endure the stigma of being called out as not being Christian.
      Me? I pray every day to overcome depression and anger, that God would protect me from others, but more importantly, I pray He will protect others from me.
      I applaud Steve for his transparency and vulnerability.
      He didn’t write the subject post to irritate or upset you, or anyone.
      But Steve, if you’re reading this, I agree with you.
      There’s too much “political correctness” in churches these days. Too much of what I call “the kitten Christ” = soft, fluffy, friendly, cute. Not enough of the true, He loves me no matter what Christ.
      So, Roxanne, I’ve a few questions and statements, please.
      1. Why did you comment on this post instead of the appropriate post?
      2. Where in the Bible is it appropriate for you to attack anyone who says “this here on earth isn’t good enough” and says “Christ is all I need, HE is the ultimate goal.”
      3. Your oxymoronic use of Ephesians 4:29 is, in my opinion, misguided. For you did not choose to cautiously build up Steve but rather tore him down with no redemption.
      4. I’m certainly not a perfect Christian. But I am a believer and follower of Christ. I sin. Sometimes I sin intentionally. I think we all do. Sometimes I get mad and furious and yell things and cry. Does that make me “not a Christian”? Does that make me “satan”? [By the way, your capitalization of “satan” gives him far too much respect.]
      5. I support you in calling out those who mock God, who choose to blaspheme or belittle the Christians they abhor. I do not, however, support you, in labeling other Christians as non Christians for doing the same thing. Steve was stating how as Christians we are a part of the problem.
      Oh wait. Your response? I think you just proved his point.
      I’m a follower of Christ. I support Steve.
      And I’ll be praying for you.

      • Steve Austin says:

        Well, I am all choked up at the response from my friends. Coming to my defense, but more importantly, coming to the defense of other, even more broken Christians, who don’t have the blessing of a platform like mine to share so openly and freely. I am all teary eyed and I can’t say thank you enough, for offering a fresh perspective.
        I really almost didn’t post her comment, wondering if it was actually a real person. I can’t imagine someone saying such hateful things to another human being, but I posted it anyways, because sadly, you and I know, Roxanne represents many others like her. And folks like Roxanne need the love and grace of our God just as much as anyone else.

        I’m not angry. I’m just broken-hearted.

        Thanks again, MoJo, for commenting today. It means a lot to me.


    • Kimberly Osborn says:

      Roxanne,Forgive me for being a bit confused by what you just said, but it seems to me like you are saying here that there is a sin that God cannot forgive…
      That is certainly not the same God I serve. We do not put God in a box around here. This is what His Grace is, undeserved mercy and forgiveness. Please do not try to get the speck out of Steve’s eye before examining the the plank that is in your own. The Word of God tells us in Philippians 2:12-“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (KJV)
      NLT words it this way: “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.”
      Ultimately, what this means to me is that our salvation is between us and God. It is not about what others think. If God says we are saved, then we are saved.
      I believe that My Jesus said “Let he who is without sin be the first one to cast a stone.” Even the Pharisees saw their error at the hearing of these words and dropped their stones and walked away. Jesus then spoke to the woman and said to her, “where are the ones who accused you? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” When she answered no, Jesus reply was “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11
      You see “God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17
      So, “Judge not, lest ye be judged, for the same standard you use to judge others is the same standard by which your Father in heaven will use to judge you.” Matthew 7:1
      So be careful with your measuring stick. You might want to check yourself with it.
      I realize that you are responding to a post and not a person in your mind. The problem is that I know the real live person who penned this post, and he is a Child of the Most High God.
      Scripture tells us in John 13:35, that our love for one another will prove to the world that we belong to Him. If that is the standard that we are using to determine whether or not someone is a Christian, then Steve Austin definitely qualifies.
      I am sure that he and the rest of us will pray for you, and that the eyes of your heart will be opened to the truth of God’s Amazing Grace and Love.
      -Just Another Sinner Saved By Grace

  • Elizabeth says:

    Oh Roxanne, I love how you can say “you are no longer a Christian” his walk with God is exactly that. HIS and HIS alone. Your judgement is exactly why I can say that you are not HUMAN. If you can tell someone else that they are NOT a Christian based on your standards and how you interpret the bible then it is easy for me to say that you are not human.
    You have never once stumbled, or walked away to make your own choices. You have never once turned from the grace that God gives all of us and decided to do your own thing. You have never disagreed with something the church said or a leader said. You have never once felt the inutterable pain and torment of what it is like to be a “Christian” in this earthly Satan led world. So if you are a Perfect “Christian” I see your need to judge. I am so sure that you are so close to God that he literally speaks audibly to you. God bless you, and I hope to one day be so proud of where I am with God to say that I never stumbled and I will never again. Thank you Steve for your testimony and may it be forever yours and yours alone!

  • Michelle says:

    Steve, thank you for sharing your heart with us on a daily basis. Showing us how real you are and how Christianity doesn’t fit in a wonderfully wrapped package with a giant bow. We can be real and that is a part of being a Christian.

  • Lisa Nelems says:

    Knowing Steve Austin personally, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a Christian who has chosen to expose his scars to help others in the same pain he was once in, instead of hiding them behind a mask of a smiling cross. When we paint ourselves to be perfect, blameless, without fault, through the spirit of religion, we tell a dying and hurting world filled, mind you, with other hurt and dying Christians, that they have to be a reflection of US to be good Christians. We are to be a reflection of CHRIST, who reaches out in compassion, with grace and mercy, through others that have been through the darkest night of the soul and made it to the other side of that valley, intact and stronger in Christ. We’ve all been through something, some far deeper than others, and it’s up to us if we will speak up and give God the glory for bringing us through or shut up and live like we’ve never needed God for more than our bare necessities and ultimately render Him useless. I personally believe God applauds those like Steve with guts to admit they are human and have literally walked in the valley of the shadow of death to be brought through in the power of God alone. Thank you, Steve!!!! I love you and am honored you are my friend!!!!

    • Steve Austin says:

      Lisa Nelems! Aw! I love you! What an incredible picture, you have painted! Of holding up a mirror to the world and telling them, “you must look like me” in order to be a Christian, when really it is the mirror of Christ’s cross, His brokenness, and openness, and grace that we should all be constantly look at.

      Love you!

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