In 2020, every 40 seconds, someone around the globe will die by suicide. And for every 1 who dies, 25 more attempt. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve recently been accepted to a week-long writer’s residency in France. It’s an opportunity most writers only dream of: quiet time in a beautiful setting to do important, life-changing work. The only problem is I need to raise $2,000 to cover the cost of food and international travel. Would you help me?
In addition to my GoFundMe Campaign, I'm also selling a few items, to raise the money for this trip. Click the links below to see what's for sale on Facebook! (I can ship within the U.S. for a flat rate of $15.)
But pastors aren't supposed to be depressed, right?
I was a pastor and a lifelong Christian. I loved Jesus with all my heart. And I adored my family. I just despised myself. I was desperate to end my secret suffering.
I didn’t know about counseling or therapy. I didn't know I had permission to tell my truth. I lacked the confidence that God would meet me in the darkness. I was exhausted from a life filled with shame, and a fear-based religion that left me shakily scared of appearing less-than-perfect.
When Jesus doesn’t snap his fingers and heal everything in an instant, we get uncomfortable and impatient. Stories like mine don’t fit neatly into our boxes. They aren’t nearly as popular as mud on the eyes and dipping in the river seven times and seeing miracles.
My church culture placed great emphasis on the spiritual life. I was raised in a herd-like mentality that demanded outward performance, to the detriment of genuine faith. Because my brain didn't work like other Christians I knew, I learned to blend in and keep my mouth shut.
For those of us with mental illness, the church can sometimes feel cold and unconcerned. We often hide in the shadows, for fear of being thought of as less-than a full Christian. But we continue to stubbornly white-knuckle our commitment to church, hoping to one day be accepted, just as we are.
As I continue to recover from my suicide attempt, I am learning that life isn’t neatly boxed and bowed. When it comes to church, I'm not asking for my pastor to be my psychiatrist. I don't need my Sunday School teacher to try and fix me, or for any clergy person to have all the answers. I just need people to choose kindness, even when they don't understand.
After years of intense healing work and recovery, I'd made it my life's work to prevent suicide and open the conversation about mental health in faith communities. This year, I’m partnering with 2 publishers to write important books on mental health. The problem is, I need time to write them.
If I reach or surpass the goal of $2,000, I will include each of my donors in a special donors-only list, where I’ll update you via video 2-3 times during my trip.
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.
Will You Help Me Stop Suicide in 2020?