Suicidal and Addicted to Romance Novels

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Suicide and Addiction: Christ saved me, not romance novels

I suffer from bi-polar disorder. There have been many periods in my life when I was seriously depressed to the point of suicidality. At one point during a period of this kind of struggle I was in Costco and I discovered a suspense novel by an author I hadn’t read before. Without thinking too much about it, I put it in my cart.

I had never read anything like this book before. It was romantic suspense, all right, but it had explicit sex. For a reason I didn’t understand, it made me feel good. I looked for more books by this author and then found that there was a huge market of this kind of book out there. The more I read, the better I felt. If I read a book a day, I could keep my suicidality at bay.

My doctors had given up and said there was nothing they could do for me. They told me they had tried every medication and there was nothing to help. My husband (who was a bishop at the time) told me that reading steamy novels was better than committing suicide. What I didn’t understand was that the reason I felt better was because the novels put me in a perpetual state of mania, which I had rarely experienced. It is very difficult to distinguish between the calming Spirit of the Holy Ghost and the happy feeling of hypomania. Mania and sex are closely affiliated.

About this time, General Conference rolled around.  We had tickets and I was able to hear Elder Holland give his classic address, “Broken Things to Mend.” I wept through the whole thing, feeling like he was addressing me. He said “Christ knows the way because He is the way. He is the way out and He is the way up.”

I started to study the Atonement after that. Talks by Elder Bruce C. Hafen discussed grace. He said that Christ had given everything He had when He performed the atonement. In order to receive it, we needed to give all that we have, even “almost” was not enough. I packed up the books and got rid of them. I repented.

Seeking solace in romance novels, but Christ saved me

I had tried to seek Spiritual healing over and over throughout the years. Now without the solace of hypomania, I descended below where I had ever been. One scripture was impressed upon my mind when I went to Education Week. Paul wrote these words when he was in a horrible prison: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

I finally reached a state of such utter humility that I surrendered all my fears as well as my sins to my Savior. My spirit was broken and contrite. I felt the blackness being lifted out of my soul. A peace descended upon me such as I had never known. One week from that day, I visited my family doctor. He told me he had received some sample medications he wanted me to try. I took them, and the next morning I awoke for the first time in 25 years without the scourge of depression.

It has been 10 years and I have continued to be well. I know those steamy romances can give one the counterfeit feeling of wellness. I am a writer and I spend my time now writing clean romances for people like me who are going through rough times and need the comfort of a “happily ever after.”

Happily ever after is found through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His true peace cannot reach us if we are sullying our mind with carnal things to soothe us. We need The Real Thing—the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.