How are we to respond to the desire for death?

Often I find myself desiring death, especially when faced with suffering that God has not yet healed (I am still praying). Death seems to me a good: it means an end to suffering, and presumably I will go to purgatory and heaven if the Church is correct, or I will no longer suffer if God does not exist. Death seems so good, in fact, that I am tempted to envy those victims of feticide and those with terminal illnesses. We must admit that life is worth living as a consequence of the dogma concerning God (e.g. that God is good and God willed to create us), but in the daily absence of God (the Eucharist appears as bread and wine), life is not worth living.

I cannot afford mental counseling, and even if I could, I could not receive it and continue along my career path due to society’s mental health stigma. Moreover, such desire seems a natural consequence of Christian theology, with its doctrine of heaven. The only reason to desire life is to seek to do the will of God. Yet God seems increasingly distant in proportion to how much I suffer and how long my prayers remain unanswered.

Is desiring death morally wrong? If so, why? What should I do? What are your thoughts?

I believe if you are desiring death so much you need to seriously considering seeking counseling. Have you tried Catholic Charities? My friend found it very useful and at that time you paid in accordance with your income. She said it was reasonable for the tremendous help she received.

Counseling is confidential and no one need know about it if it’s important for you to keep these things private.

My prayers go with you.

Praying for you to get the help you need.

We are literally, in the words of that corny 1970s song, “born to be alive.”

Death is a hideous punishment, not something desirable.

I personally hate death with all my being. I believe if someone longs to die, it results from deep suffering in their life, which may be correctable.

OP, I hope you can get the help you may need.


Death is only an end of suffering if one is in a state of grace. It’s exceedingly hard to be in a perfect state of grace without any sin at all. Only some saints have been able to achieve that. If not, one goes either to hell or purgatory, so they say. The lowest level of purgatory is higher than the highest suffering on earth.

No, it’s not wrong to wish for death. A lot of people in their final days do exactly that. Depression can also do that, chronic suffering, all kinds of things. That’s not sinful, though acting on it would be.

I wish for death all the time, but it’s sort of like normal for me. I accept that, just don’t act upon this wish. Somedays, it’s tempting, though, like any other sin. I also realize that death no doubt wouldn’t be an end of suffering, anyway.

Sorry you don’t have money for counseling/medication.

If I had a dime for every time I wished I could die, I would be quite rich.

I think if one’s suffering intensely, physically and/or emotionally, it’s normal to want it to stop is all. Also, if one doesn’t feel wanted, needed, belonging, or loved, it can be difficult to keep going on. One can feel a sense of lack of purpose, say.

God said we’re never actually alone, but it can certainly feel like it at times, can’t it?

What should you do? If you can’t afford treatments you need…I guess reread the Book of Job on occasion, and just do your best to keep on. I wish I could cry to feel better. If you can do that, it might help.

Listen to music. Sometimes, that can be helpful. If I’m sad, I can listen to some sad songs which express the same emotion. Or, you could try listening to happy music, but it might not work is all.

If you can manage to pray, that’d also be good, too. Say all this to God or pray, say, the rosary.

Can you talk to a friend? I really don’t feel like I have any. :wink:

You could always pm me, since we seem to be more or less on the same wavelength at this moment. I go in and out of this. It’s always there, though. “Misery loves company”.


Have you noticed any movies that help you feel better or anything you can do which has provided any relief, even however small or temporary?

I wonder if you have had time recently to contemplate how many people in your world, your neighborhood, your family circle, at church, the grocery store, etc. could benefit from you?

As someone walks out a door and you are walking in, smile at them…what is their reaction?

If someone is standing alone at the bus stop and the sun is shining, catch their eye and say something nice about the weather. Or if its raining, give them a word of cheer or encouragement.

Pick up something that someone has dropped and help them. Open doors for people.

Stop by the parish office and ask if there is any help needed with chores…food pantry, yardwork or cleaning around the church, visiting shut-ins, etc.

You get the gist of this…that keeping busy and keeping focused on others’ needs might give you a lift.

You have my sympathy…I get down myself, sometimes, but figure its up to me to get “up” and get going.

We will all die sometime, but only when your “number is up”, as my dad used to say.

I think I want to be put out of my misery more than actually dying, even though that may appear to be the same thing it is really the thing that is making me feel miserable that I want to go but the world we live in teaches us to do away with ourselves if we choose.

It’s kind of like longing for the end times to happen so you can play a part in it, maybe being martyred for the Faith but then when you think about it that is the last time in the whole world you want to be around are glad we live in such peaceful times in comparison to the past.

Maybe we long to be with Jesus Christ in Heaven than actually dying.

The death wish comes and goes in waves. I’ll vote sometimes.

What I do know is that when they fade away they seem silly and childish, and you dread the thought of giving up on life.

Personally, I can’t wait to die. I am pathetically unhappy with my life and I don’t see that ever changing. I’ve been to counseling, shrinks, priests, all to no avail. I feel abandoned by God and believe He has singled me out and wants to make my life miserable.

I’ve considered suicide many times. I’ve never made any attempts and probably never will because I am too much of a coward to go through with it. Nevertheless, every night when I lay down to go to bed, I hope that I won’t wake up the following morning. :frowning:

If I died today, my time in pugatory would be very long. I have to please God where in the past I failed. Perhaps it will take me years.
So I can’t wish for death, it would ruin everything.

I wanna go home!

Dear Ethereality,

first of all, over my life I have noticed that life comes in phases, I have had really bad phases full of fear and when I was much younger I think I also had that sense of dread that it might never get better again… that I was stuck… but I was so very wrong!I remember a quite dreary, I was recovering from an eating disorder and felt stuck in a kind of feeling pf meaninglessness… would I have believed if somebody would have told me that only half a year later I would be running down the street in a city i had never been to before and that I would fall in love with, playfully, happy, that I would be singing for joy again?

I had not considered suicide, but wouldn’t it have been a shame only for that… I would not have lived to see the change?

And even more, now after having come back to the Faith… I believe very firmly that, despite its struggles, life is a great great wonderful gift and that things do happend for a purpose.
Thinking back of bad times in the past I realize how they have helped me grow, become a better person, and also to appreciate happiness

Do keep on praying.
God is there with you.
He is the pure Love that you feel in moments of intense prayer, He is the One giving you comfort, giving you the strength to keep on praying, He is the One Who made the sunlight afater a dark night, and the evening after a hard day…

Just because you don’t feel Him there doesn’t mean He isn’t.
He is still there. He is always there.

Hm. Isn’t counseling usually confidential?
What if you found a priest, maybe somebody at a monastery, who could be like a spiritual advisor, to help you with spiritual struggles?

I disagree… I believe ( (this I am writing just instinctlively now) that God’s LOVE is everywhere and that trusting Him completely like children also means living in the present moment, the moment He has created for us at this present time… to live fully, because God would not have put us on earth if it was for us to be immediately in Heaven…

And we can also use this life to be good for others.
Just a simple smile to somebody who is down can make such a difference.
So nothing is in vain.
it is a circle of love, created by God.


p.s. and somebody please correct me if I have expressed something wrong; this was mostly from my own experience and spontaneous reflection as I was reading and writing)

There was a fable about this, of someone calling and calling to Death. Finally, Death decided to come by, and the person was scared out of his mind of it, told him to get away!


Sometimes, I tell myself I want to die. Then, I’ll have, say, a time when I can’t breathe for just having swallowed the wrong way, and I find that I want to live. The will to live is also very powerful, difficult to overcome.

Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.” ― Woody Allen …:wink:

Wasn’t it St. Augustine who said our hearts would all be restless until we rest in God?

I once had a relationship that ended badly and I wanted to die so badly. Life seemed to have no meaning for me. Coincidentally, on the way to a prayer meeting I came upon a lady who had just been run over by a car when crossing the street, possibly going to the church or to the prayer meeting. I stopped and went to her aid, but she was already dead. I stayed with her in the middle of the road until the ambulance came and took her away. But what I discovered first hand was that death was in no way a good thing, and not something to be desired. It is an ugly fact of life, something horrible that God never intended for us. I have never wanted to die again.

But to yearn with all one’s heart for heaven is different. Then, it is not death that we desire, but what exists beyond death’s door. A monk in a nearby monastery, was finally given permission to live an entirely solitary life after 30 some years in the monastery. In a rare interview, he stated that his life was a preparation for death.

Everything we do should be a part of our preparation for walking through death’s door into eternal life. But the focus should alway be on life, not death, because there’s nothing pretty or good about death. Jesus cried when his friend Lazuras died. Jesus did not enjoy death (take this cup from me), bur he did enjoy doing his Father’s will, and he did enjoy redeeming mankind. Jesus didn’t enjoy suffering, but he did enjoy taking away the penalty for our sins. We don’t enjoy disciplining our children, but we do enjoy seeing them grow up with the right values. I don’t enjoy giving up things for Lent, but I do enjoy growing a bit more spiritual. I don’t like death, but I love what’s on the other side.

Life is short as it is - whats the hurry - what is your happiness based on? - Live in the moment not in the past or in the future - live for today only - tommorow might not come - the past is gone no point in staying there . To many people live in the past or have thier eyes fixed on the future never actually living in the moment - how can anyone every be happy living like that.

It’s normal, and natural, to want suffering to end.

Not when life seems worse.

I personally hate death with all my being. I believe if someone longs to die, it results from deep suffering in their life, which may be correctable.

I think that’s exactly right. I’m not suicidal but I do want to die just because I’m tired of my pointless/meaningless life. I’m (only) 35 and don’t feel like I have anything to look forward to.

Easy to say, not so easy to do when the moment stinks.


Death is nothing to look forward to either.


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