The point is, is someone in such a state of mind that commits suicide really able to make rational or sane decisions?
In most cases, No. And any mental health worker worth their salt will tell you the same.
I know I'm speaking against the majority of tradition on this, and I'm sorry that that's the case, because the majority are wrong in this case
Two things to note here:
1) We should not think of sin the the judicial sense, but in the Orthodox Christian sense of "spiritual illness". Body, Soul and Mind are one entity, one hypostasis, therefore both Mental Illness and Physical Illness can cause some Spiritual Illness, which needs medicine and healing. For example, someone in pain from an illness may become irritable and lose patience with those caring for them, and attack them. This loss of patience is a Spiritual Illness which needs as much healing as the cause of their spiritual pain does- without patience, we are lost.
2) If the Church liturgically prays for those "who have committed suicide in the darkness of their mind", we can't really claim that the Church does not traditionally acknowledge that suicide is a result of a "darkened mind" (i.e. mental illness). Clearly the Church does
(and the majority in earlier times probably thought mental instablility was caused by demons infesting a person or something, something else they would have been wrong about).
Again, I think we need to approach this from the Orthodox Christian viewpoint. Demons are not "naturally evil" according to Orthodoxy. The demons' nature is "naturally Good", but what the demons have done is to distort something good into something evil. In their proper state
, the demons are Angels by nature, in other words, a demon is a diseased Angel
. In the same way, Cancer is diseased cellular replication
, Diabetes is diseased blood sugar maintenance
, Anaphylaxis is diseased immune response
. In each case, something good is distorted to make it "go bad". Mental illness is the same. The brain is good in it's "natural state" but it can become diseased, similarly the mind (and we can argue what that is and whether it exists until the cows come home) is good in it's natural state, but can become diseased.
If the Angels carry out the Will of God and protect us, and guide us and prompt our consciences to prevent us from "missing the mark", what would a "diseased Angel
" do? A diseased Angel
would not protect us, but seek to harm and destroy us, and cause us to "miss the mark" in any way they can. And if they can take advantage of a diseased mind to do so, they will. It's just like how a pack of wolves will pick out the weakest member of the herd and attack them as their prey.