For Those Considering Suicide

For Those Considering Suicide

 Excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors; used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

By Susan Osborn:

I would like those considering suicide to stop for a moment and think of those who would be left behind. I know many of us go through very dark times, some contemplating suicide as a way to end it all.

King David expresses his pain during a dark moment in Psalm 31:9 “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”

Charlie R. Brown wrote a beautiful poem (and prayer) that shows the emotional turmoil of the loved ones left behind when someone moves from considering suicide to accomplishing suicide.

For Those Left Behind

by Charles R. Brown

 

Death comes veiled in tragedy’s mask

even when we anticipate an aged patriarch’s passing.

But the loss is magnified

when a friend or loved one gives up

and pushes the button to escape the suffering.

 

At times like this

we sit and stare at the floor.

How, dear God, should we pray?

Our hearts ache. Our minds are crammed with why.

Sleep seems to come only with restless exhaustion.

 

But you, Lord, know start to finish.

Somehow let us find recreation in your completeness.

As we cherish good memories

remind us to intercede often for the children,

the friends, and the family that must continue the journey here.

 

We ask, too, that you would bring

refreshment from this bitter drink.

Bathe the grieving with words from you,

words of comfort and hope.

 

Through this unwanted stealing away,

bring the abundance of your sufficiency.

We pray this for your glory

in the name of our Savior.

 

Amen

 

See other stories in our site category, Surviving the Loss of a Loved One .

Do you Know the Suicide Warning Signs?

 

According to www.Lifeline.com, the following are suicide warning signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you couple these signs with difficult life changes and painful loss, seek help as soon as possible or call a help line, like the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Also, if you have a friend or loved one who exhibits these signs, you can give them a Lifeline wallet card.  You can download the cards:

Card 1:  What to do if you think a person is having suicidal thoughts

Card 2:  Suicide Warning Signs Wallet Card

Card 3: Warning Sings in Spanish

 

For more helps, watch the video below:

If you’d like to reach out to God in your pain, please visit:  GodTest.com.

Occupations with the Highest Suicide Rates

 

Which Occupations Have the Highest Suicide Rates?

According to a recent article in the Denver Post, “Several studies indicate occupations most marked by suicides include physicians, temporary workers, farmers, miners, writers, artists, active-duty military, veterans and male nurses.”

There are many theories about these statistics. Some say suicides are higher in certain occupations because they attract people with certain or similar characteristics. Others say suicide statistics are higher in these fields because of additional influences like stress, long hours, burn out, isolation, ‘compassion fatigue,’ or even untreated depression as well as easy access to the means to commit suicide.

But just because a person is employed in one of these occupations, doesn’t mean that person has to live in a state of depression or be at risk for suicide.  For example, an article in Psychology Today said that though physicians have the highest suicide rate compared to people in any other line of work, not all physicians are in fact suicidal.

The article stated, “Here’s one more fact: physicians live longer and are generally healthier than people in most other professions. Even if you include physicians who commit suicide or suffer from depression, life expectancy and well-being are still very high amongst doctors.”

What makes the difference between those physicians who are at risk and those who aren’t?  For one thing, studies show that doctors not at risk for suicide have healthier habits.  They tend not to smoke, they eat less and exercise more and they get medical care or help when needed.

This correlates to the  steps many formerly suicidal people have taken to help them overcome their depression and suicidal thoughts as I shared in a recent article.  Overcomers tend to:

  1. Ask God for help. (See: Godtest.com for resources.)
  2. Get involved in a faith community.
  3. Get professional help and/or discover that it’s  okay to ask for help.
  4. Get healthy with either or diet, exercise.
  5. Kick or reduce substance abuse habits.
  6. Volunteer to help others.

Perhaps people, regardless of their occupations, could utilize these same ideas to help beat depression so as to live happier, healthier lives.  In addition to our recommendations, watch Dr. Don Darst explain some surprisingly simple and effective steps you can all take to lessen your daily stress:

If you are at risk to harm yourself, please go to the hospital, call 911, or call
Suicide Helpline:
1800 – SUICIDE
Suicide Prevention Hotline:
1-800-827-7571
National Suicide Hotline:
1-888-248-2587

Helps for Suicidal or Depressed Men

Do you know a man who is feeling suicidal or depressed? Here are ways to help him.

 

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in adult men.  Part of the reason for this is because men often feel isolated, lack social support and don’t always know how to ask for help.

Sally Spencer-Thomas, executive director of The Carson J. Spencer Foundation, was quoted in a recent article in the Denver Post saying, “Men tend not to see their personal crisis through a mental-health frame. ‘It’s not depression.’ Things happened to them. Their wife left them. They lost their job.” ‘I’m not crazy,’ they think. ‘My life stinks. My life is out of control.’ ”

Yet, 90 percent of the time, there are underlying causes behind a man’s death to suicide, including conditions such as depression, substance abuse or mental disorders.

According to the Denver Post’s article, Spencer-Thomas’s research has found steps that men can take to bring them back to healthy perspectives including:

  1. Asking God for help; an often preferred method.  (See: Godtest.com or ThinkingAboutSuicide.com for these kinds of online resources.)
  2. Getting involved in a faith community.
  3. Getting professional help by discovering it’s okay to ask for help.  Men are often persuaded to ask for help by friends, family, or their role models.
  4. Getting healthy with either or diet, exercise, or kicking or reducing their substance abuse habits.
What can you do to help a man who may be suicidal or depressed?
  1. Pray for him.
  2. Break the isolation and talk to him about your concerns. Just knowing that you care can make a huge difference.
  3. Talk to him about what’s going on at work or his frustrations of his lack of work, and encouraging him that things will get better.
  4. Try to persuade him to get professional help.
  5. Invite him to church or other caring group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
  6. Encourage him to get involved in helping others as feeling useful or valuable can make a huge difference.

To read more about Spencer-Thomas’s findings and work, read New campaign will use “manspeak” to help men deal with suicidal thoughts – The Denver Post.

See this video on how one man, Wade O’Quinn, overcame his depression:

A Suicidal Man in God’s Emergency Room

By Karen Kosman:

(Excerpt from:  Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors used with permission by New Hope Publishers.)

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When people are clinically depressed and even suicidal, they don’t necessarily want to die. Often a suicide attempt is a plea for help.

I awoke early one morning with heart arrhythmias. Not again, I thought. Having suffered with this condition for years, I found myself slipping into thoughts of self-pity. Why me?  I reached over and woke my husband, “John, I’m in a-fib. You need to drive me to the hospital.”

A short time later, I found myself flat on my back on a gurney, staring up at the ceiling in the ER.

Before another cycle of self-pity hit, I heard my doctor talking to the man in the next cubicle. “Sam, wake up. Have you been depressed? I need to know what you took.”

Quickly my focus changed from my situation to the suicidal man who attempted to take his life, God, please be with Sam, I prayed silently.

I knew all too well the devastation of suicide. I’d lost a son to suicide. God had carried me through difficult times and had brought compassion into my heart for those struggling with depression.

Moments later Dr. Ervin stood by my bedside.

“Karen, your heart rate has slowed, but you are still in a-fib. We’re going to move you across the hall to another section of the ER. You’ll be more comfortable there.”

“OK,” I replied.

With my husband by my side, I was rolled through two large doors and down the hallway into the next section. Moving from the gurney to the bed while tubes tangled from my body wasn’t easy.

A nurse assisted me. “Hi. My name is Jill.” Something shimmering around her neck caught my eye—a cross. Her brown eyes sparkled as she said, “You’re going to be OK.”

“I know.” I answered, staring at her cross.

Looking over at Jill, my husband said, “Karen is an author. She has to finish the book she is working on.”

Jill squeezed my hand and said, “So we need to get you well.”

A short time later I heard Jill tell another nurse, “She’s going to be OK. God sent her here for a purpose, besides encouraging me.”

I knew they were talking about me because I was the only patient on that side of the ER. I smiled. Again I thought about Sam and prayed, Lord, please help Sam. Help him to know you have a plan for his life.

A whooshing noise erupted as the doors opened, and a gurney appeared. I recognized the patient as the man who had been next to me in the other section. Again, the nurse and doctor asked Sam questions. I watched, listened, and prayed.

The doctor moved away from Sam’s side and walked over to the nurse’s station where he studied the monitors. Then I heard him say, “Looks like her heart rate is normal.” Moments later he stood by my bed and said, “You just converted back.”

“You mean I can go home?”

“Yes.”

Jill walked in smiling and said, “I knew you’d be OK.”

“Thank you for all your help. May I speak with Sam?”

“OK, but officially I don’t know about this,” Jill replied as she unhooked my monitors and IV.

I got dressed and walked to the other side of the room, closing the curtain behind me. I found Sam unconscious, but I trusted that he’d hear me.

“Sam, I’m not a nurse, I’m a patient, too. I wanted you to know that you are going to be OK. I know the heartache of depression, and I lost a son to suicide. I’ll be praying for you. God has a great plan for your life if you choose to live.”

His hand moved, although his eyes didn’t open. The next thing I knew his hand lay in mine. I smiled because I knew he’d heard me. His eyes fluttered but remained shut.

What a strange day, I thought. Who’d have guessed that a trip to the ER could be so full of promise and encouragement?

Suddenly, I remembered my question upon waking with an irregular heartbeat. Why me? And I realized that my question had been answered through the thoughtfulness of a nurse and a man named Sam who needed someone to care.

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;  Save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14

Thank you, God, for giving me a glimpse into your emergency room.

You may find the following video helpful. Tamara Laroux:  Surviving a Suicide Attempt:

What Holds Your Hope?

By Deborah Lovett:

You CAN find hope.

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you came to our site because you are thinking about suicide today, allow me to ask you a very important question: What used to hold your hope?

Was it a person, a place you frequented, a drink, a drug, a child, a home?  Whatever it was, it must be gone now, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog and thinking about suicide.

Would you allow me to offer a suggestion during this profoundly discouraging time, where you are wondering if you can ever face life again as it used to be?

I know you are overwhelmed with life, and the life you once knew has exploded before your very own eyes for one reason or another.

I believe you can get your hope back. As a matter of fact, I know you can. You can move your heart from a place of torment to a place of peace, joy and even courage if you will just listen to what I have to say.

There is a God in heaven who has written your story. He is a God of hope, and of life not death. But there is an enemy who would like to rewrite God’s story and have it be one of discouragement and death. You can take the courageous story and believe that God can do the impossible in your life that you cannot see at this time. Or you can take the selfish, angry way out. You really do get to choose. But I caution you: for  to choose life you will have to call out, cry out, and rely on Jesus. You are used to relying on whatever it was that used to hold your hope that has dwindled before your very own eyes. God wants you to let Him be what and who and where you hold your hope.

This requires an eternal perspective that knows and has confident expectation that God has written your story and His grace can get you through to the other side of your current situation if you will sit long enough to believe in Him and that He guarantees you a future that will make your mess into a message of His love that holds your hope.

Victory really is possible if you believe. Death is the process of being defeated and that is not what God promises us.

Your hope cannot be in the size of your house, your bank account, your spouse, your friends, or your work. Your hope must be found in the Jesus who died for you, so that you could live a life free of shame and guilt and a lot of other miserable things.

It takes one step at a time. And the first step is to believe in this Jesus who died and rose again, to transfer this power to you so you could live victoriously and courageously.

Don’t give into your feelings today. Let your hope be found in God and let Him hold you until you know that you are in the palm of His Hand and He will never let you go. Hope is found in the empty tomb of Jesus Christ Himself, so call out His name, “JESUS”, for there is power and hope in His name. That is where you will find the hope to get you through this day.

Tomorrow read His Word, and Sunday go to church. Then find a Bible Study, and friends that will support you. Choose to believe and hope again your story isn’t finished yet.

If your lack of hope is linked to feelings of shame, see yesterday’s post:  Release from Shame. Also see another post by Deborah, mentioning having lost her own sister to suicide, in Thinking About Suicide? You are Loved.

Release from Shame and Thoughts of Suicide

By Karen Kosman:

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shame can be all-consuming, destroy confidence and self-worth, and may even drive a person to thoughts of suicide. It also makes it difficult for that person to make decisions, and fear of rejection often leads to isolation and increases the potential for suicide.

Feelings of shame may have developed in early childhood and followed a person into adulthood, or it may have been enforced on an individual by someone else.

My friend, Jeanne, can relate to the overwhelming power of despair and shame. Jeanne struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. She reached out to trusted spiritual leaders and friends about her struggle. One friend stated, “Just get your eyes off yourself.” Another friend said, “You need to praise more,” and handed her a book on Christian praising.

Jeanne states, “These comments caused me to force a smile and push my feelings of despair deeper into my heart. I longed to be free from my emotional pain, but felt ashamed that as a Christian I struggled with suicidal thoughts. Shame kept me imprisoned as I sank deeper into a pit of hopelessness. One night, I screamed out to God on my knees, as a giant invisible force urged me to take my life.

“Just do it,” the voice kept saying. I struggled the whole night between the forces of life and death. Early the next morning I called a counselor, and within hours, I received professional help. After a couple of sessions and tests my doctor said, “It’s biochemical.”

Jeanne suffered from a mood disorder, a medical condition that causes changes in the brain’s chemistry. With the proper medication, within weeks her brain chemistry became balanced and the cloud of depression that almost claimed her life lifted.

There are a number of mental disorders that cause chemical imbalances in the brain and may contribute to suicidal behavior. Being on medication for the rest of your lifetime is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Today, Jeanne lives a happy, normal life, and she gladly reaches out to others, often sharing her journey through depression. Her words are now words of wisdom: “Depression and thoughts of suicide are the despairing heart’s final cry. If you know someone who is suicidal, listen and believe. Then guide them to safe, supportive counselors who are trained to listen and to help them.”

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13 (NIV)

 

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

See this video devotional by Jeremy Camp Video, a Christian entertainer. He signs part of  his song There Will be a Day after the devotional.

 

Whether you feel shame about events forced on you, or shame for mistakes you chose, when you give your life to Christ all is made new! Check out 2 Corinthians 5:17  in the New Living Translation:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

and  see Romans 8:1:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Not sure how to find faith and have questions about God? Visit GodTest.com.

Troubles Can Make You Stronger

See the story below about a donkey, and how what could have overwhelmed him saved him.

By Karen Boerger:

I’m sure there are plenty like me, who have had to shake off  hard times, troubles, disappointments, anxiety, and discontent.

There isn’t always a quick way to solve problems. Life is going to shovel dirt on you: all kinds of dirt. But each trouble can be a stepping stone. What happens to you isn’t nearly as important as how you react to it.  There is a good side to hard times – we grow stronger.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”   (2 Corinthians 12:10)

I believe that God works all things for good (Romans 8:28ESV), even though at the time it’s not always understood. The following story of the donkey in the well explains it so well.

An old donkey was plodding around the farmyard when he inadvertently fell into a deep, dry well. He brayed forlornly for hours. The farmer finally heard him and couldn’t figure out a way to get the donkey up from the depths of the dark well.

As the poor donkey continued to bray pitifully, the farmer decided since the donkey was old, and there wasn’t a way to save him, it would be easiest to bury him. He asked his neighbors to help, so they all grabbed shovels and began heaping dirt upon the poor donkey’s back.

The donkey brayed even louder and more mournfully as the dirt hit him. But he soon quieted down and shook off the dirt as it hit him. As more dirt was shoveled upon him, he continued to shake it off and then step on it. Gradually the level of the dirt beneath him was high enough that he was able to climb out of the well that could have been his grave.

When I think back to my husband’s depression and risk of suicide I definitely can see the donkey’s story in my life. Ten years of battling depression is not easy.  Both my husband and I had our own frustrations and setbacks to bear, but we both looked to the Lord for our strength. God was definitely a refuge in the day of our distress. May it be the same for you, my friend.

But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.  For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.  (Psalm 59:16 ESV)

It may be that going through your own difficult times may help you encourage (or perhaps even save) someone else later. In case you missed it, see our previous story: Suicide Intervention: One Teen Helps Another.

For help in talking things through, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

 

Suicide Prevention in the Midst of an Attempt

By Jeenie Gordon:

Many times there can be suicide prevention. Often people are so desperate that in a moment of insanity they choose to get out of their enormous emotional pain by an act which can be non-reversible. Even at the time of despair when the act has been taken, they wish they could turn back the clock. In those seconds, some are able to reach out in desperation for help.

One Saturday, a client, who had received my private number through a speaking brochure telephoned my home. My heart pounded as she softly slurred out her words, “Jeenie, I took a bottle of meds.”

I questioned what they were, but she didn’t know. Since I was not in my office, I did not remember the medication she was taking, nor her address. Over and over I asked, “Tell me your address.” Hesitantly she finally mumbled it.

Dialing 911 I was able to give her location. “We’re on the way,” the paramedics assured me. Later, I was able to locate her husband.

Immediately after, I called her psychiatrist on his emergency cell phone. He remembered what medication she was taking and stated “An overdose can kill her.”

After making the calls, my heart was nearly pounding out of my chest. I earnestly prayed, “Dear God, get them to her in time. Save her life.”

The next week she came in for a therapy session to continue dealing with her underlying issues. “I didn’t really want to die, Jeenie. That’s why I called you.”

I knew God had led my client to reach out to me in her time of desperation for suicide prevention. We continued in therapy for another year, and I saw great improvement and emotional health emerge. The suicidal thinking ceased.

Sometimes a suicidal person has time and the mental ability to call for help. In my experience, it is most often after pills have been ingested. In that short window of time, help can come if called immediately.

In the case of my client, I needed to speak with the psychiatrist to determine the medication so I could inform the paramedics in order for them to administer the proper treatment.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a solvable problem and is never the answer or way out. Families and friends are left in deep despair for the remainder of their lives, often wondering what they did wrong and trying to make sense of the tragedy, when there is none.

Never take lightly a call for help. Take immediate action and you, too, may help save a life.

In a crisis, contact: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free crisis hotline funded by the federal government that will direct callers to a nearby crisis center. The Lifeline will accept calls from non-English speakers.

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Help for the Family after a Child Suicide

By Karen Boerger:

How does a family cope with their painful  “new normal” after a child suicide?

 

The newspaper’s front page article at the bottom right read,  “Middle school student dies; school cancels classes.”  

“How tragic!” I thought.

As I began to read the article to see what happened, I saw that this boy was an 11-year-old fifth grader who took his own life. There was no name or reason mentioned.  It went on to tell how the school was putting together a plan to help students deal with their classmate’s death.

The superintendent said, “Anyone needing special assistance can call the school’s Crisis Hotline which the district identifies as a caring and supportive voice.” They provided the Crisis Hotline number twice in the article.

My heart aches for the family left behind after that child suicide. Did anyone have a clue that this was coming?  Would they have called the hotline on this young man’s behalf?  Would it have made a difference?  I would hope that it would have helped to give this individual a touchstone – something solid to base the rest of his life on.

It saddens me to think of what could have been for this family. All the fun a parent would have with their child as he grows up: first car, first job, prom, wedding, grandchild, etc.  It’s sad to think of the many losses.  The young man obviously had some troubles, but could they have been worked out?  Could talking with a friend, pastor, counselor, teacher, or relative have helped?  I can’t help but say, “YES!”

Even though the grief will be long, our help is in the Lord.  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13 ESV).”  There are times we are so low that we cannot see our way out of the pit of sorrows, and yet our Lord is there with us.  God also has provided people to help us.

Here’s a video book trailer describing the difficulty families have adjusting to a “new normal” after a child takes his life with details about the book Coping Techniques After a Child’s Death, written by Sandy Fox.

According to the author, the book “consists of over 80 articles of coping techniques and informational skills to help any bereaved parent as they move through the grief process. Readers will be able to learn how to get through the holidays, read 10 inspirational stories from those who have been there, delve into the abundant resource section and read a variety of book descriptions of other literature in the field.”

Sandy also has a helpful blog: I Have No Intention of Saying Goodbye…surviving grief: death of a child at survivinggrief.blogspot.com.

One aspect of losing a child, which may or may not be mentioned in Sandy’s blog, is that believers in Christ have the additional promise of being reunited with a child in heaven. It doesn’t make missing them now less painful, but does offer hope for the future.