Resource: Too Soon to Say Goodbye (Osborn, Kosman and Gordon: New Hope Publishers)

Posted by Laurie Winslow Sargent:

 

I’d like to call attention today to the book Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide.

The authors, Susan Titus Osborn, Karen L. Kosman, and Jeenie Gordon (with New Hope Publishers) have graciously allowed us to post excerpts from this book, here on our suicide prevention blog.

Here’s the book description from Amazon.com:

Written by three women all uniquely affected by suicide, this compassionate perspective offers renewal of courage and faith for those grieving this tragic loss of a loved one. Grounded in Scripture and illustrated by true stories, Too Soon to Say Goodbye shows the magnitude of God’s love in times of heartbreak and offers tested wisdom for allowing Him to heal the pain. Additional insights shed light on depressive illnesses; and for those considering suicide, the authors offer encouragement to choose life over death.

Here are links to some of the excerpts we have posted so far. We hope they will encourage you and your loved ones.

Help Others Mourn Loss of a Loved One by Jeenie Gordon

Face of Death: Suicide in Youth, Dying Too Soon by Susan Titus Osborn

For Those Considering Suicide by Susan Titus Osborn

A Suicidal Man in God’s Emergency Room by Karen Kosman

Comfort for Grieving Counselors and Parents: You Came! by Jeenie Gordon

Release from Shame and Thoughts of Suicideby Karen Kosman

Deeply Depressed by Jeenie Gordon

[NOTE: The Kindle edition (also can be read as Kindle for PC) of Too Soon to Say Goodbye, this month, is being offered at a discount to readers.]

Help Others Mourn Loss of a Loved One

By Jeenie Gordon:

Mourning the loss of a loved one: how long does it go on? How can we help someone who is grieving?

 

Mourning  can be an especially painful, long process for those who have lost someone to suicide.

 


Image: Salvatore Vuono/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Two years seems to be a typical time of intense sorrow and numbness for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Over and over I have seen the time frame played out with students and clients in therapy.

It takes about two years before the force of reality hits home. Truth knocks the mourner down with a blow similar to a heavyweight boxer hitting him in the gut. The person understands the great loss will last the rest of his life, and he hates it. Often I hear the expression, “I despise my life and I can’t stand the pain. It’s eating me up inside.”

Family and friends, who gathered close for the first few months or a year eventually go on with their lives. Rarely do they give the mourner’s loss another conscious thought. For the most part, there is no longer a human source in which to find comfort, thus, loneliness and isolation, can become overwhelming.

Talking things over with God helps the grief-stricken person to slowly begin to move on with life. Journaling is also a valid, healthy way to start to resolve the issues.

I’ve made it a practice for many years to have a daily prayer list for those who are grieving the loss of their loved one. At the end of the year, I write them a note. Generally I begin: Each morning I have prayed for you and your family during your first year of mourning . . .

I have received numerous return notes telling me how my prayers have impacted and comforted their lives. One mother at my high school wrote: If my daughter would have had you as her counselor, she would still be alive today.

We have a responsibility and privilege to continue to support those who mourn. Romans 12:15 states, “Weep with them that weep” (KJV).

If  you, a friend, or family member has experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide, grief is often complicated: see our article Guilt in Survivors after Suicide of a Loved One.

This excerpt by Jeenie Gordon ( licensed marriage and family therapist) was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers.

Resource: Moving Beyond Depression by Jantz and McMurray

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

Moving Beyond Depression

 

To find the Kindle version of this book, click the photo. Books can also be downloaded to and read on computers via Kindle for PC.

I’m pleased to recommend the book Moving Beyond Depression by Gregory L. Jantz, PH.D. with Ann McMurray (Forward by Abram Hoffer, Publisher: Shaw Books).

This book offers hope and help for those of you who struggle with depression. Here’s some information about the book, from the back cover:

“You may feel as if you will never find a way out of the darkness of depression. Gregory L. Jantz, Ph. D., believes that because people’s paths into depression are uniquely their own, their paths out of depression will be unique as well. In Moving Beyond Depression, he takes an insightful and honest look at the emotional, environmental, relational, physical and spiritual causes of the disease. Here you will find practical help that will lead you to true freedom.”

Author Dr. Jantz is founder and executive director of  The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc., which treats people in the Seattle area for mental health illnesses and chemical dependency. His co-author, Ann McMurray, is a freelance writer who has assisted Dr. Janz with various book projects.

At the beginning of this book is a list of symptoms of depression. Some are called Yellow Indicators: signs of depression which could lead to deeper depression. Following that are Red Indicators. If you are struggling with any of the following indicators, we recommend that you get help as soon as possible.

Red Indicators of Serious Depression

 

  • a significant change in appetite, lasting longer than two weeks, resulting in either marked weight loss (if not dieting) or weight gain
  • recurring disturbances in sleep patterns for longer than two weeks, resulting in difficulty falling and staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • increased agitation or inability to relax for an extended period of time (more than two weeks)
  • fatigue, lethargy, or loss of energy for an extended period of time (more than two weeks)
  • sadness, despondency, despair, loneliness, or feelings of worthlessness for an extended period of time (more than two weeks)
  • inability to concentrate, focus, or make decisions, recurring over a period of time (more than two weeks)
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide
  • plans for a suicide or an attempt at suicide

We will be excerpting additional material from Moving Beyond Depression for our site, but if you are in danger at this moment of taking your own life, we urge you to call a suicide prevention hotline.

If you are experiencing these Red Indicators and are contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

We hope too that you will find other articles here on our site that will help you and encourage you to keep on going. We care deeply about every person who visits our site and. Although you are anonymous to us, we lift you up in our prayers.

For more information about Dr. Janz and help for depression, visit www.aplaceofhope.com.

Here’s an excellent video with Dr. Gregory L. Jantz, on Depression from Seasonal Affective Disorder:

 

Kill Myself? Grief and Forgiveness for Stupid Comments

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief from Stupid Comments: Lesson 4 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.

 

Words are powerful. Words can lift us up and encourage us or make us feel so low we don’t want to go on. It can enter our minds to think, The stupid things people say make me want to kill myself!

After we lose a loved one, we’re already deep in grief. When people—especially friends—say stupid things, it just kicks us lower. But you know what? It could be they didn’t mean to say something so stupid. It could be they had no idea how their words sounded to you.

I was a teenager when my brother, riding his Harley Davidson, was hit by a drunk driver and killed. I remember one friend telling me, “You just need to forget your brother and move on.”

Forget my brother?! I thought. I don’t ever want to forget my brother! Plus, at the time, he hadn’t been gone twenty-four hours!

I really don’t think my friend intended to say something mean to me. I really think she was trying to help. She just said something really dumb, probably without thinking through how it sounded.

So here’s the fourth lesson I’ve learned about grief. (See our other lessons in the category: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.)

#4 Forgiveness:  Some of your friends may say dumb things…but they mean well. Other people don’t say anything at all or disappear from your life. Any of these actions can be very hurtful.

(See also grief lessons: #1 Exhaustion, #2 Guilt, and #3 Anger)

When I was grieving the loss of my brother, I finally figured something out. I discovered I did much better when I gave people a break—when I chose to forgive them for hurtful words and to assume that their intentions were good.

Some people disappeared and didn’t want to hang around with me anymore. I finally learned it was because they didn’t know what to say to me. When I decided to let it go even though they weren’t the friends I needed them to be, I could move on and find stronger friends who could help me through my sad time.

There are no magic words. If you’re trying to comfort a grieving friend, realize you don’t have to say the perfect thing. Just your presence, a touch, or a tear communicates your love and concern.

You might think a lot of suicides are caused by mean things bullies say. According to the article “Bullying And Suicide: The Dangerous Mistake We Make” by Katherine Bindley, further investigation often reveals other factors were involved in the suicide.

Madelyn Gould, a professor at Columbia who studies youth suicide and prevention, said in the article “If someone is being bullied, they should not jump to the conclusion that one of [their] options is suicide. What they should jump to is, one of the options I have is to get help.”

If you’re thinking, stupid things people say make me want to kill myself, it’s time to find a stronger friend and ask for help.

Video: Please take a few minutes to listen to this beautiful song.  It talks about thinking and sinking so low and then says “lift me up to higher heights than I’d ever known before”! Take time to listen to: “Thank Him for the Miracle” by the Booth Brothers:

Will I Ever Be Happy?

By N. J. Lindquist:

How can I ever be happy?

[Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Would you say you’re happy? If not, what would it take to make you happy?

A couple of years ago I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen drinking tea when she suddenly set down her cup and said, “You know, I thought when we bought this house, my life would be perfect. I have a family I love, a good job, more possessions than I ever dreamed of having, this wonderful house—so why am I still not happy?”

Like my friend, many of us think happiness means getting whatever we want—someone’s love, enough money, a new car, more friends, children, a career…. We believe that when our goal is fulfilled, we’ll be happy.

So we strive for the object of our desire.

If we don’t achieve it, we often become angry, feeling that the world and everyone in it is against us. Or we might just give up and develop a poverty mentality. Why try since we’ll never be good enough? We might even consider suicide because we feel there’s no hope for happiness.

But the ironic thing is that when we get what we thought we wanted, we frequently discover it’s not enough—we still aren’t happy! Look at my friend, who had everything she’d desired, but felt empty inside.

When my friend realized that having everything she wanted didn’t lead to happiness, she decided to try something different—she gave her heart, and the responsibility for her happiness, to God.

That happened over 20 years ago. Since that time, my friend has gone through many unexpected struggles—even losing some of the things she had—and has dealt with a lot of emotional pain. But despite that, she’s been at peace—even happy—because no matter what happens, God gives her the strength she needs to get through it.

Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs.  If you’re wondering, “Will I ever be happy?”  this may help reveal how you can find happiness, even in the midst of problems.

“Through it All” by Andrae Crouch

Want to know how to find God?  Visit GodTest.com.

Face of Death: Suicide in Youth, Dying Too Soon

By Susan Osborn:

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

How does it feel to those left behind, when a loved one dies by suicide in youth–or at any age–by their own hand instead of naturally in old age?

 

 

All of us, with surety, will someday die. Nevertheless, most plan to reach a ripe old age before we face death.

There seems to be an appropriateness that surrounds the face of death due to old age.

Solomon expressed this well in the Book of Ecclesiastes:

 

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build.

—Ecclesiastes 3:1–3

Many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one. And we’ve felt the pain of grief—the process we all must go through to find eventual acceptance. We are not speaking of mourning over the actual event, but rather the beginning of a belief we will someday be all right in spite of the absence of this loved one. In time, we begin to move ahead with our lives, finding comfort in the hope and assurance that God offers.

Yet, there is a type of loss that is much less easily accepted. That is the loss of a loved one through suicide in youth or at any age–by their own hand–as opposed to a natural death in old age. The painful knowledge someone dear to us has chosen to end his or her life causes an overwhelming agony. Our minds plead with God, Please, this must be a mistake. Mind, body, and soul diligently grapple for a means to escape from the devastating pain, but there is no escape from the reality of suicide. For the individual or family left behind, suicide is a time when faith is tested beyond any human reasoning.

In order to have a deeper understanding of suicide and its aftermath, we must be willing to share the pain of those individuals and families who have seen the face of death and lost a loved one through suicide. Grief affects not only the physical body and mind, but the soul as well.

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, there are a number of resources available as near as your telephone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call will be routed to the nearest crisis center to you.

You can also dial the following National Suicide Prevention Hotline numbers operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services:

1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

1-888-SUICIDE (1-888-784-2433)

1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432) (Spanish)

 

Feeling Lonely and Distraught? Never Alone

By PeggySue Wells:

Are you feeling lonely and distraught today? In truth, you are never alone.

 

I heard of a woman who followed her husband to a foreign country. This was years ago, when communication was limited. In this remote place where she didn’t know anyone–nor did she speak the language–the couple welcomed their first baby.

Then the husband was called away for work. For weeks he was out of touch. During the time he was gone, the baby developed a high fever. The neighboring women became aware of the situation and came by with their remedies. But the child’s condition worsened and the child died.

Through the sorrowful days of losing her son, the young mother was never alone. Compassionate neighbors took turns being with her. Though they didn’t know each other or understand each other’s words, there was always someone near with a pair of helping hands, empathetic eyes, a gentle touch. It was the gift of presence. Of just being there.

When we experience loneliness and desperation, we often feel completely abandoned. This woman later said that though it didn’t look the way she thought it should, though her husband was not with her, she was never alone.

How often are our needs met, but in a completely unexpected manner?

You yourself are truly never alone. God is always present, personal, and cares about you.

If you don’t understand how this can be, and are not sure how you can know God personally, visit our other site: GodTest.com. The quiz and articles there may help answer some of your questions about faith and to realize you aren’t alone in your suffering. God loves you.

Also, when you are feeling lonely and suffering, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. There are many people with great compassion who just need to be asked and would be willing to help you.

Good Medicine for Thoughts of Suicide

By PeggySue Wells:

When thoughts of suicide overshadow our days, professionals frequently recommend we do something for someone else.

Is there anything to this? What is the rationale?

How often has another heard of my struggles, only to respond, “I didn’t know.”

My friend just posted that her young son died. I didn’t know he was ill. I was unaware of her sorrow. Hearing her sad news brought me out of myself as I was filled with compassion for her family.

I am not the only one struggling. As much as I long for someone to share my journey so it is not so lonely, to help me shoulder my cares so they are not so heavy, others may be silently having the same experience. In the dark pit of depression where thoughts of suicide dominate, it is not easy to reach out. But it is good medicine. For both of us.

 

Chances to be Angels

  By Adelaide Proctor

It isn’t the thing you do, dear,

It’s the thing you leave undone,

That gives you the bitter heartache

At the setting of the sun;

The tender word unspoken,

The letter you did not write,

The flower you might have sent, dear,

Are your haunting ghosts at night.

 

The stone you might have lifted

Out of your brother’s way,

The bit of heartfelt counsel

You were hurried too much to say;

The loving touch of the hand, dear,

The gentle and winsome tone,

That you had no time or thought for,

With troubles enough of your own.

 

These little acts of kindness

So easily out of mind,

These chances to be angels,

Which even mortals find—

They come in nights of silence,

To take away the grief,

When hope is faint and feeble,

And a drought has stopped belief.

 

For life is all too short, dear.

And sorrow is all too great,

To allow our slow compassion

That tarries until too late.

And it’s not the thing you do, dear,

It’s the thing you leave undone,

That gives you the bitter heartache

At the setting of the sun.

 

See  another article on our site, on this topic: Fight Thoughts Of Suicide With One Random Act of Kindness

Am I Depressed?

 

Have you ever wondered: “Am I depressed?

Just know that you’re not the first person to worry about this. I’d like to introduce you to psychologist Dr. Esther. She takes an interesting look at the signs of depression in the video below:

 

While Dr. Esther has given us some things to think about, perhaps you would also benefit from taking the quick Goldberg Depression Test which will give you instant results.  To take the test, click HERE.

If you realize you can answer that question, “Am I depressed?” with a yes, you’ll be glad to know that you can take steps to break free.  Read our article: Seven Steps to Help Fight Depression.


7 Steps to Help Fight Depression

 

Author Stephen Ilardi says in his book, The Depression Cure, “The rate of depression among Americans is roughly ten times higher today than it was just two generations ago.”

So what can those of us who live in the today’s world do to beat the blues?

Ilardi believes there are six steps to fight depression, and though we like his ideas, we believe he left out an important step which we’ll include at the end of our article.

 

7 Steps to Help Fight Depression:

 

1. Take Omega-3 Fatty Acids to help the brain function properly.  People low in omega-3’s are more subject to mental illness and depression.

2. Engage in Activity – Or in other words, stay busy.  Working on projects will help people from ‘ruminating’ over their troubles, which can contribute to depression.

3. Participate in Physical Exercise – Ilardi states in his book, “Researchers have compared aerobic exercise and Zoloft head to head in the treatment of depression. Even at a low “dose” of exercise–thirty minutes of brisk walking three times a week–patients who worked out did just as well as those who took the medication. Strikingly, though, the patients on Zoloft were about three times more likely than exercisers to become depressed again over a ten-month follow-up period.”

4. Get Sunlight Exposure – Without sunlight exposure, your body can get out of sync, which can cause your circadian rhythms, energy, sleep, appetite and hormone levels to be disrupted, which can trigger clinical depression.

5. Develop Social Support – When it comes to depression, Ilardi says, “relationships matter.”

He goes on to say, “People who lack a supportive social network face an increased risk of becoming depressed, and of remaining depressed once an episode strikes. Fortunately, we can do a great deal to improve the quality and depth of our connections with other and this can have a huge payoff in terms of fighting depression and reducing the risk of recurrence.”

6. Sleep – Disrupted sleep is one of the most potent triggers of depression so be sure to try to catch your daily z’s.

Now for the suggestion to fight depression that Ilardi missed:

 

7.  Reach out to God – Studies have shown that developing a relationship with God can help relieve depression.

Perhaps you’re angry, even disgusted with what you believe God has allowed into your life.  If this is the case, you will feel better if you make amends with God, consider asking him to help you through your difficulty instead of trying to handle it alone.

Also, if you’ve never known God, click HERE to take our God test.

If you’ve never given your troubles to God, try praying…

Dear God,

These troubles are too much for me, so I give them to you. Now they are your problems.  Give me your supernatural power to let go and to trust that you will not only get me through this, but that you will give me and my loved ones a future and a hope.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Watch Dr. David Thomas’s suggestions about how to control depression below: