Want to Give up on Life? See ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

By Karen O’Connor:

Don’t give up on life. It  may seem very dark to you right now, but there are people in your life whose world would not be the same without you.

 

Last night my husband and I watched the 1946 classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. George nearly commits suicide in his despondency about everything going wrong in his life.

Following the prayers of his family, Clarence, an angel-in-training comes down from heaven.

As a quick aside, it’s good to know that people don’t become angels in training, or angels at all. Angels are heavenly created, powerful beings. If interested, you can read Angels by Billy Graham, or read his answer to the question: Does each person have a guardian angel that watches over them?

In the film George is about to jump off the nearest bridge. Yet he ends up ‘saving’ Clarence instead, who shows George what the world would be like if he had never been born.

Over the course of the story, George learns to not give up on life. He discovers through experience that:

“No man is a failure who has friends.”

The same is true for each one of us. No one is ever really alone if we look around at what we have rather than at what we don’t have.

The Spirit of God is always available if we simply call on him for help, as George did in a pub one night when he was at the end of his rope:

“God…God…dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if  You’re up there and You can hear me, show me the way, I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God…'”

In an article published in Christianity Today, Stewart talked about his faith and how that scene impacted his life at that time:

“As I said those words,” Stewart shared, “I felt the loneliness and hopelessness of people who had nowhere to turn, and my eyes filled with tears. I broke down sobbing. This was not planned at all, but the power of that prayer, the realization that our Father in heaven is there to help the hopeless had reduced me to tears.”

View and share this excellent YouTube video from the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, showing George Bailey praying to God when he was in despair.

Depressed? Don’t give up on life. Instead, turn to God. Plead for His help, as George did, and allow God to reveal his plans for you. Not sure how? Visit GodTest.com.

Also see what it can be like for people left behind: Grieving the Suicide of Family Members  You can also click to read articles on Hope and Help.

What to Do When a Loved One Talks About Suicide (LEARN)

By Karen O’Connor:

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The trained personnel at Marriott hotels handle customer complaints by practicing a technique called LEARN.

According to Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP, LCPC and senior lecturer of pastoral counseling at Loyola University in Chicago, this same method could be helpful to families who want to know what to do when a loved one talks about suicide.

It’s not to be taken as a ‘formula’ but rather as another of many ways to open a conversation among family members, which could lead to healing and understanding.

Here are the steps involved as Mr. O’Connor explained them to me:

LISTEN:  “We listen to the person even if we disagree. We provide the sweet attentive feel of what being heard is really all about––without judgment, interruption, or logical comeback.”

EMPATHIZE: “We empathize by understanding the emotion and feeling the person is expressing by hearing it and doing our best to understand its importance in that person’s experience.”

APOLOGIZE: “We apologize for the hurts we may have inflicted and for what they perceive as actions the world and others put on them.”

RESPOND: “We respond both verbally and physically, sharing our experience of life, alternatives, issues we struggle with, and so on, in order to show our understanding and appreciation of what the person is going through.”

NOTIFY: “We notify those in authority, medical professionals, other relatives, and any related personnel. If you believe the threat is real, it is not only okay but necessary to tell those who can help even at the protest of the one who is threatening suicide.”

It can be difficult to know what to do when a loved one talks about suicide. The LEARN technique can help lead the victim into professional counseling, where he or she could get the deeper healing needed to embrace life again.

You may wish to do a practice session with someone before exercising the technique, to experience what it means to listen, empathize, apologize, respond, and notify––in case that becomes necessary later in responding to a family member in crisis.

View and share this excellent YouTube video on suicide prevention. It begins with many startling statistics, then offers thoughts on how to respond to someone who is suicidal (at about the 3 minute mark). Most important, it reminds us to “not dismiss or undervalue what the person is saying” and to take any suicide talk seriously.

Note: the music with this slideshow is beautiful, but the audience cheers (at odd points, for this topic) a tad distracting, so it might be most helpful to turn the sound down to absorb the wise words on the screen.

Thinking ‘How Do I Commit Suicide?’ But DO Want Life–Without Heartbreak?

By Janet Perez Eckles:

Are you thinking, ‘How do I commit suicide?’ simply because it’s hard for you to imagine a future without  the heartbreak you feel right now?

 

Those were thoughts Sandy had.

Her husband walked in one night and said he found the woman of his dreams. No warning before dropping that bomb in her heart. No clue he had been unhappy. No idea he could ever betray her.

“Maybe I could understand if he seemed unhappy,” she sobbed, “but he never showed any signs. How stupid I had been.”

I was there, in her shoes and shedding those same tears. Life crumbles, dreams shatter and the future seems to end.

Sandy thought about ending it. Ending her anguish and ending the heartache she couldn’t mend.  She even thought, “How Do I Commit Suicide?” Yet she really did want to live, just not in pain.

That was the real torment. Her days were dark, but she still longed to restore her marriage. She longed to live for that hope.

Sandy and I had the same situation. We both wanted to live. It was the heartache we wanted to end. But God came into her life and mine. His power that pierced through the anguish—how could you end your life, when I have the beginning of a new one? The life that shines with meaning, confidence and security.

I had dried my last tear. Gave my last sob and chose to believe.

My husband had betrayed me, but God was faithful. My husband had taken his love somewhere else. But God poured his love to soothe my wounds.

The question changed: How can one commit suicide when the healing is in God’s hands, and the future clearly etched in His plans?

I trusted, and no matter what disappointments, big or small, I will look up and repeat over and over again: I want to live because tomorrow is in His hands. I will receive the richness of His love and exchange my pain for joy. Nights will bring back sleep because He’s by my side. I will overcome because He said I could. And He will heal me because He promised He would.

Are you one who is thinking ‘How do I commit suicide’, yet deep in your broken heart simply want to live without pain?  Find out more about God, the master healer of broken hearts, at GodTest.com.

Also read more stories of hope here at our Thinking About Suicide site by clicking on our categories or using our Search box. Do you know that Janet, the author of this article, not only lost her sight, but also lost a son to murder? There truly is hope in all terrible circumstances.

Who Cares: A Poem by Charles R. Brown

By Susan Titus Osborn

 

If you are depressed and thinking about suicide, please stop for a moment. Think of the effect suicide would have on loved ones, your loved ones, left behind.

 

Image by Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The following poem, Who Cares, by Charles R. Brown may sum up your feelings at this time.

Who Cares

by Charles R. Brown

 Indigo days.

Dark, deep sea nights,

Layer upon layer,

The grays of life

Are pressed into strips

Of midnight black.

 

Dilated irises stretch wide,

Thirsty for the smallest flicker of light.

Can’t see.

Can’t see any purpose in it at all.

I can’t tell if my eyelids are open or shut.

All I know is my life is shut.

 

The door has closed, the key thrown away.

Cold dungeon walls

Leave bruises on the mind.

Silence offers no peace—only fear.

The slamming in my chest

Rattles any semblance of sanity.

 

Why?

Who cares anyway?

No one will miss me.

They’ll be better off when I’m gone.

 

Is anyone listening?

 

You can indeed find someone to listen to you, if you are feeling this way.

God has a purpose for you—a purpose only you can fulfill on this Earth. And He is there, waiting for you to reach out for His help and healing.

Who cares? God does. We do. If you are depressed and thinking about suicide, please stop for a moment and consider the effect suicide has on loved ones, your loved ones, who are left behind.

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).

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

Reach for a Helping Hand if You Feel Suicidal

By Martha Bolton:

 

Feel suicidal? As if you are drowning, emotionally? Ask for help.  Sometimes it only takes one hand to make a difference, and people are waiting to offer you that.

 

When I was young, I went to a pool party with a youth group.  I didn’t know how to swim so I stayed in the shallow end most of the time.  That is, until the leader and I started playing a tag-like game in the water.  Not realizing I couldn’t swim, he went under the water and grabbed my legs and took me into the deep end.  I tried standing on his back to keep myself afloat, but  needing air, he playfully knocked me off and then swam away.  Now I was in the deep end without anyone to hold on to and I immediately began to sink.

But then, I felt my body rising back toward the surface.  I didn’t break through the water, except for my hands.  I tried waving them frantically, but no one noticed, and down I went again.  That’s once, I thought to myself, recalling the “three chances” rule I had always been told about drowning victims.  I wasn’t sure if it was true or not–about getting those three chances–but I started counting anyway.

As my body rose upward for the second time, I hoped and prayed that someone would notice me.  But that time only the tips of my fingers cleared the surface.  Down I went again.

The third time up was even more hopeless as no part of my body made it out of the water.  That was my third and final chance, I thought.  I went back over my young life and prepared to meet my Maker.

I could feel my body moving upward a fourth time.  I was thankful for one extra chance, but that time I didn’t get anywhere near the surface.  I figured I had no other choice but to accept my fate.

And then I heard…

“Hey, look, she’s drowning!”  It was one of the youth. Someone had finally seen me!

From that moment until the moment my youth pastor swam over and rescued me, I knew I was going to be alright.

That’s all it takes—just one person to notice that someone is drowning and do something about it.

Ironically, while I was under that water, I could hear the sounds of all the people gathered there that day.  They were laughing, eating, and having a great time.  They were also totally oblivious that someone only a few feet away from them was going down for the last time.

Maybe you feel like you’re drowning right now and you’ve been waiting a long time for someone to notice.  This website is here 24-7 to notice.  There are resources listed here that will help you.  Caring people at suicide prevention hotlines are ready to notice, too.  People who’ve been where you are right now are waiting to talk with you.  So what can you do?  Call out.  Let someone know you’re drowning.  If they don’t hear you, don’t give up.  Keep hanging on.  Keep praying.  And keep hoping.  Someone will eventually see you and reach out to help you.  And never forget that God’s hand is always reaching out it your direction. Take it. All it takes is one hand to pull you to safety.

Depression and Suicide Links

By Jeenie Gordon:

This excerpt 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. Co-author Jeenie Gordon is speaker, multi-book author and  a marriage and family therapist.

As a marriage and family therapist, many clients have told me something like this: “The depressive is a horrible black hole. I’ll never be able to climb out.”

Over the years, I have visibly seen the signs of depression and heard the sighs. Not much is said about it by the client, as they are in so deep that expression is nearly impossible. They are a living zombie. No feelings, little thoughts, and despair envelopes them like a black thick cloud – one from which they see no escape or hope.

For them, it is overpowering and each day they sink deeper into the mire of hopelessness and helplessness. My concern is that sometimes depression and suicide may be linked.

As much as I try to empathize and encourage, it often does not get through. I sometimes wonder if they hear because of the cloudiness of their brain.

I recall what happened to a Christian medical doctor whom I knew personally. We were on a psychological leadership team together and knew each other quite well. He was barely thirty, had a thriving business, was highly intelligent, and fun to be with.

One day I heard him speak to a group of therapists on the topic of depression. He gave personal details of his lifelong struggle, especially during his adolescent years. They evidently were quite horrendous and filled with worry, self-doubt, and darkness.

As colleagues, we wrongly assumed those days were in the past, as we had never seen that side of him. He was compassionate and competent, and kept his depression well hidden. Some of the men had recently had lunch with him, as was their practice, and observed nothing unusual.

Shortly after the address, however, he carefully laid out a plan for his wife and children. Then in a rented motel room, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

Our group of professionals was shaken to the core. How could we have missed all the signs of depression and suicide? We were trained to know, trained to respond. Yet, we were unaware.

Spouses, parents, friends, and coworkers, to name a few, can miss the signs, as they are so well concealed. Other times, there are indications – statements of despair, giving away personal possessions, isolation, deep depression, among others.

In therapy when I encounter signs, I carefully and kindly ask the person about it. If they admit they have suicidal thinking, I check to see whether they have a plan in place. If they do, I step into action – possibly making a call to a family member, get them into a psychiatric hospital for a psychological evaluation, put them in touch with a psychiatrist for medication, or their primary care physician. Sometimes suicide and depression are indeed connected.

The good news is that medication for severe depression is a God-send and is available. I have seen scores of clients come out of the pit and begin to live healthy lives, leaving the suicidal thoughts behind.

How to Help a Friend Who’s Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Helping a friend who’s lost a loved one from suicide can be difficult. Words can leave people encouraged, or unintentionally inflict additional pain.
But don’t let your fear of saying the wrong thing keep you from reaching out.

 

Image: David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How we face a crisis often depends on what kind of support we receive. What not to do is as important as what to do when a friend has lost a loved one from suicide. Here are suggestions from people who have been there.

Don’t assume marriage relationships are fine. Two drowning people cannot save each other. In the case of a loss of a child, gently ask your friend how their marriage is holding up. You may be the one to help a grieving couple seek appropriate counseling.

Avoid clichés. “God must have needed another angel,” is not only unbiblical but reduces God to a needy, selfish deity. It’s better to say, “I’m sorry.”

Resist saying, “At least your loved one is in a better place.” Saying at least insults the griever by minimizing their pain.

* Listen if someone wants to talk about the loss, but never pressure. Leave the door open for conversation and reminiscing by asking, “How are you?”

Don’t think it’s too late to offer support. Grief can be a lengthy process. Long after others have moved on, you may be the perfect one to encourage someone who is still sad.

Don’t try to distract the griever by keeping them busy. Unless asked, don’t clean out articles that belonged to the one who died. Grief cannot be avoided; it must be walked through. And grief has its own timetable.

*Don’t say, “Call if I can do something.” They won’t. Instead, offer something practical. “I am going to the store. What can I pick up for you?”

 

PLEASE

PLEASE, don’t ask me if I’m over it yet.

I’ll never be over it.

PLEASE, don’t tell me she’s in a better place.

She isn’t here with me.

PLEASE, don’t say at least she isn’t suffering.

I haven’t come to terms with why she had to suffer at all.

PLEASE, don’t tell me you know how I feel.

Unless you have lost a child.

PLEASE, don’t ask me if I feel better.

Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.

PLEASE, don’t tell me at least you had her for so many years.

What year would you choose for your child to die?

PLEASE, don’t tell me God never gives us more than we can bear.

PLEASE, just say you are sorry.

PLEASE, just say you remember my child, if you do.

PLEASE, just let me talk about my child.

PLEASE, mention my child’s name.

PLEASE, just let me cry.

 

By Rita Moran

Compassionate Friends

How Do I Commit Suicide if There is Hope?

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Why bother anymore? Why live? What is the purpose of life anyway? There is no other way out. If you are thinking thoughts like these; if at this moment all hope has faded, all reason for staying on the planet has seemed to vanish and you are asking yourself; ‘How do I commit suicide?’ Please read on.

I found a place to go where hope still lives; a place where life has purpose, a place where you are loved for who you are, not what you may have done or not done. I know about this place because I was where you are at one point in my life. I had lost all hope. I felt as though I was a failure; like I had no reason for being on planet earth. Like life was too hard. I wanted to quit. I was asking myself, ‘How do I commit suicide?’

Then I met my best friend, He has seen me through so many scrapes and lifted me up. He has assured me that my life has meaning. That He has a purpose for me to be here, even a purpose for the difficult things I have had to face.

At first it sounded too good to be true. But, after I spent some time getting to know Him I realized He is for real. He loves me more than anyone in my life ever has. He even knows ALL my faults, all the ways I have failed, all the terrible things I have done. He believes in me and gives me advice and help to do the best thing for my life. I would never go back to doing life alone. Back to that place where I am constantly judged and found lacking.

Let me introduce you to my most ardent supporter, my most trusted comrade. The finest listener, the greatest confidant, the ultimate “I’ve got your back” Man. He is the best friend a person could have because He has the power to do anything He wants. In fact, He is the most powerful force that exists.

His name is Jesus and He loves you as much as He loves me. He loves us so much that He even died for us. Have you ever heard this saying?

 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

That saying came from the Bible, in John 15:13, and it was talking about what Jesus did for you and for me.

I’m not saying that if you meet my friend you will never have problems again. Or that the ones you are currently facing will vanish in a second. What I am saying, and can say because it happened to me, is that if you meet Jesus and give Him the reins of your life, you will never again have to face a problem alone. If fact you will never be alone ever again. You will always have someone in your corner. If you pray the prayer that never fails, it will not fail.

The way I spent time getting to know Him was reading the book He inspired a few folks to write about His life. Please do read it. Give my friend a chance to bring you up from the grave, like He did me, then get yourself a Bible and start reading in the Book of John.

Read all the way to the end of Revelation. At the end, ask yourself : would you like to have a friend like Him? Have someone to share your burdens; someone to call friend, who will never leave or forsake you? (See Joshua 1:5)

If the answer to those questions is yes then, respond to this post. I will give you the words I said to my best friend that changed everything for me for all eternity. Because of what He has done in my life I can say,

Don’t give up and don’t quit ever!

What do you have to lose?

And know too that I have already prayed for you to find the hope I found in Jesus.

Check out this song that makes me laugh every time I hear it. I just wonder if the artist, Rodney Atkins, has had a similar experience with my Jesus.

Teens Thinking About Suicide

By PeggySue Wells:

Are you one of those teens thinking about suicide? Think on these facts, instead.

 

Girls report depression more often than boys; boys are less likely to recognize depression.

Left untreated, depression can lead to teens thinking about suicide, and untreated depression is the number one cause of teen suicide. Only 33 percent of teens get help.

Yet 80 percent of teens with depression can be treated successfully.

If you are a teen, or know a teen, or work with teens, Remedy.fm is a resource available 24/7. A positive internet radio, Remedy.fm is interactive. Listeners can text in around the clock and talk with a soul medic – trained volunteers available to listen, and chat. No matter what your situation, people are waiting to talk to you. They want to help. They care.

Log in to Remedy.fm at www.RemedyLive.com  If you are thinking about suicide, click on the suicide tab on the ‘Need Help’ bar. To chat anonymously with a soul medic, click Live Chat Now. You can also see a video on that page, including statistics, then a movie clip, than a frank discussion about reasons for many teens thinking about suicide.

If you are depressed and contemplating suicide, you can also find help by dialing 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. If your life is immediately at risk, dial 911.

Don’t be a statistic.

This article was written by PeggySu Wells, a multi-book author who is also a soulmedic with Remedy.fm. For more information about Remedy.fm, watch this video with Director Clinton Faupel: http://bit.ly/SqyDsy.

How Do I find Meaning?

How do I find meaning for my life? Janet desperately wondered that when told she would never see again.

By Janet Perez Eckles:

I resented it, I really did. Words from friends and family directed to me, ones that held no meaning.  In my world, I saw no answers, solutions and no hope. I was given the sentence that I’d never be able to see for the rest of my life.

In vain, folks try to say the right thing. They wanted to help and lift my spirits.

Have you been there? You’re at your lowest and inside, negative emotions are about to explode. Words from others seem empty and meaningless.

That’s why, as I wrote this, I wondered if I would be able to make a difference in your life. My words might lack encouragement and my insights hold no meaning.  But I decided that I’d try anyway:

Please know that if you:

  • hang on one more day.
  • look to one more good thing in your life.
  • think of that person who would be destroyed if something happened to you—then my words would hold some meaning for you.

I have been where you are. And when my heart echoed that I’d never be productive again, I found meaning for life in God’s Word who said to me– yes I believed it was to me–that he promised there would be triumph after the tragedy.

I believed that promise; I embraced it as my own. Then I gave one last sob, and meaning became clear. The significance that my life—with its darkness and valleys—had a purpose.

And now…well, God fulfilled His promise because I’m writing, traveling, speaking, working. And  holding on to the white cane of faith, I take one step at a time.

He said there will be peace after pain and I found His Word to be true, for me and it will be for you.

Tomorrow will look differently if you choose to see your circumstance through God’s eyes. I did. And after hope came back, the scenery never looked more beautiful.

Janet has overcome more tragedy than facing blindness. She also had to cope with the murder of her son, yet her faith has sustained her and God has helped her through her pain. See her other posts:

How to Make it Through the Night

Overcome Shame

Depressed and Blind: Why Go On Living?

Finding Hope When You Think “I Want to End My Life”

If you are feeling desperate–wondering How do I find meaning?–you may not hear perfect words from friends or family. But you will find words of hope in The Bible, and comfort and new meaning for life through Christ.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 

(Hear these words of encouragement read to you aloud! Click  HERE, then click the microphone icon.)

Have more questions? Visit GodTest.com.