Yes, There is an Anti-Bullying Day

by N. J. Lindquist:

Today is Anti-bullying Day in Canada. It’s also known as Pink Shirt Day.

 

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pink Shirt Day started with an anti-bullying stand taken by two Grade 12 students in Nova Scotia about six years ago. They witnessed a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school and rallied other students to wear pink as a message against bullying.

Two of my sons were bullied for very different reasons when they were roughly 12-13. As a parent, I felt angry and determined to stop it, while also a bit helpless – no one can live in another person’s shoes. Nor can you be with your child all the time.

Our sons survived and weren’t injured by their experiences, but I wonder if there were other kids who ran into the same bullies, and the bullies themselves – are they still bullies as adults?

Far too many of the people who commit suicide or attempt to do so have been bullied. The death of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old from B.C. who committed suicide in October after posting a video detailing how she was bullied both in person and over the internet, brought attention to the newest for of bullying, cyber-bullying. But bullying has been around for a long time.

For more information on Pink Shirt Day and what you can do about bullying, read this article.

You can also read here on our site:

Bullying Prevention Tips for Parents and Kids

Stop Bullies with Self-Confidence and God’s Help!

How to Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullied: Handling Mean Texts and Online Posts

Treatment for Depression; Seasonal Affective Disorder and Nutritional Deficits

By PeggySue Wells:

Treatment for depression should include addressing nutritional deficits. Also, Seasonal Affective Disorder causes depression in some.

 

Doctor Writing On Clipboard by stockimages

Image from stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Feeling depressed? Having suicidal thoughts?

According to Dr. Michael Lyles, doctor of psychiatry and neurology at Crawford and Lyles in Georgia, these feelings and thoughts may be symptomatic of physical conditions that are easily remedied.

Our bodies send messages to alert us when something in our system is off balance. Depression can be the symptom of several treatable conditions including:

  • Lack of magnesium
  • Low levels of vitamin B
  • Not enough vitamin D
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Testosterone below normal levels
  • Iron deficiency
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Poor diet 

Additionally, feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide may be a symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Certainly feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide may be exactly that. A simple step forward is to ask your doctor for a blood test that will quickly show deficiencies and treatment can begin immediately. Correcting these conditions may be all that is necessary.

If your feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide remain, your doctor can help you find additional help.

Don’t wait.

To listen to Lynne Ford interview Dr. Michael Lyles about causes of depression and treatment for depression,  click  HERE.

In that interview (especially the last 3/4 of the interview) Dr. Lyles addresses Seasonal Affective Disorder, nutrition deficits, depression in pregnancy, medication interactions, stress and other causes. He also discusses reluctance in Christians to seek out help for depression and how to find help.

Copycat Suicide

By N.J. Lindquist:

Please don’t allow the suicide of someone you admire or care about to lead you to choose a copycat suicide.

 

Image from Wikipedia of Mindy McCready

Image from Wikipedia

When I read last week about the death of country singer, Mindy McCready, I can’t say I was surprised. I knew that her current boyfriend (the father of her 10-month-old son) had died only a few weeks earlier, and that his death was being looked on as a probable suicide. I have to admit that when I first heard of his death, I had a feeling in my gut that hers would be next.

As a fan of country music, I’ve long been aware of Mindy, and really enjoyed some of her songs, especially “Guys Do It All the Time.” But I was also aware of the roller-coaster life she’s led, including her upbringing and connection to a Pentecostal church; her graduation from high school at age 16; her move to Nashville to pursue her dream; and her relationship with married baseball pitcher, Roger Clemons (when she was 18 and possibly younger).

I was also aware of her parents’ divorces and remarriages; her various relationships with men; her two children, her battle with addictions and her earlier attempts at suicide. It almost seemed as if an early death would be the inevitable conclusion.

I feel so sorry for Mindy and her family, and in particular for her two young sons. But my greatest concern is that no one else will copy what she did.

I remember years ago meeting with a teenager I’ll call Debbie who had been cutting herself regularly for a long time, but had recently made several attempts to commit suicide. As we talked about Debbie’s life and her frustrations, she began to cry and whispered the name of a male singer who had recently died from what was being called suicide. Apparently Debbie was a huge fan, to that point that she idolized him, and she was feeling the need to follow him, even in this.

The fact that Debbie’s attempts at suicide hadn’t been successful told me that she probably didn’t really want to kill herself. But that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have succeeded. She was fortunate that her mother had been in the house each time and found her before it was too late.

As I believe was the case with Mindy, there were things in Debbie’s past that made her hate herself and her life—things that were at the root of the cutting and the spiral her life was in—things she couldn’t just push into a dark corner of her mind and ignore. But at this point, the impetus for her suicide attempts wasn’t as much about her personal issues as it was about the very real fact that her idol had done it.

The idea of killing yourself may not come from a celebrity; it might be because a partner or friend does it, as in Mindy’s case; or a family member.

If you’re thinking about committing suicide because someone else has done it, consider this: Your life is too important to become a footnote to someone else’s life.

What you can do:

  • Don’t keep your dark thoughts to yourself. Find someone you can talk to about how you’re feeling and why you feel a strong connection to the person who has died.
  • Look for positive things you could do to help the person’s family and friends deal with the pain suicide leaves behind.
  • Make a list of things you could do to help preserve the memory of the person who has committed suicide so that others will remember the good times and not just focus on the circumstances of the death.
  • If you continue having suicidal thoughts, see a doctor or a counselor and tell them exactly what is troubling you.

 

Grief and Suicidal Thoughts: Loss of a Baby

By Karen Kosman:

Sometimes grief and suicidal thoughts go hand-in-hand, and the loss of a baby may seem too great to bear. But God is there to comfort you.

 

grief, suicidal thoughts, moses basket

God can heal your broken heart–even after the terrible loss of a baby.

My body ached and my heart throbbed with sorrow. Surrounded by family and friends we stood at Kim’s gravesite, all eyes resting on my baby daughter’s small casket.

The wind blew softy against my cheeks as my tears cascaded down. I looked at the grief-ridden faces of my husband, daughter, and son.

How do I help them to go on? How do I say goodbye?

Briefly my mind traveled back to the first time I held Kim. I’d marveled at her tiny, delicate features and auburn curls on top of her head, highlighted with gold streaks. Back in the present I questioned, How do I go on?

As the days turned into weeks my emotions vacillated up and down. At my lowest point of grief I questioned why God hadn’t taken me instead.  Each day depression robbed me of joy. I questioned how I could believe that Kim is in heaven and feel so grief stricken and depressed.

Home alone, one morning, while cleaning my kitchen I found a package of forget-me-not flower seeds shoved at the back of a drawer. On the back someone had written Kim’s name. I immediately went outside and planted them. A few weeks later their blue blossoms filled the garden.

I allowed myself to embrace our precious moments with Kim. I realized as I listened to my children’s feelings how much they needed me to go on. We began praying together and talking about our feelings—talking openly began healing our hearts.

We stayed busy. Working on school projects and home projects brought back normal routines. The days became easier. We counted the many blessings Kim’s life brought to others: My mother accepted Christ and was baptized because of the love she’d witnessed from our church family. Friends began to tell me things like, “Kim’s short life made me ponder about my own life and eternal destiny,” or “I value life more.” But one comment really touched my heart, “Kim’s life made me realize how precious every moment is.”

The shortest verse in the Bible is found in John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” At the lowest point in my sorrow I remembered this verse.

Yes, Jesus wept for the heartache and loss Lasarus’ family and friends felt at his death.  As I thought about the compassion of Christ I felt comforted. I began to realize God understood my grief. As the oppressive blanket of grieve began to lift, joy came back into our lives. I am grateful that I had God to lean on in my sorrow and thankful I didn’t give in to my fleeting thoughts of wanting to die.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

My daughter’s life, although brief, had purpose and still does. I am grateful for the precious gift God granted us in Kim.

God Loves You and Approves of You

By Karen O’Connor:

 You may not think it’s true that God loves you and approves of you, but he does. He says so in the Bible:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you” (Jeremiah 1:5).

God loves you, thumbs up, approval

Image by mack2happy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Imagine: the God of the universe is on your side and has been for all time. Your life is important to him and to those around you.

If you are thinking about suicide today or have thought about it in the past, I urge you to take a moment to consider this. Above all your friends, your family, your coworkers, your neighbors—God cares about you and says that your life counts.

That means you can start over today.

Pastor Joel Osteen in his message of encouragement this week, Before You Were Born, says the following:

“No matter how you may be feeling right now, no matter whose approval you didn’t get on this earth, know that Almighty God loves you and approves of you today. There’s nothing you can do now or ever to change that. You may be thinking, “I’ve made so many mistakes, how can God approve of me?

“Understand that when God sees you, He separates you from your behavior. He may not approve of your actions all the time, but He desires to help you grow and make better choices.”

Here are three steps you can take right now to start over, trusting that God loves and approves of you and wants to be Lord of your life.

  1. Buy or borrow a bible and read one psalm each day.
  2. Jot down what you learned from that reading and how it applies to you.
  3. Tell someone you trust that you want to make a fresh start and ask for support.

View and share this excellent YouTube video from Joel Osteen “Dealing With Negative Influences.”

 

Do I Matter?

By Martha Bolton:

Are you asking yourself, “Do I matter?” The answer is a resounding YES.

 

Recently, I had to say goodbye to someone who at times would ask herself if her life mattered. It did, of course. It mattered a great deal to many, many people. People whose lives she had touched are still coming forward with stories of how this wonderful lady played a major role in helping them see their own worth.

That’s someone whose life mattered. Most of the time she knew that. But sometimes, in those low moments of life…

 

No matter what you’re telling yourself right now, or what someone else is trying to make you believe, you do matter.  You matter to those who love you. 

You should matter to yourself, too. No human being knows your needs better than you do. So nurture yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and do it, or spend your life wishing someone had done a better job of that. Be your own best friend, your own mother, your own father, if need be.

Examine your self-talk, too. Make sure what you’re telling yourself is encouraging and hopeful, rather than discouraging and hopeless. Your self-talk is important because your heart is always eavesdropping.

There’s someone else who believes that you matter, and that’s God.

I’d say that’s a pretty impressive circle of support. Even if you can’t feel it right now, you’ve got back up.

So don’t let someone else spin your worth into what they want you to believe. You are the only one who can listen to the naysayers. You are the only one who can throw in the towel. But don’t. Don’t surrender. Don’t give up. Never ever give up.

This wonderful lady’s life did come to an end on its own, but she went out triumphantly, with gentle acceptance and a smile on her face. She left this earth finally knowing she mattered, surrounded by a strong circle of love.

In fact, in her final year of life, she began to see how much she had accomplished, some people asked her forgiveness, and many told her what a positive influence she had made in their life. She was both pleased and amazed by it all.

When I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to do, anything on her bucket list, anything she felt she still hadn’t yet accomplished or done, she said in complete satisfaction, “I’ve done enough.”

Live your life so that when you get to the natural end of it you can say, “I’ve done enough.”

You’re not there yet—there’s plenty more for you to do. Get busy doing what you were placed here on earth to do, whatever that is. You might start seeing your own circumstances change. You might realize how much you’ve already accomplished and want to do even more.

That’s the funny thing about positive activity—once you start it, you really do begin to feel better about your own situation. You start seeing the truth that you really do matter—to God, to those close to you, to complete strangers who come across your path and need a word of encouragement, and you begin to matter to a very important person—yourself.

Forgiving Yourself for Words to a Suicidal Friend

By K. O.:

 It can be terribly difficult to forgive yourself for words you said to a suicidal friend–words you can’t take back. Here’s some helpful advice.

 

man sitting on the grass from mf

Image by Darnok

A friend of mine who I’ll call Skip confided in me that he had a hard time forgiving himself for words he said in haste that he now can’t take back.

A co-worker of his that he referred to as Brad continually expressed his desire to kill himself. Brad was unhappy in love and had problems at work and seemed unable to heal from depression and self-hatred.

Again and again, Brad told Skip, “I’m gonna do it. I will. Life is one big pit.”

Skip got sick of listening to Brad. They could never have a decent discussion about sports or women or politics. Brad was a one-line conversationalist. After repeated incidents, Skip blew up one day. “If you’re so committed to suicide,” he told Brad, “go ahead and do it, bro. I’m sick of listening to you. All you do is talk. In fact, I dare you.”

Skip went home that day and was immediately seized with guilt. How could he have lost control so easily? Didn’t he realize that his friend was emotionally ill and needed support, not cruel words? Skip called Brad a few times after that to apologize and invite him out for sushi, but Brad never returned his calls.

A month later Skip got the news. Brad had hung himself in the bathroom of his apartment. Skip felt responsible. If only he had kept his mouth shut. He knew Brad’s suicide wasn’t his fault. We each make decisions for our own lives. But still, if only he had helped Brad instead of baiting him. If you face a similar situation here is some helpful advice (condensed) from www.bandbacktogether.com.

  1. You will probably feel that you could’ve done something more to prevent the suicide, but that’s not the case. You cannot assume responsibility for the actions of another. PERIOD.
  2. Forgive yourself. The suicide is not your fault.
  3. Talk to a photo of the victim. It may help to articulate the things you’d wished you could say to the person and to apologize for what you did say.
  4. If your feelings of guilt are prolonged, seek professional help.
  5. Let the anger out. Chop wood. Scream. Hit a punching bag. Punch a pillow.
  6. Take your grief one day, one second, one moment at a time. You didn’t have a choice or any control over the suicide, but you DO have the choice to live through the aftermath. Choose to live.

And most important, ask God to help you forgive yourself for the words you can’t take back.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9 the Bible).

 

 

Suicide of a Brother: the Aftermath

By Karen Kosman:

The suicide of a brother is traumatic for siblings left behind. Here’s how God can help.

In the following story, my daughter Linda shares how the trauma of her brother’s suicide brought grief and pain. Wave after wave of emotions cascaded down on her, creating confusion. Linda isolated herself from the rest of the world with an overwhelming feeling of shame. How would she ever find happiness? Would God forgive her, let alone help her?

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

Aftermath of my Brother’s Suicide, by Linda Goetz

restaurant stockimages  FDG netOne week after my brother’s memorial service, I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant where I worked. I parked, then paused a moment beside my car, thoughts churning inside my head. This is my first day back to work. I can’t face anyone. I can’t tell them how Robbie died.

My heart skipped a beat. I don’t understand why this happened—why my brother took his own life. I’ll never see him again, and he’ll never again share special moments in my life. Echoing in my head over and over were the words: Robbie hung himself. I covered my ears, but the words would not be silenced, God, I feel awful. I don’t understand.

As I walked through the front door of the restaurant, chattering voices and smells from the kitchen greeted me. Nothing settled my aching heart, not even being in a familiar environment. I kept wishing I could turn around and run. But instead, I hurried to wait on customers.

I approached a table where a man sat smiling at me. I felt my resolve slipping away; and I burst into tears. I couldn’t answer this bewildered stranger who asked, “What’s wrong?”

Unable to tell any of my co-workers the source of my pain I turned and ran out of the restaurant.

I drove home, crying so hard I could hardly see. True, I felt ashamed. But behind my inability to deal with my brother’s suicide, fear dominated me. Growing up, I once heard a sermon by a minister who believed people who died by suicide did not go to heaven.

I wanted my life to change. I wanted to reach out and help others. The first step was to break up with my boyfriend of two years, a relationship that had only brought unhappiness. Next, I called home and asked, “Mom is it OK if I move home for awhile?”

“Of course you can,” she responded.

I began to understand no matter what you tell people, the facts don’t change, and the truth remains in your heart, mind, and soul.

I prayed for answers. I thought back to the times when my brother had been hospitalized, and we’d been told that he had a chemical imbalance. Gradually a little light began to shine on my fear and same. I realized that no one but God is capable of judging.

Once I reached a point where I could leave what happened to my brother in God’s hands, I began to accept what I could not change. I learned to cherish life more and searched my heart for new direction.

Looking back, I understand that God watched over me during those difficult years. He brought joy back into my life. Today, I teach at a local vocational college. I’ve been married for 27 years and have two beautiful daughters.

I feel a deep compassion for people whose lives have drastically been altered by the pain of suicide. Today I am finally free of my shame. In my bedroom I have a picture of my brother and me, when we were young. I look at it and smile as I treasure the special memories of Robbie.

Whenever I have an opportunity I encourage others never to give up on life.

 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word. Bible Gateway:  Psalm 119: 28

Overcoming Grief: Plan to Live!

One way to help overcome grief is to plan to live–one day at a time.

children walking down a road     In this series 10 Things I’ve Learned  About Grief” (from the book Dear AmericaI share my own story of loss and grief.  The tenth thing I learned (see the first eight here) about grief is this:
     #10: Plant bulbs: plan to live!
     Okay, maybe you don’t garden, but here’s what I mean: The Saturday after the Attack on America, I took my radio into the garden to stay abreast of the latest news as I planted fall bulbs for spring flowers.
     As talk shows discussed possibilities of future terrorist attacks, biological and chemical warfare, and other possible horrors, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I may not be here next spring to see the very tulips I was planting.
     After all, those people who boarded planes or who went to work at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and New York police and fire stations that Tuesday morning fully expected to be here that afternoon, let alone next spring. Will I still be here? I wondered. Will our society still be here? Will our nation still be here?
     Maybe I shouldn’t even bother planting, I thought. I paused for the briefest of moments.
     No, I determined, I am going to plant these bulbs. I am planting them in faith, expecting to be here next spring to see the flowers.
     I planted the bulbs.
     Whatever it is you love to do, make plans to do it-next month, next season, next year. With God’s help, determine to survive. Trust God to carry you through whatever this life dishes out. He won’t let you down.  (Excerpt from Dear America )
     “Lessons From Grief: Living Is About Dying” is an article by Sabrina Beasley who lost her husband suddenly in a car accident but found something to look forward to. She writes:
“As for me, brushing this closely with death has awakened me spiritually. I can see how short my time on this earth is. Like [the apostle] Paul, I praise God that it’s short. I can’t wait to know the Lord face to face, but for the sake of the dear lost souls who walk hopelessly around me, I have resolved to do everything I can to spread the Good News [of Salvation in Jesus Christ] for as long as I am alive.”
     When losing a loved one makes you want to die, do something you love. Create something to look forward to. Find for yourself a reason to live. Your loved-one would want you to live. And even if you think differently, many others in your life know you, love you, and want you to live. God has a purpose for you, and He wants you to live.
     Through this inspiring video,  “The Call” by Celtic Woman,hear God call you to something great for the rest of your life: