Search Results for: mental illness

The Robin Williams Question

463px-Robin_Williams_2011aLinda Evans Shepherd

I want to answer the Robin Williams Question that so many are struggling with;

If Robin William’s died, why shouldn’t I?

Here’s my answer, an answer I would have loved to have shared with Robin…

Depression is like a living monster which is built on lies that parade through your mind; lies built for one purpose, to steal, kill and destroy the wonderful person you are.  Dr. Keith Abow, a psychiatrist who has dealt with many who entertained this monster said in a recent article which addressed Robin, “I would have told you to fight against the invader with everything and every resource, without pride.  Deploy every weapon. And because the truth is the mortal enemy of every lie, I would have told you to get to an emergency room or call a suicide hotline or 911 and tell someone the absolute truth about all the dark thoughts you were having—yes, even the one about leaving the planet. Especially that one. Because that one is the big lie implanted in your mind by the Godforsaken charlatan, scum, named major depression. Your enemy. And mine.”

I applaud Dr. Abow’s wise words, but I’d like to further shine the truth on the lies that come with depression.  They are from the pit of hell.  We know Satan (who is real) has come to steal, kill, and destroy the ones that God has gifted with the most purpose and potential.  First he blinds them to their future and hope, then he whispers lies into their hearts.

Do not believe those lies.

If I could have said one thing to Robin prior to his death, I would have told him, “You are loved and have brought joy to so many and if you choose to live, you will continue to bring joy to others and even find happier moments yourself.  Plus, if you live, you will not inspire others to give up on life. Your death will become a tragedy for many families.”

The sad truth is that others have been influenced by Robin’s death and chosen death as well.  Robin could have chosen life and walked out of his deep depression to experience more of his God given purpose as well as love, joy and even peace.  Sure, he may have had to struggle from time to time, but he could have worked to manage his depression and continued to live.  The problems he may have struggled with such as self-loathing, financial woes, fear of the future, or even mental illness, could have been lived-through.  These struggles could have been met through the strength of the very God Robin believed in.

If Robin had only trusted in the God who loved him, if he had pushed back against his depression and called 911 or gone to the emergency room, he would have lived through the darkness to find life once again.

Robin is gone but you are here, and I’d like to say that if you are depressed, you can fight back. You can recognize the lies of depression which may be trying to coax you into a tragic decision that will not only hurt you but those who love you. Don’t do anything rash while you are in the depth of your hurt or despair. Live, so you can have a hope and a future.

As the word says in Jeremiah 29:11New Living Translation,

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT)

Like Robin, you do not have to give into the temptation of death.  You can choose to live.  Just as the Lord told his people,

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deut. 30:19 (NIV)

Live!  God loves you and will get you through the darkness.

If you would like to know more about God’s love for you, go to:  GodTest.com

Connecting Suicide Prevention Day with 9-11

By LWS:

Yesterday was Suicide Prevention Day. Today we remember 9-11.  How are they connected?

 

Image by smarnad / FreeDigitalphotos.net

God loves people of all cultures and races and hates to see broken hearts as a result of suicide. [Image: smarnad / FreeDigitalphotos.net]

Here at our site Thinking About Suicide, we have many stories from people who have survived and thrived after initially considering suicide. We focus on how a life given over to Jesus Christ can turn in a whole new direction to find hope where hope was previously lacking.

We also have had articles focusing on various causes of suicide: chronic depression, mental illness, and physical, chemical and nutritional imbalances. (See our Categories.) In those articles, we often try to direct people to medical help as well as faith for suicide prevention. We hope many who struggle were able to see our articles on Suicide Prevention Day.

However, one cause of suicide we’ve never discussed is suicide with the goal of taking one’s life in addition to taking the lives of others. Suicide-murder has been known to happen in domestic violence cases. However, 9-11 is a good example of that kind of tragedy on a much larger scale.

In domestic violence, murder-suicide is a mistaken solution often used to regain a sense of control–especially if the partner has attempted to leave. Tragically, this solution often prevents the present and eternal hope that could have been found through Christ.  Such a tragedy will leave brokenhearted family members behind, as well as eliminate any chance for the abuser or the victim to have the opportunity to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ in order to find a fresh start or a new life.

Terrorism is also related to control and punishment, but those who commit suicide with these ideas in mind often have a misguided belief that such actions please God. But the God of Abraham is one of love, one of forgiveness. Acts of terrorism also leave brokenhearted family members behind on both sides — all people who God loves and hurts for.

To help bridge the gap between God and man, God sent a Savior—His own son.  In order to discover how to live in God’s love, visit GodTest.com.

In honor of Suicide Prevention Day, please pause and pray for all family members who have lost someone from the tragedy of suicide. We also urge you to explore our articles under Suicide Prevention.

The Club No One Wants to Join (Child Suicide Loss)

Karen Kosman:

This story is an excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors, used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Nancy Palmer on child suicide loss, her adult son’s depression and suicide, and how God helps her cope:

 

Image by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  I belong to a club no one wants to join. Its membership is too costly—the death of a child.

I closed my journal after writing these words. My mind reflected once more on that day my life changed forever.

My 30-year-old son, Jason, had been living with us for several months. We’d had an argument. I knew he suffered from depression. Finally, I had confronted him and pleaded. “Jason, no one loves you as much as I do. Please get help!”

“I don’t need help! I’m outta here!” he shouted as he stomped off to his room to pack.

Jason had become skillful at hiding his inner turmoil from friends and family, but I knew all the signs of Jason’s depression. He had struggled on and off most of his life. The intensity of his emotional state this time frightened me. No matter how much my husband, Bill, our sons Bill and Geoffrey, and I cared; we could not control Jason’s choices. He needed professional help, and he had to be the one willing to seek it.

A Christian psychologist had provided me with a list of therapists that Jason could see, but he refused. Jason was separated from his son, and his son’s mother. She didn’t know how to deal with Jason’s depression and had left him. Jason’s 3 -year-old, autistic son certainly needed his daddy. I hoped and prayed that his son would be the reason Jason might change his mind and seek help.

Wandering into Jason’s room after he left, I felt shocked to find his most cherished belongings—items he’d never left behind before. I tried to convince myself that he’d be back, that he’d announce, “Mom, I am ready to seek help.”

The insistent ringing of the doorbell finally broke through my resolve not to answer the door. A chill ran down my spine as I faced a man I did not know. Suddenly, my eyes fell on Jason’s driver’s license attached to the stranger’s clipboard. My heart sank, and I knew even before he asked the question, “Mrs. Palmer, do you know a Jason Palmer?”

“Yes, he’s my son.”

“We have some bad news. May we come in to speak with you?”

Inside my mind agonized. Noooo! Just go away!

With no way of erasing the dreaded news, I invited the man and his female companion inside.

“This morning a woman heard a noise. When she investigated, she found Jason’s body in a park. He shot himself.”

I went into shock and felt strangely detached. I heard a hysterical woman crying, “Not my baby, not my son. Oh, Jason, Why? Why would you leave loved ones? Why would you leave your son?”

Suddenly I realized the hysterical woman was me. Reality hit. Jason would not be coming home.

Today I still don’t have an answer to my question, “Why?” Yet I have found a renewal of hope by volunteering for a ministry on suicide prevention. This gives me a reason to keep going. I work with the knowledge that we cannot stop all suicides, but saving just one life is worth the effort. I speak whenever I can to tell young people about mental illness and that it’s OK to ask for help.

Am I still grieving?

Absolutely! Some days I wonder how I can go on. I miss Jason so much.

Yet God walks with me in my grief. My family and friends work with me in an untied effort to reach out and help others. And although none of us has found an answer to our “Why?”— we see God making a difference.

Have you suffered a similar loss? Find more articles here on Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. You also might be helped by visiting this site: Love Truth: Hope After Suicide.

Loving a Suicidal Parent

by N. J. Lindquist:

Despite loving a suicidal parent dearly, one daughter saw her need to look out for her own mental health.

 

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five years ago a young woman’s mother committed suicide. Prior to that, the mother had struggled with mental illness and addictions for many years.

From ages 14 to 17, the daughter looked after the mother without telling anyone what was going on at home. At the age of 17, the daughter made the very difficult decision to leave her home before she went down the same path as her mother. And shortly after that, she made some very wise decisions on how she would live her life, which she shares in this video.

Unfortunately, the mother could not or would not change.

To honour her mother, this year, the daughter swam 500 laps to raise money for mental health in her mother’s memory.

If you’re living in a situation that is going to destroy your life, if you feel burdened down from trying to help someone who shows no intention of really wanting to change, or if you feel guilty for not being able to help someone you love, please watch this video. The story beings at the 3-minute mark.

And if you identify with the mother, please seek help from those who are qualified to give it.

A Mother’s Grief: Coping with Death by Suicide of a Daughter

By Jeenie Gordon:

Coping with death by suicide of your own child is a grief incredibly difficult for any mother to bear. Here’s how one mother, Mary copes.

 

This article is an excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide, used by permission from New Hope Publishers. Jeenie Gordon, contributing author to that book (and many others)  is a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Mary has found that one way of coping with her daughter’s death has been to write about it.[Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net] 

One Sunday after coming home from church, I listened to my voice mail from my close friend, Mary, of twenty-five years.

“Jeenie,” sobbed Mary, “Paulette took her own life.”

Here are Mary’s words.  “Five months ago my eldest daughter, Paulette, took her own life. She had attempted this several times in the last twelve years but this time she accomplished her goal.

“It began when she was diagnosed with a mental illness (schizoid affective disorder). She was hospitalized many times during those years. Medications were adjusted and new ones introduced. One negative side effect of these psychotropic drugs was weight gain. During treatment she gained more than 125 pounds, which contributed to her depression.

“There were times in her life when the medications seemed to work and she’d feel better. I treasure the memories of those moments. We went shopping together and stopped at our favorite coffee shop. I know she felt my love as we sat and talked. I kissed the top of her head and said, “Paulette, I love you.”

“I also find peace in knowing that in fifth grade Paulette accepted Christ as her Savior. During her long illness, her faith brought her through many trying times.

“Shortly after my daughter’s death, thoughts of her constantly filled my mind. Several times I asked myself, “Do you believe that Christ died for you? Yes. “Do you believe in eternal life?” Yes. “Do you believe Paulette is safe in the arms of our Lord?” Of course I do. These conversations with myself gave me solace. Many times, I could almost hear her say, “Mom, I’m O.K. Enjoy your life.”

“Several things have comforted me during with their lives has helped. As one of my friends, whose son died from suicide said, “You get through it, but you never get over it.” Another friend wrote, “No more dark days for Paulette, only happy days with Jesus.”

“Every few days after she died, God seemed to give me insight into her death.

“I am comforted as I look at the pictures of Paulette – pictures of happy times. My favorite is one taken a year ago when she visited us in Oregon. Barefooted and holding a soda, she had a beautiful serene look on her face as she sat among other family members. As I look at this picture, I kiss it and whisper, I love you, Paulette.

 “Not everyone grieves the same way. I have never been embarrassed in front of others if the tears fall. They are tears of love for my sweet daughter.

“Those same memories give me courage to move on with my life. I have set some new goals in my life. Ten years ago I wrote a book. Paulette was the only one who read it in its entirety. I have started a writers group where I live and now am working on the rewrite of that book. This has kept me focused and I can almost hear Paulette saying, “Go for it, Mom.”

At Paulette’s memorial service, Mary requested that I read a special rendition of Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd – that’s relationship.

I shall not want – that’s supply.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures – that’s rest

He leadeth me beside the still waters – that’s refreshment.

He restoreth my soul – that’s healing.

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness – that’s guidance.

For His name’s sake – that’s purpose.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – that’s testing.

I will fear no evil – that’s protection.

For Thou art with me – that’s faithfulness.

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me – that’s discipline.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – that’s hope.

Thou anointest my head with oil – that’s consecration.

My cup runneth over – that’s abundance.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – that’s blessing.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord – that’s security.

Forever – that’s eternity.

                                                                                         –  Anonymous

Coping with death by suicide of a loved one will be different for everyone, including every mother who loses a child this way.  In addition to the Bible, one helpful handbook to walk through the grieving process is SOS, a handbook for family members who have lost loved ones.  You can find that on our Helpful Resources page and download to read. It does address mental illness, and how difficult it can sometimes be to understand the thought processes of those who take their lives. It also addresses struggles unique to parents.

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:

How to Help a Teen Who’s Talking about Suicide

Have you ever needed to know how to help a teen who’s talking about suicide? Should you just ignore the talk, or should you take the teen seriously? According to Metanoia.org,

Myth: The people who talk about it don’t do it. Studies have found that more than 75% of all completed suicides did things in the few weeks or months prior to their deaths to indicate to others that they were in deep despair. Anyone expressing suicidal feelings needs immediate attention.

Myth: Anyone who tries to kill himself has got to be crazy. Perhaps 10% of all suicidal people are psychotic or have delusional beliefs about reality. Most suicidal people suffer from the recognized mental illness of depression; but many depressed people adequately manage their daily affairs. The absence of craziness does not mean the absence of suicide risk.

Those problems weren’t enough to commit suicide over, is often said by people who knew a completed suicide. You cannot assume that because you feel something is not worth being suicidal about, that the person you are with feels the same way. It is not how bad the problem is, but how badly it’s hurting the person who has it.

If this got your attention, and especially if you know a teen who’s talking about suicide, watch Howcast’s great, short  but informative video below.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK or 273-8255

Turn Your Life Around After a Suicide Attempt like Drew Carey

Linda Evans Shepherd

If you’ve ever wondered if you can turn your life around after a suicide attempt, consider successful comedian Drew Carey.  Drew was a young man who faced many difficulties, including his father’s death from a brain tumor when he was only eight-years-old.  A few years later, while in college, Drew attempted suicide.

But despite his struggles, and even despite the fact he dropped out of Kent State due to poor academic performance, he discovered that you can turn your life around after a suicide attempt.

Since then, Drew got help and changed his attitude to a more positive approach. That helped him develop a successful career in comedy and also helped him as the host of “Price is Right.”

Turn Your Life  Around After a Suicide Attempt

Watch Drew tell his story in the YouTube below:

You may want to reference the short online document: Suicide, Taking Care of Yourself After an Attempt by NAMI. (Click HERE.)

 

In a crisis, contact:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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

For more information about suicide and mental illness: American Association of Suicidology, a resource and education organization dedicated to the understanding and prevention of suicide.

www.suicidology.org or call 202-237-2280

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Dedicated to advancing the public’s knowledge of suicide and its prevention.

www.afsp.org or call 1-888-333-AFSP

 

Suicide as an Option is Never Good

By Karen Kosman:

Suicide as an option for ending pain and depression is never good.

There are always alternatives that can open the door to change and hope.

 

Life preserver image by cbenjasuwan FDP net

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

At the age of 13, Louise fell out of her dad’s boat. She knew how to swim, but the icy cold water took her breath away, and the thick reeds, growing up from the bottom of the lake, wrapped around her legs. She panicked as she gasped for air and gulped water. Hopelessness and doubt kept her focused on fear, and she could not free herself. She fought to stay above water. Silently she prayed, God help me!

Suddenly she felt someone beside her—a man pulling the reeds away from her. He said, “Louise, you are safe now.” He gave her a shove toward shore.

To her surprise, just a short distance away from where she had struggled, her feet touched the ground. There she found loving, compassionate people ready to help her.

Louise thought, What would have happened if I hadn’t cried out for help? What would have happened if a stranger hadn’t cared enough to swim out to help me? In the murky water I couldn’t see the bottom of the lake. Safety had been only a few feet away.

So it is with the throes of depression. The suicidal person can’t see through the murkiness of her or his pain to know that safety lies only a short distance away.

Suicide is never a good option. It does not solve anything. It brings an abrupt end to the resources that could have brought relief, completion of fulfilled dreams, and the return of happiness.

There are a number of mental disorders that cause chemical imbalance in the brain and may contribute to suicidal behavior. However, they can often be controlled with medication when prescribed and overseen by a psychiatrist. Although these illnesses are often treatable, some emotionally desperate patients will choose not to live.

Often external circumstances such as job loss, financial disaster, loss of a child, failure in school, or marital problems are blamed for suicide. However, these events may act only as triggers.

For many the turnaround came when they called out in distress, “God help me.” These words are often the beginning of a path to recovery for those contemplating suicide. God becomes to them a safe harbor. In seeking  help from professionals (support groups, pastors, family physicians, and Christian therapists), they explore the reasons behind their pain. With the love and mercy of a sovereign God, they grab hold of a life preserver—the choice to live.

Lord, my God walk with me on this journey. Help me to set a goal for my future. Teach me to believe that I still have a purpose in life.

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.

Bipolar Disorder Can Influence a Suicide Attempt

By Karen O’Connor:

[Image: Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

According to an article on WebMD.com, Bipolar Disorder and Suicide reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on June 21, 2012:

“People with bipolar disorder are at great risk for suicide if they are not getting treatment. The National Mental Health Association reports that 30%-70% of suicide victims have suffered from a form of depression. Men commit almost 75% of suicides, even though twice as many women attempt it.”

My friend Marion was one of those for whom Bipolar Disorder can influence a suicide attempt. Her mother died of cancer when Marion was seventeen and her father committed suicide following a troubled third marriage.

Marion’s emotional problems started after that. She blamed herself for years for her parents’ deaths and began cutting herself and overdosing on pills to cope with her hopeless feelings about being a well-regarded nurse one day and a patient in a mental hospital the next. The cycle went on for years as Marion struggled with Bipolar Disorder.

She and I met much later in life, so when she shared with me the details of her early years I found them difficult to believe. The Marion I knew was a committed follower of Jesus Christ and a good friend to everyone who knew her. What was the catalyst for change? She said she accepted an invitation to attend a Billy Graham Crusade.

Even though she was Jewish she was eager to hear what Dr. Graham would say. “When I heard, ‘Jesus Christ offers unconditional love and forgiveness for your sins, no matter how bad you are,’ I wanted to believe it but I couldn’t at first.” Marion said she was afraid of another disappointment following two broken engagements and a series of illnesses.

However, when she became bedridden at one point, she remembered what she’d heard, turned her life and her will over to the care of God, and as she said, “Just like that my life changed.” Her heart and her mind were healed and she knew that from that point on she was secure in the love of Jesus Christ, never to be hopeless again. Marion died last year, spending her final months sharing God’s love with others and living it out in her own life.

For some people, Bipolar Disorder can influence a suicide attempt, but discovering God’s love, forgiveness and healing can lead to a new life now and in eternity. “My purpose is to give you life in all its fullness” (John 10:10 the Bible).

View and share this excellent YouTube video with Joyce Meyer, “Fighting Depression and Anxiety,” which includes mention of the biological form of depression caused by Bipolar Disorder.

Women with depression are urged to talk to their doctor about medical issues and treatment as well.

To watch the rest of this video series on depression, click HERE.

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on FB http://www.facebook.com/karen.p.oconnor or follow on Twitter @karenoconnor