To My Friend

By PeggySue Wells

I want to say to my friend:

When I’m feeling despondent, it can be difficult for those around me to know what to say. Or what to do. Family members and friends wonder how they can lift my spirit. And even though I have journeyed to the pit of depression and made my way back to better emotional ground, my encouragement is not always adequate to uplift my friend who is having thoughts of suicide.

But I want to say to my friend, I understand.
The situation is akin to being tucked tight inside an oyster shell. Depression and thoughts of suicide insulate and isolate me from the world. I yearn for connection with others to satisfy my loneliness but can’t seem to escape the confines of this melancholy. Nor can those caring people around me penetrate the despair that encapsulates my heart. Closed up inside this formidable oyster shell like a crustacean, I keep my pearls hidden. That inner part that is the unique me designed and created by God for fellowship and interaction, lies still and hidden from the world. Locked away from the community I need and that needs me.

Pearls photo by Maggie Smith

Pearls by Maggie Smith via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Singer/songwriter Colton Dixon had the same experience. His friend was feeling suicidal and Colton longed to help. How could he communicate hope through the hard shell of despair that encompassed the heart of his friend? His gentle song, You Are is his message to his friend.

And I want to say to my friend, it’s hope for you.

Listen and watch here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM8hxE-j4T8

Tell your friend: Live, love, and hope. I want you to live. You matter to me. Then offer some resources so the burden isn’t all on you.
The National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7 1-800-273-8255 and so are encouraging articles from this website and Finding God Daily.
Let others come along side and help you to help your friend. None of us should walk this path alone. God loves you and your friend.
PeggySue Wells is the author of more than a dozen titles including Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After.

Does Weather Trigger Suicidal Thoughts?

By PeggySue Wells

In northeast Indiana, we have tornado season each spring. While these twisters are nothing like those that blow through the tornado corridor in Oklahoma, Ft. Wayne has one of the nation’s highest dollar amount of wind damage. That bit of information was not in my relocation packet.

Tornado photo

Does your life feel like a tornado?

The influence of weather on mental health has long been debated. Even studied. Most conclusions I’ve read hedge with a mumbled something about the evidence being inconclusive. But I’ve wondered, does weather trigger suicidal thoughts?

An abstract from the National Institute in Helinski, Finland titled, Atmospheric Pressure and Suicide Attempts in Helsinki, Finland stated, “We found that daily atmospheric pressure correlated statistically significantly with the number of suicide attempts.”[1]

This spring when the dramatic weather blew in, the power in our small Midwestern town blew out. My oldest daughter telephoned from her home in the village. “Mom,” my grown daughter telephoned. “Do you have electricity at your place?”

“Of course,” I couldn’t help but rub it in. “We live in the country and have cooperative utilities.”

“Great. I’m coming out to stay the night with you.”

But no sooner had she settled into the spare bunk bed in her younger sister’s room when her emergency pager called her back out. Both a paramedic and a firefighter for our community, she’s on call when the weather lashes out in our county.

By morning the storm had passed but at breakfast my daughter looked like she had gotten little sleep.

“Were you helping neighbors with storm damage last night?” I poured coffee in her Disney princess mug.

“A different kind of storm damage.” She stirred milk into her coffee. “When we get strong drops in pressure or a significant increase in weather pressure, we have more medical calls.”

This was news to me. Does weather trigger suicidal thoughts? “I don’t understand.”

“Weather triggers migraines for those who have them, and we respond to more cases of stroke.”

Next door we heard the neighbor’s chainsaw cutting a tree that tornado force winds had blown down. She continued, “Unstable weather patterns can unsettle people who take medicine to balance their emotional and mental health. And, emergency services receives a greater number of calls for people thinking about suicide.”

While official studies remain inconclusive regarding the effect of weather on emotional and mental health, my unofficial conversations with emergency personnel and physicians in my area indicate these professionals routinely experience a rise in calls from people who are thinking about suicide. If you, or someone you know, find yourself struggling mentally and emotionally, check the weather. Perhaps you are feeling a drop in the atmospheric pressure. If there’s a storm outside raging as the storm inside feels, ask yourself, does weather trigger thoughts of suicide? Let the storm pass. And don’t hesitate to contact your physician or local paramedics, police, or firefighters and tell them what you are feeling. They will not be scandalized. They are trained to understand and to get you to the help you need. In an emergency scenario, dial 9-1-1.

As always, from anywhere, you can call the national suicide hotline number where someone is waiting to talk with you at 1-800-273-8255.

 

PeggySue is the author of What to Do When You’re Scared to Death and Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After.

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[1] Int J Biometeorol. 2012 Nov;56(6):1045-53. doi: 10.1007/s00484-011-0518-2. Epub 2012 Jan 26. Accessed July 25, 2013.