Why Not Commit Suicide When I Have Nothing To Offer?

By Lisa Copen:

When you live with chronic pain there can be many times we question, “why not commit suicide?”

It is easy to look around at our circumstances and believe that we are not making a difference for anyone else in this world. Do we matter?

Is there any part of us left that isn’t all about fighting off chronic pain and illness, but just living? Having relationships? Experiencing joy?

Most people go through times when they feel they are not making a difference to anyone, but for those who cope with deep depression, the feelings of why not commit suicide? I am not worth anything to anyone, are much more serious. When you believe I am worthless, I can’t cope with life, I am not like other people, I will never be successful, I am just surviving this life but not really living, it can be nearly impossible to understand how you make a difference.

But you do.

I know, because I have had people in my life who have lived with these turmoil of emotions. . . and they have made a positive difference in my life. They have encouraged me and given me hope. As I see their pain, but also the dedication to getting up one more day and then one more day, I think, if they can do it, so can I.

Despite the fact that you are considering “why not commit suicide?” you still do make a difference! You may think:

“Why not commit suicide? No one will even miss me. I don’t matter to anyone.”
“Why not commit suicide? No one will hardly realize I am gone, since I am just surviving this life–not contributing to it in any way.”
“Why not commit suicide? People will just be better off without me.”

But consider for a moment that you don’t have to make a difference to the entire world. You only have to touch a life. And if you are here on this earth, it is impossible not to touch someone’s life. Millions of people log on to social networks daily and post a message that encourages someone else. I have seen many people who live with incredible chronic pain and yet they make it their purpose to try to smile at someone who serves them, such as a nurse, a doctor, a home health care worker–someone! Anyone!

Because you may be the only person who encourages a nurse who was beaten by her husband last night and has hidden her bruises. You may be the first patient a doctor sees tomorrow morning after he found out last night his wife is having an affair. You may be the one who smiles at the receptionist who has a teenage daughter who ran away from home yesterday. You never know what pain someone else is going through.

You are special because God created you. You are struggling because earth is filled with pain and suffering. But your value and worth does not come from what you can do here on earth, it comes because you are precious to God.

Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

God created you, and He doesn’t abandon anything He begins. Even when you don’t realize it, you are making a difference in someone’s life. How you face each day can determine if it’s a positive difference or not. But whether you realize it or not, even when you share your struggles, admit defeat, allow yourself to be vulnerable, or just smile at someone, you are inspiring someone. You matter.

So, why not commit suicide? Because you matter–and no feeling or circumstance will ever change that fact.

Did you know that some people believe that the popular “The Legend of the Starfish” was originally about a sand dollar? This video is a simple reminder that you matter–you don’t need to change the world, you don’t need to find the energy or emotional ability to take on a huge ministry or a campaign to end world hunger. You only have to offer what you can and it will make a difference for one, and then another one, and then another one.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

Why Live If Everyone is Out To Get Me?

By Lisa Copen

 

If you are having thoughts about suicide it can feel like everyone is out to make your life harder, more of a challenge. Sometimes it even seems like people want you to fail! Does it ever feel like people are just pushing you around (emotionally perhaps?) and you are sick of it?  Making you think “Everyone is out to get me?”

I saw this video on two penguins–one who is minding his business and just going for a little walk– and BAM! Take a few seconds to watch and see what you think.

 

Ever have one of those days? Though this video is meant to make us laugh, too often we can relate to it all too well. When we start having suicidal thoughts, it sure doesn’t help to have someone like this in our life who just reaches out and–whack! It is easy to start to wonder, “Why live if everyone is just out to get me anyway?”

What can you do to feel as though you can gain some control when you begin to think, “Everyone is just out to get me”?

  • Talk to a physician or psychiatrist to see if what you are feeling is normal for your circumstances or above average paranoid-type thoughts. if they are severe, they may recommend medication.
  • Remember, it is not all about you. Most people are concerned about their own challenges in life and you may be misinterpreting their actions or words.
  • Life is difficult and sometimes it seems as though the bad stuff just keeps happening. Consider keeping a journal and rather than focusing on the challenges, write about what you are learning through the process. I know. . . it’s cliche. But it also works.
  • See a good counselor. Suicidal thoughts because you feel targeted need to be addressed. Get a recommendation of a counselor who can walk you through the feelings of wondering if the world is out to make you miserable and where these emotions came from. We all have days when we feel this way, but if it is impacting your life, find some help.

When you are going through those dark moments, a simple “slap into the mud”–like this penguin received, can feel as though life is never going to improve. But it will. And while the slaps keep coming, learn to laugh at them. Search for the humor in the chaos. When you do, you will find people who laugh alongside you who want the very best for you.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

Stop the Pain: Doesn’t God Understand Physical Pain?

By Lisa Copen

God does understand how you feel when you want the pain to stop.

 

Physical pain is one of the most difficult things I believe any human being can cope with. Over seventy percent of suicides are said to have been because of physical pain.* And as far back as Biblical times, even the greatest burden God allowed Job to be given by Satan–the one that hurt the most– was boils on his skin (Job 2:7).

Many people have heard the story about how Jesus went up to the desert for forty days and fasted and prayed and Satan showed up for a bit with a few temptations (Luke 4:1-2). It is easy to start interpreting this time as some kind of endurance test; the challenge Jesus takes can sound more like someone we might see on a combined show of “The Biggest Loser” meets “The Amazing Race.”

When we cry out–literally–day after day, asking God to please stop the pain, it can be easy to question, does God really understand what long-term physical pain is like?

Look more closely at this scripture, “for forty days He was tempted by the devil.” Forty days! Satan was hanging around many hours–every day. Just a snippet of conversation is in the Bible between Satan and Jesus, but I would imagine their many words between each other could easily have filled an entire book on its own.

And yes, Jesus is God, but sitting on that mountain side He was also fully human. Verse 2 says, “He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Hungry, just like you or I would be.

He didn’t fast as a human being, but then make His stomach feel all full as God had the power to do. He was hungry for food, tired, I am sure His back hurt, perhaps he suffered from a sunburn, yet was freezing cold at night. His stomach was growling and He thirsty. I am sure He dealt with great physical pain and kept His eyes out for scorpions. It was likely the weakest He had ever been in His lifetime, and this is when Satan kept appearing and trying to entice Him to make Himself more comfortable.

And when the forty days was up, Satan gave up, right? Nope. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)

Physical pain is weakening. It weakens our body, our ability to process information in our brain, and it is can tarnish the sparkle in our relationship with Christ. Jesus has walked in your shoes. I know some days it doesn’t feel like it, but don’t base your reality on your feelings. Believe God truly does understand.

It can be easy to become bitter when it feels like no one understands your pain, but there is no situation, no feeling, that we will encounter that someone in the Bible has not already experienced. And God always understands.

I hope the video below, song by Phil Wickham, reminds you of just how much God does hear your pleas for relief and cares about you. Many who are suicidal have shared that this song came on the radio just when they need reminded that God still had a plan for their life.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

* Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: “Suicide in the medical patient.”. Intl J Psych in Med 17:3-22, 1987

Why Not End My Life If I Have Nothing Left to Give?

By Lisa Copen

“I am exhausted. I am in so much pain. No one knows how hard it is to just get through each day. I am of no value to anyone. . . Why choose to live?

Have you ever felt that way? It can be hard to see value in life when you don’t feel productive, but even when we don’t have a list of accomplishments, we are still cherished by God. And you never know how your situation may actually be encouraging someone when you don’t even realize it.

When my grandfather was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, my grandmother basically couldn’t see the need for him to keep living. She was–coldly–ready to move on and felt like he was holding her back. As she complained about him for the umpteenth time I looked her firmly in the eye and spoke my mind.

“Grandma, he may not know what is going on, but he is joyful. Every day, every single person that comes into his room has their day brightened by his joy. They love him. You don’t know what those people may have been going through. A nurse could have been beaten by her spouse last night; an attendant may be losing his own father to this disease but he lives across the country and he can’t be with him. Grandpa may be the only person in their life who makes them smile. You don’t know how God is still using him.”

I am not certain she understood. But even as I said the words, I realized just how true they were. Even while he was suffering and not completely aware of who people were, he radiated joy and passed that on.

I have heard the saying, “It all works out in the end and if it has not worked out, then it is not the end.” Perhaps you have asked, “Why choose to live when I have nothing left to give?” Maybe you wonder if you are of use because of your disabilities, mental health challenges, financial struggles, etc. But whatever it is, these are just your circumstances–not you.

We all have something to give, even though some days we can only give our tears. What? How can crying help someone? Each day I see people who are discouraged and downtrodden who live with physical chronic pain, and even as they share their discouragement, their needs, their depression, others step up and encourage them. Not only do people who woke up feeling useless feel needed, they also have their own sufferings validated.

Yes, inspirational, encouraging videos and words are always welcome, but some days we just need to know that someone else is suffering too and and it is not all rainbows and smiley faces. We are all in this thing called life together. You are always valuable to the Lord, but your willingness to be vulnerable, to share the real you, can make you vessel to reach someone else who feels unneeded, when no one else can.

In 2011, following a discouraging appointment with my rheumatologist and frustrated with the circumstances of my illness, I came home and made a “real” video. Instead of my typical “Latte with Lisa” this one was called “Lisa: Unfiltered“. . . And I cried. If you feel up to seeing a gal fall apart, but still see God in it, you may want to take a listen. It’s not pretty, but it is honest.

To date, this is the highest watched video I have ever done, but even as I pressed that publish button I wondered, “what have I done?” What I had done was just allow people to see me–the real me that gets discouraged sometimes like everyone else. If you ever wonder if your tears can encourage someone else, this video may help you see how that happens.

You may think: Why not end my life if I have nothing left to give? But that’s not true: your life itself is a gift, and there is hope.

Your life has value because you are you. Suicide is never the answer. You don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to have it all together, you don’t need to be happy-go-lucky all the time. God loves you. . . just the way you are.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

Why is Life so Hard if God Won’t Allow More Than I Can Handle?

By Lisa Copen:

Why is life so hard?

 

Over and over I have heard the saying, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” But what about the pain. . . the grief. . . the depression. . . the darkness? It is more than we can handle. Much more. There are days that we wonder, is life worth living if we have to get up every day and fight to be strong?

We look enviously at others who seem to not struggle and wonder why God seems to bless those that can handle so little, and curse those of us who are so strong.

As I have dealt with the physical and emotional losses since my twenties when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I have heard this cliche answer from the stranger at the store to my pastor who was grasping to instill encouragement at my hospital bedside.

Have you noticed how people ask, “So, how are you?” and no matter how badly things are, and how honest you may be with them, their answer is, “Well, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”? In other words, buck up! Hang in there! Find something to get your mind off of it. Get out of the house. Don’t worry because God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

It feels like they are saying, “Obviously you aren’t handling life’s challenges nearly as well as I am.”

Let me tell you something that may come as a surprise. God does give us more than we can handle. Every day He may place us in the position where the pain is too much to bear. Why? Because we were never meant to do this life without Him! He gives you more than you can handle–but not how much you and He–together–can handle.

Hebrews 13:5 tells us, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” And Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we were not created to do this life on our own. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We do not have to be strong on our own.

There will be days when you may wake up and think, I can’t do this. I cannot keep living this way. Why is life worth living if I can’t meet the expectations of others or even myself? I cannot figure out how to get rid of this darkness that haunts me.

There are no simple answers, except to speak to God about it. You were designed to need to turn to Him a million times a day. God does give you more than you can handle because you were never meant to handle it.

In the video below, vocal artist Matthew West, speaks to a young girl who has experienced 13 surgeries due to one car accident. Her mom tried to encourage her by telling her God wouldn’t give her more than she could handle. Her response–and her journey–became the inspiration for song, “Strong Enough,” which is also included in the video.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

On days you are wondering Why is life so hard?  visit Finding God Daily. There you will find stories from many who have overcome great obstacles with God’s help.

Fight Thoughts Of Suicide With One Random Act of Kindness

By: Lisa Copen:

Experiencing that rock-bottom depression and pain–both physical and emotional–can quickly convince you that there is nothing worth getting out of bed for one more morning. You may even be wondering if you should keep fighting those thoughts of suicide, or if it is finally time to just give in. Perhaps you are tired of fighting and don’t see any purpose in your life today.

In my ministry with the chronically ill, I hear from so many people share about the loneliness and isolation they experience. And they often point out how no one calls them anymore, their church has forgotten them, co-workers from previous jobs have moved on.

Even the smallest of ways that a person reaches out to someone, however, can increase the effectiveness of her own immune system and how she wraps her brain around things.

According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation many studies have found scientific health benefits to doing an act of kindness, even for someone you have never met before.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that impacts our mood, and an ingredient in most anti-depressants. And when you do something nice for someone, your serotonin gets a boost.

It may come as no surprise to you that when someone does something nice for you, it increases your serotonin. But did you know it also gets a boost when you are the one who does something nice for someone else? And get this! A random act of kindness also boosts the serotonin level of the people who are watching this kindness take place!

Everyone wants to matter, to be seen, to have someone offer a tiny bit of kindness. And when their so-called friends and loved ones are not there to offer any hope for the future, you–yes, you may actually be the person to offer it. Don’t doubt that God can do something amazing through you. Every person He has ever called upon had a long list of ways to improve.

So take a deep breath and give yourself this small little motivator today. Do something nice for someone. You will feel a little rush of joy, the recipient will get a boost too, and so will anyone else who happens to be observing. You may not only save your life; your actions may encourage someone else to not take her life.

Need some ideas? Here are some easy, inexpensive random acts of kindness you can do today.

  • Hold the door open for a few people, not just the person beside you
  • Stick a few quarters in a parking meter
  • Carry a box for someone at the post office, or help someone put grocery bags into her car
  • Print out a funny cartoon and mail it to a friend with a short note
  • Write a corny love note or short poem for your spouse
  • Leave sticky notes in public places with an inspirational quote
  • Offer to return a shopping cart for someone parked in a disabled spot
  • Keep granola bars and bottles of water in your car to give to the homeless
  • Tell a tele-marker you know how tough their job is and if they can do this they can do anything
  • Get helium-filled balloons at the dollar store and take them to people who need cheered up

You can find more ideas for random acts of kindness here at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation web site where they have hundreds listed.

If you need a motivator, this video shares music by Jill Scott with some things to remember when it comes to those acts of kindness.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

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