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

Hope and Encouragement from Hot Apple Cider

From N. J. Lindquist:

Excerpt from A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider (free book through Dec 2013 as a special gift for our site visitors or anyone who could use a little hope and encouragement. All 50 stories. Download Now.)

The story below is from the book A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, with N.J. Lindquist.

The story below is from the book A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, with N.J. Lindquist.

Be Still and Know by Glynis M. Belec:

Throughout my cancer journey, “God signs” proved that He was orchestrating my days. In one instance, we arrived home after a particularly grueling appointment in London. Dr. Lanvin, my new oncologist, had checked all the reports, confirmed my diagnosis through examination, and then briefed me about the upcoming surgery. So when we arrived home that day, my emotions were fragile. Although I had never played the “Why Me?” game, blaming God for allowing this to happen to me, I was starting to wonder about God’s plan for my life.

As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed my phone flashing red, indicating messages were waiting. A voice I barely recognized said, “Hello, Glynis. It’s Sue.”

I hadn’t heard from Sue for three years or more. We’d been acquaintances through drama ministry and school functions, and when we got together we always had a lovely time, but somehow we’d lost touch.

The recording continued. “So why did God wake me up at three a.m. and tell me that I should be praying for you? How are you doing? We haven’t talked for ages. Give me a call when you get a minute.”

I was floored. I quickly punched in her number. We chatted for a couple of minutes, chastising each other for not calling sooner.

“Are you okay?” she inquired.

“I have cancer.”

Silence.

“I had cancer, too,” she replied quietly.

I burst into tears. Sue and I spent the next hour talking and sharing. She encouraged me, promised to pray for me, and assured me I could call her any time. She also reminded me that as a 12-year cancer survivor, she was living proof that cancer can be overcome.

I got off the phone and cried again. This time my tears were not out of self-pity. They were tears of joy and gratitude for God. He had known my needs and was putting people and circumstances in place so that I could see His mighty hand.

I remembered God’s nudging to write it all down, so my bedside journal became a therapeutic outlet. Words oozed through ink as I penned my thoughts and my day-to-day struggles with everything from fear, to spiritual questions, to relationships, and more. I started to realize what God had meant by the term “fodder.”

If there was any doubt about Who was in control in my life, it was completely obliterated the night before my surgery, May 27, 2008. My journal entry reads:

This is it. My final sleep before surgery. I am ready. I am Yours. I am prepared to be still and truly know that You are God! I am in awe at the confirmation that You have placed before me (and Gilles) this very night. What was the day’s scripture verse in the Our Daily Bread devotional for Tuesday, May 27? “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God—You rock! You know this is my favourite scripture verse. I love the soft, subtle ways You find to communicate with me, Lord—especially tonight. How blessed am I to know You in this heavenly way. How can anyone deny Your existence? You are real. You are living. You are in control…

Note: Please do not copy and reuse this story without permission.

 

Learn more about Hot Apple Cider Books

Click here if you’d like to read (a gift to you through the end of December) more encouraging stories from people who have struggled but now offer hope: Download Now

Changing Negative Self-Talk: Can I Hear Me Now?

Changing perspective from stressed or depressed  to blessed can be affected by changing negative self-talk.

 Excerpt from: Too Blessed to be Stressed (2011, Barbour Publishing).

donkey

Don’t be an Eeyore, with gloomy words and thoughts that continually bring you down!

 By Debora M. Coty:

“I just cannot learn this new system.”

“I’m dumber than a rock.”

“No way I’ll ever get along with her.”

Sound like anything you’ve muttered to yourself lately?

In the children’s story Winnie-the-Pooh,  Eeyore the donkey has mopey, self-depreciating words and thoughts.  Thoughts like that wear us down and wear us out before we even realize the source of erosion.

The trouble is that we often don’t recognize we’re engaging in negative self-talk. Negativity is habit-forming. We unconsciously develop a compromised view of ourselves when we consistently think things like, “I’m such a loser,” “It’s too hard,” or “Why even try?”

The worst part of negative self-talk is that we’re not only limiting ourselves, we’re limiting our God. The Creator of the Universe. The One who is ready to fill us with expectancy, hope, and potential and wants us to instead tell ourselves, I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need (Philippians 4:13).

So how do we reboot ourselves with a fresh perspective and in the process, significantly reduce the strain and drain that negative self-talk produces? Here are 6 thought-tweaking downloads that can help:

Cut and paste. Train yourself to recognize negative inner chatter the minute it starts and delete immediately. Shake the mental Etch-A-Sketch. Get out the attitude chainsaw. But don’t stop there. Replace those negative thoughts with a positive spin. Let’s revisit the beginning of this article.

“What can I do to learn this new system?”

“How can I break this gargantuan task down into small, do-able steps?”

“I’ve learned to get along with my crazy sister; I can learn to get along with  anybody.”

Tweak your tone. You know how your doctor says, “This may pinch a little” as he jams the needle into your arm? Borrow his technique. “Impossible” is a brick wall compared to “this may take some work.” Wouldn’t you rather tackle a project that’s “challenging,” rather than “unmanageable”?

Be your own BFF. Intentionally over-dub that Eeyore voice droning inside with your BFF voice. Speak to yourself like you would your very best friend. Be:

Encouraging

Uplifting

Affirming

Light and humorous (you’ll listen better!)

Avoid comparisons. Everyone has a different skill set. You are unique. The way you do things may differ from the techniques of others, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Unless you’re the reigning world champion, there will always be someone better at a specific skill than you. So what? You don’t need another trophy.

Memorize Philippians 4:13. Repeat frequently. Trust God and act on it!

Tack on hope. Add “yet,” that magical three-letter word that transforms “I can’t” thoughts into “I can with a little more time”:

“I can’t make this work…yet.

“I’m not smart enough to figure this out…yet.”

“I can’t handle this…yet.”

We believe and internalize what we tell ourselves. Words are powerful. They have the ability to change our perception of our own abilities from limited to limitless.

Will it End? Depression from Loss of a Son

Janet suffered great anguish and depression from loss — the great loss of her teen son.

Would that feeling of despair ever leave?

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Janet Perez Eckles:

Dear God,

This wound tore my life apart. The darkness of pain is too overwhelming. When  will the torment that mocks each sleepless night end?

The murder of my son, the tragic end of his life at only 19 years old was unfair. Why did you allow this to happen? You could’ve saved him. You could’ve performed a miracle. You did so many times before when you walked on this earth.

When will   your silence end? Why didn’t you rescue my son? Was I that bad? Did I deserve that kind of punishment?

Why me, God? The loss sears. And now the man responsible for his violent death is set free. The laws are unjust, the laws are a mockery. And the  devastating injustice is eating me alive.

Although I wondered when would it all end, I didn’t sign that letter. I didn’t simply because after pouring my heart to God, a hint of hope sparked.  I remembered how Jesus was also in the same agonizing pain when He was crucified. And I also remembered the glory He knew. That’s when hope came in like a tiny shimmer of light. The more I focused on Christ, the more that  spark grew. And now I walk in that light to dispel the darkness of heartache.

When the pain is too deep, hope is real. When anguish is too profound, God’s grace is powerful. And when the future seems too dark, His love is clear.

Now,  the horizon is brighter, the heartache has turned to a scar and the anticipation for complete healing shines in me.

Depression in Parenting an Autistic Child

By Rhonda Leverett:

In my depression in parenting an autistic child, I began thinking about suicide.

 

Then I found hope.

 

Stock photo by David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock photo by David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In 1988, my youngest child, Caleb, was diagnosed with autism. I had no idea what autism was, but it looked like this: blank stares; fear of unfamiliar people and surroundings; books, crayons, shoes, and other items stacked in odd-shaped mountains from corner to corner of our house. It sounded like high-pitched squeals, crying, or silence.

I was exhausted, and consumed by fear of the unknown.

My marriage soon soured as well. Too overwhelmed to engage, I could think of nothing so extraneous as my adult relationship. This was survival mode, dysfunction at its finest.

Still, I prayed. The weakest prayers known to womankind maybe, but I knew God loved us, and I prayed.

Fast forward seven years, no marriage counseling, and many autism therapies later—Caleb was not better, but dramatically worse. Everything was worse.

My daughter and her stepfather fought constantly. She, fourteen, and my oldest son, Cliff, eleven, had become my assistants in curtailing Caleb’s now dangerous behaviors—and in cleaning up messes like broken eggs, broken glass, and smashed food. The understanding that they had not experienced childhood themselves bore heavy on me day and night, but I had no alternative to offer.

My daughter announced she intended to live with my parents, and ran away to prove it. Her grandparents supported her desire, due to my unwillingness to leave my husband. There had been separations, but I always came home because it seemed impossible to find anyone willing to take us in due to the challenges of autism.

Determined to escape what had become an intolerable situation, I called a shelter for help. Although hauntingly destructive, emotional trauma was not shelter criteria.

I moved into my daughter’s room and shut out the world, even my boys. I watched the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” every night, all night, for three weeks, and slept during daylight hours.

Thinking About Suicide

I had drawn the conclusion that life was not worth living.

One bleak afternoon, I sunk down on the bathroom floor and contemplated taking my life, even considering a suicide plan.

I heard Caleb then…but in reality, the house was silent. My husband had taken the boys somewhere. Nevertheless, I heard my son in my heart. He cooed as when he was a baby. I saw him reaching for me. My suffocated mind received the oxygen needed to remember this Truth—my life had purpose.

My children needed me. I remembered this just in time.

I stood up, put everything away, and washed my face.

I would live, because I am a mother—and because I am a daughter, God’s own daughter. I live because I was rescued by Jesus Christ long ago, on a cross.

He died to save you, too. If you cry out to Him, He will meet you wherever you are.

He will remind you of your purpose, and that you are loved.

If you turn to Him, He will save your life.

Read an update by Rhonda Leverett about her son (now-grown) and her own joyful life at rhondaleverett.com. 

One Christian resource for parents of autistic children is Autism’s Hidden Blessings, by Kelly Langston. You can read an excerpt at kellylangston.com.

Moms of special needs children may be encouraged by this video from Kelly Langston:

Refocus Thoughts When Thinking About Suicide

By PeggySue Wells:

When unhealthy thoughts persist, including thinking about suicide, refocusing can help.

 

U.S. Navy Seawolf Submarine, Thinking About Suicide

When a friend’s thoughts dive deep into wrong places,  including thinking about suicide, can you help them periscope up and refocus? Wisdom from the Bible helps.

 

Mary’s husband was the captain of a nuclear submarine. Deployed, the sub would be under the water for six months at a stretch. Their only communication was an occasional message he could receive via transmission when the ship surfaced.

Much like current Twitter counts, the captain’s wife was allowed a limited number of characters for the brief one-way communication she could send.

While Mary carefully considered how to spend each character, this particular opportunity weighed heavy on her heart. During her morning quiet time, she prayed that God would guide as she constructed her communication. Then she wrote:

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a KJV).

Months later the ship docked and the couple were reunited. Adding her husband’s clothes to the laundry, she discovered a worn and tired slip of paper in a pocket. It was the verse she had wired those months ago.

“I kept it with me for a long time,” he explained. “I had made a decision I was not feeling good about. The more I thought on it, and mentally beat myself up, the more depressed I got. Daily, those words reminded me to choose different thought patterns.”

Do you have someone in your life that seems to focus conversation toward the negative? Is the trail leading them to thinking about suicide? Here are some tips:

1)   De-escalate. Move the conversation to be more about something they want to work on, or improve. Help them find and list the positives in their life.

2)    Give tangible suggestions and encourage your friend to try them. For example, how about journaling, writing out scripture, and volunteering in the community.

3)    Help them focus on one thing, rather than grouping all the problems into an overwhelming tsunami. What is the one aspect that is the most concerning?

4)    How can your friend help others in a similar situation?

The truth is that life looks plenty dark under the shadow of regret, sorrow, grief, and an overpowering number of problems. It is also true that God is greater than our griefs and cares.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Like Mary did for her husband, we can help those who are struggling to channel their thoughts in a healthy direction.

PeggySue Wells is an author books helpful to those who are struggling, including What To Do When You Don’t Want to Go to Church, What to Do When You’re Scared to Death, and Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After.

For Those with Suicidal Thoughts

By Susan Osborn:

Feeling overwhelmed by problems in life? Having suicidal thoughts? You are not alone. Many have shared those same feelings, but there is hope.

Excerpt from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors; used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

sunlight breaking through clouds by ozden

Following is a poem written by a young woman we will call CAN, who went through a very dark time in her life. However, by accepting Jesus as her Savior and leaning on Him, she was able to overcome the suicidal thoughts. She penned the following poem:

Joy in Life

I’m finding joy in life again

Taking it day-by-day,

Doing things I like to do,

And spending quality time with me.

 

I was lost for many months,

Forgetting who I was.

Life was empty and meaningless,

I wanted to end it all.

 

Deeper and deeper I fell

Into a big dark hole,

Unable to get out on my own.

Could anyone hear me yell?

 

I cried out to You for help;

I couldn’t do it on my own.

The hole began to close in on me.

I had all but drowned.

 

You threw me a rope,

Hoping to save my life,

But I kept falling deeper,

Thinking nothing could ever be right.

 

One day I finally caught

The rope You had thrown in.

The rope was Jesus Christ.

I then knew I could win.

 

I can rejoice in life again,

Happy to be alive,

Thankful to my friends and God,

That I did not die.

 

So I’ve been making it a point

To cherish me, myself, and I,

And treat myself as valuable—

Choosing to live, not die.

sunshine

My prayer is that if you are struggling with issues and have suicidal thoughts that you will find someone to talk to, perhaps a family member, a friend, a teacher, or a pastor. Or 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)

Are You Suicidal or Exhausted?

By Linda Evans Shepherd:

Does fatigue and dealing with difficult people make your depression worse? Are you suicidal or exhausted?

 

tired

Recently I got an email from a friend who felt too tired to go on living. In fact, she said, “Everything is such a struggle I don’t think I can take it anymore.  My best solution, I’ve decided, is to kill myself, especially as I can no longer handle the difficult people in my life.”

I suggested that difficult people are hard to deal with, especially when we are worn out or worn down with fatigue. I explained that her best solution was not death, but rest.

If you too are feeling too tired to go on, here are a few things to consider.

Difficult people, struggles, financial woes, marriage difficulties and the like always seem worse when you are tired. So your best solution to recover and not feel overwhelmed by your struggles may actually be to try some of the following ideas that will help you find rest, peace, joy, and activate the things that make you feel happy.

In other words, we at Thinking About Suicide are extending you permission to be kind to yourself so you can start to feel better.

Here are a few ideas to rejuvenate you:

Get More Rest

*  Try going to bed earlier: a half-hour to a whole hour earlier – even if you can’t sleep why not relax, pray, read your Bible or talk to God.

*  Sleep in.

Take a Break

*  Take a break from difficult people – if all else fails, turn off the phone or leave the room or make an excuse to run an errand.

*  Answer difficult emails only once a day or even once a week.

Exercise

*  Go for a jog – exercise can help improve mood!

*  Take a walk.

*  Jump on a mini tramp ten – twenty minutes a day to music that makes you happy.

Listen to Inspiring Music

* Music is a great idea!  Listen to music that makes you happy.

*Play your favorite praise music.

Try Something New

*  Go away for the weekend.

*  Watch a sunset.

*  Talk to someone who makes you feel happy.

*  Go to church.

*  Make a list of new goals and dreams that you would like to accomplish.

Read

* Read the Bible

* Read a good book.  May I suggest Jesus Calling, or my latest book which is a GREAT feel-good book, Experiencing God’s Presence, Learning to Listen While You Pray.

*  Read the book Adrenal Fatique by James L Wilson and follow the doc’s advice.

Create

*  Do something creative – paint, knit, cook or write a poem.

 Get Good Nutrition

*  Avoid sugar.

*  Add vitamin b, c, e and magnesium to your diet.

*  Eat something healthy like a green salad with protein.

*  Drink a nice, big glass of water.

Imagine God wrapping you in his arms and telling you that He loves you.

Most of all: Please do not harm yourself.  When you start to feel better, you may be surprised that your problems don’t seem as painful and that you have more energy to cope with your stress.  As for my friend, I’m happy to say she took my advice and is feeling much better.

This video will help you understand what adrenal fatigue is and how it may be affecting you:

The Choice: Become an Overcomer

The Choice
by N.J. Lindquist

Sometimes we feel small.

Sometimes we feel small.

I’ve often wondered why two people can experience similar circumstances and emerge totally different.

No one ever goes through exactly the same experience as another person. No one knows, for sure, how another person feels or thinks. Two people with very similar stories and vastly different outcomes. One person becomes an overcomer and an inspiration. Another person may continue to live focused on the past or tune out through suicide, drugs, or another method.

A past blog post video shares about a mother’s inability to handle life after divorce, which eventually led to her suicide. As a teenager, her daughter realized she could follow in her mother’s footsteps or find a new and better life. She chose the life, but many people would have chosen the former. Why?

Recently, I blogged about baseball pitcher R. A. Dickey, who was abused as a child, but eventually dealt with the abuse and shame. Now he helps others. Many people in similar situations have lost their lives, whether literally or figuratively, because they were unable to handle the pain of dealing with the past.

Where I’m going with this?

I read a book by Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries (A is for Alibi, etc.).

I knew very little about Sue, other than she divides her time between California and Kentucky, and she once wrote screenplays for movies. I’ve seen her in person at mystery cons and even shared a bathroom once. (No, I didn’t slide a manuscript under the door of her stall or accost her with a barrage of questions while washing our hands at the sink. Yes, she seemed nice.)

The book I’d found in our local library was called Kinsey and Me: stories. The introduction said the first two-third of the book contained mystery stories with Kinsey in them. The stories in the last third of the book, however, were about Sue Grafton. They were written in the 10 years after her mother’s death, long before she began writing her mysteries.

I enjoyed reading Kinsey’s mystery stories. Then I came to page 205.

The stories were very different, rather literary, dealing with the memories of a young Sue who grew up in a sadly dysfunctional home. Nothing like the mysteries. But compelling.

I discovered why Sue’s protagonist, Kinsey Millhone’s parents die when she was five. In real life, Sue grew up with alcoholic parents after her dad’s two-year stint in the army — when Sue was five. Her dad was a functioning alcoholic, and her mother non-functioning and occasionally suicidal. Sue and her older sister basically raised themselves. They also looked out for their mother, who was only occasionally a “normal” parent.

Sue married at 18, had a baby, then divorced. When Sue was 20, her mother committed suicide.

The short stories were written in the decade after her mother’s death. Sue says she wrote them as “my way of coming to terms with my grief for her.” (p. 209) Sue remarried twice before she found her present husband.

A couple of thoughts that stood out to me.

“I wish life could be edited as deftly as prose.” (p. xvii.)

So true. Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to go back and rewrite the story of his or her life, erasing all the pain, making everyone kind and everything positive? But we can’t go back. We have to learn from the past instead. Forgive, and ask forgiveness. Forge on, trying to write a better storyline into our future.

“Wisdom comes at a price, and I have paid dearly for mine.” (p. xvii.) So many have paid dearly for their wisdom, and yet not all make use of that wisdom.

As I closed the book, I still don’t know why some people are able to overcome the past and others aren’t. I just know Sue Grafton is an overcomer. It wasn’t easy. She spent years dealing with the pain of her childhood and wrong choices made as a result of the confusing messages she’d received. But she made it through, and carved out a new life. She established a solid marriage, raised three daughters, and became a world-renowned mystery writer at age 37.

The past is always going to be the past. The future is not yet written.

I felt sadness for the young girl who didn’t know what it was like to have a “normal” life with caring, responsible parents. I identified with the sorrow of the adult who would love to somehow make everything better for everyone. But I also felt great respect for the girl/woman who dreamed of a better life, and made it happen for herself and her children.

Seasons change. Even when we feel small, there are ways to overcome the feeling.

Seasons change. Even when we feel small, there are ways to overcome the feeling.


It’s never too late to become an overcomer.

Speaking of which, you might want to listen to this song by Mandisa. It’s called “Overcomer.”

Mandisa – Overcomer (Official Lyric Video) from mandisa on GodTube.

Painful Pasts Leading to Extreme Risk: Dickey (Review)

There’s more than one way to commit suicide.

For some, a painful past leads to extreme risk and can result in death. If you struggle with your past, seek hope and healing instead of putting yourself in harm’s way.

 

Wherever I Wind Up

Extreme Risk Suicide Attempts: Don’t let something in your past lead you to commit suicide through extreme risk.

I remember “Extreme Risk,” an episode of Star Trek: Voyageur, where  B’Elanna Torres is suffering from various injuries because she is going on dangerous holodeck programs with the safety mechanism turned off. She eventually tells Chakotay that since she learned of the death of most of their Maquis friends, she has been numb. The risks she’s been taking have been to try to find out if she’s still alive inside.

In reality, this is clinical depression. And B’Elanna might very easily have died.

An accident? In some ways. But it’s also a form of suicide. People who play with fire usually get burned.

I was reminded of that episode recently while reading the book Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R. A. Dickey, with Wayne Coffey.

R. A. Dickey is a baseball player, a knuckleball pitcher, and last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner.

But while his book certainly chronicles his journey to become a major league baseball player, it’s about a lot more than that. Like B’Elanna, R. A. did some crazy things because he felt numb inside.

Dickey’s parents got married because his mother was pregnant, and according to him “the marriage didn’t last five years.” They divorced when R. A. was 8 and his mom turned to alcohol for solace. His dad, who had been a good father, gradually eased out of his life. R. A. felt alone and confused.

Then, when he was 8, a 13-year-old babysitter abused him sexually. Afterwards, in his words, “I feel discarded, like a piece of trash. She acts like she’s mad at me, like I didn’t follow her orders properly. I lie on my bed by myself, wondering if what just happened is real. I am trembling, still sweating. I feel paralyzed, my limbs leaden.”

It happens four or five more times that summer.

But something even worse happens that fall.

While visiting with family in a farming area, a boy of 16 or 17 finds him alone and grabs him, then overpowers him and abuses him.

R. A. boxes all these memories up and hides them in his mind as far away as possible. And he becomes numb. Until he’s 31 years old, he never tells anyone, doesn’t even let himself think about them. On the outside, he appears to be normal, but without his even realizing it, the memories are impacting him, telling him he’s “filthy and bad, like the scum of the earth, only worse.”

This goes on until he’s 31 and his own marriage is in serious trouble.

He finally breaks down and tells a counselor about the babysitter. He feels a measure of freedom, but he can’t go all the way; not to the brutal experience with the teenage boy.

A year later, on June 9, 2007, he does something absolutely crazy. While in Council Bluff Iowa with his triple A baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, he jumps in the Missouri River to swim across it. The water is brown and sludgy and there are strong currents and undertows. He’s wearing boxer briefs and taped-on flip-flops. He is basing this swim on the fact that he’s in good shape, and once upon a time, years ago, he swam the 200-meter freestyle for a local team. He believes he can do it.

And that’s where I was reminded about the Star Trek episode.

Because this isn’t the first time he’s done something crazy. In his words, “You could say—and some have—that I have a death wish. Not sure. I think it’s more accurate to say I have a risk wish, somehow clinging to the notion that achieving these audacious feats will someone make me worthy, make me special, as if I’d taken some magical, esteem-enhancing drug.”

He doesn’t make it across the river; instead, he almost drowns. But as he realizes he’s going to die in the muddy water of the Missouri, he finds a new desire to live. And afterwards, he’s finally able to talk about the worst experience of his life, and face the darkness and the anger that has burned inside him for all those years. Anger at the boy, anger at himself, anger at his life, anger at the God he believes in but up until now couldn’t fully embrace . . .

And he begins the journey to freedom, to feeling truly alive, and to helping others break their shackles of self-condemnation and shame.

Terrible things happen to most of us.

They don’t even have to be huge things, like sexual abuse or violence. Sometimes it’s just a person who constantly puts us down or tells us we aren’t good enough that stays within us and makes us numb inside.

No matter how much we try to pretend they never happened, they don’t go anywhere. They stay inside and tear us down.

We have to find the strength to bring them out and examine them, talk to people we can trust about them, and let God heal us and cause good to happen.

R. A. is now passionate about helping kids who have suffered from abuse.

Check out what he had to say recently.

More about the book, Wherever I Wind Up.