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:

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.

Japanese Students – Please do not Kill Yourself

This is a message to all Japanese Students – Please do not kill yourself!

Currently suicide is the leading cause of death in many age groups in Japan.  This is partly because suicide is often a considered solution if one feels they have shamed themselves or their family.  Today, even school children commit suicide simply because they made a mistake or got a lower grade than they had intended.  Recently, I met a teacher from Japan, who is sad to lose so many of his students to what he called ‘senseless deaths.’  He asked me to write an article which would show an important alternative to student suicide.

So, this article is written to the young (and old) students of Japan:  Please do not kill yourselves! Japaneses students, please do not commit suicide!

Despite you or your family’s or society’s expectations, shame is not a good reason to take your life as I will explain below.

Consider this; if you should live past this shame, you will get a chance to honorably redeem your grade (or situation) another day.  Life will continue, and this incident, which seems shameful right now, may even be forgotten in time.  If you live, you will have a chance to bring honor to yourself and family, even marry, raise a family, find in a job,  perhaps in part because you learned how to handle shame and disappointments with honor and grace.  But no matter what you decide to do, you must know this sacred secret I am about to share with you.

The secret is this; there is hope for you when you discover the God above all gods– a God many people in Japan know and meet every day.  This great God is a God who has a different plan for both you  and your shame.  I would very much like to introduce to you to this God.

This mightly, holy God wants, more than anything, to love you and to be your constant companion.  But he had a problem.  He was too holy to walk with mankind because we all make mistakes and shame ourselves.  So, God sent his son Jesus to die a cruel death on a cross.  You see, his son Jesus died in our place.  Jesus, who was good and never did anything to shame himself or his father, allowed himself to be hung naked on a wooden cross until he was dead. He did this to pay the price for our shame, sin, and mistakes. When we accept Jesus’s payment for our shame, God  will allow us to wear the righteousness of Jesus like a beautiful, holy robe.  The righteousness of Jesus covers our sins, failures , mistakes and  shame.  In this way, God counts us as good enough to walk with him without shame.

You can start a relationship with this great God with a simple prayer:

Dear Lord,

Please forgive me for my failures and the shame that I have brought upon myself and my family.  Thank you that you provide forgiveness for my sins as well as my shame through the sacrifice of your son. Jesus. Thank you that Jesus gave his life for my life.  Jesus wants to carry my sins and shame on himself.  So I give Jesus my sin and my shame.  In exchange, I give God my whole life.  God, thank you that because Jesus is your son, and because he never sinned, he had the power to rise alive from the grave.  Because Jesus did this for me, I can now walk with you, holy God, without sin or shame.  God, please send your holy spirit to live inside of me so that you will be my constant companion.  For with God, through Jesus, I am free from shame!  My life becomes too valuable to throw away or to end it with suicide.  God thank you for giving me your love, purpose and for honoring me by taking my sin and shame!

In Jesus Name,

Amen

This is a happy development.  For now you belong to a God who believes that  your life matters.  To learn more about your new life in Christ, go to:  http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com/new-believers-bible-study/

We have several videos which may interest you.  The first video shows a Japanese worship service where the worshippers are honoring God with songs of praise.

Watch this anime (below) which shows part of the story of Jesus’s death on the cross.

This is an importatant movie in Japanese which shows the whole story of Jesus:

A Parent’s Suicide

By Karen Kosman:

Photo by Anita Peppers

The loss of a loved one by suicide causes deep pain and struggles for families left behind–especially a parent’s suicide for children who only understand that Daddy or Mommy is no longer there to tuck them in bed, to hold them, to play ball, or to help with homework. Activities, no longer possible, that once seemed normal create a deep yearning in a child’s heart. Often they are too young to ask questions. People who are in a position to work with children can be a light that shines through their darkness. One such story is about a Sunday school teacher, named Jeanne Pallos, who started a special class for hurting children.

The following 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.

Erik’s Papa’s Suicide

Jeanne Pallos

I knew about hurting hearts and how God could use safe, loving, caring people to bring healing. He had done it in my life. In return, I longed to reach into the hearts of emotionally wounded children and minister with God’s love and grace. So I started a class at church for children with hurting hearts. The staff knew I wasn’t a trained counselor, nor did I pretend to be, but they agreed to allow God to direct me.

Erik’s mother pleaded with me to let him into the class. “He’s seen so much pain in his short life,” she said. “At five years old, Erik lost his dad to suicide. He needs to be in your class.”

Even though Erik was only eight, and the other children were 4th through 6th graders, how could I say no? I thought, Love and support is what all these children need. “I’ll be happy to take Erik into my class.”

The first week, a shy little boy, with his head down, walked into the classroom. We sat in one large circle, and Erik took the seat next to mine. Although I knew the personal tragedies in each child’s life, I never mentioned them. I vowed never to pry into a child’s heart.

Erik rarely spoke, but at the beginning of each class, he scurried to sit next to me. One week I asked the children to make collages depicting people and things they loved. We searched through magazines and collected pictures. Then the children disappeared into their own private worlds as they cut and pasted pictures and words onto large sheets of paper.

Since Erik was the youngest, I often helped him with projects. As we sat pasting a picture of a father and son tossing a ball, he said, “Papa liked to play ball with me.”

Erik had never mentioned his dad before.

“That must have been fun and made you very happy.” I silently prayed, Thank you, God, for working in Erik’s heart.

The next week, during the class activity, Erik whispered to me, “Papa used to read to me.”

“That sounds so special,” I replied. “I’m sure your papa loved reading to you.”

A few weeks later, just before Christmas, our church held its annual memorial service. Families brought pictures of loved ones to display on a table and wrote the deceased person’s name on a list to be read. During the service, each family walked forward to light a candle.

I walked forward and placed my mother’s picture on the table. Suddenly, I noticed Erik walking towards me. He looked up at me with expressive eyes.

“Do you want to see Papa?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” I answered, taking his small hand. “I’d love to see your papa.”

Together, we found Papa’s picture—a snapshot of a man and a child secured in a cracked frame.

“Is that you?” I asked.

Erik smiled.

“I can tell your papa loved you very much. Do you want to see a picture of my mother?” I asked.

When the evening ended, Erik’s mother took me aside and told me the details of the suicide. “Erik’s dad and I were separated. He lived alone. One evening he phoned and threatened, ‘I’m climbing onto a chair and making a noose. I’m going to kill myself.’

“I pleaded with him, ‘Please get some counseling. Your kids will always need you.’ Then I heard a thud, and the conversation ended in an overpowering silence.”

I wanted to say something comforting, but couldn’t find the words. As I looked into her eyes, I saw sadness, but I also saw determination. Widowed, and left with three heartbroken children, she’d not given up.

Had my class touched Erik’s young heart? Could the love he received in a few short weeks bring healing for a lifetime? I knew it couldn’t, but it was a beginning.

Erik loved his papa, no matter how he had died. That’s all that mattered. Erik now needed me and others to listen, care, and affirm this love. This little boy had a lifetime to deal with his papa’s suicide. For now he needed help in treasuring his dad’s memory before it faded away.

See this touching video, Grief Through The Eyes of a Child, from The Child and Teen Program of Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado. It includes stories from kids about Camp Good Grief to help children cope with loss.

Child Suicide: ADHD Children at Risk

Posted by Laurie Winslow Sargent:


Stock Photo by David Castillo Dominici (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

We found a thoughtful article by Kara Thompson at her blog, A Mom and Dad’s View of ADHD, and wanted to share it with you. It touches on child suicide, and how ADHD children are particularly at risk.

Following is an excerpt, so be sure to click the link at the end to read the rest at her blog. There you will find critical tips to help you if you are worried about a child you love.

Kara Thompson is a  Marriage and Family Therapist in Lenexa, Kansas and a homeschooling mom of a teenage son with ADHD. You can find Kara on her website at www.karathompson.com.

 Excerpt from The Dark Side: ADHD and Suicide

Welcome to your worst nightmare: Your child says he or she wants to die, or even worse, attempts suicide. I get asked a lot about suicide, and given that it’s a timely topic on the “A Mom’s View of ADHD” Facebook page, I thought I would share some information that you may find helpful if you find yourself in a situation where suicidality is involved (or where you suspect it is involved).

It should come as no surprise to most of you that children with ADHD are at risk for depression. A recent study headed up by Benjamin Lahey, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, found that children with ADHD are up to four times as likely to become depressed than their peers without ADHD. The study also showed that children with early ADHD were five times as likely to have considered suicide, and twice as likely to have made an attempt. Ugh.

Unfortunately, I don’t find the figures surprising. When you think of all the stress and pressure kids are under these days, it’s extremely tough for them to make their way in this crazy world. Add ADHD into the mix, and it’s downright overwhelming.

So, what do you do if your child says they want to die?

First, look at med changes – just a small increase can wreak havoc on a kiddo’s brain. Call your doctor and let her know what you are hearing and seeing. Don’t be afraid to call – that’s what they are there for! And don’t let the doctor blow you off. If your doctor tells you not to worry, it’s time to look for a new doctor.

If meds don’t seem to be a factor, start formulating a safety plan for how you can help your child, while keeping your own emotions in check. I always encourage people to err on the side of overreacting, while staying calm. I like the way Michael Bradley handles the question of suicide in his book, “Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy.” He came up with some “Critical Do’s” and “Critical Don’ts” that may be helpful to you.

(CLICK HERE to read the rest of Kara’s article with great advice from Michael Bradley, at Kara’s blog. And thank you, Kara, for sharing this with us. )

 

Help for the Family after a Child Suicide

By Karen Boerger:

How does a family cope with their painful  “new normal” after a child suicide?

 

The newspaper’s front page article at the bottom right read,  “Middle school student dies; school cancels classes.”  

“How tragic!” I thought.

As I began to read the article to see what happened, I saw that this boy was an 11-year-old fifth grader who took his own life. There was no name or reason mentioned.  It went on to tell how the school was putting together a plan to help students deal with their classmate’s death.

The superintendent said, “Anyone needing special assistance can call the school’s Crisis Hotline which the district identifies as a caring and supportive voice.” They provided the Crisis Hotline number twice in the article.

My heart aches for the family left behind after that child suicide. Did anyone have a clue that this was coming?  Would they have called the hotline on this young man’s behalf?  Would it have made a difference?  I would hope that it would have helped to give this individual a touchstone – something solid to base the rest of his life on.

It saddens me to think of what could have been for this family. All the fun a parent would have with their child as he grows up: first car, first job, prom, wedding, grandchild, etc.  It’s sad to think of the many losses.  The young man obviously had some troubles, but could they have been worked out?  Could talking with a friend, pastor, counselor, teacher, or relative have helped?  I can’t help but say, “YES!”

Even though the grief will be long, our help is in the Lord.  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13 ESV).”  There are times we are so low that we cannot see our way out of the pit of sorrows, and yet our Lord is there with us.  God also has provided people to help us.

Here’s a video book trailer describing the difficulty families have adjusting to a “new normal” after a child takes his life with details about the book Coping Techniques After a Child’s Death, written by Sandy Fox.

According to the author, the book “consists of over 80 articles of coping techniques and informational skills to help any bereaved parent as they move through the grief process. Readers will be able to learn how to get through the holidays, read 10 inspirational stories from those who have been there, delve into the abundant resource section and read a variety of book descriptions of other literature in the field.”

Sandy also has a helpful blog: I Have No Intention of Saying Goodbye…surviving grief: death of a child at survivinggrief.blogspot.com.

One aspect of losing a child, which may or may not be mentioned in Sandy’s blog, is that believers in Christ have the additional promise of being reunited with a child in heaven. It doesn’t make missing them now less painful, but does offer hope for the future.

My Son Was Suicidal

By S. Osborn:

If you feel overwhelmed and suicidal, consider how taking your life would hurt people who love you. Instead, communicate with them.

 

PrayingBecause my son was suicidal at one point when he was in high school, my heart goes out to other mothers who have experienced a suicidal teen. Fortunately my story has a happy ending, so I hope those who experience suicidal thoughts will read this story, see the effect that act would have on those left behind, and will reconsider.

I watched my eldest son race down the stairs, shoving his younger brother out of the way. He had a wild look in his eyes that scared me. I had never seen him behave like that before. As he brushed past me on the way to the front door, I saw a buck knife in his hand. By the time I reached the door, he had jumped in my car and was driving away.

My other son and I stared at each other for a moment, then he turned and walked slowly back up the stairs. Moments later, he cried, “Mom, you’d better come look at this.”

I ran up the stairs and grabbed the paper he held out to me. It read, “I can’t go on any longer. Please forgive me.”

Sinking down on my eldest son’s bed, I began to cry, with my other boy’s arms around me.

“I had no idea he was depressed. Did you?”

“No, Mom. I know his girlfriend broke up with him, but that’s happened before.”

I added, “And you made the varsity water polo team, and he didn’t. That had to be hard for him.” He was the only one on varsity. His older brother was still playing on junior varsity.

We joined hands and prayed, “Lord, please bring him safely home to us.” Throughout the next few hours, I prayed that prayer over and over. I felt so stressed I couldn’t get beyond that one sentence.

My husband was on a business trip, so I called the hotel where he said he was staying. The clerk said no one was registered by that name. We were struggling in our marriage, so I wasn’t surprised my husband wasn’t where he said he would be. The tension in our home had been hard on the boys, too. I realized that, but didn’t know what to do about it.

I sat at my dining room table, praying and staring off into space. Finally, about four in the morning, the front door opened, and in walked my firstborn, head down, knife at his side.

He put the knife on the table and said, “I couldn’t do it, Mom. I couldn’t take my own life. God wouldn’t let me.”

I stood up and wrapped my arms around him. I silently prayed, Thank you, Lord.

My husband and I divorced shortly thereafter. I never did figure out where he was that terrible night, but somehow my son had found out his father was cheating on me. So for over a year he carried around that burden, as well as the problems he had at school.

We talked for several hours that scary morning, and it helped us both to realize how important communication is in a family. After that, when my son was struggling with an issue, he would come to me and we would talk. Today, 28 years later, we still share that closeness.

My prayer is that if you are struggling with issues and feeling suicidal 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).

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.

 

Will the Pain Go Away? Depression in Children

By N. J. Lindquist:

Depression in children is not expected, but is not uncommon.

 

If you’ve ever wondered, will the pain go away?, you are not alone. I was seven years old. Of course, I didn’t know the word “suicide.” I just knew I hated my life.

Now, you’re likely thinking I had a terrible life, filled with abuse, abandonment, or illness. But it wasn’t like that at all.

I was the only child of two respectable people who adopted me as a baby because they couldn’t have children of their own. I lived in a nice house in a small prairie town where my dad owned a business. I had no health issues or other complaints. Yet I was in pain—emotional pain.

I’m sure there are people wondering why a child, with all the basic needs of life and even some of the frills, could really feel that way. All I know is that, over 50 years later, I still vividly remember the day I stood on the railway track that ran through our small town and asked myself whether, if a train came down the track at that moment, I should run to safety or stay where I was.

That day, it seemed to me that ceasing to exist would be easier than living in a world where I felt that no one liked or understood me.

I’d been at a birthday party for one of my classmates. Along with a half dozen other girls, I’d played games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, watched presents being opened, and eaten birthday cake. Then, as soon as I felt I could, I’d thanked them and said I had to leave a bit early. Tears flowing, I ran for several blocks before stopping in the middle of the tracks.

On the other side of the tracks were several blocks of stores that made up our business section. And just past those stores was our house.

I didn’t want anyone to see me crying. I really didn’t want my mother to see my crying. Or to ask me what was wrong.

How does a seven-year-old explain that she feels utterly alone? That no one, including her parents, really knows who she is deep inside? That she isn’t like anyone she knows? That she’s thought about suicide?

After a short while, I took a deep breath, dried my tears, and continued my journey home as if everything was okay.

~

What kept me going? When I was four years old, my mother told me I was adopted, and she said, “God gave you to us to be our daughter.”

I don’t know why, but I believed her. I believed there was a plan for my life that was bigger than me, and from that day on, I clung to that thought. It got me off those train tracks, and, occasionally, it still gets me through the day.

If you know the pain of feeling all alone, please believe me: you aren’t. God has a plan for your life—a wonderful plan! Just as He did for mine.

 To help the pain go away, listen to a song I love: “His Eye is on the Sparrow.”

 

The idea for the song comes from verses from the Bible: Matthew 10:29-31.

For information about depression in children, visit the Depression Resource Center  at aacap.org, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. They offer a PDF, The Depressed Child, which can be downloaded here.  Also, see this article: Signs of Depression in Christian Children, by Sylvia Cochran. The author of this post, N.J. Lindquist, grew up to become an award-winning author and teacher.

I Am Getting Bullied

Perhaps you’ve one of thousands of people who  typed, “I am getting bullied’ into your search engine these last 30 days because you’re tired of the name calling, the abuse, and you don’t think you can take it another day.  I understand how you feel,  and I want you to know there is hope for those who are being bullied.
First of all, not everyone hates you.  I don’t hate you (which is why I wrote you this note) and neither does God hate you, plus there are many people in your life who really do care about you.  Secondly, those names you’ve been called do not belong to you.  For instance, if I took a sticky note and stuck the word  ‘CAT’ onto a dog’s forehead –would that word turn the dog into a cat?  Of course not. 
So what should you do if someone called you a name and now you start to believe you are that name?  Don’t own it.  Those names do not describe who you are at all.  In fact, I  have a BIG ERASER named love and I’m erasing that name(s) off of you right now.  And do you know what I see beneath those false labels?  I see you–a real and wonderful person. That’s why those labels cannot stick.  Would you be interested to know that God has other labels or words to describe you?
God’s labels for you are
precious, loved, beautiful, smart, full of promise, a miracle, and wonderful.
Seriously! That’s how God sees you, and that’s how I see you too.   ; )
I’m so sorry you are being bullied, and it hurts my heart to think that people have been cruel to you and know that I believe they were WRONG to do that to you.   But maybe it would cheer you up to read a few more things God has said about you:
  • You are my child.
  • I love you.
  • My son Jesus died on the cross  for you so you could have a relationship with me.
  • You are forgiven.
  • I am with you.
  • I will help carry your pain if you let me.  Just ask for my help!
  • Cast your burdens on me.
  • I will get you through this.  Just follow me, one step, one day at a time!
To learn more about how to have a closer relationship with God, click HERE.

Help Me I’m Being Bullied Song

Also watch this GREAT YouTube.  It’s a song called Who I Am by Katie Belle Atkin that tells what happened to her.
If the video won’t play, click HERE.
I love you!  And so do many others, even if you can’t ‘feel’ that love right at this moment or even if you believe that those terrible words spoken about you are true.  (THEY ARE NOT!)  However, if you are in danger of harming yourself, DON’T!  Don’t let the bullies win.
You are stronger than you know and you will get through this period of your life and you will find happiness and have friendships with people who are not bullies. You have hope and a future and I know God has a special plan for your life.  In fact, Jeremiah 29:11 says (from God to you,)  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
If you need to talk to someone, call  please the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
I am glad you searched I Am Getting Bullied because it led you here.  I want you to know that we are praying for you and know that things WILL get better.  If I were sitting there with you, I would wrap you in my mom-arms, and tell you how much I care.
Here’s a prayer to break lying words off of you:
Dear Lord,
I break the lying words that people are saying about me off of me in the power and authority of the name and blood of Jesus.  I ask that you replace those words with the loving words you use to describe me; precious, loved, beautiful, smart, full of promise, a miracle, and wonderful.  Give me your power, strength and truth to believe your words instead of the lies.  Please block and cancel the lying words and thought of suicide off of me – in the power and authority of the name and blood of Jesus. Thank you for giving me a hope and a future.  In Jesus name, Amen.

In the mean time, please read the story of Liz – and how she found hope when she was being bullied.  Click HERE.