Feel Suicidal? Truth in 25 Words

By PeggySue Wells:

Despondent? Feel suicidal?

Typically this grows from a deep sense of not being loved.

John 316

I have felt like that at times.

Why go on, I reason, if no one cares? This is not the truth but it certainly feels that way.

So what is the truth?

The most quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16, declares that God loves you and me. That he loved us before we even knew him. Before you and I were born. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16 NIV). So much promise and assurance is packed into those 25 words. No wonder it is often the first Bible verse put to memory.

In his book, The Joshua Code, O.S. Hawkins shared this:

An unknown, yet wise old sage once explained John 3:16 like this:

For God . . . the greatest Lover
so loved . . . the greatest degree
the world . . . the greatest company that
He gave . . . the greatest act
His only begotten Son . . . the greatest gift
that whoever . . . the greatest opportunity
believes . . . the greatest simplicity
in Him . . . the greatest attraction
should not perish . . . the greatest promise
but . . . the greatest difference
have . . . the greatest certainty
everlasting life . . . the greatest possession

Despite how abandoned I feel, this simple verse gives hope. Not hope in the ‘maybe it will or maybe it won’t’ sense. This hope is the confidence that what God said in John 3:16 is reality for you and me.

This little video should make you smile: John 3:16

PeggySue Wells www.peggysuewells.com is the author of What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Say To Your Own Family, and What To Do When You Don’t Want To Go To Church, among other books. 

Don’t Do It! Save Your Family Heartache from Suicide

Father image by BlueKDesign

Father image by BlueKDesign

Guest Post by Pastor J.K.:

Family heartache from suicide of a loved one can go on for many years. Would you put your own children or siblings through such terrible grief?

The familiar voice of my administrative assistant greeted me on the phone. “Gary is here asking for you.” Her voice then became very soft. “He seems pretty shook-up.”

“Send him in,” I said. I got up and greeted him at my office door.

Gary cut straight to the reason for his visit.

“Preacher, you have 60-seconds to convince me not to blow my brains out.” He pulled a Saturday night special from his jacket pocket, pulled back the hammer and he placed the gun-barrel in his mouth.

I remember immediately praying and claiming James 1:5 (King James Version), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

I needed God’s help and a miracle. I needed it now.

The words that flowed from my mouth surprised me. I said, “Gary, don’t do it. Why would you want to do this to your momma, grandma, and kids? You know how this town talks. Sure they’ll miss you, but they will be answering questions the rest of their days.”

He took the pistol out his mouth. He said, “I don’t care what people say.”

I replied, “But you love your family. Think about what your girls will be facing.”

“My girls,” he said as he again removed the pistol from his mouth. This time he slowly released the hammer and placed the weapon back in his coat pocket. He sat down in a chair at the table in my office.

“Gary, let me share with you something I’ve never told anyone in this church,” I said.

He looked up at me. The expression was both sadness and curiosity. He nodded giving me permission to continue.

“My wife’s brother killed himself while I was in seminary.”

“How?”

“He used a pistol. It was a single shot through his heart.”

“Oh,” he said. He placed his left hand over his heart.”

“My wife started crying the second she received the news. She cried for hours. She still cries for him from time to time.”

“But you were in seminary years ago …”

“It doesn’t matter. She still grieves. She has two sisters, one older and one younger. They still feel sad as well.”

“What about his parents?” Gary asked.

“Heartbroken. The real tragedy was for his children. His youngest doesn’t remember him. His oldest asks why, researches the police and autopsy records for information, and every birthday, holiday, and special occasion feels cheated by not having her daddy. Plus, he never got to see his grandchildren.”

“Grandchildren?”

“He wasn’t there for graduation or her wedding. I officiated the wedding and know how much she wished he was there.”

Gary handed me his pistol. Later that day he was admitted in a residential treatment program.

After his release he told me thank you. He never thought of the impact it would have on his current and future family including his yet to be born grandchildren.

(Names have been changed for privacy.)

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:

Connecting Suicide Prevention Day with 9-11

By LWS:

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

 

Image by smarnad / FreeDigitalphotos.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 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.

Frozen Feelings: Denial in Grief

Susan Titus Osborn:

For some who have lost a child to suicide, denial in grief occurs.

It can be a struggle to cope initially with the reality of such a tragic death.

 

 why-live-if-everyone-is-out-to-give-me

 

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

 

“Sarah committed suicide. We are having the funeral service at a church near your house. I hope you can come.”

The voice on the answering machine sounded mechanical, void of feeling. My heart went out to my friend, Ann. I could not even imagine what she was going through.

Although Ann’s daughter, Sarah, lived half an hour from our home, we hadn’t seen her since our wedding nine years before. She was pregnant at the time, and I suddenly realized she was leaving a nine-year-old daughter behind. We had tried to get together with her and her husband, Hiro, but they never seemed available.

When I asked Ann how her daughter had died, she replied, “I don’t know. I don’t want to know!” Ann’s family were committed Christians, but their adopted daughter, Sarah, who was Korean, had adamantly stated, “I have no use for the white man’s God.”

I thought of her words as I stood over the open casket, staring at the body of the 30-year-old woman who had committed suicide. She looked so young. I saw cuts on the edges of her wrists; her hands were folded in front of her. I drew the conclusion that she must have slit her wrists on that fateful Saturday night, but none of us will ever know for sure….

After the funeral, Ann said, “We are leaving tomorrow for Hawaii.” I stared at her in disbelief. She continued, “We already had plans to go there, and I don’t see any reason to change them.”

I continued to stand there speechless, but my mind screamed, Don’t you want to know how your daughter died? What if her husband played a part in it? Don’t you want to greet his parents when they arrive tomorrow from Japan? How can you just pick up and go on with your life as if nothing has happened? All these thoughts swirled in my head, but I said nothing.

I wondered how Ann would ever gain closure, and what would happen to that precious nine-year-old, who seemed to have been swept away in the current of the storm? How would she be able to deal with her mother committing suicide? Who would be there to help her?

After the loss of a loved one, it is not uncommon for a survivor to bottle up feelings and simply try to carry on, but those feelings must be dealt with eventually. It is our prayer for people like Ann, who love the one they lost, that Christ will help them deal with their grief, not by hoping it will go away, but by His walking through it with them.  But we also understand that for some, dealing with the reality of the loss of a child is so terribly painful that some need to process that on their own timetable. If you know someone who has had a suicide loss and is not dealing with it, let them know there is help available to walk them through that pain when they are ready.

Suicide as an Option is Never Good

By Karen Kosman:

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

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

 

Life preserver image by cbenjasuwan FDP net

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This story was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Suicide Victims and Survivors and used with permission by New Hope Publishers.

Long-term Thoughts of Suicide

By PeggySue Wells

 

Have you struggled with long-term thoughts of suicide?

Have you struggled with long-term thoughts of suicide?

Having thoughts of suicide can be a temporary condition triggered by crisis in our lives. But for others, this dark night of the soul is a continuous condition, year after year.

Here is how one person described what it’s like to have long-term thoughts of suicide and depression:

Many more people are silently suffering and depressed than ever before. We hear stories about great things coming around for everyone else but nothing is happening for us. We hear about weddings and new arrivals and again nothing for us.

What happens when our anxiety and depression is recognized and being treated but the medications and therapy is no longer working? Or is at a plateau? For our doctors, friends, and family it’s hard to talk about because they don’t know what to do about it either. It’s a scary place to be because there are some things in life that feel completely unfixable and when you’ve spent ten to fifteen years talking it out or taking anti-depressants or doing group therapy sessions – what now?

As a generation of people who were diagnosed with depression and anxiety through suicidal thoughts, we have to start talking about how we are going to go through life once the meds stop working and the talk therapy is no longer helping. And of course, how we will pay for this is a whole other issue.

I know the pain of being consumed with thoughts of suicide in the middle of the night.

Are you having long-term thoughts of suicide? Have you experienced such a dark time and come through to brighter days?

Despite the struggle and the pain, you matter. You are important. Significant.

When thoughts of despair plague, remember that the Lord is with you even in this.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there (Psalm 7-8).

When you are in the depths of depression, the last thing you feel like doing is connecting. But I encourage you to attend a Bible-believing church. Just as you are. Even on your dark days. You don’t have to have your life together before you can come. When my friend Barbara lost her two teenagers in a car wreck, she plunged into deep and extended depression.

“How did you survive that?” I asked.

“I kept going to church,” she said. “No matter what, go to church.”

Why? Because the music and sermons remind you that Jesus Christ knows how you feel. In the Bible are stories of others who knew depression including Jonah, Job, Paul and Barnabas knew depression. People in the church have experienced dark nights of the soul.

While there may not be a quick solution for you, church is where you receive prayer, and connect and belong. And it is where you are needed. God comforts us so we can comfort others. There will be a time when you can be the person who says to another, “I understand how you feel.”

Click here to see a letter from someone who understands your despair: Dear Friend, at GodTest.com, and learn about (or be reminded of) how to find a relationship with Jesus Christ to comfort you in your trials.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:1-18 (NIV Bible, from BibleGateway.com)

 Enjoy this beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace:

Suicide as a Way Out of Domestic Abuse

When you’re in a relationship that involves domestic abuse — physical or emotional — suicide may seem your only way of escape.

 

 But there is hope and help.

 

Off the Map domestic violence

Jacquie Brown, author of the book, Off the Map: Follow me out of Domestic Abuse, certainly felt that way the day she ran to her bathroom after a violent confrontation with her husband. Her “crime”? Urging her husband not to drive his truck after drinking seven glasses of whiskey and cola in a few hours.

In Jacquie’s words:

He shoved me into the wall, yelled and called me disgusting names, criticized everything about me, searched for the words that would hurt me the most.

Fear gripped my being. My stomach tensed, and I huddled into myself, trying to disappear as tears flowed and I thought, Am I really those foul degrading words I hear him calling me? He’s right about my stupidity; I never learn. I’m always the catalyst for these explosions of torment. How do I solve it? How do I stop it? The agony and desolation is relentless. How do I escape?

Time seemed to stand still as a thought seeped into my mind. I knew a way to escape. I turned and race up the stairs to the washroom, locking the door behind me. I shouldn’t have run. Now he knows something is unusual. I hurried and swallowed several pills before he reached the door.

He yelled, “Open the door or I’ll kick it in!”

Jacquie came out of the bathroom and her husband got their two young children out of bed, and told the children “This I what happens if you try and kill yourself.” He then beat her.

After he left, Jacquie made her way to each of the children’s rooms and assured them she was okay. Afterwards, she wondered how she could ever have been so selfish as to think of leaving her children alone with their father. But of course, she wasn’t thinking clearly. She was just trying to find a way out of the constant fear and abuse. (p. 42-43)

Suicide lets the abuser win

While there may be times when suicide seems like the only way out of abuse, fortunately, Jacquie eventually found a much better way. And then she wrote a book in order to help others find their way out, and also to help friends, family, and others who want to help domestic abuse victims understand what’s going on in the mind of a person who is being abused.

Off the Map is written with alternating chapters, first giving us a glimpse into Jacquie’s life, then immediately following that with an explanation of what she calls the “underlying dynamics or aspects of domestic violence.”

In her introduction, Jacquie says: “Off the Map demystifies domestic violence. It brings to light how we are ensnared and why we stay trapped. It also reveals our self-destructive coping mechanisms and ultimately the way out of the dungeon to discover the treasure of life.” (p.xiii)
Jacquie also explains that all violence isn’t physical beatings. There are many other ways an abuser can hold someone captive.

The book has a number of helpful lists, including:

  • signs that you are in an abusive relationship
  • how abusers isolate their victims
  • different types of abusers
  • types of abuse
  • wrong beliefs of both the abusers and the abused
  • reasons why victims stay in the relationship
  • common coping mechanisms that lead to more difficulty
  • people and groups who will help abuse victims
  • practical steps to take to ensure safety when leaving

The book clearly explains how pretty well anyone could wind up being abused without necessarily realizing what is happening. Jacquie shows how abusers can mix kindness in with the abuse in a way that creates dependency and keeps the victim ambivalent about the abuser and unable to break free.

She also links long-term abuse to C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). On page 93, Jacquie says, “A woman suffering in a relationship of domestic violence is similar to a soldier’s experience as a prisoner of war. Both undergo prolonged exposure to traumatic experiences and both can develop C-PTSD.” She then goes on to explain how chemicals in the brain (such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline), are impacted, and how this can lead to a variety of negative things, including forgetfulness, depression, detachment, self-condemnation, loss of identity, hopelessness, etc.

Everyone needs to read this book

This book is specifically about domestic violence, and is invaluable for anyone wanting to understand that type of abuse. However, the implications of abuse go far beyond that to any long-term relationship where one person has power over another and could use it in abusive ways: either situations where one has direct power over another (e.g. a parent, teacher, coach, boss, pastor, doctor, counselor) or situations where a peer can exert power over another person (e.g. a co-worker, teammate, a sibling, close friend, roommate, classmate). Please check it out, especially if you:

  • suspect you might be in an abusive relationship
  • suspect someone you know might be in an abusive relationship, whether domestic or otherwise
  • suspect you might be an abuser
  • are in any way involved with people; pastors, teachers, psychologists, counselors, doctors, nurses, politicians, managers, parents, etc.

Click to visit Jacquie Brown’s website and for information about her book Off the Map: Follow Me Out of Domestic Violence 

Forgiveness for Someone Who Died by Suicide

By Jeenie Gordon:

Image by mercucio2

Image by mercucio2

Forgiveness – an oft painfulword. One to which we do like to succumb. It seems to rob us of ourselves and we try to push it in the back of our minds.

Yet, in scripture, God has commanded (not suggested) that we forgive. I wonder whether it’s because in His infinite wisdom, He knows it will bring the freedom for which we seek.

When a loved one is gone by his/her own hand, there is a need to forgive. I see four stages in this process:

Stage One.  Admission of pain. Often, around others, we pretend that the pain isn’t all that bad. We say we’re doing well. Admitting the enormity of the anguish to oneself and to others whom we trust is vital.

Stage Two. Anger. We have a reason to be angry. Although anger is a valid emotion, it can be either constructive or destructive. A passive person may internalize fury and pretend it is not there. Another person may explode on everyone around them and about everything. Both ways are unhealthy. It is important to acknowledge and deal with our anger – but we must not get stuck in it.

Stage Three. Confrontation. Even though the loved one is no longer living, there is a need to confront. A healthy way is to write an honest letter, telling the person about our anger and the pain we feel over what he or she has chosen to do.

We must also forgive ourselves. No one is perfect and everyone could have done better. We cannot blame ourselves for a suicide. Forgiving ourselves is a must for our eventual healing.

Stage Four. Forgiveness. The journey toward forgiveness is long and difficult, but the road must be traveled. It is the pathway toward wholeness. Eventually, we must forgive the suicide or attempted suicide. 

Forgiveness liberates us.

This excerpt was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victimsand Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers. Jeenie Gordon is a co-author of the book and a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Divorcing Her to Marry One of Her Best Friends

By Linda W. Rooks:

She was stunned to learn her husband was divorcing her to marry one of her best friends.

She considered suicide. Then she found hope.

 

Rock to cling to by Linda Rooks

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. (Psalm 18:2)

 

His words struck her ears and reverberated through her head as if she had just stepped into the middle of an exploding bombshell.  Georgia saw her husband’s mouth still moving, but a black cloud was descending upon her and the sound of his voice echoed through the chambers of her mind like shots from a cannon.

He’s leaving me. Divorcing me to marry one of my best friends!  They both plan to get divorced, then married to each other.

Georgia asked him questions, but the hardness of his answers made her freeze.  She looked into blue eyes, now dark and cold.  Who was this man?  Where was the man she had married? How could her husband leave her, like her own father had left her as a child? And worse, how could he be divorcing her to marry one of her best friends?

She felt the flesh of her heart tearing apart.  A crushing pain gripped her as if a vice were squeezing the life from her. She could hardly breathe.

After he left, she stumbled out to her car, enveloped in a darkness that shut down her mind and embedded one dark desire into her heart.  “I don’t want to live.  I can’t live.  I must escape this pain.”  As if caught up in a death spiral, her mind raced back to the memory of a friend who had committed suicide years before.  It sounded simple.  She could escape the pain, escape the horror of what was happening to her life.  She would do what her friend had done.

But Georgia was not as skilled as her friend in making the preparations.  After trying her best, she finally climbed into her car, sat at the wheel and in her anguish called out the only name that came to her, “Jesus.  Jesus, if you’re as real as I thought you were,” she cried, “you know I’m not going to make it through this night.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

After a few minutes of sobbing and calling out his name, she felt a peace pouring down on her like a light gleaming through the darkness.  The darkness released her mind and the light swept in.  Jesus would show her the way.  She didn’t have to take this deadly route.

After Georgia found out that her husband was divorcing her to marry one of her best friends, her pain did not immediately go away after that night, but in the midst of it, she felt the love of Jesus holding her up as never before. Whenever Georgia felt desperate, she called out the name of Jesus, and God became more and more real to her. She immediately had a hunger to read the Bible, and when she opened it up, it was like God spoke to her personally. She and the children began reading the book of Job. Here she read about a man who lost everything and suffered the same anguish and doubts she was feeling. But he continued to worship God anyway.  Eventually, God blessed Job with more than he had before.

Today, years later, despite her devastating experience, Georgia wouldn’t trade where she is spiritually for anything.  The circumstances that tore her apart brought her a deeper love and a deeper joy than she would have ever known otherwise.  When others disappointed her, God was always there, providing her with what she needed in unexpected ways.  As He promised, Jesus has never left her nor forsaken her. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

The name of Jesus carries enormous power when we call on His name.  When our heart cries out to Him. He hears us and surrounds us with His presence.  Jesus is the lover of our soul. He longs to be near us.  He longs to comfort us and give us His peace.  Scripture tells us that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:7).

You might not understand it, but His love and peace can undergird you in your pain.  Just call out His name.  Let your heart reach out to Him. He will become a rock to cling to when you feel you are being enveloped in currents of tragedy and adversity.

Just like Georgia felt when she found out the terrible news about the betrayal of her husband and friend, you may feel like life is not worth living.  You may just want to escape the pain, but Jesus loves you and has a plan for you.  He will never leave you when you call out His name. So right now, call out to Him.  “Jesus!”  Let Him heal your heart.

 

To My Friend

By PeggySue Wells

I want to say to my friend:

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

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

Pearls photo by Maggie Smith

Pearls by Maggie Smith via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

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

Listen and watch here.

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

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

Finding Acceptance When Laughed At and Hurting

By Martha Bolton:

 Are you feeling laughed at? Bullied? Betrayed? We know it hurts, but don’t let those bullies win.

 

Image of sad girl used at thinkingaboutsuicide.com

Feeling betrayed? Laughed at? Wounded by others? Be your own best friend.

Whoever:

hurt you

left you

bullied you

didn’t accept you

discounted you

didn’t see your pain or your worth

laughed at you

wasn’t there for you

betrayed you

devastated you

convinced you that you’ll never be any more than the person they want you to be for their own reasons (usually to feel better about themselves)–

DON’T LET THEM WIN.

They may have labeled you, but their label is far from accurate.

They may think they’ve stepped on you, squashing any hope of your ever rising back up, but they missed you by a mile.

They may have treated you like you’re worthless, made you want to run away or go hide in a corner of the room, but don’t get sucked into their destiny for you.  Move on with your life.  You have better things to do.

Even if you’re the loudest negative voice in your own head, stop listening to it.   If you’re the voice saying, “What’s the use?” then answer yourself as though you’re talking to a friend you truly care about.

If no one else is speaking up for you, speak up for yourself.  Be your own counselor, your own cheerleader, your own best friend.

Do something else for yourself.  Seek help as soon as you can.  Talk to a teacher, pastor, parent, or friend.  It’s not embarrassing to ask for help.  Everyone needs help once in a while.  Life can get tough.  People can be mean.  Maybe a friend has betrayed or hurt you.  Maybe they’ve made your life unbelievably difficult.  You might even find yourself so injured that you have become numb and now find yourself desperately trying to “feel” again.

But hurting yourself isn’t how to feel again. 

This isn’t the day, the way, or the place for your hope to end.  It’s not in “the plan.”  What plan, you may ask.  The one God has for you.  He created you with a clear plan in mind.  No matter what has happened in your life, His plan hasn’t changed.

Your life was meant to go on until you’ve seen all you were meant to see, gone everywhere you were meant to go, and done everything you were meant to do. 

A bully can’t stop that.

Discouragement can’t either.

No obstacle that someone tries to throw in your path can truly block what God has intended for you.

I’ve had to deal with bullies throughout my life.  Like the “anonymous” Letter to the Editor writer who, after my first humorous opinion piece was printed, tried to bully me into never writing again.  I cried when I read it, shook in fear throughout the night, and contemplated following his advice and never attempting to put my writing out there again.

Then, I took a deep breath and went on with my life.

That humorous opinion piece turned into a 9 year newspaper column, and now, 88 books, numerous plays, and an Emmy nomination later, I think maybe he might have been a little off track with his criticism.

Thankfully, I didn’t let his hurtful words stop God’s plan for my life.

As it turned out, that letter was from a middle school boy probably doing a school assignment to write a letter to the editor.

Some bullies are driven by insecurity and jealousy.  Something is missing in their own lives, perhaps it’s something you’re doing, achieving, or are just being, and they can’t handle it.  Without even realizing it, you might be representing something they wish they had.

So don’t change who you are to make them feel better about themselves.  You aren’t the problem.

Bullies will try to rob you of enjoying your life, your work, and your loved ones.  Don’t let them.  And remember, your encouragement might not come from the people you expect it to come from either.  It hurts when it doesn’t, but God may, and often does, send it through someone else.  Sometimes a complete stranger.

So take a deep breath.  It may be hard to see your future right now when someone is making you feel like you have none.  It’s hard to see your worth when someone has left you, friends have betrayed you or not stood up for you, or you’ve endured any number of hurts.  But none of that changes your worth.   How people treat you doesn’t change your value.  Mistakes don’t make you who you are.  And betrayal doesn’t mean you weren’t worthy of being defended.

One more thing, always leave room for people to change.  Whoever hurt you could have a change of heart (yes, miracles do happen) and apologize to you someday.  If they don’t, you can still get over their hurt.  You can get strong enough to stand in spite of any bully in your life.  And you can get strong enough to continue standing.  All it takes is practice and the right kind of friends around you.  They’re out there, just waiting to meet you.

Give yourself the gift of your future.  Don’t be one more person walking out on your potential.  You, more than anyone else, should give yourself another chance.  And another.  And ten thousand more. 

You’ve let the negative voices in your life have the stage long enough.  Replace them with voices of truth.  You are loved by God.  You have value.  Your life is worth living.  You are accepted.  Don’t let anyone, any hurt, or anything else convince you otherwise!