Grieving in a Different World: I Want to Kill Myself

By Dianne E. Butts:

When grieving a loved one, it can be easy to hate your new circumstances and even think, My world is so different, I want to kill myself.  Here’s hope.

 

Image: Classical Sunrise by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Classical Sunrise by Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In this series 10 Things I’ve Learned  About Grief” (from the book Dear AmericaI share my own story of loss and grief.  The ninth thing I learned (see the first eight here) about grief is this:

 #9: Your whole world is different, but that doesn’t mean you will be sad forever. 

We talked in Grief Lesson #8 about how grief can seem to go on forever. I mentioned that many people grieve for a full two years. I wish to clarify what I mean. I know a woman who lost her husband two and a half years ago. Recently I overheard her talking with a friend and she said that people tell her it will get better but she still misses him and she doesn’t expect it will ever get better.

I felt guilty thinking perhaps I was one of those people telling her it would get better.

The other woman said she had lost her husband over a decade ago, she still misses him terribly, and then she told my friend she was right: she will never get over it and it will never get better.

How sad!

When I say grief last for two years, I’m not saying at the end of two years you won’t grieve anymore or feel pain or miss your loved one! Have you ever hit your thumb with a hammer? Or done something else physically painful? With the kind of pain that takes your breath away? At least for a little while, you can’t speak. You can’t express anything but the pain. You can’t move, except to hold whatever hurts and hang on. We learn that if you hang in there, you’ll get your breath back. That’s what I’m talking about.

I’m not saying the pain goes away. I’m not suggesting you won’t miss him or her anymore. Your life has changed and it will never be the same again. But the pain will ease gradually, and after two years you should be able to breathe again. You should be functioning again. If you’re not, you need to seek out help.

Your grief will not last forever. After the death of her husband, I once heard a woman ask her friend, “Will I ever laugh again?”

Her friend wisely and immediately answered, “Yes. YES!

This article “Living Through Grief” on CBN.com has some helpful information about the steps of grief that we normally experience. It also lists three steps to recovery: Grieve, Believe, and Receive. The article offers “Scriptures that can bring hope, strength and peace” and tips for “Helping Others Through Grief.”

Don’t let thoughts linger in your mind that make you think terrible thoughts like I want to kill myself. Don’t give up. Hang in there. It does get easier.

Video: Listen to this beautiful, hope-filled song performed by Lynda Randle: “I’m Free.”

May you find freedom from your grief.

Read other articles on this site by Dianne E. Butts HERE.

 

I Want to Die, I Miss Him So Much

By Dianne E. Butts:

 If your grieving reaches a point where you consider taking your own life, you need help–do seek that.

Your pain will eventually ease, despite how terrible as it feels right now.

 

I am convinced that the grief and loss we feel when a loved one dies is in direct proportion to how much we loved that person and how big of a hole they left in our lives.

When we are grieving, it’s easy to feel like we will never feel any better, that we’ll be grieving for forever. As you miss that person, do you find yourself thinking, “I want to die?”

In the article series “10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief (from Dear America), we’ve been exploring what  I learned after losing my father, brother, two grandparents and a friend, all when I was a teen. I hope what I’ve learned will help you.

Here’s the eighth thing I’ve learned about grief:

Somewhere I read the average person grieves for a full two years after the death of a loved one, so give yourself plenty of time. However, if you or someone you love is struggling after that, consider asking for help.

I remember as a teenager how losing my Dad ripped the ground from under my feet. Most of my friends didn’t understand (although some did because they had lost a parent too).

A couple years later when my brother was killed in a motorcycle accident, a friend told me I needed to “get over it” and “move on.” When she told me that, we hadn’t even had the funeral yet! It took me many years to realize that she meant well; she really was trying to help.

But the fact is we can’t rush grief any more than we can turn it off or on. Grief has a mind of its own and it will take the time it needs to work itself out.

If you try to rush through grief, you may enter into denial. But grief will come back to you sooner or later.

If you try to ignore grief, it might hide for a while, but it will be back to visit.

If you get frustrated with grief and think that it is taking too long, or if you go the other direction and hang on to your grief because it’s all you have left of the person you love, you may be headed for trouble. That kind of trouble can possibly lead to thinking about suicide.

Give yourself, of someone you know who is grieving, a proper amount of time. But if the grief hangs on, seek help.

Of course you need not wait. You can take advantage of organizations and services that can help.  To find them, check with the funeral home, a church, a counseling center, your doctor, the phone book, or the internet.  One reputable organization is New Life Ministries (1-800-NEW-LIFE) www.newlife.com.

If you’re thinking “missing him (or her) for so long makes me want to die,” check out the article 10 Tips for Healthy Grieving by Steve Arterburn, host of the radio show New Life Live.

Here is an encouraging thought for when discouraging times or dark shadows come: Video: “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” by Lynda Randle:

Lost a Loved One? A Grief Lesson on ‘Firsts’

This continues Dianne’s 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief. Here she discusses the first year of ‘firsts’, as that can tempt some to think about suicide.

By Dianne E. Butts:

 

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In 1850 Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his poem In Memoriam:27, wrote, “ ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” But if you’ve lost a loved one, it may not feel that way, but instead may tempt you to think about suicide.

The first year after the death of a loved one is filled with many “firsts.” In my list of “10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief” (excerpted from my first book, Dear America), the sixth thing I’ve learned about grief is this:

 #6: During the first year, you will experience a lot of “firsts”—your first anniversary, first birthday, first Christmas, and other first holidays without your loved one. Other firsts may include the first time you go to the movies without your loved one, plan a trip by yourself, or dine solo. And, of course, there will come the first anniversary of your loved one’s death.

It’s hard for anyone to get through all these for the first time. And getting through them the first time does not take away all the pain or depression. You may feel grief on those anniversaries for many years to come.

I learned some people experience “anniversary grief”: feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, or other emotions around the anniversary of the death. These may even be subconscious, as a feeling of sadness, anxiety, anger, or other emotion that you just can’t figure out why it is hovering over you.

For years I felt a vague sense of dread, like something bad was about to happen, around my birthday. I could not shake the feeling and did not understand it. I didn’t connect it with my brother’s death until a friend of mine explained “anniversary grief” to me. It was only two days after my 18th birthday that my brother was killed by a drunk driver. I’d had other traumatic events happen near my birthday when a younger teenager also, including when my parents announced their divorce and yet another year when my father was diagnosed with cancer and had major surgery.

While I hadn’t connected the dots, my subconscious had, and it left me with that feeling something dreadful was about to happen. You may experience a different feeling. These feelings can cause us to think about suicide.

When such an anniversary is approaching:

  • Try to anticipate times that will be difficult, like holidays.
  • Make plans to do something special.
  • Preferably do your special plans with friends, family, or other people around.
  • Holidays or personal anniversaries are no time to be alone.

Pastor Charles Stanley wrote a beautiful letter to grieving people on the tenth anniversary of September 11th:

We experience injustices at the hand of others who cause us overwhelming suffering. The pain gnaws at us and we wonder, Why God? Why did You allow these things to happen? Is there any hope left?

“Are you experiencing this kind of grief today? Has your world come crashing down due to another’s hurtful actions? Have you lost someone or something that is very precious to you? If so, I want to remind you that God is still on His throne…and He loves you unconditionally.”

You can read the rest of Pastor Charles Stanley’s letter here.

Seek out the comfort of friends and family. They love you and they need you, too. So don’t let the first year of firsts after the death of a loved one tempt you to think about suicide.

When you feel sad or are thinking about suicide, why not instead begin to think about things you are thankful for? God, also, has experienced pain and loss and He knows how it feels. Listen to this song with lots to thank God for: “I’ll Say Thanks” by God City:

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10, 2012

By Dianne E. Butts:

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is “dedicated to preventing suicidal behavior, alleviating its effects, and providing a forum for academians, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors.” The IASP offers a variety of events throughout the year, including World Suicide Prevention Day, which is September 10, 2012.

World Suicide Prevention Day is held on September 10th every year, with a unique theme for each year. This year’s theme is “Suicide Prevention Across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope.” Previous themes include “Preventing Suicide in Multicultural Societies” and “Many Faces, Many Places: Suicide Prevention Across the World.” September 10th, 2012, marks the 10th anniversary of the World Suicide Prevention Day.

The IASP says its research shows evidence that “we can prevent suicide.” In the past “education campaigns have focused on the role of risk factors in the development of suicidal behavior. In order to increase effectiveness in preventing suicide we propose to direct our efforts not only towards reducing risk factors but also toward strengthening protective factors,” the site says.

Factors considered protective against suicidal behaviors include the ability to cope and adjust to adverse life events, a sense of personal worth and confidence, problem-solving skills, and help-seeking behaviors. Social and cultural factors include religious and social integration, connectedness, good relationships with friends, colleagues and neighbors, access to support, and ready access to health care. Healthy lifestyles and abstinence from illicit drug use is associated with reduced risk of suicidal behavior.

The World Suicide Prevention Day web site has a wealth of downloadable information, including:

World Suicide Prevention Day 2012 has its own Facebook Page.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention was founded by the late Professor Erwin Ringel and Dr. Norman Farberow in 1960. The organization includes professionals and volunteers from more than fifty different countries. It is a nongovernmental organization in official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).

Take a few moments to stop by the site today or make professionals in your area aware of the resources available at the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Working together we can help prevent suicide. Check out the resources and see how you might support World Suicide Prevention Day, which is September 10, 2012.

Here is a short video from one group who got involved in World Suicide Prevention Day 2011:

Also cClick here to see a playlist of 7 short videos from a variety of people involved in World Suicide Prevention Day 2011.

Sexual Abuse from a Trusted Coach (Olympian Kayla Harrison)

By Dianne E. Butts:

Kayla Harrison, on having been sexually abused by her former coach and overcoming suicidal thoughts.

 

 

Image from Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kayla Harrison started judo at six years old when her mother, Jeannie Yazell, a black belt, introduced her to the sport. She showed promise, winning two national titles before her 15th birthday. But behind the scenes, she was being sexually manipulated and abused by her judo coach, and that sexual abuse led Olympian Kayla Harrison to think about suicide.

The abuse started when Kayla was 13.

An article in the New York Times online, “For Judo Champion, a Painful Path to Gold” by Campbell Robertson revealed that “sexual contact led to sexual intercourse over a period of years, on trips to Venezuela, Russia and Estonia, until she was 16.”

In an article in The Telegraph (www.Telegraph.co.uk) titled “London 2012 Olympics: US Judoka Kayla Harrison overcomes horror of sexual abuse to aim for gold,” by Ian Chadband, Kayla said:

“When I was young, he would say, ‘We have to keep this between us or we will get into trouble’ and, honestly, as I got older, I was pretty brainwashed. I knew it was wrong but I thought I loved him. And I thought he loved me.’”

After three years, Kayla confided in her friend Aaron, who told her mother. Jeannie Yazell then “smashed out the coach’s car windows with a baseball bat” according to the NY Times article.

After Kayla exposed her coach as an abuser, she confronted him in court. Daniel Doyle was sentenced to ten years in prison and banned from the sport.

“I couldn’t look in the mirror and had no self-esteem. Now I can’t imagine not speaking up against that. It’s so wrong and I don’t want others to have to suffer what I did,” Kayla told The Telegraph. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned through all this is that you’re only a victim if you allow yourself to be. And though it feels like hell and it feels like it will never end, it will. But you have to have the courage to say ‘I won’t play victim’.”

Going for the gold in the Olympics kept her going. Her mother teamed her up with coach Jimmy Pedro, who helped her overcome the trauma of abuse and make the Olympic team. Her mother told the NY Times, “‘We just felt like she just had to get back to what she knew how to do… She could have control over what went on on the mat.’”

On August 2, 2102, Kayla won the first gold medal in judo for the United States.

But that’s not all. Kayla is now engaged to Aaron Handy, the friend she turned to for help. He’s a firefighter now. After the Olympics Kayla may return home to take the E.M.T. test and continue the process of becoming a firefighter herself.

Sexual abuse led Olympian Kayla Harrison to think about suicide. But she overcame abuse and suicidal thoughts to become a Gold Medal Olympian with a future filled with love, marriage, and a meaningful career. You can overcome your circumstances too, and have a future filled with hope.

 

Junior Seau: What Caused HisThinking About Suicide?

By Dianne E. Butts:


Photo from Wikipedia, Used by Permission. Photographer: David Sizer

I’m a football fan. So I, like many others, was shocked and saddened on May 2, 2012, when news came that Junior Seau was dead. He shot himself in the chest with a .357-caliber Magnum revolver, according to USAToday.com. Like so many others, I wonder what was Junior Seau thinking, when he was thinking about suicide?

A month after Junior Seau’s death, writers David Leon Moore and Erik Brady, writing for USA TODAY, wrote the article “Junior Seau’s final days plagued by sleepless nights.” Throughout the article you can almost hear everyone, including Junior’s 11-year-old son, Hunter, asking “Why?”

There’s the talk of the possible head injuries that have become such a topic of discussion for sports enthusiasts. Is that the reason?

There’s the talk of the use of Ambien, the sleep aid. The article reports, “The FDA-approved prescribing information for Ambien warns that suicidal thoughts or actions have been reported by depressed patients using this class of drugs. The information also instructs users not to take it if they drink, which friends say Seau did, and also if they cannot get a full night’s sleep while taking it.”

Junior Seau lived in a $3.2 million beachfront house. As a former NFL superstar, he seemed to have all the resources he needed. He had been married, but was divorced. He has three children. In the days before taking his life, Junior Seau celebrated a friend’s 50th birthday and spent time with his girlfriend Megan Noderer.

It was Megan who found him that terrible morning and frantically called 911.

Junior left so much pain behind. He left us with so many questions.

If you’re having thoughts about suicide, I’m asking you right now to seek out some help. Call a friend. Call 911. Call a suicide hotline. Call someone in your family. Please don’t just leave a note. Or leave nothing.

Below is a video where you can see the extreme pain of Junior Seau’s mother as she begs God to take her instead of her son. Look at her pain. Please don’t do this to the people who love you.

Don’t leave everyone who loves you wondering why. It’s not fair to leave everyone who loved Junior Seau wondering what he was thinking about suicide and why he carried that out.

This is a heartbreaking video of Junior Seau’s mom. Whose heart would you break if you took your own life?

If you are the one left behind by a loved one who has chosen suicide, see our articles for survivors. You can also click here to read this free online book (PDF format):  SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson at suicidology.org.

Kill Myself? Grief and Forgiveness for Stupid Comments

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief from Stupid Comments: Lesson 4 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.

 

Words are powerful. Words can lift us up and encourage us or make us feel so low we don’t want to go on. It can enter our minds to think, The stupid things people say make me want to kill myself!

After we lose a loved one, we’re already deep in grief. When people—especially friends—say stupid things, it just kicks us lower. But you know what? It could be they didn’t mean to say something so stupid. It could be they had no idea how their words sounded to you.

I was a teenager when my brother, riding his Harley Davidson, was hit by a drunk driver and killed. I remember one friend telling me, “You just need to forget your brother and move on.”

Forget my brother?! I thought. I don’t ever want to forget my brother! Plus, at the time, he hadn’t been gone twenty-four hours!

I really don’t think my friend intended to say something mean to me. I really think she was trying to help. She just said something really dumb, probably without thinking through how it sounded.

So here’s the fourth lesson I’ve learned about grief. (See our other lessons in the category: 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.)

#4 Forgiveness:  Some of your friends may say dumb things…but they mean well. Other people don’t say anything at all or disappear from your life. Any of these actions can be very hurtful.

(See also grief lessons: #1 Exhaustion, #2 Guilt, and #3 Anger)

When I was grieving the loss of my brother, I finally figured something out. I discovered I did much better when I gave people a break—when I chose to forgive them for hurtful words and to assume that their intentions were good.

Some people disappeared and didn’t want to hang around with me anymore. I finally learned it was because they didn’t know what to say to me. When I decided to let it go even though they weren’t the friends I needed them to be, I could move on and find stronger friends who could help me through my sad time.

There are no magic words. If you’re trying to comfort a grieving friend, realize you don’t have to say the perfect thing. Just your presence, a touch, or a tear communicates your love and concern.

You might think a lot of suicides are caused by mean things bullies say. According to the article “Bullying And Suicide: The Dangerous Mistake We Make” by Katherine Bindley, further investigation often reveals other factors were involved in the suicide.

Madelyn Gould, a professor at Columbia who studies youth suicide and prevention, said in the article “If someone is being bullied, they should not jump to the conclusion that one of [their] options is suicide. What they should jump to is, one of the options I have is to get help.”

If you’re thinking, stupid things people say make me want to kill myself, it’s time to find a stronger friend and ask for help.

Video: Please take a few minutes to listen to this beautiful song.  It talks about thinking and sinking so low and then says “lift me up to higher heights than I’d ever known before”! Take time to listen to: “Thank Him for the Miracle” by the Booth Brothers:

Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief Plus Exhaustion: Lesson 1 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.

 

I’m not a professional counselor. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. But I know grief. I’ve learned a bit about grief through my own experiences. I’ve learned grieving takes an extraordinary amount of energy and therefore grief can make you tired. And when you’re tired, a lot of thoughts can sneak into your mind. And so I know that after losing a loved one to death, feeling grief  plus exhaustion may increase suicidal thoughts.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I know all this. I was thirteen when my parents filed for divorce and shortly after that my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Living alone, due to the divorce, he endured major surgery all by himself, but I wouldn’t say he ever really recovered. He hung on for more than a year, but cancer slowly took him. I was fifteen when he died.

After I graduated from high school, my brother, who was in the Marines, came home just in time for my eighteenth birthday. We had a grand time on my birthday—going dancing and riding motorcycles all night long. The next day he was riding his Harley and was hit by a drunk driver. He died within minutes.

Around the same time I lost two grandparents.

Yeah, I know grief.

What I know of grief due to the death of a loved one I learned through personal experience. After sorting through all that, I made a short list of ten things I’ve learned about grief.

Through my first ten posts on this blog, I’m planning to share with you those ten things I’ve learned about grief in the hope that it will help you and encourage you and lift you up. You see, I know that when bad things in life get you down, often you get a few extra kicks. Then it’s easy to want to give up. That’s when suicidal thoughts can begin to edge their way into our thinking.

But life isn’t bad. Life is good. And if you know some of the tricks the bad things in life try to use to keep you down, then it’s easier to not let the bad win. You can battle back—and find the will to do so even if you don’t feel it now.

I will be sharing 10 Things About Grief with you at this blog, thinkingaboutsuicide.com. Here’s the first thing I’ve learned:

#1: Grief takes a surprising amount of physical energy. Dealing with intense emotions can drain our strength. You may need more than the usual amount of rest for a while.

To lift you up, InTouch Ministries provides a list of “God’s Promises” for those in Grief.

One way to battle back to the good side of life: get some rest. Remember everything looks darker when we’re tired. That’s why feeling grief plus exhaustion may increase suicidal thoughts.

Here’s a video on YouTube that may be a comfort to you: