Overcome Shame

With God’s help, you can overcome feelings of shame about circumstances in your past or present.

By Janet Perez Eckles:

Image by pixatwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Instead of your road ahead being paved reminders of past shameful circumstances, it can be paved with hope.

So what happened in your past? A friend was asked. A bit put out, she kept silent. The past was painful, the scars still raw and the reminders alive.

What is it about shame that has the power to drape a veil covering our chance for joy? At 31, blindness put me in the category of a “disabled” person. It placed me in the “not-normal” category.

And was I sad? Down? No. It was shame that marked my attitude. Shame of living my life as a person whom I didn’t want to be.

Have you been there? Suddenly you’re thrown into an identity that was never in your plans, and the road ahead was paved with taunting reminders of what was. What you had. And how much better it all used to be.

Those reminders are just part of the shame that wears various attires: Shame of what we’ve become. Shame for what we’ve done. Shame because of what we carry in the secret boxes of our heart.

We carry all and drag it into today’s circumstances. When setbacks pop up, the hidden shame darkens the view even more. Insecurities are more dramatic and tough moments turn to tragedies.

Who’s to blame? We are– for letting shame grip our heart. But when the hold is given to God, Almighty and capable He erases destructive attitudes. He exchanges shame for significance.  And ushers courage to blot out regret.

Secure in His love, we walk with firm steps, high held high and heart shining with passion. God’ works out His power. Shame is erased, false desires are removed. And longing for what we don’t have vanishes. And perhaps for the first time, sweet freedom smiles.

Being physically blind with no shame displayed radiant hope for me to see the beauty of His hand at work. I saw the details of the brush strokes as He painted a new life, rich with purpose, defined plans, and all detailed on the canvas of His grace.

Grief and Guilt with Suicidal Thoughts? Ask for Help

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief, Guilt and Asking for Help: Lesson 2 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief. Includes Post-Abortion Grief.

 

As I write about lessons I’ve learned about grief, you may recall lesson #1: Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts where I talked about how being tired is just one symptom of grief.

Lesson #2 is to recognize additional symptoms and know when to ask for help:

Some people may temporarily experience sleeplessness, nightmares, lack of appetite or greater appetite, fear, increased anxiety, or various other difficulties. These are “normal” for people working through grief, but if they continue or become overwhelming, ask for help.

It’s hard to ask for help. I’ve also learned even when we reach out for help, the help we find isn’t always helpful. If that has been your experience, I challenge you to try again. You are too important to let a mismatched counselor stop you.

In the article, Choosing a Christian Counselor at  CBN.com,  David Martin states: “In order for a Christian to make a good decision about a Christian counseling professional, there are some important factors that need to be understood as well as the various options that are available to you.” (Click through to that article for more good information.)

For help, CBN.com recommends these organizations that you can call right now:

New Life Ministries: 1-800-NEW-LIFE (1-800-639-5433)

Rapha National Network: 1-800-383-HOPE (1-800-383-4673)

There are various reasons feelings of guilt may be associated with the loss of someone. For many women and men, that relates to  abortion.

Post-Abortion Grief and Guilt

In a guest post at Kathi Macias’ blog, I wrote about how it’s common for people with an abortion in their past to grieve and even think about suicide. (If this applies to you, click here to read more about that.) But women (and men) the world over need to know that God loves them, that He will forgive them, and that He is right there with them no matter what they have done or what they are facing right now.

At the Abortion Recovery Help webpage, the list of  Symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome  includes depression and thoughts of suicide. Whether you are a woman or a man, pro-life pregnancy centers offer free, confidential programs to help you through after-abortion struggles. Find one closest to you here: www.OptionLine.org.

Even if this common cause for grief does not apply to you, feelings about the loss of a loved one can be complicated, and counseling frequently very helpful. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do ask for help, from a friend, any of the counseling resources previously mentioned, or:

CBN’s 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center at 1-800-759-0700

This video,You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up), may help:

 

Help Me Cope: My Best Friend Killed Himself

I am so sorry to hear that your best friend killed himself. Losing a friend to suicide is probably one of the most difficult things a person can go through.
This kind of grief is intense and can leave you feeling guilty and wondering what you could have done to stop your friend’s death.  Plus, it’s hard to stop thinking about your loss or to stop blaming yourself that this even happened.

 

 My Best Friend Killed Himself: Now What?

Here are some ideas to help you cope:

  1. Ask God to carry your pain, grief and even your feelings of guilt.
  2. Write down your feelings and memories about your friend in a special notebook, but don’t spend more than 15 minutes a day on this task.  It’s good to vent and express yourself, but if you spend too much time thinking about your loss, it may cause your feelings of grief to worsen. So try to find a good balance.
  3. Talk to a counselor and other adults about your feelings.
  4. Try to understand, then believe, that this really wasn’t your fault.  It wasn’t.
For help with guilt in survivors after suicide of a loved one, click here to read this free online book (PDF format):  SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson at suicidology.org. Here is an excerpt:
“Talking through your feelings and fears is essential for recovery from your trauma.Unfortunately, while your closest supporters may be willing to listen and share with you for a few weeks or months, there’s likely to come a time when their thoughts move on from the suicide while yours are still racing. This is why support groups are so valuable. Fellow survivors understand what you’re feeling in a way that even your closest friends cannot. Your fellow group members will never grow weary of offering supportive words and sympathetic ears.”

The author also offers this link through which you may find a local support group: Find a Suicide Bereavement Support Group at afsp.org (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).

One day your pain will lessen, but even when that day comes, your friend will always live in your heart.

To read a letter that one mom wrote to her son who committed suicide, click this link: Suicide is NOT the Final Solution.
If you are hurting and you need to talk to someone, call a suicide hotline.
Here’s the story of how one teen coped with her loss when her best friend killed himself.
You may also find help from another one of our articles by clicking on this link:  The Effect Suicide Has On Loved Ones.

 

Depression and Suicide Risk for Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

If you are concerned about a military veteran in your life, you need to know more about depression and suicide risk for veterans.

According to the Veteran’s Crisis Line, there are several depression and suicide indicators including: 1.) Feeling sad most of the time; 2.) Trouble eating or sleeping; 3.) Feeling anxious or  agitated; 4.) Neglecting personal welfare; 4.) Deteriorating physical appearance; 5.) Withdrawing from friends, family, and society; 6.) Sleeping all the time; 7.) Losing interest in things they once cared about like  hobbies, work, or school; 8.) Frequent and dramatic mood changes; 9.) Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame; 10.) Feelings of failure or decreased performance; 11.) Feeling that life is not worth living; 12.) No sense of purpose; and 13.) Feeling desperate, like there is no solution or  way out of their problems.

Additional suicidal indicators from the Veteran’s Crisis Line include:

  • Performing poorly at work or school
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking
  • Showing violent behavior such as punching holes in walls
  • Getting into fights or self-destructive violence
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Putting affairs in order or making out a will
  • Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means of harming oneself
If reading these lists has heightened your concerns, Web MD suggests that, “You can take steps to prevent a suicide attempt. Be willing to listen, and help the person find help. Don’t be afraid to ask “What is the matter?” or bring up the subject of suicide. There is no evidence that talking about suicide leads to suicidal thinking or suicide. Remove all firearms from the home, or lock firearms and bullets up in different places. Get rid of any prescription and nonprescription medicines that are not being used.”

The Veteran’s Crisis Line suggests, “If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is showing any of the above warning signs, please call the Veterans Crisis Line by calling call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or  chat online , or send a text message today to  838255.”

To learn more about depression and suicide risk for veterans, and find out what to do, watch:

The Veteran’s Crisis Line is open to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.