The Robin Williams Question

463px-Robin_Williams_2011aLinda Evans Shepherd

I want to answer the Robin Williams Question that so many are struggling with;

If Robin William’s died, why shouldn’t I?

Here’s my answer, an answer I would have loved to have shared with Robin…

Depression is like a living monster which is built on lies that parade through your mind; lies built for one purpose, to steal, kill and destroy the wonderful person you are.  Dr. Keith Abow, a psychiatrist who has dealt with many who entertained this monster said in a recent article which addressed Robin, “I would have told you to fight against the invader with everything and every resource, without pride.  Deploy every weapon. And because the truth is the mortal enemy of every lie, I would have told you to get to an emergency room or call a suicide hotline or 911 and tell someone the absolute truth about all the dark thoughts you were having—yes, even the one about leaving the planet. Especially that one. Because that one is the big lie implanted in your mind by the Godforsaken charlatan, scum, named major depression. Your enemy. And mine.”

I applaud Dr. Abow’s wise words, but I’d like to further shine the truth on the lies that come with depression.  They are from the pit of hell.  We know Satan (who is real) has come to steal, kill, and destroy the ones that God has gifted with the most purpose and potential.  First he blinds them to their future and hope, then he whispers lies into their hearts.

Do not believe those lies.

If I could have said one thing to Robin prior to his death, I would have told him, “You are loved and have brought joy to so many and if you choose to live, you will continue to bring joy to others and even find happier moments yourself.  Plus, if you live, you will not inspire others to give up on life. Your death will become a tragedy for many families.”

The sad truth is that others have been influenced by Robin’s death and chosen death as well.  Robin could have chosen life and walked out of his deep depression to experience more of his God given purpose as well as love, joy and even peace.  Sure, he may have had to struggle from time to time, but he could have worked to manage his depression and continued to live.  The problems he may have struggled with such as self-loathing, financial woes, fear of the future, or even mental illness, could have been lived-through.  These struggles could have been met through the strength of the very God Robin believed in.

If Robin had only trusted in the God who loved him, if he had pushed back against his depression and called 911 or gone to the emergency room, he would have lived through the darkness to find life once again.

Robin is gone but you are here, and I’d like to say that if you are depressed, you can fight back. You can recognize the lies of depression which may be trying to coax you into a tragic decision that will not only hurt you but those who love you. Don’t do anything rash while you are in the depth of your hurt or despair. Live, so you can have a hope and a future.

As the word says in Jeremiah 29:11New Living Translation,

 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NLT)

Like Robin, you do not have to give into the temptation of death.  You can choose to live.  Just as the Lord told his people,

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deut. 30:19 (NIV)

Live!  God loves you and will get you through the darkness.

If you would like to know more about God’s love for you, go to:  GodTest.com

Review: How to Survive Your Child’s Suicide

Review by Martha Bolton

REVIEW: How to Survive Your Child’s Suicide:  Steps to Heal the Hurt is available as a Kindle book, click HERE.

cHow to Survive5

As a mother who experienced the grief of her son’s suicide, Louisa Lanford shares her heart, her hurt, and her journey toward healing in her new ebook, How to Survive Your Child’s Suicide (Right to the Heart Publishers, 2013). In this moving account of her own experience,  Louisa Lanford provides hope for other hurting parents.

Healing is often found in forgiveness, but real forgiveness comes after first looking at the truth of a situation and then opting to forgive.  Louisa had a lot of truths to consider.  Her hurting son had chosen a path that may have, in his mind, ended his pain, but that unfortunate decision opened a world of hurt for those who loved him.  She needed to forgive her son.  Louisa found that she also needed to forgive her daughter-in-law who may or may not have inadvertently suggested that “he go ahead and do it.”  She needed to forgive her because if her daughter-in-law had said that, she would be dealing with unbelievable pain and guilt.  If she hadn’t said that, then she would be suffering from the pain of being misjudged.  And finally, Louisa needed to forgive herself and others around her son who sadly missed important signs of his escalating suicidal thoughts.

Needless to say, the path to forgiveness wasn’t an easy one for Louisa.

But she was determined that her son’s story wouldn’t end at his death. This author of How to Survive Your Child’s Suicide has taken her family’s painful tragedy and turned it around to help others on their own journey through grief, guilt and forgiveness.  She also wanted to send a wake up call to all of us to be keenly aware of the very real need to intervene when someone is so desperately hurting.

If you or someone you know has lost a loved one to suicide, or if you or someone you know is presently in the jaws of despair, this book will encourage you to do more than sit on the sidelines.

Or if you are the one who’s depressed, don’t sit on the sidelines of your own life.  Reach out and ask for help.  Call a pastor, friend,  or counselor, but let someone know how desperately you’re hurting.  You can get through these moments of despair.  Listen to the reasonable, caring voices in your life that don’t negate your past hurts or remind you of wrong choices you may have made in the past.  They won’t bully you into believing untruths about yourself.  Instead, they will encourage you to look beyond yesterday and today, and see your future.

To download the ebook, how to survive your child’s suicide, click HERE.

Hope and Encouragement from Hot Apple Cider

From N. J. Lindquist:

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

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

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

Be Still and Know by Glynis M. Belec:

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you okay?” she inquired.

“I have cancer.”

Silence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Learn more about Hot Apple Cider Books

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

New Normal: New Hope After Trials

By Jeenie Gordon:

This excerpt, written by Jeenie Gordon (licensed marriage and family therapist) was taken from Too Soon to Say Goodbye, Healing and Hope for the Suicide Victims and Survivors, and used by permission from New Hope Publishers.

Once you have gone through this gut-wrenching painful cycle, you will establish a ‘new normal.’ You will again feel hope.
Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: anekoho / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a therapist, I often tell my clients about the concept of “old normal versus new normal.”

Life has been going on in a normal manner – ups and downs, little annoyances, and joys – the usual stuff. Then disaster strikes and throws us smack dab in the middle of agonizing pain. During the time of mourning, we feel abnormal. Nothing makes sense, we don’t care about life. Nothing brings joy. Grief has us in a vise grip, with unyielding heavy chains surrounding our hearts and minds.

I have told many clients:

“If you weren’t feeling abnormal during this tragedy, then I’d worry about you. This is normal for what is currently happening in your life.

“Once you have gone through this gut-wrenching painful cycle, you will establish a ‘new normal.’ You will again feel hope, be able to laugh, and enjoy life. The old normal is gone forever, but a new one will replace it.

“A word of caution: There will always be residual pain the rest of your life. However, it will no longer control and suffocate you. Emotional health can and will be achieved and you will be able to deal with the residual hurt.”

God certainly has a purpose for us and for all the things that happen in our lives. However, we may never fully understand what those purposes are while we’re on earth. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to know, but we are probably incapable of understanding because of our limited, finite minds.

Consider a two-year-old who sticks a fork into an electrical outlet. The parent grabs it away, yet does not try to explain to the toddler the dangers of electricity. At that age he could not grasp the concept.

Perhaps God withholds the reason trauma has occurred in our lives, not because He wants to hide something from us, but because our minds are unable to comprehend. Someday, when we see Him in His majesty and glory, we will fully understand.

Life After a Failed Suicide Attempt

 

Angry because of a failed suicide attempt? There’s hope..

 

If you’ve survived a failed suicide attempt, you may be dealing with many emotions including anger; anger that you were left to continue to face your troubles.  But could it be that God is giving you a second chance; a chance to find hope?

That’s what Kristen Jane Anderson discovered after her failed suicide attempt.  You can listen to her tell about how she discovered hope and purpose, even after losing her legs the night she survived laying down on the railroad tracks in front of an oncoming train, and 33 freight train cars at 55 miles per hour ran over her.

A train took her legs–yet God gave her a new life. See Kristen Anderson’s interview on CBN about her failed suicide attempt:

 

You can visit Kristen’s website at Reaching You Ministries (www.reachingyouministries.com) See also Kristen’s book (with Tricia Goyer): Life, In Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice. The Random House Digital version can be read on Kindle or on a computer, via Kindle for PC.

Kristen became desperate due to grief over losing four friends–one to suicide–then her grandma, then trauma from rape by a friend. See our articles (try our site SEARCH) on dealing with grief, including the loss of teen friends, and on sexual assault/rape, for more help. However:

 If you are contemplating suicide at this moment, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you would like to know more about God, and how to start a relationship with him, go to www.Godtest.com.

If you’ve ever wondered if you would go to hell if you committed suicide, check out our article on the topic by clicking HERE. But also we hope you wonder, “What can God do with my life, if I choose to live?” Kristen is now not only glad to be alive–she is hoping to save others, with God at her side.

What Holds Your Hope?

By Deborah Lovett:

You CAN find hope.

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you came to our site because you are thinking about suicide today, allow me to ask you a very important question: What used to hold your hope?

Was it a person, a place you frequented, a drink, a drug, a child, a home?  Whatever it was, it must be gone now, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog and thinking about suicide.

Would you allow me to offer a suggestion during this profoundly discouraging time, where you are wondering if you can ever face life again as it used to be?

I know you are overwhelmed with life, and the life you once knew has exploded before your very own eyes for one reason or another.

I believe you can get your hope back. As a matter of fact, I know you can. You can move your heart from a place of torment to a place of peace, joy and even courage if you will just listen to what I have to say.

There is a God in heaven who has written your story. He is a God of hope, and of life not death. But there is an enemy who would like to rewrite God’s story and have it be one of discouragement and death. You can take the courageous story and believe that God can do the impossible in your life that you cannot see at this time. Or you can take the selfish, angry way out. You really do get to choose. But I caution you: for  to choose life you will have to call out, cry out, and rely on Jesus. You are used to relying on whatever it was that used to hold your hope that has dwindled before your very own eyes. God wants you to let Him be what and who and where you hold your hope.

This requires an eternal perspective that knows and has confident expectation that God has written your story and His grace can get you through to the other side of your current situation if you will sit long enough to believe in Him and that He guarantees you a future that will make your mess into a message of His love that holds your hope.

Victory really is possible if you believe. Death is the process of being defeated and that is not what God promises us.

Your hope cannot be in the size of your house, your bank account, your spouse, your friends, or your work. Your hope must be found in the Jesus who died for you, so that you could live a life free of shame and guilt and a lot of other miserable things.

It takes one step at a time. And the first step is to believe in this Jesus who died and rose again, to transfer this power to you so you could live victoriously and courageously.

Don’t give into your feelings today. Let your hope be found in God and let Him hold you until you know that you are in the palm of His Hand and He will never let you go. Hope is found in the empty tomb of Jesus Christ Himself, so call out His name, “JESUS”, for there is power and hope in His name. That is where you will find the hope to get you through this day.

Tomorrow read His Word, and Sunday go to church. Then find a Bible Study, and friends that will support you. Choose to believe and hope again your story isn’t finished yet.

If your lack of hope is linked to feelings of shame, see yesterday’s post:  Release from Shame. Also see another post by Deborah, mentioning having lost her own sister to suicide, in Thinking About Suicide? You are Loved.

Thinking About Suicide? You are Loved

By Deborah Lovett:

Joyce Meyers refers to it as Stinkin’ thinkin’. That is when you are thinking about suicide that steals the joy not only from yourself, but from those who love you.

Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy of your own soul saying you are ruined and unloved, and other various things that stand to destroy your life. Satan is a bluffer, and he does not get the last word!

That kind of thinking can eventually lead to suicide if it gets worse and is not stopped. Ask God to help you reverse your thought process by showing you some things you can be thankful for.  Turn on some praise music in order to start the reversal process right now.

If you can find a Bible you can find God. If you can find a phone and call the suicide hotline, you can find someone who wants to talk to you about your problems, which could be God’s intervention.

You see, in May 2008 my sister took her own life because she forgot she was loved by so many. She replayed the video of the lies of the enemy that reminded her she had lost everything: her children, her husband, her home, her job, and her reputation over and over.

That kind of stinkin’ thinkin’ can make you crazy. She had no idea of the aftershocks that would occur after she died. If she could have known how much we were to suffer because of losing her, I know she would never have wanted to hurt us that much. It has been like a tsunami whose waves of grief never end.

I don’t know why my sister made the horrible decision to give up, but I do know that God tried to get to her to stay by sending someone that offered to take her to church the same day. The lady said, “I knocked and she never answered.” My sister chose not to answer the door. There is always a choice.

If you are thinking about trying to take your own life, remember that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem that the devil wants you to believe is a permanent problem with no solution, which is actually a lie from the pit of hell. Yes, you may have problems, but believe me my God is in the miracle making business and the worst situations are not even a challenge for Him.

Take Jesus for example; they spit on him, whipped him, crucified him, and it looked absolutely hopeless. Yet three days later God raised him from the dead.

I know, I know, you are thinking but that was JESUS. Well, listen up: God does not play favorites. If you will give God three days of life, (we have been commanded not to murder) just three sunrises, I believe He will intervene in your life someway, somehow. All you need to do is listen, submit to His voice, and open the door when He knocks or sends someone to your door. Not sure you are hearing him? Give him another three days. And another!

You can  choose to not replay the video of darkness in your head over and over. As hard as it is to believe, you can choose to restart your life and begin to think about how God wants to actually bless you. Not only does He want to bless you, He has blessings waiting on you! You can begin by saying the name of Jesus, because the Word of God says there is POWER in the name of Jesus.

So if you are thinking about suicide, find God instead. Life, blessing, and a new life will follow if you will only believe and have the faith the size of a mustard seed.

I don’t know you, but I want you to know you are not alone. God is with you and I love you even though I have never met you. I really do!

You see, love is not based on what you do or don’t do. It is based on the command to love your neighbors just as Jesus loved us.

I am begging you not to hurt those you love, or yourself. Let the sun come up another day. Reach out, call someone, open a Bible, go to church, call your doctor, go to the hospital, do anything BUT stinkin’ thinkin’. The devil has taken enough from you already, don’t give him the satisfaction of your life too. God wants you to live and He has a purpose and plan for it. Just believe.

Help from God After Assault

By Karen Kosman:

Help from God After Assault

In 1956, when I was fourteen years old, I struggled against depression—one created by a traumatic event. While babysitting my younger sister and brothers, a stranger, with clever lies, gained access to our home.

Once he got me alone, he grabbed me from behind. At knife point he stole my innocence. The aftermath of rape resulted in Post Traumatic Syndrome: panic attacks, nightmares, and overwhelming guilt.  Finally, at the bottom of my depression pit I cried out, “God help me.”

Moments later, my mom called and said two detectives were waiting to talk with me. I’d had enough of interrogations—I wanted to be invisible.  Despondently, I entered the dining room. Then I heard a familiar voice. I found myself looking into the blue eyes of a police officer who had befriended me earlier that summer. I could hardly believe he’d been promoted and assigned to my case. “Karen,” Bill said, “this terrible thing is not your fault.”

Weeks later, during the trial, I struggled with fear every time my attacker looked at me with hate. “God help me,” I whispered in prayer over and over. During one recess, a woman approached and sat down next to me. She said, “I, too, am a victim of that man. You are a brave girl. Trust God and live your life.”

One weekend, while home alone, and in the throws of a panic attack I again cried out, “God help me.” Our doorbell rang, and looking through a peephole, I recognized my brother and sister’s Sunday school teacher.  When I opened the door he said, “I was passing by and suddenly felt I should stop and visit.” I knew God had answered yet another cry for help. The following Sunday I went to church and joined in with other teenagers. There is no doubt in my heart that God answered my cry for help. He helped me choose life.

Today, as a wife, mother, grandmother, and author, I am blessed.

Do you really believe that ending your life is the answer to your pain?  Have you heard the quote, “Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem?”

Make a commitment not to end your life. Instead cry out, “God help me!” Seek him and you will find help from God after assault, no matter how traumatic.

In this video, Emily Klotz shares her story of abduction, rape, God’s presence, and eventually the ability to forgive. (Note that the beginning of this video describes an assault in detail, but there is a message of hope.)

If you are experiencing post traumatic stress from a sexual assault, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE

Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

Many of our veterans are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and are in danger of losing their lives to suicide.  So, could it be that a wagging tail could help stem the tide of this heartbreaking loss of life?  Yes. Dogs help stop suicide in military veterans. According to Web MD, pets have the power to improve mood and to provide unconditional love.

Alan Entin, PhD, a psychologist in Richmond, Va is quoted in the Web MD article saying,

“Dogs, in particular, are always glad to see you,” he notes. “When you are feeling down and out, the puppy just starts licking you, being with you, saying with his eyes, ‘You are the greatest.’ When an animal is giving you that kind of attention, you can’t help but respond by improving your mood and playing with it.”

Entin added, “Having a pet takes the focus off the owner’s problems, Entin says, since having a pet is a commitment–you need to feed and care for the pet. “When people have a pet in the house, it forces them to take care of another life,” Entin says. With the focus outward, he says, the pet owner may not dwell on their depressed mood as much.”

Vets adopting pets is a great solution for the animals too as 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year, simply because they need a home.

To see the power of a dog in a vet’s life, check out the video below:

Video of How Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

Pets can be found in shelters and can even be what the doctor orders via prescription.  Also organizations exists, like Pets for Vets, to help military veterans reclaim normalcy in their lives through companion dogs.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a vet who is depressed or in danger of harming yourself or others, contact Veteran’s Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

See related article, Finding God Through Your Dog from Finding God Daily. 

How to Stop Discouragement

By Pat Ennis

Discouragement, extracted from the Greek word athumeo, means to be disheartened, dispirited, and discouraged.  It frequently occurs when expectations are unfulfillment by hoping for impractical outcomes or anticipating unrealistic relationships. The greater the gap between hope and fulfillment, the greater the potential for discouragement and anger. An analysis of the prophet Elijah’s life (1 Kings 19:1-22; 2 Kings 2:1-10) provides us with biblical guidelines that shows us how to stop discouragement.     

Elijah faced off with 450 false prophets of Baal and though he emerged a victor (1 Kings 18:18-46), Queen Jezebel did not share his enthusiasm.  In fact, she was furious (1 Kings 19:1-2)! Instead of surrendering, as Elijah had expected, she issued an ultimatum, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time” (1 Kings 19:3).

Elijah’s response is what I call the Elijah Effect:

  • Fear! (1 Kings 19:1-2).
  • Running away from his problems (1 Kings 19:3).
  • Thinking negative thoughts instead of meditating on God’s faithfulness (1 Kings 19:4).
  • Emotional and physical fatigue (1 Kings 19:5-9).
  • False expectations and unrealistic attitudes regarding the responsibilities God called him to assume (1 Kings 19:10).
  • And then the big one – self-pity (1 Kings 19:14).

If you find yourself caught in the downward spiral of Elijah Effect , try:

  • Resting and relaxing (1 Kings 19:5-9).
  • Focusing on communion with (talking to) God (1 Kings 19:9-13).
  • Using the Word of God as a sword to fight the source of discouragement, Satan (Ephesians 6:17).
  • After a season of rest, resume your activity so that you are  not ‘soaking and souring’ (1 Kings 19:15-18).
  • Allowing friends to minister to you (Proverbs 17:17).

As you consider Elijah’s life, you will see how to stop discouragement when faced with difficult circumstances so you can follow God into a brighter tomorrow.

If you need some encouragement, watch this video of Donnie McClurkin singing Days of Elijah: