Refocus Thoughts When Thinking About Suicide

By PeggySue Wells:

When unhealthy thoughts persist, including thinking about suicide, refocusing can help.

 

U.S. Navy Seawolf Submarine, Thinking About Suicide

When a friend’s thoughts dive deep into wrong places,  including thinking about suicide, can you help them periscope up and refocus? Wisdom from the Bible helps.

 

Mary’s husband was the captain of a nuclear submarine. Deployed, the sub would be under the water for six months at a stretch. Their only communication was an occasional message he could receive via transmission when the ship surfaced.

Much like current Twitter counts, the captain’s wife was allowed a limited number of characters for the brief one-way communication she could send.

While Mary carefully considered how to spend each character, this particular opportunity weighed heavy on her heart. During her morning quiet time, she prayed that God would guide as she constructed her communication. Then she wrote:

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7a KJV).

Months later the ship docked and the couple were reunited. Adding her husband’s clothes to the laundry, she discovered a worn and tired slip of paper in a pocket. It was the verse she had wired those months ago.

“I kept it with me for a long time,” he explained. “I had made a decision I was not feeling good about. The more I thought on it, and mentally beat myself up, the more depressed I got. Daily, those words reminded me to choose different thought patterns.”

Do you have someone in your life that seems to focus conversation toward the negative? Is the trail leading them to thinking about suicide? Here are some tips:

1)   De-escalate. Move the conversation to be more about something they want to work on, or improve. Help them find and list the positives in their life.

2)    Give tangible suggestions and encourage your friend to try them. For example, how about journaling, writing out scripture, and volunteering in the community.

3)    Help them focus on one thing, rather than grouping all the problems into an overwhelming tsunami. What is the one aspect that is the most concerning?

4)    How can your friend help others in a similar situation?

The truth is that life looks plenty dark under the shadow of regret, sorrow, grief, and an overpowering number of problems. It is also true that God is greater than our griefs and cares.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Like Mary did for her husband, we can help those who are struggling to channel their thoughts in a healthy direction.

PeggySue Wells is an author books helpful to those who are struggling, including What To Do When You Don’t Want to Go to Church, What to Do When You’re Scared to Death, and Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After.

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. 

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:

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.

Chat, Listen, Love: Video and Texting for Suicide Prevention

By PeggySue Wells:

Learn about Remedy.fm, a Christian broadcast ministry using video and texting for suicide prevention.

Ask for help

“In our six years, we helped prevent 70 suicide attempts,” said Clinton Faupel, director of Remedy.fm.

We chat, we listen, we love is the motto for this web based broadcast ministry that produces on-demand video and radio content based on a Biblical worldview. Heard in 176 countries, Remedy encourages young adults to live on purpose and not by accident.

“Teens are hurting.” According to Faupel nearly 5,000 teens and young adults in America commit suicide each year. Correspondingly 26 percent of teens have consumed alcohol, 20 percent engaged in sexting, and one in three struggle with pornography.

How powerful is the internet as a touch point for teens who are thinking about suicide? Every week, 60 percent of teens spend 20 or more hours on the internet. When someone needs to connect, Remedy wants to be there.

“We have 60 volunteer soulmedics available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to chat and pray with anyone via text, live chat, or email,” Faupel noted. In the past year Remedy has engaged 168,058 chats with teens who could share their struggles anonymously and get help right away.

Are you having thoughts of suicide? Being bullied? Are you practicing self-harming behaviors? Hurting because your parents are divorced? Need relationship advice? Remedy is a text away. Faupel said, “We offer hope in the midst of hurting.”

Contact Remedy at www.RemedyLive.com. If you are thinking about suicide and need to talk, text “Remedy” to 313131.

Click on this link for a message to you from Remedy.fm

http://bit.ly/18s6Ilu

            PeggySue Wells is the author of more than a dozen books and serves as a soulmedic for Remedy.fm.

How to Comfort a Friend After a Suicide Loss

By PeggySue Wells:

When someone loses a loved one to suicide, what do I say?

How can I be the hands of Jesus to comfort a friend who has suffered such a terrible loss?

 

Image from zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to Comfort a Friend After a Suicide Loss

In times of deep grief, I have found that hope is more important than advice. Job said it this way,

“Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me? A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends,” (Job 6:12 – 14 NIV).

During those dark hours, Jesus calls us not to be experts, but to come alongside and provide enCOURAGEment.

“A friend sent flowers on that first sad Mother’s Day after my child died,” my Sunday school teacher said. “I felt loved and understood.”

Another grieving mother said,

“After the loss of my son, some people felt awkward when they saw me and turned away. I appreciated those who hugged me and said, ‘I’m praying for you.’”

Trusting God when we least understand is faith in action. Gentle comfort is given by those that put their arms around hurting people and say,

“I don’t understand either. But I love you and I am here to go through this with you.”

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) promises, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One man said,

“I was comforted by those who walked with me in the church parking lot, who sat with me so I wouldn’t be alone in my regular pew, and who invited me to lunch on an otherwise lonely weekend afternoon.”

Time doesn’t heal the wounds of someone who has had to say good-by to a loved one. Time merely teaches us to live with that oversized, gaping hole in our life and heart. We can walk beside another through the journey of grief.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 (NIV) says, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

The first year after the loss of someone special is especially difficult. Holidays are a merciless reminder that life is forever altered. Comfort your grieving friend with flowers, a note, or a memorial gift in their loved one’s name on Valentines Day, Easter, Mother’s or Father’s Day, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Soothe the sorrow of the anniversary date that marks the loss with a phone call to say, “I’m remembering you today.”

Called to mirror Jesus Christ by being His hands to a hurting world, we help others by seeing and empathizing with their pain. God consoles us so we can show compassion to others.

For additional information on coming alongside someone experiencing loss and grief, read What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Say (Bethany House) and An Early Journey Home (Discovery House).

When Suicide Seems Like the Only Option

By PeggySue Wells:

When suicide seems like the only option, having someone walk with you through your struggles can give you hope for the future.

Many have been where you are now, survived, then thrived. Ask for help! Your struggles can also teach you how to encourage others.

 

Life preserver image by cbenjasuwan FDP net

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seasons of famine in our lives can be caused by broken relationships, financial struggles, or by periods of severe stress. For my friend it was all three at the same time.

Here is his experience:

“Through my own poor behavior choices, I lost my job, my house, and my wife.  Going through that loss brought me to the brink of suicide. I didn’t see any other option. But my mother faithfully drove out to spend time with me every weekend for four months. She had little money but she always treated me to a meal, movie, or shopping trip. She sacrificed her own needs for mine. If it were not for my mom, I wouldn’t be here today. She was lifeline when I was drowning in despair. When I was thinking about suicide, she showed me how to live again.

“From her example, I learned to look for the signs of depression in others and give a little of my time to be with that person. Going through that dark tunnel of hopelessness is brighter when someone shares the journey.”

“When helping someone, it is more important to bring hope than to be an expert.” Pat Palau (Breast cancer survivor)

When suicide seems like the only option–you feel you have lost everything–all is NOT lost. You still have help you can give others, and you don’t know the future God has in store for you.  Don’t cut that short!

If you are feeling desperate, be sure to share that with someone who can walk you through your journey. Tell them you are currently not seeing hope at the end of the tunnel, and ask directly for prayer and encouragement. Don’t assume they will know how desperate you feel unless you tell them. They too may have been through very difficult times in the past and be able to encourage you. You can even share your own story in a comment here, and our volunteers will definitely pray for you and reply in additional comments here on this site.

See also:

New Normal: New Hope After Trials

A Successful Suicide Prevention Story

 

Long-term Depression and Thoughts of Suicide

By PeggySue Wells:

Do you struggle with long-term depression and at times feel insignificant?

God says you are significant AND valuable.

Stock Image by David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock Image by David Castillo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 this experience.

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.

 

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,[a] 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

 ©PeggySue Wells. Peggy writes about coping with difficult issues in books including What To Do When You’re Scared To Death, and Rediscovering Your Happily Ever After. www.PeggySueWells.com

Treatment for Depression; Seasonal Affective Disorder and Nutritional Deficits

By PeggySue Wells:

Treatment for depression should include addressing nutritional deficits. Also, Seasonal Affective Disorder causes depression in some.

 

Doctor Writing On Clipboard by stockimages

Image from stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Feeling depressed? Having suicidal thoughts?

According to Dr. Michael Lyles, doctor of psychiatry and neurology at Crawford and Lyles in Georgia, these feelings and thoughts may be symptomatic of physical conditions that are easily remedied.

Our bodies send messages to alert us when something in our system is off balance. Depression can be the symptom of several treatable conditions including:

  • Lack of magnesium
  • Low levels of vitamin B
  • Not enough vitamin D
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Testosterone below normal levels
  • Iron deficiency
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Poor diet 

Additionally, feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide may be a symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Certainly feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide may be exactly that. A simple step forward is to ask your doctor for a blood test that will quickly show deficiencies and treatment can begin immediately. Correcting these conditions may be all that is necessary.

If your feelings of depression and thoughts of suicide remain, your doctor can help you find additional help.

Don’t wait.

To listen to Lynne Ford interview Dr. Michael Lyles about causes of depression and treatment for depression,  click  HERE.

In that interview (especially the last 3/4 of the interview) Dr. Lyles addresses Seasonal Affective Disorder, nutrition deficits, depression in pregnancy, medication interactions, stress and other causes. He also discusses reluctance in Christians to seek out help for depression and how to find help.

Where Do I Fit In?

By PeggySue Wells:

Do you ever wonder, Where do I fit in? Please know that you do belong in this world, and there is a place for you.

 

Image courtesy of dream design / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of dream design / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Humans have the fundamental need to fit in and to feel significant, according to counselor Dr. Tom Dettmer.

When these two needs are not met for a lengthy amount of time, individuals can begin to struggle with their identity. Feeling isolated can lead to despair and that can digress into thinking about suicide.

The good news is that even when we don’t feel like it, each of us is deeply loved by God. We are assured of this through the truth that Christ came and lived among us and went to the cross, and after three days rose from the dead to provide forgiveness and eternal life for all of us. You are that important.

If you are thinking about suicide:

1)    Call the suicide hotline at 1-800-784-2433

2)    Talk to your doctor

3)    Talk to a pastor or youth group leader

Church is a place to connect and belong. To fit in and feel significant. Regular teaching from the Bible provides assurance that you are valuable. You are here for a reason. Come and see.

If you are not sure about how to get started in finding a church that would be a good fit for you, click here: How to Find a Church. But no matter where you are, if wondering, Where do I fit in? know that God loves you in a way that is a perfect fit.