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.