Suicide Loss Book Translated into Polish (Too Soon to Say Goodbye)

News from our blog writers: the book  Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide by Susan Titus Osborn, Karen L. Kosman, and  Jeenie Gordon has been translated into Polish, and  has also been featured in a Polish magazine.

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Here is Susan’s Q&A with the editor of the Polish magazine, in English:

Questions on the topic of suicide: (Pytania do tematu: SAMOBÓJSTWO)

How does the Christianity approach the issue/topic of suicide? (Wjaki sposób chrześcijaństwo podchodzi do tematu samobójstwa?)

Already in this new century there have been more than 5 million suicide deaths worldwide. Each year approximately one million people in the world die by suicide. This toll is higher than the total number of world deaths each year from war and homicide combined. Suicide is an important public health problem in many countries, and is a leading cause of death amongst teenagers and young adults.  In addition, it is estimated that there are from 10-20 times as many suicide attempts as suicide deaths.

Sadly, suicide seems to carry a stigma with it.  Often people don’t know what to say to someone who seems depressed, and in the aftermath of a suicide they often don’t know how to comfort and help those left behind. However, as Christians it is important to try to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

A terrible misconception is that those who take their own lives will go to hell. There is no biblical basis for this wrong idea, and those who are left behind need to be made aware of this.

Does the Christian community pressure people who struggle with suicide thoughts?  (Czy chrześcijańska społeczność wywiera presję na osoby zmagające się z myślami samobójczymi?)

No, they try to get at the root of the problem and see what is causing the person to be suicidal. The individual may be depressed, may have a chemical imbalance, or may not be able to handle certain problems or circumstances.  Often professional help is needed to help the person, and those close to them should make sure they seek this help and follow through.

Why do people try to take off their lives? What pushes them to it? (Dlaczego ludzie targają się na swoje życie? Co ich do tego popycha?)

It is said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Often the decision to take one’s own life is a momentary, emotional decision made in a split second.  It may be fueled by circumstances such as the loss of a job, a divorce, or serious health issues.

What should we do when someone is trying to take the life off himself? (Co robić gdy członek rodziny próbuje targać się na swoje życie?)

First, if someone you know appears to be depressed and is contemplating suicide, take that person seriously. Listen to what they say. Take the initiative to ask that person what they are planning, but don’t argue with them. Rather, let the person know that you are listening, you care, and you want to understand them.

Encourage a suicidal or depressed person to seek the help of a mental health professional. Because the person feel so hopeless that they may not think it’s possible to be helped, you’ll probably have to be persistent and go with that person.

If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave them alone! Remove any weapons or drugs within their reach.  Also suggest that they seek the help of a pastor, a professional counselor, or a psychologist. [Are there hotlines in Poland they can call?]

During treatment, be supportive. Help the person remember to take antidepressants or other prescribed medications and to continue any other therapy that’s been prescribed.

Does compassion takes a big role In the process of healing the depression or bipolar disorder? (Czy współczucie odgrywa ważną rolę w procesie leczenia depresji lub choroby dwubiegunowej?)

The best solution is a combination of compassion and professional help that may require medication.  Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

People who reach out to those who are hurting are “God’s angels on earth with skin on.”  Sadly, many people with bipolar disorder and clinical depression take their own lives.  Those who are suicidal need to be under the care of a physician or psychiatrist to obtain the proper medicines that can help them.

What is the difference between the professional secular and Christian help (regarding suicide and depression? (Jaka jest różnica między profesjonalną pomocą świecką a chrześcijańską?)

Both Christian and secular professionals can listen and give excellent advice. If they are medical doctors, they can prescribe medication that can help. However, only Christian professionals can offer the hope that Christ brings.  They can suggest the person pray the following prayer:  Jesus, I’m hurting and want to have a personal relationship with You. I ask that You forgive me for all my sin and cleanse me. Please come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. I give You control and ask You to guide and protect me through the difficult days ahead. Please bestow on me the peace that only You can give. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

What are the crimson tears? (Co to są szkarłatne łzy?) p. 148 in English;   174 in Polish

“The crimson tears” represent a teenager’s struggle with depression, pain, and addiction to a point where she was suicidal and cutting herself.  A story in the book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye, tells Kallie’s story of ending up in a mental hospital at age 15 after attempting to take her life.  God healed her in that hospital, and now her desire is to help other teens who are suffering from addictions and depression.  In her words, she wants them to “receive restoration—the crimson tears can stop—but only with the love and the life that Christ provides.”

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old in the US. Among young people aged 10-14 years, the rate has doubled in the last two decades.

How does the environment react to depression? (Jak otoczenie reaguje na depresję?)

Depression is often misunderstood by society, and the public’s reaction hurts the person who is depressed more than helping them.  People say things like, “You’ll get over it in time,” or ‘Just get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be fine.” However, clinical depression cannot so easily be dismissed. Those who are suffering need profession help and often medication to recover.

Is the depression caused by demons? (Czy depresję wywołują demony?)

As in the case of Kallie’s story, as well as many other stories in Too Soon to Say Goodbye, demons can seem real to people suffering from clinical depression.  However, experts say the demons are more likely caused by a psychological disorder than by Satan. Nevertheless, it is important we never underestimate the power of Satan!  Kallie literally heard voices in her head tearing her down and encouraging her to take pills and cut herself.  Then one day she heard a calmer voice, asking her to turn to God. She cried out, “O God, I need help so desperately. Please, transform me…. Please, God, I just want to feel alive.”

Can just the prayer help in depression? (Czy sama modlitwa potrafi pomóc w depresji?)

Prayer is a wonderful place to start. When we turn to God, He listens. However he also speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, and He reaches us through other Christians, who may be family members, friends, pastors, professional counselors, or medical doctors.  Once again in Kallie’s words, “God furnishes something tremendous. He is able to resuscitate broken souls and create wholeness. His love is not a temporary high but resides permanently inside you.”

My prayer is that all the Kallies of the world can find hope, peace, and a will to live through developing a personal relationship with God.

Publisher’s Note and Warning:  We believe people who trust in God, through Jesus will go to heaven when they die.  If you are wondering if you know how to trust God in this way, please take our test at www.GodTest.com.  If you are suicidal, we advise you to give God a chance to help you through your pain, by trusting even your pain to him.

For more help, please see our articles:

Will I Go to Hell if I Commit Suicide  http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com/will-i-go-to-hell-if-i-commit-suicide/

Our Posts for the Depressed and Suicidal  http://thinkingaboutsuicide.com/our-posts-for-the-depressed-and-suicidal/

With this suicide loss book translated into Polish we hope healing and help is found. Our prayers go out to those now reading this helpful book in Polish.

Stop the Pain: Doesn’t God Understand Physical Pain?

By Lisa Copen

God does understand how you feel when you want the pain to stop.

 

Physical pain is one of the most difficult things I believe any human being can cope with. Over seventy percent of suicides are said to have been because of physical pain.* And as far back as Biblical times, even the greatest burden God allowed Job to be given by Satan–the one that hurt the most– was boils on his skin (Job 2:7).

Many people have heard the story about how Jesus went up to the desert for forty days and fasted and prayed and Satan showed up for a bit with a few temptations (Luke 4:1-2). It is easy to start interpreting this time as some kind of endurance test; the challenge Jesus takes can sound more like someone we might see on a combined show of “The Biggest Loser” meets “The Amazing Race.”

When we cry out–literally–day after day, asking God to please stop the pain, it can be easy to question, does God really understand what long-term physical pain is like?

Look more closely at this scripture, “for forty days He was tempted by the devil.” Forty days! Satan was hanging around many hours–every day. Just a snippet of conversation is in the Bible between Satan and Jesus, but I would imagine their many words between each other could easily have filled an entire book on its own.

And yes, Jesus is God, but sitting on that mountain side He was also fully human. Verse 2 says, “He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Hungry, just like you or I would be.

He didn’t fast as a human being, but then make His stomach feel all full as God had the power to do. He was hungry for food, tired, I am sure His back hurt, perhaps he suffered from a sunburn, yet was freezing cold at night. His stomach was growling and He thirsty. I am sure He dealt with great physical pain and kept His eyes out for scorpions. It was likely the weakest He had ever been in His lifetime, and this is when Satan kept appearing and trying to entice Him to make Himself more comfortable.

And when the forty days was up, Satan gave up, right? Nope. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)

Physical pain is weakening. It weakens our body, our ability to process information in our brain, and it is can tarnish the sparkle in our relationship with Christ. Jesus has walked in your shoes. I know some days it doesn’t feel like it, but don’t base your reality on your feelings. Believe God truly does understand.

It can be easy to become bitter when it feels like no one understands your pain, but there is no situation, no feeling, that we will encounter that someone in the Bible has not already experienced. And God always understands.

I hope the video below, song by Phil Wickham, reminds you of just how much God does hear your pleas for relief and cares about you. Many who are suicidal have shared that this song came on the radio just when they need reminded that God still had a plan for their life.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

* Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: “Suicide in the medical patient.”. Intl J Psych in Med 17:3-22, 1987

Why Not End My Life If I Have Nothing Left to Give?

By Lisa Copen

“I am exhausted. I am in so much pain. No one knows how hard it is to just get through each day. I am of no value to anyone. . . Why choose to live?

Have you ever felt that way? It can be hard to see value in life when you don’t feel productive, but even when we don’t have a list of accomplishments, we are still cherished by God. And you never know how your situation may actually be encouraging someone when you don’t even realize it.

When my grandfather was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease, my grandmother basically couldn’t see the need for him to keep living. She was–coldly–ready to move on and felt like he was holding her back. As she complained about him for the umpteenth time I looked her firmly in the eye and spoke my mind.

“Grandma, he may not know what is going on, but he is joyful. Every day, every single person that comes into his room has their day brightened by his joy. They love him. You don’t know what those people may have been going through. A nurse could have been beaten by her spouse last night; an attendant may be losing his own father to this disease but he lives across the country and he can’t be with him. Grandpa may be the only person in their life who makes them smile. You don’t know how God is still using him.”

I am not certain she understood. But even as I said the words, I realized just how true they were. Even while he was suffering and not completely aware of who people were, he radiated joy and passed that on.

I have heard the saying, “It all works out in the end and if it has not worked out, then it is not the end.” Perhaps you have asked, “Why choose to live when I have nothing left to give?” Maybe you wonder if you are of use because of your disabilities, mental health challenges, financial struggles, etc. But whatever it is, these are just your circumstances–not you.

We all have something to give, even though some days we can only give our tears. What? How can crying help someone? Each day I see people who are discouraged and downtrodden who live with physical chronic pain, and even as they share their discouragement, their needs, their depression, others step up and encourage them. Not only do people who woke up feeling useless feel needed, they also have their own sufferings validated.

Yes, inspirational, encouraging videos and words are always welcome, but some days we just need to know that someone else is suffering too and and it is not all rainbows and smiley faces. We are all in this thing called life together. You are always valuable to the Lord, but your willingness to be vulnerable, to share the real you, can make you vessel to reach someone else who feels unneeded, when no one else can.

In 2011, following a discouraging appointment with my rheumatologist and frustrated with the circumstances of my illness, I came home and made a “real” video. Instead of my typical “Latte with Lisa” this one was called “Lisa: Unfiltered“. . . And I cried. If you feel up to seeing a gal fall apart, but still see God in it, you may want to take a listen. It’s not pretty, but it is honest.

To date, this is the highest watched video I have ever done, but even as I pressed that publish button I wondered, “what have I done?” What I had done was just allow people to see me–the real me that gets discouraged sometimes like everyone else. If you ever wonder if your tears can encourage someone else, this video may help you see how that happens.

You may think: Why not end my life if I have nothing left to give? But that’s not true: your life itself is a gift, and there is hope.

Your life has value because you are you. Suicide is never the answer. You don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to have it all together, you don’t need to be happy-go-lucky all the time. God loves you. . . just the way you are.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

Fight Thoughts Of Suicide With One Random Act of Kindness

By: Lisa Copen:

Experiencing that rock-bottom depression and pain–both physical and emotional–can quickly convince you that there is nothing worth getting out of bed for one more morning. You may even be wondering if you should keep fighting those thoughts of suicide, or if it is finally time to just give in. Perhaps you are tired of fighting and don’t see any purpose in your life today.

In my ministry with the chronically ill, I hear from so many people share about the loneliness and isolation they experience. And they often point out how no one calls them anymore, their church has forgotten them, co-workers from previous jobs have moved on.

Even the smallest of ways that a person reaches out to someone, however, can increase the effectiveness of her own immune system and how she wraps her brain around things.

According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation many studies have found scientific health benefits to doing an act of kindness, even for someone you have never met before.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that impacts our mood, and an ingredient in most anti-depressants. And when you do something nice for someone, your serotonin gets a boost.

It may come as no surprise to you that when someone does something nice for you, it increases your serotonin. But did you know it also gets a boost when you are the one who does something nice for someone else? And get this! A random act of kindness also boosts the serotonin level of the people who are watching this kindness take place!

Everyone wants to matter, to be seen, to have someone offer a tiny bit of kindness. And when their so-called friends and loved ones are not there to offer any hope for the future, you–yes, you may actually be the person to offer it. Don’t doubt that God can do something amazing through you. Every person He has ever called upon had a long list of ways to improve.

So take a deep breath and give yourself this small little motivator today. Do something nice for someone. You will feel a little rush of joy, the recipient will get a boost too, and so will anyone else who happens to be observing. You may not only save your life; your actions may encourage someone else to not take her life.

Need some ideas? Here are some easy, inexpensive random acts of kindness you can do today.

  • Hold the door open for a few people, not just the person beside you
  • Stick a few quarters in a parking meter
  • Carry a box for someone at the post office, or help someone put grocery bags into her car
  • Print out a funny cartoon and mail it to a friend with a short note
  • Write a corny love note or short poem for your spouse
  • Leave sticky notes in public places with an inspirational quote
  • Offer to return a shopping cart for someone parked in a disabled spot
  • Keep granola bars and bottles of water in your car to give to the homeless
  • Tell a tele-marker you know how tough their job is and if they can do this they can do anything
  • Get helium-filled balloons at the dollar store and take them to people who need cheered up

You can find more ideas for random acts of kindness here at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation web site where they have hundreds listed.

If you need a motivator, this video shares music by Jill Scott with some things to remember when it comes to those acts of kindness.

Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization, Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.

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Why Bother Living When Facing a Serious Infection?

By Lisa Copen:

When you cope with health problems, you hold on and fight to stay positive, but there are days when you can easily wonder, “Why bother living when I am facing the pain of a serious infection?”

It was the seventh day of being hospitalized with the flesh eating bacteria and I felt so alone. The couple of people who had visited were friends my husband had emailed or called and pleaded that they stop by to say hello, since the original announcement of my hospitalization had not resulted in any visitors or calls.

Sitting there feeling so alone, I refused to cry. If I started, I knew the tears wouldn’t stop. My husband had to work. My mom was flying to town to help once I was released from the hospital, but now I had to have the big, painful procedure of debriding the dead skin that had turned black on my ankle.

I may live with painful rheumatoid arthritis daily, but the truth is, I am a wimp when it comes to painful procedures where I have no control over someone else’s actions.

The nurse came in and helped the surgeon prepare, and then she grabbed my hand. “I know it is scary, honey, but I am not going anywhere. I will be here the entire time and hold your hand. Squeeze if hurts. Just pretend I am your mom.”

I squeezed when the pain of the procedure became unbearable and tears flowed down my cheeks without a sound, but having that hand to hold made the difference.

So often we feel like life is just not worth living anymore and it is not unusual when you are dealing with a serious infection or illness to have suicidal thoughts. If we have to go through the tough times alone, and the people who know us and love us cannot even be here, why bother hanging on? When you live with daily chronic pain and then additional infections threaten to take your life, why not just give in and end the pain?

Because someone will hold your hand. Pray for a hand to hold, whether it be a stranger or a best friend. In Genesis 21:17 we read that when the fourteen-year-old Ishmael cried, God heard him and sent His angel to tell his mother, “Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand. . .”

And those times when no one appears? God is there to hold your hand.

When you see someone who is hurting, ask them if you can take their hand in some way. You may find purpose in your life today by just holding the door open for one who is struggling, taking a box into the post office for one who is in need. Lift someone up by taking your hand and offering it to someone in need. You may never know the difference you have made. They may have been wondering that very day, “Why bother living?” and you have let them know there is hope.

This song below, “Hold Her Hands,” is written by Carolynn Grace who shares, “I wrote this song about a close friend of mine who went through a stage of depression, but God pulled her through. He is always faithful and his love never fails.”

nEIPoV-eU-U

 Lisa Copen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for nineteen years, and has found purpose in her pain by reaching out to others with chronic illness. Her organization,  Rest Ministries, serves those with chronic illness or pain through daily devotionals and other programs.