Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts by Helping Others

By Karen O’Connor:

Image from Wikipedia: US Navy members serving the homeless at Dorothy’s Soup Kitchen, Salinas CA

Years ago following my divorce from my then husband, I felt lonely and despondent, wondering what happened to me. How could my husband have fallen into the arms of someone else and so carelessly discarded our three children and me? For months, life did not seem worth living—until I responded to an invitation to serve a holiday meal in a soup kitchen at the local rescue mission. I was to find out that helping others can help overcome suicidal thoughts.

I remember worrying about even driving into the neighborhood where the facility was located. But I knew I had to do something to take my mind off myself and my problems. So I signed up. When I arrived I was jarred into reality. Homeless people were lined up outside the building and others sat with head in hands along the curb. I had so much to live for compared to these poor souls.

I walked in with our team, pulled an apron off the hook and tied it around my waist, then took my place behind the buffet line. A woman with blond hair stood beside me. She told me a little of her story as we dished up the food and drinks and smiled at the grateful men and women who slid their trays down the rack.

“I used to be one of them,” she said. “I stood in this very line, until I realized I’d never get out of my pit unless I did something for someone else.” She said God worked in her heart when she least expected it.

. . . if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday (Isaiah 58:10, NIV Bible).

My new friend learned, as I learned that day, that one way to overcome suicidal thoughts is by helping others.

Check out this excellent YouTube video on the Santa Clarita Food Pantry program.

Grief Plus Exhaustion May Increase Suicidal Thoughts

By Dianne E. Butts:

 Grief Plus Exhaustion: Lesson 1 in 10 Things I’ve Learned About Grief.


I’m not a professional counselor. I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. But I know grief. I’ve learned a bit about grief through my own experiences. I’ve learned grieving takes an extraordinary amount of energy and therefore grief can make you tired. And when you’re tired, a lot of thoughts can sneak into your mind. And so I know that after losing a loved one to death, feeling grief  plus exhaustion may increase suicidal thoughts.

I’m sure you’re wondering how I know all this. I was thirteen when my parents filed for divorce and shortly after that my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Living alone, due to the divorce, he endured major surgery all by himself, but I wouldn’t say he ever really recovered. He hung on for more than a year, but cancer slowly took him. I was fifteen when he died.

After I graduated from high school, my brother, who was in the Marines, came home just in time for my eighteenth birthday. We had a grand time on my birthday—going dancing and riding motorcycles all night long. The next day he was riding his Harley and was hit by a drunk driver. He died within minutes.

Around the same time I lost two grandparents.

Yeah, I know grief.

What I know of grief due to the death of a loved one I learned through personal experience. After sorting through all that, I made a short list of ten things I’ve learned about grief.

Through my first ten posts on this blog, I’m planning to share with you those ten things I’ve learned about grief in the hope that it will help you and encourage you and lift you up. You see, I know that when bad things in life get you down, often you get a few extra kicks. Then it’s easy to want to give up. That’s when suicidal thoughts can begin to edge their way into our thinking.

But life isn’t bad. Life is good. And if you know some of the tricks the bad things in life try to use to keep you down, then it’s easier to not let the bad win. You can battle back—and find the will to do so even if you don’t feel it now.

I will be sharing 10 Things About Grief with you at this blog, thinkingaboutsuicide.com. Here’s the first thing I’ve learned:

#1: Grief takes a surprising amount of physical energy. Dealing with intense emotions can drain our strength. You may need more than the usual amount of rest for a while.

To lift you up, InTouch Ministries provides a list of “God’s Promises” for those in Grief.

One way to battle back to the good side of life: get some rest. Remember everything looks darker when we’re tired. That’s why feeling grief plus exhaustion may increase suicidal thoughts.

Here’s a video on YouTube that may be a comfort to you: