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

The Choice: Become an Overcomer

The Choice
by N.J. Lindquist

Sometimes we feel small.

Sometimes we feel small.

I’ve often wondered why two people can experience similar circumstances and emerge totally different.

No one ever goes through exactly the same experience as another person. No one knows, for sure, how another person feels or thinks. Two people with very similar stories and vastly different outcomes. One person becomes an overcomer and an inspiration. Another person may continue to live focused on the past or tune out through suicide, drugs, or another method.

A past blog post video shares about a mother’s inability to handle life after divorce, which eventually led to her suicide. As a teenager, her daughter realized she could follow in her mother’s footsteps or find a new and better life. She chose the life, but many people would have chosen the former. Why?

Recently, I blogged about baseball pitcher R. A. Dickey, who was abused as a child, but eventually dealt with the abuse and shame. Now he helps others. Many people in similar situations have lost their lives, whether literally or figuratively, because they were unable to handle the pain of dealing with the past.

Where I’m going with this?

I read a book by Sue Grafton, New York Times bestselling author of the Kinsey Millhone mysteries (A is for Alibi, etc.).

I knew very little about Sue, other than she divides her time between California and Kentucky, and she once wrote screenplays for movies. I’ve seen her in person at mystery cons and even shared a bathroom once. (No, I didn’t slide a manuscript under the door of her stall or accost her with a barrage of questions while washing our hands at the sink. Yes, she seemed nice.)

The book I’d found in our local library was called Kinsey and Me: stories. The introduction said the first two-third of the book contained mystery stories with Kinsey in them. The stories in the last third of the book, however, were about Sue Grafton. They were written in the 10 years after her mother’s death, long before she began writing her mysteries.

I enjoyed reading Kinsey’s mystery stories. Then I came to page 205.

The stories were very different, rather literary, dealing with the memories of a young Sue who grew up in a sadly dysfunctional home. Nothing like the mysteries. But compelling.

I discovered why Sue’s protagonist, Kinsey Millhone’s parents die when she was five. In real life, Sue grew up with alcoholic parents after her dad’s two-year stint in the army — when Sue was five. Her dad was a functioning alcoholic, and her mother non-functioning and occasionally suicidal. Sue and her older sister basically raised themselves. They also looked out for their mother, who was only occasionally a “normal” parent.

Sue married at 18, had a baby, then divorced. When Sue was 20, her mother committed suicide.

The short stories were written in the decade after her mother’s death. Sue says she wrote them as “my way of coming to terms with my grief for her.” (p. 209) Sue remarried twice before she found her present husband.

A couple of thoughts that stood out to me.

“I wish life could be edited as deftly as prose.” (p. xvii.)

So true. Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to go back and rewrite the story of his or her life, erasing all the pain, making everyone kind and everything positive? But we can’t go back. We have to learn from the past instead. Forgive, and ask forgiveness. Forge on, trying to write a better storyline into our future.

“Wisdom comes at a price, and I have paid dearly for mine.” (p. xvii.) So many have paid dearly for their wisdom, and yet not all make use of that wisdom.

As I closed the book, I still don’t know why some people are able to overcome the past and others aren’t. I just know Sue Grafton is an overcomer. It wasn’t easy. She spent years dealing with the pain of her childhood and wrong choices made as a result of the confusing messages she’d received. But she made it through, and carved out a new life. She established a solid marriage, raised three daughters, and became a world-renowned mystery writer at age 37.

The past is always going to be the past. The future is not yet written.

I felt sadness for the young girl who didn’t know what it was like to have a “normal” life with caring, responsible parents. I identified with the sorrow of the adult who would love to somehow make everything better for everyone. But I also felt great respect for the girl/woman who dreamed of a better life, and made it happen for herself and her children.

Seasons change. Even when we feel small, there are ways to overcome the feeling.

Seasons change. Even when we feel small, there are ways to overcome the feeling.


It’s never too late to become an overcomer.

Speaking of which, you might want to listen to this song by Mandisa. It’s called “Overcomer.”

Mandisa – Overcomer (Official Lyric Video) from mandisa on GodTube.

Painful Pasts Leading to Extreme Risk: Dickey (Review)

There’s more than one way to commit suicide.

For some, a painful past leads to extreme risk and can result in death. If you struggle with your past, seek hope and healing instead of putting yourself in harm’s way.

 

Wherever I Wind Up

Extreme Risk Suicide Attempts: Don’t let something in your past lead you to commit suicide through extreme risk.

I remember “Extreme Risk,” an episode of Star Trek: Voyageur, where  B’Elanna Torres is suffering from various injuries because she is going on dangerous holodeck programs with the safety mechanism turned off. She eventually tells Chakotay that since she learned of the death of most of their Maquis friends, she has been numb. The risks she’s been taking have been to try to find out if she’s still alive inside.

In reality, this is clinical depression. And B’Elanna might very easily have died.

An accident? In some ways. But it’s also a form of suicide. People who play with fire usually get burned.

I was reminded of that episode recently while reading the book Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R. A. Dickey, with Wayne Coffey.

R. A. Dickey is a baseball player, a knuckleball pitcher, and last year’s National League Cy Young Award winner.

But while his book certainly chronicles his journey to become a major league baseball player, it’s about a lot more than that. Like B’Elanna, R. A. did some crazy things because he felt numb inside.

Dickey’s parents got married because his mother was pregnant, and according to him “the marriage didn’t last five years.” They divorced when R. A. was 8 and his mom turned to alcohol for solace. His dad, who had been a good father, gradually eased out of his life. R. A. felt alone and confused.

Then, when he was 8, a 13-year-old babysitter abused him sexually. Afterwards, in his words, “I feel discarded, like a piece of trash. She acts like she’s mad at me, like I didn’t follow her orders properly. I lie on my bed by myself, wondering if what just happened is real. I am trembling, still sweating. I feel paralyzed, my limbs leaden.”

It happens four or five more times that summer.

But something even worse happens that fall.

While visiting with family in a farming area, a boy of 16 or 17 finds him alone and grabs him, then overpowers him and abuses him.

R. A. boxes all these memories up and hides them in his mind as far away as possible. And he becomes numb. Until he’s 31 years old, he never tells anyone, doesn’t even let himself think about them. On the outside, he appears to be normal, but without his even realizing it, the memories are impacting him, telling him he’s “filthy and bad, like the scum of the earth, only worse.”

This goes on until he’s 31 and his own marriage is in serious trouble.

He finally breaks down and tells a counselor about the babysitter. He feels a measure of freedom, but he can’t go all the way; not to the brutal experience with the teenage boy.

A year later, on June 9, 2007, he does something absolutely crazy. While in Council Bluff Iowa with his triple A baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, he jumps in the Missouri River to swim across it. The water is brown and sludgy and there are strong currents and undertows. He’s wearing boxer briefs and taped-on flip-flops. He is basing this swim on the fact that he’s in good shape, and once upon a time, years ago, he swam the 200-meter freestyle for a local team. He believes he can do it.

And that’s where I was reminded about the Star Trek episode.

Because this isn’t the first time he’s done something crazy. In his words, “You could say—and some have—that I have a death wish. Not sure. I think it’s more accurate to say I have a risk wish, somehow clinging to the notion that achieving these audacious feats will someone make me worthy, make me special, as if I’d taken some magical, esteem-enhancing drug.”

He doesn’t make it across the river; instead, he almost drowns. But as he realizes he’s going to die in the muddy water of the Missouri, he finds a new desire to live. And afterwards, he’s finally able to talk about the worst experience of his life, and face the darkness and the anger that has burned inside him for all those years. Anger at the boy, anger at himself, anger at his life, anger at the God he believes in but up until now couldn’t fully embrace . . .

And he begins the journey to freedom, to feeling truly alive, and to helping others break their shackles of self-condemnation and shame.

Terrible things happen to most of us.

They don’t even have to be huge things, like sexual abuse or violence. Sometimes it’s just a person who constantly puts us down or tells us we aren’t good enough that stays within us and makes us numb inside.

No matter how much we try to pretend they never happened, they don’t go anywhere. They stay inside and tear us down.

We have to find the strength to bring them out and examine them, talk to people we can trust about them, and let God heal us and cause good to happen.

R. A. is now passionate about helping kids who have suffered from abuse.

Check out what he had to say recently.

More about the book, Wherever I Wind Up.

Loving a Suicidal Parent

by N. J. Lindquist:

Despite loving a suicidal parent dearly, one daughter saw her need to look out for her own mental health.

 

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stock Photo Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five years ago a young woman’s mother committed suicide. Prior to that, the mother had struggled with mental illness and addictions for many years.

From ages 14 to 17, the daughter looked after the mother without telling anyone what was going on at home. At the age of 17, the daughter made the very difficult decision to leave her home before she went down the same path as her mother. And shortly after that, she made some very wise decisions on how she would live her life, which she shares in this video.

Unfortunately, the mother could not or would not change.

To honour her mother, this year, the daughter swam 500 laps to raise money for mental health in her mother’s memory.

If you’re living in a situation that is going to destroy your life, if you feel burdened down from trying to help someone who shows no intention of really wanting to change, or if you feel guilty for not being able to help someone you love, please watch this video. The story beings at the 3-minute mark.

And if you identify with the mother, please seek help from those who are qualified to give it.

Look Here For Hope

help me God, suicide, the suicidal, help, facts, prevention, your problems, survivor’s guilt, survivor stories, and the loss of a loved one — as well as info for anyone thinking about suicide, suicde.Welcome to our search engine which includes helps, statistics, and hope concerning suicide and the suicidal. You will find facts, survivor stories, suicide prevention tips as well as answers to your survivor’s guilt after the loss of a loved one. You will also find helps and info if you are thinking about suicide.

Be sure to use our powerful search tool at the upper right hand  corner of this page to search our many topics and resources.  You can also check out our arcticle categories on the upper, white tool bar or on the lower right side of this page.  You can also scroll down to see a sampling or our articles.

If you are contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We will try to answer comments, but if you need a timely response, please call the phone number above.  (Also, see our disclaimer.)

Yes, There is an Anti-Bullying Day

by N. J. Lindquist:

Today is Anti-bullying Day in Canada. It’s also known as Pink Shirt Day.

 

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Pink Shirt Day started with an anti-bullying stand taken by two Grade 12 students in Nova Scotia about six years ago. They witnessed a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school and rallied other students to wear pink as a message against bullying.

Two of my sons were bullied for very different reasons when they were roughly 12-13. As a parent, I felt angry and determined to stop it, while also a bit helpless – no one can live in another person’s shoes. Nor can you be with your child all the time.

Our sons survived and weren’t injured by their experiences, but I wonder if there were other kids who ran into the same bullies, and the bullies themselves – are they still bullies as adults?

Far too many of the people who commit suicide or attempt to do so have been bullied. The death of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old from B.C. who committed suicide in October after posting a video detailing how she was bullied both in person and over the internet, brought attention to the newest for of bullying, cyber-bullying. But bullying has been around for a long time.

For more information on Pink Shirt Day and what you can do about bullying, read this article.

You can also read here on our site:

Bullying Prevention Tips for Parents and Kids

Stop Bullies with Self-Confidence and God’s Help!

How to Stop Cyberbullying

Cyberbullied: Handling Mean Texts and Online Posts

Copycat Suicide

By N.J. Lindquist:

Please don’t allow the suicide of someone you admire or care about to lead you to choose a copycat suicide.

 

Image from Wikipedia of Mindy McCready

Image from Wikipedia

When I read last week about the death of country singer, Mindy McCready, I can’t say I was surprised. I knew that her current boyfriend (the father of her 10-month-old son) had died only a few weeks earlier, and that his death was being looked on as a probable suicide. I have to admit that when I first heard of his death, I had a feeling in my gut that hers would be next.

As a fan of country music, I’ve long been aware of Mindy, and really enjoyed some of her songs, especially “Guys Do It All the Time.” But I was also aware of the roller-coaster life she’s led, including her upbringing and connection to a Pentecostal church; her graduation from high school at age 16; her move to Nashville to pursue her dream; and her relationship with married baseball pitcher, Roger Clemons (when she was 18 and possibly younger).

I was also aware of her parents’ divorces and remarriages; her various relationships with men; her two children, her battle with addictions and her earlier attempts at suicide. It almost seemed as if an early death would be the inevitable conclusion.

I feel so sorry for Mindy and her family, and in particular for her two young sons. But my greatest concern is that no one else will copy what she did.

I remember years ago meeting with a teenager I’ll call Debbie who had been cutting herself regularly for a long time, but had recently made several attempts to commit suicide. As we talked about Debbie’s life and her frustrations, she began to cry and whispered the name of a male singer who had recently died from what was being called suicide. Apparently Debbie was a huge fan, to that point that she idolized him, and she was feeling the need to follow him, even in this.

The fact that Debbie’s attempts at suicide hadn’t been successful told me that she probably didn’t really want to kill herself. But that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have succeeded. She was fortunate that her mother had been in the house each time and found her before it was too late.

As I believe was the case with Mindy, there were things in Debbie’s past that made her hate herself and her life—things that were at the root of the cutting and the spiral her life was in—things she couldn’t just push into a dark corner of her mind and ignore. But at this point, the impetus for her suicide attempts wasn’t as much about her personal issues as it was about the very real fact that her idol had done it.

The idea of killing yourself may not come from a celebrity; it might be because a partner or friend does it, as in Mindy’s case; or a family member.

If you’re thinking about committing suicide because someone else has done it, consider this: Your life is too important to become a footnote to someone else’s life.

What you can do:

  • Don’t keep your dark thoughts to yourself. Find someone you can talk to about how you’re feeling and why you feel a strong connection to the person who has died.
  • Look for positive things you could do to help the person’s family and friends deal with the pain suicide leaves behind.
  • Make a list of things you could do to help preserve the memory of the person who has committed suicide so that others will remember the good times and not just focus on the circumstances of the death.
  • If you continue having suicidal thoughts, see a doctor or a counselor and tell them exactly what is troubling you.

 

Helping Students Understand Suicidal Thoughts

By Karen Kosman:

 When talking to teens at a high school, we discussed suicidal thoughts, but also how unique and special each of those teens are.
teens by Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos net

Image Courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

An opportunity opened for me to speak to high school students, in special needs classes, about suicide. I spoke at 4 different campuses. As I entered each class room I was introduced as a speaker and author. I set my books on stands so the students could see the titles. I noticed that they looked apprehensive. Some nervously wiggled in their seats. Silently I prayed, Lord, please open their hearts. Help them to know that I am here because I care.  

I began to share about some of the challenges I’d had in school and later in my adult life. I noticed that they were listening intently.

When I said, “Do you realize that each one of you are special?” I noticed several sat up straighter. I walked over to a student and said to her, “Do you know that no one in the world has the same set of finger prints that you do?”  Then I walked over to a young man with tattoos on his arms and said, “Do you know that no one in the world has the same design in your eyes as you do?”

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139:14

At that point you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. I knew then I could talk about my son whom I’d lost from suicide.

I brought them into the presentation by asking questions: “What would you do if a friend told you they wanted to die?” Several responded to my questions and listened closely to how to get help for depression and suicidal thoughts.  Throughout my entire presentation one student keeping saying, “I need your book, Too Soon to Say Goodbye.”  Before I left that classroom I signed a book and gave him one. The students wrote letters to me. The young man whom I gave a book to wrote:

Today I learned what to do when you are suicidal. I am a Christian and I really feel bad that so many want to die.  At one time, I wanted to commit suicide, but when I gave my life to my Father -God my life got better. I want others to know that their lives can get better, too. I know that I can win those lost souls and teach them that God changes lives. Please, stop and think before committing suicide.

Another student wrote: Today in my 6th period class we had a guest speaker. She’s written a book about suicide. We learned it is okay to ask for help when depressed. Life can improve and the future can be good. You need to live your life. We also learned how important it is to listen to friends that are talking about committing suicide and tell someone that can help them.

I have no way of knowing what has taken place in each student’s life since that day, but their letters continue to touch my heart. Every time I read them I pray for each student. We all have problems to work out, but we also have the hope that those problems have solutions. Each day we live is a gift.

See this video with Kristin Anderson: Suicide Interrupted, about a failed suicide attempt which led to a life change in this young woman.

Junior Seau: What Caused HisThinking About Suicide?

By Dianne E. Butts:


Photo from Wikipedia, Used by Permission. Photographer: David Sizer

I’m a football fan. So I, like many others, was shocked and saddened on May 2, 2012, when news came that Junior Seau was dead. He shot himself in the chest with a .357-caliber Magnum revolver, according to USAToday.com. Like so many others, I wonder what was Junior Seau thinking, when he was thinking about suicide?

A month after Junior Seau’s death, writers David Leon Moore and Erik Brady, writing for USA TODAY, wrote the article “Junior Seau’s final days plagued by sleepless nights.” Throughout the article you can almost hear everyone, including Junior’s 11-year-old son, Hunter, asking “Why?”

There’s the talk of the possible head injuries that have become such a topic of discussion for sports enthusiasts. Is that the reason?

There’s the talk of the use of Ambien, the sleep aid. The article reports, “The FDA-approved prescribing information for Ambien warns that suicidal thoughts or actions have been reported by depressed patients using this class of drugs. The information also instructs users not to take it if they drink, which friends say Seau did, and also if they cannot get a full night’s sleep while taking it.”

Junior Seau lived in a $3.2 million beachfront house. As a former NFL superstar, he seemed to have all the resources he needed. He had been married, but was divorced. He has three children. In the days before taking his life, Junior Seau celebrated a friend’s 50th birthday and spent time with his girlfriend Megan Noderer.

It was Megan who found him that terrible morning and frantically called 911.

Junior left so much pain behind. He left us with so many questions.

If you’re having thoughts about suicide, I’m asking you right now to seek out some help. Call a friend. Call 911. Call a suicide hotline. Call someone in your family. Please don’t just leave a note. Or leave nothing.

Below is a video where you can see the extreme pain of Junior Seau’s mother as she begs God to take her instead of her son. Look at her pain. Please don’t do this to the people who love you.

Don’t leave everyone who loves you wondering why. It’s not fair to leave everyone who loved Junior Seau wondering what he was thinking about suicide and why he carried that out.

This is a heartbreaking video of Junior Seau’s mom. Whose heart would you break if you took your own life?

If you are the one left behind by a loved one who has chosen suicide, see our articles for survivors. You can also click here to read this free online book (PDF format):  SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson at suicidology.org.

Resource: Too Soon to Say Goodbye (Osborn, Kosman and Gordon: New Hope Publishers)

Posted by Laurie Winslow Sargent:

 

I’d like to call attention today to the book Too Soon to Say Goodbye: Healing and Hope for Victims and Survivors of Suicide.

The authors, Susan Titus Osborn, Karen L. Kosman, and Jeenie Gordon (with New Hope Publishers) have graciously allowed us to post excerpts from this book, here on our suicide prevention blog.

Here’s the book description from Amazon.com:

Written by three women all uniquely affected by suicide, this compassionate perspective offers renewal of courage and faith for those grieving this tragic loss of a loved one. Grounded in Scripture and illustrated by true stories, Too Soon to Say Goodbye shows the magnitude of God’s love in times of heartbreak and offers tested wisdom for allowing Him to heal the pain. Additional insights shed light on depressive illnesses; and for those considering suicide, the authors offer encouragement to choose life over death.

Here are links to some of the excerpts we have posted so far. We hope they will encourage you and your loved ones.

Help Others Mourn Loss of a Loved One by Jeenie Gordon

Face of Death: Suicide in Youth, Dying Too Soon by Susan Titus Osborn

For Those Considering Suicide by Susan Titus Osborn

A Suicidal Man in God’s Emergency Room by Karen Kosman

Comfort for Grieving Counselors and Parents: You Came! by Jeenie Gordon

Release from Shame and Thoughts of Suicideby Karen Kosman

Deeply Depressed by Jeenie Gordon

[NOTE: The Kindle edition (also can be read as Kindle for PC) of Too Soon to Say Goodbye, this month, is being offered at a discount to readers.]