Category Archives: Suicide

9 Ways to Place Yourself in Mental Health “Intensive Care”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

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A time of reprieve and emotional healing follows difficult struggles with depression.  It is as if God is saying, “Come now child. I know you were just beat up. Let’s sit awhile, I will bandage you, and we can talk. Only rest and know you are safe.”

Ah, the tender heart of the Almighty.

I have learned that when I feel most like giving up – whether it be hopelessness, money concerns, schooling, or  burn out in some other area, the answer comes right after a sense of defeat. 

Repeated experience has taught me to respond differently. When my mind screams. “I can’t,” now I add,”You (God) can.”  When life is too much to bear, I recall that I have survived the worst.  When emotions are too much to handle, relief and healing begin in the embrace of the Heavenly Father.

You have probably heard that it is okay to not be okay. That is true! At difficult times, we may need to put ourselves into mental or emotional health intensive care.

For me, this means stopping everything and focusing on repairing my thought processes.  From simply praying in my home, to therapy and even psychiatric hospitalization, taking care of myself is the primary means of restoration. 

9 ways to practice intensive care

  1. Take a break for awhile. If you feel as if everything is closing in around you, step back and rest.
  2. Call on God for wisdom.
  3. Seek professional diagnosis if these struggles interfere with daily functioning, especially if it has been going on for a few weeks.
  4. Struggles that seem insurmountable can ease up by reaching out for support and hearing a new perspective.
  5. Eat right
  6. Sleep right
  7. Breathe.
  8. Putting yourself in mental or emotional intensive care is more than taking a mental health day. You may need several.
  9. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, for safety and health go to the actual Emergency Room. 

Trust that sometimes hope hides behind pain. It does not disappear. To find it again, consider paying vital attention to your well-being. Place yourself in mental health intensive care.

Today’s Helpful Word

Zephaniah 3:17 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

If You Are Suicidal, Read This Now

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

Suicidal thoughts lie.

Where’s the lie?

Chances are, if you are suicidal, you already feel that your heart has died. I’m talking about that vibrancy of soul you used to know and now wonder if it was all a joke.  Laughter sinks in your belly like a stone.  Numbness barely allows for breathing. You wonder every minute why you try.

Those emotions are real, and make sense considering what you’ve experienced.

You may believe there is no love for you, either because you question your value or are convinced people are always untrue. Maybe both.  Hurt or betrayal sting like a slow burn.  Perhaps you feel angry and deserving of the pain simultaneously.

Your suffering is real, and deserves attention. There is no need to deny your wounds. You are not alone. 

So, if the lie is not in how you feel, where is it?

The lie is in your beliefs

The lie is this: nothing can ever change; I am trapped; my future is only terrifying, only lonely, or guaranteed to overflow with losses. In other words,  you believe you are helpless and your situation, hopeless. 

I know your heart has died.  I’m saying you do not need a grave – you need resurrection.

Frankly, where you are is deep. The climb out takes time and effort. It is not impossible,  it is difficult.  Dead hearts do come alive!

You may be thinking, “Why do I care if my heart beats? My life doesn’t matter anymore, if it ever did.”

That’s what dead hearts tell us to believe. Yours won’t tell you how deeply you are loved, wanted, and needed. That’s depression’s deception. That’s part of the lie. 

The truth

You were made by God on purpose.  He has a hope and a future planned for you, and is an expert at resurrections! Your value has not reduced because of the dirt in your life. In the hands of the One who loves you, you are a priceless diamond.

Haven’t you always wanted someone to love you unendingly, someone who knows you so intimately that you hold no secrets,  someone who is with you, guides you, and listens with both ears? That is who he is. He is God the Father. 

When I was overwhelmed and wanted to die, he gave one dose of strength at a time. It can take a while to resurrect. Yet he calls to dead hearts, “Come alive!”

Here’s a simple prayer you can repeat: Holy God, help me. I do not know what you can do with this mess, but I’ll step back from suicide. I have nothing to give you; I’ve barely the energy for tears. I am trusting you sent your Son Jesus for me, so help me understand. Please make me whole. 

Today’s Helpful Word

From Psalm 23 

“The Lord… restores my soul”

 

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*pic of cross and heart by NURBO; dead heart by KIMOLOS, both of rgbstock.com

Are Ego-centrism and Selfishness the True Causes of Depression and Suicide Attempts?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

Depression prevents one from being himself or herself.

Optimistic, giving, loving people will turn inward and may on the surface seem selfish. Truth is, from what I have seen, the true nature of a person is not changed when they struggle with even severe depression.

This explains in part why some suicides are shockingly surprising. A funny person’s humor, or a caring person’s compassion may continue, albeit with less fervor and energy, despite growing despair. At my worst point, a fellow member of a therapy group said it seemed as if I could laugh easily.  I am naturally energized by people. In the moment, perhaps that showed. What she could not see was the cavern of emptiness on the inside.

It is a symptom

The point of this is that a generally less self-absorbed person in emotional distress may become ego-centric.  A typically ego-centric person may express exaggerated selfishness.  That is depression at work. 

Thinking excessively about oneself, seeming to ignore everyone else, interpreting what others say in negative ways, or demanding attention are a few of the ways people in depression may act.  It is ego-centrism, no doubt. It is also a symptom of the condition.

Suicide attempts

Suicide attempts are definitely a cry for help... unless they are not!  That is why it is important to take each one seriously. Many sufferers actually try to die, and survive for myriad reasons. 

The accusation that such a person was “only looking for attention” is one of the most – forgive me – ignorant responses. Obviously, one who attempts suicide needs attention, and lots of it!  Thank God if even multiple attempts are cries for help.  Perhaps the only way this person knows how to make anyone listen is by creating distress.  One who never receives that attention may go on to suffer longer and more deeply.  Or die. 

Respond with patience

Frankly, recovering from depression requires hard work. While it is ultimately not healthy to remain self-absorbed, ego-centrism may hang around for an extended time. Taking one tiny step, then two, then three may take all the self-focus and energy one can muster.

And that’s ok. Pushing too hard can make hopelessness worse.

Today’s Helpful Word

Romans 15:5

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*pics by  COBRASOFT of rgbstock.com

 

Suicide Prevention – What NOT to Say or Do

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

Attention:  (If you have lost a loved one to suicide, I recommend you not read this particular article. Instead, go to a survivors of suicide support site.)

If you are reading this because you want to know the best possible ways to prevent suicide, you are not alone. Many family members and friends, if not most, who find that a loved one has fallen into a deep pit of despair, try their best to help.  Love is not the only solution, however.  Stigma guides most people instead of facts.  For that reason, I am glad you are here.

Suicide prevention is a recurring theme at Always The Fight Ministries. After seven years, my point of view on suicide prevention has not changed. We prevent attempts and deaths by increasing effective support for those who hurt. The key to providing effective support is knowledge.  

This is Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S.A.  Suicide is scary as a topic and reality.  Fear can lead us to a thirst for knowledge, or we may hide, or try to make difficulties disappear by using anger.  Here are some of the UNhelpful reactions to severe depression and suicide that I have witnessed or heard, or heard about.   

What to Avoid:  Vitriol, Distance, Distrust, and Bewilderment 

Vitriol

A suicidal person asked a family member to dole out their sleeping pills for safety reasons. Instead, the family member placed the full bottle on the night stand next to the one who was struggling to stay alive.   

“Why save lives? If someone wants to die, why not let him kill himself and decrease the surplus population?” 

“[He] was weak. With all that money, he could have got help. He was totally selfish.”

Distance 

“It is none of our business.”

“Don’t you play the suicide card with me!”

“I don’t know what to say or do.  I’ll leave him alone – he needs his space.”

“If I mention suicide,  I might push her toward it. We won’t talk about it.”

Distrust 

“If someone can hurt himself or herself,  he or she must be capable of violence. This same person might “snap at any time”  and harm someone else!”   [I cannot count how many times I have heard this misinformation.] 

“I do not believe in mental health disability. I just don’t!”

“Depression is not an illness. It is just self-pity.”

“Suicidal thinking is caused only by demons that have to be cast out. Then the person is fine.”

“People who attempt suicide and don’t die, didn’t mean it. They just want attention.”

Bewilderment

One spouse pleaded and shouted in frustration because her husband was hiding in a closet, too depressed to face the world. 

“How can I fix my depressed husband?”

“She attempted so many times, it’s just manipulation.”

Misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the facts are the basis for the above reactions and comments.  For helpful reactions that go a long way toward prevention of suicide, click here.

Today’s Helpful Word

Job 16:

“I could say the same things if you were in my place. I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you. But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief.”  – Job speaking to his friends while he is suffering

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*speech bubble by STARISOB of rgbstock.com; two woman from kozzi.com

 

What is the Eternal Fate of One Who Dies By Suicide?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

In a church two years ago, after sharing my story of recovery after a suicide attempt and discussing major depression,  a member approached and said, “Suicide sends people to hell because it is a sin, and there is no time to repent.”  This sentiment was once more prevalent.  Most often today, surviving loved ones and pastors talk about God’s mercy and understanding.

I am asked frequently whether people who die this way go to heaven. It is not my intention to cop-out  and avoid this important discussion. Nevertheless,  I would rather ask a different question.

Who is God?

God is Holy.  This means that in him there are no sin, wrongful motives, evil thoughts, or anything of the like.  Our mockery and disbelief prevent us from knowing him, they do not diminish his holiness.

We are to reverently serve him because he IS. In him we move and breathe and have our being.  He merely spoke and the world began.  Let us stand in awe of him!

This is not to say he is angry and vengeful.  On the contrary, his nature is love and goodness. Relying on him, on his unfailing love, is to know blessings of peace and joy, even in times of pain. However he is just, and does respond to evil with judgment.

Like a child who wants to copy daddy,  we begin to mimic our Father God when we trust him and learn to obey his instructions. Looking elsewhere for the value, mercy, love, freedom, and rescue that only God can provide is not only foolish, but sin. It hurts him, others, and ourselves.

This is not to say that one who fails to measure up to God’s high standards is doomed. On the contrary! God knows who he created. You and I are not lost on him. He saw every one of our days before one of them happened and made us anyway. That is love! His promise of eternal life with him is for any who will accept salvation offered through his Son Jesus. In other words, he made a way out.

Spiritual lostness has a solution

It is simple and free. The famous line that often showed up on T-shirts or signs at football games, “John 3:16”, refers to a quote by Jesus .

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

In four basic parts, it says: (a) the world, that’s you and me and everyone who has ever lived, exists on purpose; (b) God loves the world;  (c) God sees we are lost, floundering away from him and his love, and sends a solution – Jesus. Jesus is God’s only monogenes, or one-of-a-kind, (note the capital S), Son.  He too is holy. His was the only sinless life, so his is the only life that can serve as our Savior; and (d) the reason for all this drama is so the world may live with God apart from the evils and disappointments of this life forever!

Once again, that is not to say we cannot reject the gift. Most do. Consequences are pain and death, if not for the present, then in the future. Yet preferring the instant to the real, people pursue false gods.  These are things, activities, or people we place ahead of God as our authority, and source of strength and satisfaction.

False gods will never serve us well because the very fallible humans who want to depend on them, are their designers. Mistaken, self-serving god-makers will never produce any object of worship that rises above themselves. We do not follow false gods because we love them – we worship false gods because we love ourselves (and not in a good way).

Sin is what separates us from God, not pain

One’s relationship with God through Jesus is personal and close when nurtured by repentance, love for him, and time spent with him.  God is close to the needy, the brokenhearted, and the oppressed. By following his way we are never alone whether we hurt physically or emotionally, or in any other form.

Does God condemn forever people who die by suicide? Once again, my opinion does not matter. The Bible is very clear that what causes unbelievers to perish for eternity is rejection of Christ. Refusal to have faith at all – not believing God exists – is the first part, and denying the Son as our source of salvation is the second.

As for people who follow Jesus, closely even, and die by suicide – did they reject Christ? It is not sinful to suffer. No one is cast aside by God for having uncomfortable emotions.

Unbelief is not defined strictly by actions, but mostly by the heart. In pain, to whom does one cry out? If a mind is overwhelmed, is it possible the heart is still faithful?

Your answer lies in learning to know the God of the Bible. I know where I stand for eternity, and I know what he asks of me. Do you? 

Let’s make no mistake!

Regardless one’s eternal destiny, suicide is not the type of death or legacy that brings honor to God’s name. Those left experience damage, and feel angry, sorrowful, and wrenched with a lifetime of the question why.  Copycat suicides are common. The one who died by suicide is remembered and celebrated always with an asterisk of doubt.  But… he killed himself. But… she left me.  But… I wasn’t enough to save my loved one.  But… why didn’t God stop it?

The legacy of finding help and utilizing all the offered resources is one of inspiration and hope. The fight is worth it. Knowledge is invaluable.  Understanding how depression works is life-saving.  We have options for survival.

God sees. God knows. God loves.

Today’s Helpful Word(s)

You will find the sources of many of this blog’s quotes and references to Biblical truth in the following passages: 

John 3;  Psalm 33;  Hebrews 11:5-6;  Psalm 1;  2 Corinthians 5;  1 Corinthians  1;  Acts 17:28; Psalm 139;  Psalm 34:18

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

He Did Not Know How to Stay Alive

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

TRIGGER ALERT – This article discusses a recent suicide

Two weeks ago, a pastor died by suicide. People first noticed his struggle with anxiety and depression (which often come as a pair) in April, and the church board gave him a four-month sabbatical.

After a breakdown, the same denial that led us to keep pushing through difficult emotions in the first place,  is there to push us out of them in a hurry. We desperately want to be well and meet our obligations.  We want to feel normal. Others around us feel better when we are well, too.  We move too fast.

This pastor pushed himself to death.   ‘I’m OK. I can keep going,’ he said.  I do not have details. Did he suffer from delusions?  Did he momentarily lose touch with reality? Or did he come to believe everyone is better off without him? Listen to his introduction in his last sermon. This young man needed much more time to get well.

I love that he  tried to raise up other people,  but intimately understand how he missed the point with regard to his own health.  I’ve been there!  I hope no one is condemning him, because he was actually trying his best.

Hear how much he wanted to stay alive. Depression and anxiety stole his ability to do that. There had not been enough time, enough counseling, to reach the core of his needs.  One can question for infinity his mindset, yet I know he did not know how to survive what was happening to him. If he had known, he would be here.

Mental illness deserves understanding, mercy, grace, and patience. It is no one’s fault he died. May God bless his family and church. There are many broken hearts.

A man commented on an article following this pastor’s suicide:

I have read the comments, and feel compelled to respond. I have been a pastor of 32 years who has ministered to many people dealing with depression and anxiety. But, I must confess that I never really understood depression until my wife suffered through suicidal depression for 3 years. What people need to understand about depression is that people with severe depression struggle to think rationally and logically. One of the comments below was about someone kicking his butt & telling him how selfish he was. In other words, someone just needed to talk some sense into him. Depression doesn’t defer to rational thought! My suicidal Christian wife actually believed she would be helping our young boys by taking her life. She convinced herself that she was causing undue harm to them. Yes, suicide is a selfish act. However, that is the core issue of depression. You are stuck in an isolated, self-absorbed world of darkness and despair so deep that suicide literally seems like the only logical option… 

I hope you will listen to the deceased pastor’s last sermon, if you can do so safely.  He has much to teach us.  If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-231-TALK, or call 911. Then follow the process to get well. Don’t rush, give God time to renew your mind.

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 2:2

Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.  

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

 

“I Gave Up and It Saved My Life”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

 

People who have never experienced suicidal thoughts or at least have not seriously considered suicide, often think of it as giving up. They see suicide attempts as attention-seeking and death by suicide as weakness of character.

If you have contemplated, planned, or attempted ending your life, you know they are wrong. By the time suicide has become a plausible option in our thinking, we have already fought long and hard, and failed to find a workable solution. With suicidal thinking comes a deep sense of worthlessness or lack of purpose. We often feel that others we love will be better off if we are gone. 

At this point, suicidal persons are not “giving up”. Quite the contrary, it can seem as if suicide is doing something positive – even the right thing. While killing oneself is never either of those, the suicidal mindset cannot understand options.  Clearly, help is needed to escape this deep pit.

Again, some who cannot relate will call this self-pity and expect us to shake it off. However, suicidal thinking goes far beyond self-pity. It is not normal. People in their right minds can find healthier perspectives. By the time suicidal focus infiltrates our sense of reason, there is an underlying mental health challenge at play – most likely severe depression.  

There is a place though, at which giving up did enter the picture before my suicide attempt seven and a half years ago.  It happened three months earlier.

For thirty years I had placed my hope, and sense of value, on my husband. I spoke in “we,” rarely “I”. My identity was as Mrs., not Nancy. One could say I had little sense of me. 

One day, all the excuses I had made fell apart. Fake light I’d shined on our relationship went permanently dark. Truth hit hard. From that point it was, in my opinion looking back, a matter of time before all reason for living was lost. 

That is because I gave up. Hear me now, I did not give up on life! Quite the opposite. I looked for mental health care, and fought valiantly against growing despair.

What I gave up was hope.  

Decades of hope in a single temporal and fallible source of love left me with nowhere else to look. I did not know how to use a healthy support system.  My understanding of God’s love remained skewed since childhood.  Instead of discovering the wisdom of these relationships, I had poured energy into a chasm of few returns.   

Once hope was gone, survival seemed the right choice, yet there was little motive left.  This is how giving up ultimately saved my life. 

The suicide attempt was not the catalyst to health. Suicide attempts are never the answer. Once medications and therapy raised me to more reasonable thought processes,  the attempt did force me to acknowledge that how I’d been doing life was not working. Anytime we can come to that conclusion without a life or death crisis is great! 

Finally,  there was no other choice but to look elsewhere for hope. That long exploration led me to safe and healthy friendships,  a new sense of purpose,  a sense of value, and to a deeper understanding of God’s endless love.  Leaving make-believe behind, my heart found a permanent home. 

Yes, I gave up on false hope,  and that saved my life.  

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33: 18-20 (Amplified Bible)

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear Him [and worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and obedience], On those who hope [confidently] in His compassion and lovingkindness, To rescue their lives from death And keep them alive in famine. We wait [expectantly] for the LordHe is our help and our shield.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*no through road by TACLUDA ;  shadow by RWLINDER, both on rgbstock.com

 

This Hope I Share:  It Is Real

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

When I speak of hope, my intention is to reach those who have trouble believing in it.  Lately, absence of old thinking patterns draws me to gratitude.  The daily barrage of self-doubt and nearly constant guilt are gone. I’m 57 years old! To think this freedom escaped me until recent years  could be sad.  However, I spend zero time in the past.  How precious is the gift of joy now!

A dream

“Who, me?” Turning to see whom Jesus was inviting to come closer, I realized he was beckoning to me. Surrounded by a mass of people spreading over green hills and mountains, he sat on table rock, holding children on his lap.

In reality, I was twenty-four years old. In this dream I was five. It was nearly impossible to comprehend he would choose me out of this crowd. Hesitantly I walked toward him, uncertain he would not change his mind.

His eyes were welcoming, piercing straight into my hurting heart. Crawling up on his lap, suddenly I was able to understand that he was holding every individual assembled there simultaneously, loving each equally with all his being.

What a peaceful wonder on which to focus.

God’s love in action

Once,  I tried to describe to a pastor the daily dread and hopelessness I felt. “I feel like I  am  standing  in  the  middle  of the road, a semi-truck barreling down on me, and my only escape is to jump aside. Lining  the  side  of  the road  are  snarling  dogs,  hungrily  watching my every move. God is above, waiting to see what choice I will make.”

“Nancy, where you are wrong is that God has jumped in front of that truck with you and is going to carry you to safety,” he said.

Considering my suicide attempt six years later, it may appear that God forgot to rescue me from the truck. However,  sometimes it is in the deepest pits we learn our most meaningful lessons.

Today I know joy. Today I know peace.  The love of Jesus’ embrace gives me rest.    

This hope is what I want to share with those who struggle to believe it exists.  It is real.

Today’s Helpful Word

Psalm 33:20-22

We wait in hope for the Lordhe is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lordeven as we put our hope in you.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

*blue sky by TACLUDA ;  yellow sky by mzacha on rgbstock.com

Bourdain, Spade, and a soaring suicide rate: We are patching a massive rip with fraying string

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and a soaring suicide rate. We are patching a massive rip with fraying string.

Patching

We have observed the increase in public discussion about suicide over the last five years. There is minimal, yet growing understanding and acceptance of depression and anxiety as deserving of treatment and not ridicule. The conversation has begun, and that in itself is good.

CNN today suggested medications and therapy as routes to self-protection from suicidal thoughts. This too is helpful because professional treatment saves lives and helps to improve old thought patterns.

Still, there is something missing, isn’t there? What about that fraying string? Depression recurs and now what? The standard answer is to change meds and increase therapy. This is great when the person in pain is able to try. And THAT is the question.

External aids do not bring about the permanent hope we need to try and try again. The greatest indicator of potential death by suicide is a previous suicide attempt. Why? We start losing the fight, that’s why. Patches help but do not provide the soul-deep sense of peace we need.

Faith

Faith is demeaned by loud voices, yet they have no answer to despair other than “perk up and hold on!” Where is one supposed to find purpose in holding on when every part of his or her being is aching to die? When depression has boggled the mind for the second or tenth time, and hope is ripped from its bearings, what promise exists in “try, try again’?

Faith that God is in charge and decides matters of life and death, faith that he knows what is best, faith that he is good and his love never fails despite the harshest emotional exhaustion – this is the thread that mends, not patches, horrific wounds.

In reality, I would not be here without faith in the above. Despite weighty darkness that can overtake my thoughts, there is always the light of hope found in surrender to God’s plan. Quite simply, I know it is not up to me to choose. God has me breathing. God is good. My hope lies there.

For all the Anthony Bourdains, Kate Spades, and businessmen and women, teenagers, moms and dad, and everyone else whose fight is too long and weary, think on this testimony found in the Bible. It is my story as well, and can be yours:

“Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:17-19) .

Please stay alive.

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

 

An Honest Letter to Anyone Thinking About Suicide

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Of utmost importance:  If you are suicidal with a plan or intent, go immediately to your nearest Emergency Room or call 911. 

A group of about seven people seemed stunned. The therapist choked up with tears in his eyes. It was April 30, 2012, and while attending my regular depression support group, I blurted that if I’d had a gun a day earlier I would have killed myself.  Sadly, I meant it.

My life didn’t matter to me. Mixed up thinking that led to a suicide attempt over a year earlier still carried a powerful emotional pull. Nevermind I’d written a book chronicling recovery from major depression. Ignore that my faith ran deep and worldview was improving.  Honestly, I was stuck,  pivoting in indecision.

With all my heart I wanted to honor God and not hurt other people. Somehow,  the lie that suicide could be appropriate had not been fully erased.  Every day, many times a day I had tried to rid myself of it. Prayer helped. Therapy helped. It was confusing and messy. 

The strong reactions of others that night shocked me to the core. Their faces and words will never be forgotten.  You see, when one does not recognize her value, it is very difficult to perceive that others do. 

Keyword: Deliberate

The next day I made a deliberate decision to throw away self-annihilation of any kind, and to learn how to enjoy life. Why this was such a quandary in the first place is complex.  For one, I no longer believed enjoying life to be possible. Yet now instead of looking at two choices, there was only one. I cannot overemphasize how powerful was that leap of faith.  

Without it, today’s contentment and fulfillment would be evasive.  Unnecessary suffering would have extended indefinitely. Despite recent challenges, I know joy to be real. This is contrary to an old belief system, and gladly accepted!  

Keyword: Learn

If you are thinking about taking your life, I invite you to choose instead to learn with me what enjoying life means.  I did not understand the following statements were true or did not believe they could  ever be so for me.  I was wrong. They are true for you as well.  

  • Your value is not defined by the behavior or decisions of others. Your worth is inherent. You can learn to know and live in real love.  
  • The only perfect and unending love is from God. His love is not pity, but is truly from his heart. He expressed this love through his Son Jesus, and still does.
  • Power to change unwanted emotions belongs to the one feeling them.
  • We are responsible for saving our own lives. 
  • Victim status does not have to last forever.
  • If you are abused, stopping  the abuse is the only way to heal.  There are people who understand what is happening and offer guidance.  See The Truth About Abuse page. 
  • Trust those who say you are needed, wanted, and who hope the best for you.  Rely on the faith of others in you when you doubt your worth.   
  • Spare yourself more suffering by avoiding bitterness and blame. 
  • Friends and family often do not know how to offer support in the exact way you need. This inability is not lack of love. People can care deeply and still disappoint.  Embracing this fact creates space for believing you are loved and lovable.
  • You can learn little by little to grasp what is beautiful and good.
  • There are survivors all over this world who have stood where you are, thinking the same thoughts of despair. So many have become advocates for hope.  We speak to audiences, write books, or whisper our stories at bedsides and in hospitals. You can join our ranks. Your life matters.

Keyword: Truth

I am glad you are alive and will say a prayer tonight that you stay with us.  Please do not become a statistic. Truth is, you deserve a better legacy.