Tag Archives: Suicide

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

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.

 

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

No Matter Your Ideas On Immigration, We Must Care About Children

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

PTSD. Those affected by Post-traumatic Stress Disorder come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Even the very young need help to overcome emotional and biological scars from sudden, uncontrollable loss and fear. 

What you may not know is PTSD is not a catch-all to describe the effects of trauma in children.  Information in news reports is often incomplete or misinformed. If you want to know what it is actually like for many of these children, I recommend you read this or this or this.

It’s about the kids

You may or may not like U.S. immigration policies. Asylum, human trafficking, drug smuggling, family rights, and vetting are each serious issues deserving thoughtful consideration and debate.  We can agree to care about the children, right?

Many citizens of the world cry for an open-door policy. Other citizens of the world believe walls and zero-tolerance for illegal entry are the solution to more egregious evil.  Desperate refugees of war and crime need hope and protection.  Wicked people exploit desperation for their own gain.

We have to care about and protect the children.

The recent  wave in the U.S. of outrage and sympathy for children and adolescents caught between their parents, politics, and immigration  law is a sign, I hope.  Maybe some hearts are now stirred by children’s issues in general.

In the U.S.A.

  • Children are sold as sexual tools
  • Children’s Services Departments are overcrowded and underfunded
  • Suicide has moved up from the number 3 to number 2 cause of death for children age 10 and older.
  • Bullying, violence, disparity between quality of schools, medical care – all these are children’s issues we can choose as our national and personal focus.

A woman said to me yesterday, “There is nothing I can do, so I just do not watch the news. It is too distressing.”  We need to know what to do beyond railing against each other with political rhetoric.

Proactive ways to help 

  1. Write to your legislators. America is is not a democracy. It is a republic which means we are allowed to tell those in power what we will and will not endorse with our votes.
  2. Vote
  3. Financially support those institutions and organizations that are fighting against child exploitation, suicide, and any of the other issues.
  4. Volunteer hours with ministries or child advocacy groups that directly address these issues
  5. Teach your children to use their voices. They too can call and write to legislators.
  6. Be a foster parent to refugee or other children in distress

If we are going to use quotes from scripture to guide our decisions, then we do well to remember Today’s Helpful Word.  Jesus loves the little children. We need to care about that in more ways than one.

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.

 

Cook, A., Blaustein, M., Spinazzola, J, & van der Kolk, B. (Eds.) (2007). Complex
trauma in children and adolescents. National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Retrieved from http://www.nctsnet.org/nccts/nav.do?pid=typ_ct

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

*911* to Friends. Will We Respond?

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

James* was withdrawn, irritable, and severely depressed. He mumbled dark  statements  occasionally such as, “My life doesn’t matter.”

He was under professional care, however his mood was growing worse. He was convinced no one cared about him (a symptom of major depression).  People in his life knew he was struggling but did not reach out.  He felt increasingly rejected and alone.

No promise versus an empty one

One day a friend said “I’ll come over. We’ll meet every week. How’s tomorrow?”

To James, that little bit was hope. He very much looked forward to this visit. At last, someone cared!  For the first time in weeks, James began to smile.

The next day came, and no friend. No call. No explanation. James felt devastated. This was the final proof he needed that his life was worthless.  His suicidal thoughts increased,  and he went backward mental health-wise. He suffered much from that broken promise – a promise he would have been better off never receiving in the first place.

In moments of sympathy or guilt, we want to offer impulsive promises. Empty, unfulfilled  promises are discouraging and harmful Please do not make them.

Instead, how about laying out a kind boundary that works for you?  “I care about you. You can call me Monday. I’ll be free from 6-7.”  Then be there.

A kind word

Another man texted several friends, describing his desperate loneliness and emotional pain. “I need a friend now. Today. 911” Four hours later he heard from a woman who  invited him to talk.  No one else answered his plea.

Why are we so scared to be real friends? It is easy to mix at social events, work side by side, or even talk about troubles.  When someone needs us to go to them, to reach beyond the usual, why do we hesitate?

We say we do not know what words to use.  Some of the most encouraging statements are uncomplicated. “I’m here.”  “I’m sorry to see you in such pain.”  Quietly sitting with a hurting friend can express nonjudgmental love and acceptance.

Actions are not so very difficult either. Pick up the phone, answer a text, let a friend talk, or tell someone they matter.

Major Depression is a lonely illness.  For more specific ideas on how to help, read articles on this website under the category “How to be an Effective Support.”

No one is to blame for a completed suicide due to not knowing what to say or when to say it. Keep in mind though, that suicide is preventable. A kind word really can save a life.

 **********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

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.

*Not his real name

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.

 

Why My Hope Is Eternal

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle With Mental Illness  (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry


Framed degrees and rows of scholarly books cluttered his office,  betraying a long history of study, school loans, difficult exams, sweat, and tears. Who can tell how much fret went into deciding on a college major and choosing to commit his life to a helping profession? The investment paid-off, and a doctoral certificate with honors loomed over the rest: Doctor of Psychology. Psy.D.

My visit to his office followed a hospital admission  due to a suicide attempt. It was challenging to understand why I was seeing him when every nerve in my body furiously commanded me to run. Hope was not within reach.   

Yet a minute perception, a scintilla of cognition, sparked in the back of my clouded mind. Maybe with all his training and experience this doctor knew something I did not. He had worked with many suicidal people, so perhaps his hope for me held substance. 

A different client, intimidated by the busy wall of honors and graduate degrees, left the program. Each of us needed hope and searched in the same place for it.  Only one found it there.

Search for hope

It seems America often goes over the edge trying to find a leader, any leader, to solve all its problems. Some look to Democrats, others to Republicans. Third parties gain some attention, while many citizens do not vote.

Young adults and teens are turning their backs on the church in record numbers preferring instead to hope in humanity’s possibilities. Church attendees hunger for mega-size programs more than for God’s Word.

Financial security is on the minds of poor and rich alike as the means to happiness. Education and science serve as safe harbor to differing people. Celebrities and other gods of our design hold our focus. Beauty, fame, and power are landing sites for flights of fancy. Millions anticipate the day romance will make them whole.

Shifting Sand

Problem is, we cannot control outcomes. Hope placed in the temporary and unstable will evaporate. 

A move out-of-state ended my interactions with the doctor whose degrees offered promise. Governments rise and fall.   Money comes and goes. Present understanding of science and history will change. Fame is dependant on rumor and  spin. Beauty, power, and other gods we create are mirages because in the end they fade, and none of them prevent us from death. 

Temporary hope exists where we place it.  Until one day, it doesn’t.  In 2011, although christian faith was a major part of daily living,  my hope was bound up in what would never be. Pretending my marriage was working hadn’t helped. When realization of the truth caused false hope to die, I chose to also.

Since that time of darkness, my eyes have adjusted to the light of reality. This world and everything in it is like shifting sand. Change is inevitable. There is no person who will remain forever because it is impossible. Humans fail, humans move on, humans die.  

Unchanging hope

I have to place my hope in what does not change. Steadfast, faithful, unfailing – these are the foundations on which to build or else why bother? Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection, and yes, his promised return, are more substantive in my thinking than before. The Bible says he is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  

We like to limit the authority of whom or what we worship. We like to decide how and when this object of worship serves us. God is often perceived as  a villain or genie.  Nonetheless, he is love.

He doesn’t throw me away when I’m stubborn and turn to something or someone less deserving. He never stops inviting me back.

God is there when I hurt, fear, and laugh. Peace and strength waver when I neglect spending time with him through Bible study and prayer. Sometimes I walk away – God never does.

Recently, a woman struggling with suicidal thoughts asked the reason I stay alive when major depression challenges my thinking.  The answer is simple: because God has me breathing. I surrender to the One who knows what I do not.

No need for framed proof of his wisdom  – nature advertises his accomplishments. His words hang on walls in my home and are hidden in my heart.  I believe his purpose and plans for each of us are exactly right.

In him lives eternal  hope. 

Today’s Helpful Word

1 Peter 1 : 3-5 The Message

images (4)

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven – and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all – life healed and whole.

*******

Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental 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 is yours.

 -Pictures from Kozzi.com;  picture of books by ZELA on rgbstock.com
 

A Thought Is Just a Thought: You Can Survive Suicidal Thinking

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse   (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Trigger warning: If you are currently struggling with suicidal thinking, the following post may include some triggers. If you are considering suicide,  call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.  

The scene:  A small room intended for about fifteen people, and a crowd of twenty-five or more  scrambling for chairs.  One can hear repeatedly amid the squeezing,   “Excuse me,” and “Is anyone sitting here?”

Most are strangers to each other, and everyone is alone. Chatting voices expose individuals lost in self-absorption.  “I’m headed for rehab.”  “I just got back.”  “I’m going to lose my job if I miss any more work.”

The silent ones stare at the floor.

A single therapist manages to find space at the front of the room and calls everyone to quiet. He apologizes for the unusually crowded conditions, mentioning it is a tough time of year for many people. It is February 2011.

One by one, people offer a number between 1-5, rating the power of their suicidal thinking on this day.  For some, saying it aloud gives them strength to endure. To others,  the system forces them to consider safety despite impulsive thoughts otherwise.  Most rate their suicidal thoughts low; a few with higher numbers are challenged to offer specific plans for  staying safe; one is sent to the hospital.

On this day, I said, “4” which is in the danger zone. I promised to focus on art over the next 24 hours and to call for help if my already powerful thoughts became overwhelming.

Then a woman spoke. “A thought is just a thought. I guess we do not have to act on it.”

It was so simple and yet profound to a brain wrapped up in confusion and raging mood swings.  A thought is just a thought. Did she mean I have control after all?

Years later, I remain grateful for this woman who shared out of her own pain, what she was discovering. She likely knew it would be a lightbulb moment for me and others in the room. 

Some readers of this blog post may find her statement obvious, a lesson for juveniles. If that is you, please look deeper. Have you never been, or have you forgotten where the world is narrow and dark, and one is accompanied only by overbearing emotional pain? There, in fragility of a severe major depressive episode, random thoughts carry weight and authority.

Remembering that a thought, even a suicidal one, can be tamed, is freeing.

Imagine standing alone in a dark, empty alley. All you hear is the roar of  a fierce and hungry lion, his voice bouncing off brick walls and filling the air.  Then you see him, crouching, preparing to eat you alive. Your only exit is to climb the wall behind you which is laced with electric barbed wire.

That is a tiny bit how it feels to be suicidal. One does not see hope, only a means to the lesser of two evils.  The question becomes, “Will I stay and allow the lion (life) to tear me to bits as slowly and tortuously as it wishes? Or will I climb the wall and escape via a quick death?”

To hear at that point that the lion does not have claws or teeth,  or its ultimate threat may not exist, can be life saving.  He is after all, only a thought.

If you are considering suicide,  call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.  Remember on your way, that your thoughts do not own you.  You have the power to manage them.

Take it from me please, there is hope. You can stay alive and thrive. That is a thought backed by truth.

Today’s Helpful Word 

Ask, Listen, and Save a Life

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Imagine for a moment, you are in a pitch-black room.  People you believe to be in the same room are speaking in your direction. However, you cannot understand what they mean; some of the language is foreign, and then there’s the gibberish.

They say, “We love all this sunshine! Isn’t this wonderful?”

You incredulously mention the room’s darkness. “Do you understand where we are?”  

You hear, “It’s bright, you are just refusing to see it.”

True story

The doctor’s blurred face hovered above mine.

Click. Click.

My vision was doubling at a fast pace. Due with my first baby in two months,  I wondered what this ophthalmologist could add to the various diagnoses and advice I had already received.

Click. Click.

He stepped back. In a brusk, commanding voice he said, “Nothing wrong.”

Surprised, I realized this was the first doctor to deny the problem. Birth control pills, a need for prism glasses, and even stress had been blamed for the worsening double vision I first reported five years earlier. But not this. Not “nothing wrong.”

“Everything in this office is double,” I said. “The machines, your face…”

“You just imagine.” His broken English was angry. He glared at me. I was intimidated, and afraid to say more.

“But it’s worse than a month ago…”

“It not worse. You just notice now.” He was raising his voice. You leave, come back see me in six weeks.”

His confusing words drove me to seek yet another opinion. Two months later, newborn in tow, a neurologist announced the news.

“You have a giant aneurism growing behind your left eye. Let’s do surgery today.”

Saving a life starts with listening

It is frustrating when one’s feelings and experiences are invalidated. Whether by a misogynist doctor or a good friend, it is not fun being ignored. In the world of mental healthcare, dismissal is dangerous.

If a person is showing signs of depression, and perhaps you have picked up on some dark thoughts, do not walk away. I know it is hard to face the idea that a loved one is suicidal. I know it is awkward and potentially embarrassing to bring it up. I know it is scary to think of frustrating that person even more. But do not walk away. 

A simple question can cost us emotional energy. It does not have to. Ask your loved one non-judgementally, “Are you thinking of hurting yourself? Are you considering suicide?” By doing so you allow them to feel accepted, safe, and loved. You show you care enough to be involved. In this world, that is rare. 

Be special. Be the one who listens. Save a life.

Today’s Helpful Word

1 John 3:18

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; 

let us show the truth by our actions.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below).  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental 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 can be yours.