For some reason, suicide is still a taboo topic, but depression and thoughts of suicide is something that more people struggle with than you realize. You would be surprised how many people you know who have contemplated and even attempted suicide. If you have a friend or loved one who suffers from depression and thoughts of suicide, this book will teach you “Eight Steps to Defeating Depression.”
There is also a chapter on suicide prevention, including what to say and what NOT to say to someone you think may be contemplating suicide.
PLUS helpful sections on: “Common Myths about Suicide.” “Warning Signs of Suicide.” “How to Start A Conversation About Suicide.”
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is HELP, and HOPE! There is also help for those who are dealing with anger or guilt over a loved one who committed suicide.
Suicide isn’t something that the average person wants to talk about, yet more people struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide than we realize. You would be surprised to know who may be struggling around you. It may be your co-worker, your next door neighbor, or even someone sitting on the same church pew as you. Really, no one is immune.
Life, in general, is already a struggle for many.
Take someone who already struggles with fear and anxiety. Then add to that a world-wide pandemic and quarantines, and you have a recipe for disaster! The Coronavirus has caused more problems than simply health issues.
Besides being a pastor, I am also a Chaplain for the Sheriff’s Office. Recently, I was told that law enforcement officers have never seen anything like what is going on with this pandemic. There has been a dramatic increase in domestic abuse cases, due to people being forced to stay in close quarters for so long. But what really surprised me to learn that there has also been a steep incline in…get this…female suicides!
Evidently, there is a sense of hopelessness that becomes so strong they feel there is no other option but to take their own lives. And what we don’t realize is that even good people can allow themselves to get to this place.
Consider King David
For instance, King David, in the Bible, battled depression and often felt a sense of hopelessness. In Psalm 143:3-4, he said, “For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.” No wonder he went on to say in (v.4), “Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate.”
Maybe that sounds familiar.
Maybe you are battling depression and, like David, feel you also “dwell in darkness.” Perhaps you also feel as though your spirit is overwhelmed. If so, I have some good news. You are not alone! In fact, some of the greatest men and women in the Bible struggled with depression, and even had thoughts of taking their own lives.
If that is you, you don’t have to struggle alone. There is hope and there is help!
The Psalmist found hope. He said, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5).
Don’t Suffer In Silence
If you are battling depression, or thoughts of suicide, don’t suffer in silence. Please talk to your pastor, or spouse, or parent. God loves you and is big enough to handle anything you can give Him. That is why 1Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Satan wants you to focus on your pain and problems because he knows that the more you dwell on them, the bigger THEY become in your life, and the smaller GOD becomes. But I am here to tell you that, no matter what you are facing, NO PROBLEM is bigger than God!
God is bigger than COVID, God is bigger than a pandemic, and God is bigger than the burden you are carrying, too!
If you had someone come up to you and ask how you are doing, two scenarios will likely happen.
One: You probably would go on a 5-minute soliloquy about how you just got a promotion, how your kids are excelling in school, and how you love your significant other.
Two: You just simply tell the person “I’m fine”. I fall on the latter, and I’m pretty sure some of you who are reading this do too. Now I could go on about the reasons why we just tell people we’re fine, but there’s too many reasons for me to go through, and I ain’t got time to do that. I’m going to tell you why I do that.
Part of it is because I’m not fond of talking to people. Another part is because of trust issues that I’ve been working on. Final part of it is that life made me that way. As a kid, I did well for myself. Decent grades, decent lifestyle, I can’t complain. Then when I turned 8, life happened. I found out why my dad wasn’t around, I found out how bad my autism is, people started looking at me funny and picking on me. Because of those things, I pushed people away, I guarded myself from anybody and everybody. I chose to be alone.
So fast forward tooooooo………. Now.
I find myself in the same position Job was when he lost everything. Now I’m not questioning God as Job did, but I am questioning why and how am I in the position that I’m in, like Job did. Now before you go and grab your pitch forks, please understand where I’m coming from. For months, I’ve been in a deep depression. It’s a combination of things: fear of getting older, fear of death, fear of not living to my potential, and anxiety of everything that is going on in the world. I constantly feel like I wasted my 20’s and I let it breeze by. Feeling like the prime of my life has passed. But despite my fears, anxieties, depression, and Job-like questioning, I still find myself trusting God and his process.
Now mind you, I still am not fond of talking to people. Matter of fact, when asked to blog on here, I initially was going to ignore it. Partly because I have my own blog to worry about. But mainly because, I couldn’t trust myself to open up to a lot of people. But even that, my love, trust & respect for God outweighs my own anxieties. So I’m on here to encourage you with this.
I don’t know you, never met you, don’t know your life story. But I have a feeling that some of you are in the same position that I am. You might be worried about what’s going on, you might be scared because of contacting the Coronavirus (yes, I said it), you might be worried about the next phase in your life. If you are one of those people, I say this. It’s okay to say, “I am not fine.” It’s okay to tell people that. Heck, it’s okay to tell God that. Matter of fact, he wants to hear from you. But what matters is you trusting God with everything in your life, giving your fears and anxieties to him, believing that he knows what he is doing. I mean, he does know what he’s doing.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecc. 1:2)
My wife shared with me this morning about a non-Christian friend of hers who is really struggling with depression. She’s telling me about this friend and asking me how to answer in a godly way. The back story is that my wife doesn’t deal with depression, but I do.
So, as she was sharing, I was nodding in agreement about this person’s feelings. And she asked me, “How do I share the love of Christ, without causing further damage?”
Of course, the message of Jesus Christ can be a heavy topic. We are sinners in danger of Hell, but God loves us so much that he sent his son to die on a cross.
I agreed that perhaps the message of Jesus Christ (the message of redemption) may be a hard pill to swallow. But, I did think that Ecclesiastes was a great place to start. It’s a story of a rich king who can’t find pleasure in life (sounds like depression to me). If a rich person can’t find pleasure, than we can at least rule out the flawed belief that money buys happiness.
So, I said, “Start with that. And if (the friend) gets some encouragement from that, maybe go to Job. A terribly depressing story, but in Job 19, he concludes the entirety of the Bible:
“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:23-27)
Our redeemer is Jesus Christ. Malachi 3:18 tells us that such a scroll of remembrance does exist. And Revelation 21:4 tells us that God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.