Suicide – What to do?

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in ALL Posts, Blog, Finding Courage, Inspiration, Parenting, Relationships, Your Identity | 27 comments

Suicide – What to do?

Last week I shared with you some of the beauty I found all across this country on my cross-country trip. If you missed that post you’ll find it here:

 

This week I was going to share the second leadership lesson I learned along the way.

 

With the events of the past week, however, my heart has leaned in a different direction.

 

I’ve seen and experienced so many responses and reactions to the news of the death of Robin Williams. Some interactions have been incredibly uplifting and others – well – not so much.

 

What I’ve noticed most of all is our cumulative limited understanding of bipolar disease and severe depression.
It’s not our fault. We’re doing the best we can.
But the truth is – we’re lost, roaming in a maze when it comes to understanding the fog our depressed friends carry.

 

Sometimes we try to prescribe our version of meds.

If only the person who is depressed would:

Believe in his/her purpose in life

Believe in a higher power

Just trust more in faith

Take the right meds

Repeat the right mantra

Resolve his/her demons from the past

Exercise more to ignite enough endorphins to replace the sadness

 

While it may be true that some of these things (alone or combined) may help the depressed person, none of these things is the whole answer.

 

What is the whole answer? Honestly – I don’t think we know.

I don’t think we know the answer. I don’t think we fully understand the complex nature of this disease.

 

It’s only in recent years that we’ve started to make headway on the discoveries of neuroscience:
How do our conscious and subconscious interact?

How does our focus actually determine the direction of our lives?

How does meditation work to calm the mind and body?

 

The thing is – the brain is the most complicated part of the body.

In all of our magnificence, in all of our knowledge and skill, we haven’t fully figured out the brain and what causes it do to certain things.

We haven’t figured out this horrific disease that causes our friends and family members to end their own earthly lives.

 

Despite our love. Despite how much we know they will be missed.

Our depressed fellow travelers can’t comprehend the hole they will leave behind.

 

I lost a friend to suicide when I was 21. That was a long time ago.

I can tell you that I still think about him and those tragic events quite often.

He thought it wouldn’t matter if he killed himself.

He thought no one would care.

 

Well – it mattered a lot. And a lot of us cared and still do.

He missed out on an entire life.

Why?

I can’t really tell you. I can’t tell you because all the reasons above.

I can’t tell you what would have changed things for him.

 

There are no easy answers.

There are no quick fixes or instant solutions

 

What can we possibly do then?

Is there anything besides throwing our hands up in despair?

adsfk;adsfja

A few things come to mind as places where we can start. They are not the final solution. But maybe just maybe – they will help even if just a little.

 

1) We can be more compassionate and more patient

adsfk;adsfja

2) We can choose to love those who are difficult for us to love

adsfk;adsfja

3) We can resist the urge to judge

adsfk;adsfja

4) We can stop the fights and the name calling when communicating to or about those who possess different beliefs from our own

adsfk;adsfja

5) We can assure those around us that they matter

adsfk;adsfja

6) We can assure those we don’t like that they matter

adsfk;adsfja

7) We can put our fears and our prejudges away and we can find a way to choose love

adsfk;adsfja

Will these things cure the disease?

NO

But they may just help someone through the process of healing while we wait for science to catch up with creation.

 

This is a challenging subject.

I’m sure some of you agree with the things stated here and some disagree.

I’d love to hear from you either way.

Please be certain that your posts are respectful and positive.

Given that, all viewpoints are welcome.

 

Share your responses in our comments.

Let’s see if we can find some understanding and healing

Let’s see if we can find a way forward while we wait for all to be made right.

Be blessed everyone.
May your hearts be comforted and may your spirits find peace.

 

Please remember
Be Inspired! Be Inspirational! Be a Leader!
Somebody just might be looking to mimic your example.

 

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27 Comments

  1. All of these blog comments have been very helpful and I am glad, LouAnn, that you began this conversation. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Celine, for taking time to read these posts and share your presence.
      May your day be filled with love and inspiration. :=)

  2. Beautiful. I love the way this speaks to the enormity of mental illness, and admits that we don’t always have the answers. It is so important to simply love one another. To value each other and live a life that embraces the truth that every person matters and deserves to be treated with dignity. Not one of us is perfect, and we are all on a journey. Lets commit to making the journey of others more bearable, not less. Just like we’d like our journey to be.

    • Tesa,
      Thank you for your inspiring and encouraging response. I do think you’re right that when we value one another and love one another we can change the journey in positive ways. Not sayin’ it’s easy – cause life throw junk our way all the time – but for sure saying that you’re right. 🙂
      Thanks for taking time to read the blog and encourage us today.
      Have a blessed, love-filled, and inspirational day. :=)

  3. This is a very important topic and I want to thank you for taking on this difficult subject. Suicide is a leading cause of death in this country.

    I agree with everything I’ve read up to this point; and my heart and prayers are for Teresa. Know that you really do matter.

    I think the only reason I’m adding a comment is because of what I haven’t read yet. Both of my parents, and myself, have tried to commit suicide at one point or another; but we were all living in the world at the time and couldn’t see beyond tomorrow. I think the one thing that really helped me afterwards was the recognition of an enemy. At the time I thought it was someone in my life, but it helped me to just fight.

    Many years later, I now know who the real enemy is. He is one who has come to steal, and kill, and destroy (John 10:10). And when I lean on the Lord and fight him I get the victory in Jesus name. He is no match for the Lord.

    I hope this helps.

    May the Lord be with you.

    • Dear David,
      thank you for your courage to share this vulnerable perspective with us. I’m exceedingly grateful that you were not successful!!!! It is a true blessing that you have been saved and are now sharing your inspiration and wisdom with our community.

      Yes – I agree. I am also a person of faith. There is someone who strives to defeat us. Thank goodness you are leaning on the one whose victory is secure and eternal.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and your experience.
      You are valued and a blessing and I know many will be inspired to read your comment.
      May your day be wonderfully filled with inspiration, love, and gratitude.

  4. I am one of those people who didn’t really understand mental illness very much for most of my life. No one in my family suffered from it and in the 50’s and 60’s during my growing up years most people didn’t openly talk about. My image of mental health disorders, as a result, was greatly influenced by TV/movies’ portrayals of people either locked up in a mental institution or serial killers in prison. For the past 6+ years I have had my eyes opened to the fact that mental health disorders run a very large gamut and for most of those who suffer with it help is available. That help does not necessarily need to come from persons with degrees in pysch. I am presently working as a nurse on an inpatient detoxification unit. We treat patients who are in need of being medically detoxed from alcohol or drugs.

    Robin Williams was a dual diagnosis individual but for most of us the only Robin Williams we knew was the entertainer not the real up close and personal Robin Williams.

    What can we do to help, especially, if we are not a trained professional in the field of mental health. First do not be afraid to be a true friend to people you know have issues…. Encourage them to get professional health but still be a friend even if they don’t go for help….

    When I took Mental Health as a course in nursing school my instructor told us the same thing about not being afraid to ask the difficult question. She stated a phrase that has stuck with me since. “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

    I have never once had a single person respond negatively towards me as the result of asking the question. But I’ve had many who have expressed appreciation for my concern for their well being.

    (This post has been altered due to the length of the original comment)

  5. For anyone for whom this would be helpful. I listened to this radio program for years while I was going through hard times. These folks helped me to get to know myself better and also heal and get strengthened in so many ways. They have a website with great resources also: http://newlife.com/

    • I have never written on a blog before in my life, but am so happy to do so now. LouAnn, thanks for this courageous post. As both a mental health professional & a Christian, I truly believe that suicide is one of Satan’s major tools in this world. He must convince a person that the best and only option is to get him/herself out of this world. Imagine the anguish that the suicidal person experiences – so tormented that he/she is driven to that horrific point in time. The more we can demonstrate love & caring to folks as you suggest might help them in some small way to be comfortable enough to show a sign that they are contemplating taking their own lives. If anyone shows any sign whatsoever, drops a hint,, anything – that should always be taken seriously. A ride to the hospital or call to a hotline would be imperative at that point. This is not to say that those left behind following a suicide should blame themselves – it’s only to make folks aware that more often than not, there are signs, & to always take them seriously.

      • Thanks, Laura for sharing your experience on our blog today!!
        We love having you as part of our Inspirational Leading community!!!!
        Yes, I certainly agree that we need more love and care in our world. I’m wondering if someone simply shares that suicide might be an option for him/her, would that not keep that person from feeling safe enough to share inner thoughts with us? What do you think?
        Thanks again for jumping into our blogspiration. You ROCK!
        Have an inspired and loved-filled day! :=)

  6. I find the issue/disease of depression fascinating in how it effects everyone differently. Where a broken bone has a pretty basic scenario of fixing itself not so for depression. I myself am not prone to depression but that doesn’t give me an open ticket – It can creep up and take anyone hostage. It’s a unique disease because it involves the idea of nature vs. nurture. Are we predisposed? Or does our environment and life history open us up for depression?

    LouAnn ~ your need to address this topic is heartfelt and worthy in so many areas be it leadership, family, friends or society as a whole ~ all could use this session blog as a catalyst for deeper and mindful thinking. Thanks…

    • Nancy,
      It’s wonderful to hear your powerful questions and your perspective. Thanks for taking the time to share it! Your comments are very insightful. Depression is a tricky thing. It seems to be a blended result of both medical (and sometimes genetic) predisposition combined with environmental factors including tragedies and losses. This must make it even harder for those who are trying to help create a cure and meds. If we all keep working to understand, love, and seek answers, we may someday be victorious.
      thanks you again for taking time to read these reflections and to share your wisdom.
      We’re all better for it.
      May you be increasingly inspired and blessed!

  7. Dear sister,
    I appreciate you. Thank you for your honesty, transparency and humility.

    I agree with all you’ve written.

    I’m often challenged with your point about love.

    Keep writing and speaking.
    Love
    Amy

    • Thanks so much for taking time to read and share your input. I think love it a challenge for all of us.
      May all inspiration be yours!!!

  8. I believe this world is broken. The sum of all of us has taken it’s toll on people and many cannot handle the pressures and stresses of an everchanging world that does not honor people anymore. Peoole feel hopeless, thrown away, and do not know where to turn. There are things that can be done to help people cope but we cannot eatch someone 24 hours a day and, unfortunately, in the dark of the night or when someone is sufferring in their loneliness, the weight of the world crushes them.

    • Thanks, Dinah, for sharing your perspective. I agree with you on many levels. I think that people do feel hopeless and thrown away. Out society has lost it’s community oriented values and has left each one to suffer. Yes, we can’t watch everyone all the time, but having been through terrible times and loss and grief, I realized we could do a whole lot better in choosing to love longer and more sincerely. Our society is not as good as some others I’ve been honored to experience when it comes to making sure everyone has a place and has love. I hope we learn to do better. I also hope we grow in our knowledge and understanding of the physiological aspects of this disease so we can do more to help those who suffer. I believe there is hope. I believe we can and will do better in the days ahead.

  9. Great post! you are so right, mental illness is incredibly complex and very difficult to comprehend, what we need more of in the world at least to begin with is compassion, for the struggles of others.

    • Dear Leonaura,
      Thank you so much for your response. Compassion is not easy and requires sacrifice, but how would our world look differently if that was our first response when faced with our challenges? It’s definitely a challenge for me and one I know I need to accept and call my own.
      Thanks again for taking the time to read these reflections and for sharing your inspiration.
      Have a wonderfully Inspired day!!!

  10. Well LouAnn, I do not have the answers to these questions surrounding depression and mental illness I do believe it is a result of the fallen world we live in, however I think you nailed how we need to respond to those who struggle with this. I suspect your friend who committed suicide was my friend as well. I have asked myself thousand times “why?”, and I fail to come up with an answer. Again, I think your thoughts are spot on. Thanks.

    • Dear Scott,
      Thank you so much for taking time to read the blog and share your wisdom. Yes, we shared this friend. As with so many others, the situation was complex and mixed with so many variables, it is impossible to sort them all out. Even though I have this perspective, I must be honest, I’m not always a loving or patient or compassionate as I want to be. I’m learning too. Perhaps losing Robin Williams will help stir us on to more cures and solutions. and… yes.. I agree. I do think this as well as all other diseases are a result of this fallen world. One day – all will be made right.
      Thanks again for taking the time to share your wisdom and perspective.
      Have a wonderful inspired week!

  11. My thoughts and prayers are with Teresa, you are loved by God and everyone. Your life is worth meaning and a purpose. May you believe that you are part of the whole. I have had some issues with anxious feelings at times in my life and it is hard to let go and let God take care of us. You are not alone, many have some issues they just don’t admit. You are brave, we take one moment at a time. Much love, peace and hugs to you. I am sending you love that God wants me to give you as a sister.
    Hope this helps dear friend.

    • That’s beautiful Laurie. Thanks for taking time to inspire your fellow inspirational leader. :=)
      All that goes right back at ya!!

  12. Thank you for writing this LouAnn. I have struggled with deep depression and despair and suicidal thoughts since I was 12 years old along with alcohol and drug addiction. It is only by the grace of God that I am still living. I don’t understand the thoughts I have. I feel so guilty for having them and seeing other people who have terrible diseases fighting for life. I hope you can keep me in your prayers. I do my best to keep positive. Teresa.

    • Dearest Teresa,
      Thank you for having the courage to share some of your story with us. That’s the thing – right…? Who knows why our brains send those thoughts to our consciousness. It’s not your choice. The reality is that you are deeply loved and an integral part of this life with your family and friends and with the Love your creator has for you. Still, sometimes the mind wants to try to trick us. I’m praying for more understanding that will lead to a cure. You are incredibly inspiring. Each and every day you seek the truth, you seek to be positive, and you seek to give your very best. It shows and it’s making a difference.
      You keep on with that fight. Hope we at Inspirational Leading can help to build you up and support you as best as possible.
      For all the praying folks at Inspirational Leading, let’s lift up Teresa as soon as you read this post.
      Teresa – have a wonderful day!! Know that you are important. Know that you are valued. Know that you are loved!!
      You are winning this battle one little victory at a time.
      Thank you for inspiring us!!!
      Love and blessings to you!!

    • Dear Teresa,

      I am a sister in Christ who was moved by your openness in sharing the struggles you have been having for years with deep depression, despair, and suicidal thoughts along with alcohol and drug addiction. Even though I don’t know you personally I am now and will continue to be praying for you as often as the Lord brings you to my mind. I hope if you haven’t already found someone to help counsel you who has expertise in helping persons with dual diagnosis that you will do so very soon. There is a verse that I have found to be very encouraging to me during times of trouble in my life. I hope it will encourage you also. Isaiah 41:10

  13. This is a subject a lot of people have problems discussing. I think some mental illnesses are not a matter of someone coping better but much more involved. Knowing that people care is important to everyone, maybe we should all make an effort to let others know that they are appreciated and loved and think twice before speaking unkindly towards others. We are responsible to make our brothers and sisters in the world feel important. Each life matters. I know I have heard stories of people who just needed to have someone say How are you? We can get self involved and forget that all matter. I think it’s time people took the time to have more compassion and care about all life not just our own circle of friends and family. The world needs more understanding, non-judgment and love. I know people who commit suicide feel that they aren’t worth caring about. Being aware if someone needs help and encourage them to seek that out is also important. We see too many stories such as Robin’s in the papers today.

    • Dear Laurie – thank you so much for responding to this post and sharing your thoughts. I think you’re right that this is a difficult subject to talk about. Maybe that’s why we see so much negativity and fighting on social media about it. I agree also that it’s so easy to my self involved. It’s a natural instinct to protect ourselves and create barriers where we and our families are safe. The world really does need more love – real love – that has the power to change lives. Maybe if we all keep the discussions going, we’ll find our way to a better world and a cure for the depression that weighs heavy on so many folks.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts and your inspirational wisdom.
      May your day be bright and filled with love and the kind of laughter that seeps deep into your soul.

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