JUST SOME THOUGHTS FOR THOSE OF YOU (especially students) WHO HAVE SHARED WITH ME YOUR STRUGGLE WITH SUICIDAL FEELINGS:
Starting sometime way back as a very young boy, my mind was dominated by anxiously depressive thoughts of resentment and suicide. In better times, it was just the wish that I had never existed, or that I could lay down, go to sleep, and die. This struggle continued throughout youth and young adulthood, including lots of angrily destructive interactions with others.
It probably sounds strange, but my dog was the main reason I never did it. I knew my dog cared about me and would have grieved deeply if I was gone. Maybe that's why I've always loved animals and spent so many years arouind them: starting as a zookeeper caring for elephants, lions, tigers, and bears, then an emergency veterinary surgical assistant, all along rescuing pets and even injured and orphaned wildlife for the Louisiana Department of Wildlfe. By the way, apparently caring for animals is a good prerequisite for people soul-care, since Adam, Noah, Moses, David, etc., all started out that way. So I guess it's not surprising that I ended up a family counselor for decades.
The other thing that kept me from commiting suicide was the realisitc fear that it might affect what would happen to me after death. Would suicide cause me to not go to heaven, if there really was one? What if reincarnation was real? Would suicide mess up my karma and make me come back as a roach? (If you're interested, here is an OLD paper I wrote in college at LSU that give you a glimpse into my mind and heart back then.)
I realize now that there were people in my life back then who did care, but for many reasons I didn't believe it. Now, after three decades serving as a counselor and teacher, I know that my past experience is being lived out today by far more people than you might realize. People who feel alone, rejected, without hope, and who are afraid to open up and talk to someone about it.
So, for those of you wrestling with your own ongoing struggle, I'll be adding more as the months unfold about how my suicidal depression and anxiety was gradually transformed into joy and peace. Plus, I'll add some good resources that might also help you see the guaranteed hope, the good news, that is out there for you, beyond the dark cloud of your past and current feelings.
REMEMBER, the GOOD NEWS is that your ability to love and care is an invaluable gift that could bless other hurting souls (even many animals). They need you and in return, you might discover that God's love flowing through you to them, will begin the new life you are looking for.
* For more about this GOOD NEWS see:
[The Purpose of Difficulties and Disabilities]
WHAT IF YOUR FRIEND IS SUICIDAL?
What Can You Do?
* Check your heart: (Philippians 2:5) Humble, loving ?
* Abide in Christ: (John 15:5) Absolute surrender !
* Don't obey fear: (2 Tim 1:7) Walk in the Spirit !
1 - Directly Question The Person About The Potential For Suicide.
[Ephesians 4:15 , 2 Timothy 2:23-26, John 3:20-21; 2 Cor 10:3-5; Mat 4; Col 4]
A. Sensitively listen and seek to understand.
B. Listen for false beliefs which are making suicide attractive.
C. Begin to counter Satan's deception with God's love.
2 - Evaluate the Potential for Actually Committing Suicide.
[1 Kings 19:4, Philippians 1:23, Proverbs 19:19]
A. "I'd never kill myself" (Due to fear of hell or since it would hurt others).
B. "I occasionally have suicidal thoughts".
C. "I often think suicide is my only hope for peace".
D. "I already planned how I'll do it (pills, gun, etc.)".
3 - Never Encourage Belief in a Guaranteed Heaven After Suicide.
[Hebrews 9:27, Proverbs 3:5, 1 John 3:15, 4:8, James 1:13-16]
A. "If you are suicidal, you may not truly know Christ"
B. "You may think you do, but please don't risk eternity on it"
C. "If you kill yourself, you can't change your mind"
4 - Help the Person Examine Other Options Not yet Considered.
[Romans 12:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5]
A. Time guarantees change of circumstances.
B. Explore practical & realistic alternatives.
C. Offer yourself to walk along side (parakletos) in the new options.
D. Encourage a physical examine by a family practice physician.
5 - Link The Person With an Immediate Support System.
[Ephesians 3:14-21, 1 Corinthians 12-13, John 15:1-15]
A. Find out what friends or relatives are supportive.
B. Get information necessary to contact them.
C. Plan to call someone to stay with the person as needed.
6 - Make a Covenant - Contract for a 12 hr Period.
[1 John 3:16-18, James 5:16, Ephesians 1:18-23, Hebrews 7:22]
A. Get the person to promise not to attempt suicide during the contract period.
B. Provide practical projects toward new alternatives.
C. Lead the person in a covenant prayer with God.
7. - If Potential is High, consider referral to a lock-down institution.
[Proverbs 19:18, Hebrews 12:5-12, Romans 13:1-4]
A. Try to get the person to voluntarily enter the hospital.
B. If not, family members can commit the person.
C. If family is unavailable, the coroner can commit someone.
D. Even if committed, you continue to evangelize or disciple as needed.
MORE TO COME . . .