Choosing Life – How to Talk about Suicide and Why You Should July 11, 2017
I remember the feeling of despair, when it seemed my life had no meaning, no purpose, nor value. As a 13-year-old victim of incest and a forced abortion, I felt only inconsolable pain. I could see nothing beyond the mountain of pain immobilizing me. I spoke of suicide, confiding in a friend about my despair. She encouraged me to choose to live and talked with my abuser about my fragile emotional state. That is when the almost nightly sexual assaults halted. I was able to live with another friend and sought out counseling. Over a 12-year period of counseling, my physical and emotional pain eased.
The rest of my story is about what happened because I did not choose suicide. I married (39 years now) and had 3 children, who are now grown. I also have a granddaughter. I wrote a book, Flame of Healing: A Daily Journey of Healing from Abuse and Trauma. This devotional has a journal, for personal in-depth healing. It is helping people in the USA, Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Australia, El Salvador, and Jamaica to heal from their emotional pain from abuse and trauma. The worst of my pain has been transformed to be the pivot point for others who have also suffered to receive the comfort and healing that I have received.
When I was a broken young girl, I could not see the life and love that was ahead of me. I could only see the moment and the pain; I had no skills to ask for help. My friend listened to me and respected the pain I described as real and debilitating. She helped me to find my way away from suicide. I had people in my life who offered positive, concrete steps to work my way through the pain. If I had languished in my emotional pain and taken my life, the world would not have my grown children, my granddaughter, nor her children or theirs’. The emotional struggle of surviving abuse and trauma would still be swirling, unrestrained in innumerable hearts and minds.
It is not possible to know when a chance meeting on a bus, in a grocery store line, or at the park may place you in the unique position to be a friend to one who is contemplating suicide. It may be a friend you already have is struggling with deeper emotional pain than you realize. Any season of life that hosts seemingly insurmountable problems can make a person vulnerable to the imagining the easy way out. The reality of suicide is loss, of life, love, and the future for that person. The very best thing you can do is to be a friend, to every person you are able, to reach out and offer hope.
Talking with someone about suicide is always a good idea! Most people do not ask the questions because they are afraid of “making it worse”, that is a myth. To ask the question never harms the other person and may save his or her life. Think about it this way, if he is not considering suicide or self-harm, he will simply say, “no!”. Great! If he is thinking of harming himself, most often he will admit it and you will have a door to move forward.
Here are some resources:
Be informed, Suicide Warning Signs
Have you ever heard someone say two or more of the following?
- Life isn’t worth living
- My family (or friends or girlfriend/boyfriend) would be better off without me
- Next time I’ll take enough pills to do the job right
- Take my prized collection or valuables — I don’t need this stuff anymore
- Don’t worry, I won’t be around to deal with that
- You’ll be sorry when I’m gone
- I won’t be in your way much longer
- I just can’t deal with everything — life’s too hard
- I won’t be a burden much longer
- Nobody understands me — nobody feels the way I do
- There’s nothing I can do to make it better
- I’d be better off dead
- I feel like there is no way out
- You’d be better off without me
Have you noticed them doing one or more of the following activities?
- Getting affairs in order (paying off debts, changing a will)
- Giving away articles of either personal or monetary value
- Signs of planning a suicide such as obtaining a weapon or writing a suicide note
Suicide is one of the most serious symptoms of someone who is suffering from
severe depression. Common signs of depression include:
- Depressed or sad mood (e.g., feeling “blue” or “down in the dumps”)
- A change in the person’s sleeping patterns (e.g., sleeping too much or too little, or having difficulty sleeping the night through)
- A significant change in the person’s weight or appetite
- Speaking and/or moving with unusual speed or slowness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities (e.g., hobbies, outdoor activities, hanging around with friends)
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, slowed thinking or indecisiveness
- Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach, or guilt
- Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishes to be dead
Be connected to organizations that offer professional assistance.
- QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer https://www.qprinstitute.com/
- safeTALK https://www.livingworks.net/programs/safetalk/
safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper.
- Good Samaritan Ministries https://www. http://goodsamaritanministries.org/
Counseling: Adults, children & teens, addictions, trauma recovery, marriage & couples, family counseling.
Groups: Therapy groups are proven to be incredibly healing as they provide community support in a safe environment. Many people attend groups while they are waiting to enter individual counseling and some counselors may refer their clients to attend groups.
Training Classes: Classes differ from therapy groups as they are skill building and educational and while they can be a part of therapy, classes will not feature a therapy element.
Be involved in suicide prevention
- You Can NOT Be Replaced http://www.youcannotbereplaced.com/
‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’ Aesop
80,000+ YCNBR wristbands are being passed across the USA, Canada, UK and Australia
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- UMTR2ME You Matter To Me http://umtr2me.org/our-mission/
Recognizing the threat of suicide is real and the results permanent, we reach out to people suffering from depression, mental health challenges, and thoughts of suicide. We exist to provide hope, support, and encouragement, within a personal relationship, to the individual as well as their family and friends.
Submitted By: Freda Emmons
Contributions By: Bethany Stroup
Freda experienced physical and sexual abuse. She was broken and confused for years. As a young woman, she sought counseling for 12 years. When she began to grow in her Christian faith, she realized the depth of healing in the words of the Bible. She then combined tiny steps of healing with those comforting Scriptures and wrote Flame of Healing: A Daily Journey of Healing from Abuse and Trauma, a devotional with a journal, for in-depth, personal healing. Flame of Healing is helping people in 6 countries to heal from deep emotional pain from abuse and trauma.
Freda is also an inspirational speaker, addressing issues of abuse and trauma with compassion. She is a wife of 39 years, mother of three adult children, grandmother of one, and a child of God.
Her second book, Resurrection Hope, is a Christian novel about Heaven, angels, and living in the Presence of God. Freda’s website is: www.fredaemmons.com