Friday, May 18, 2007


Suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts are an SOS for help. People don't wake up one day and say, "You know, I don't have anything else to do, I think I will commit suicide." A person who makes this decision may be somewhat impulsive, but not that impulsive. As someone who has had to struggle at times with suicidal thoughts (not actions), I know that this type of thinking is insidious. It creeps into your emotional processing and becomes attractive as a way of coping with pain. A friend of mine recently stated that suicide was a "cowards way out," but I have to disagree. It is a desperate way out.

Let me assure you, that for several reasons, I do not believe that this is a decision or action that I will ever make. That does not mean that it is not something that I have to guard against. Other than wanting to please God in all things, one prohibitive factor in my life is the shame and guilt and almost unending pain that suicide survivors have to deal with. I would not want to inflict those things on my family and friends, but love of others can sometimes even lead to suicide.

I believe that personal and crushing guilt for causing problems in another persons life is often a prime motivator for suicide. Someone thinks, "They really would be better off without me." Love, not anger, can cause a person who has illogical thinking patterns to see suicide as an expression of how much they care for someone. If they feel guilty for the negative effect their life or their illness causes another person, that guilt may suggest this radical step as being a solution to the problems of someone they care about. This might sound "crazy" to you. You need to understand that a person with suicidal thoughts is NOT thinking logically, otherwise they would not even contemplate this act.

Besides my own struggles, I have had a lot of personal experience with suicidal people. My first acquaintance with suicide occurred when I was a young adult. I received a phone call from a girl who was desperate because one of our friends had intentionally overdosed. This was before 911, so I rushed over and loaded my friend in the car and took her to the emergency room. She was hospitalized for 3 days and released into the care of her mother. All ended well.

A few years later, I was in my church office and I got another call. One of the church members screamed that her husband had a gun to his head and said that he was going to commit suicide. I broke all the speed limits on the way to their home, and when I entered their front door, he was sitting in a recliner with a pistol while his wife and daughter looked on. I sat beside him and began to quietly ask him why he felt so sad. The short story is that he was depressed, felt hopeless, and ached for someone to give him a reason to live. After talking for several hours, he gave me his gun and was taken to see a doctor. He later became a Christian and a leader in the church.

One day I was talking to my mother and another relative about my problem with depression. When I went outside, he followed me and said that he wanted to talk. He told me that he was thankful that I had shared my struggles, because he had been planning to commit suicide. I called his son and got him some help.

Then, in 1993, while I was finishing up my degree work, I became a friend and study buddy to a young woman. She began to miss classes, and one day she came to class but sat quietly, not paying attention to the lecture. I noticed that she was doodling on a piece of paper, and I was close enough to her chair to see her draw a skull. After class ended, I saw her throw the paper away. When I retrieved it, I found that she had been writing comments related to suicide, so I talked to the professor about getting her some immediate medical attention. She was put in the hospital and her parents were called. After she was released, she came to me and said, "Stormy, if you hadn't seen my note, I would not be alive today." That impressed on me the importance of paying close attention to people. She recovered and married a wonderful young Christian man.

Also, in my family, I have had an uncle, a first-cousin, and a second-cousin all commit suicide.

Although these stories are a little tedious, I just want you to see that there are a lot of people out there who are in pain. According to the Center for Disease Control, 30, 622 Americans took their lives in 2001. In 2002, 132,353 people were hospitalized following suicide attempts. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, but even children as young as 10 have taken their lives.

There are many websites dedicated to information about this national tragedy. One site that I would recommend and that has several good links is at "" I believe that everyone should take the time to educate themselves. We may not know how distressed our loved ones can be. Don't wait until it's too late. Statistically, 6 people will be affected by a suicide. I believe that statistic is drastically conservative. I pray that none of us will ever be one of those people.

["I'm so low, I could do a ten minute free-fall off the edge of a dime."]

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