Category Archives: Suicide

What to Do When Fatigue Hits Your Heart

Fatigue seems to sap out any reserve you might have to go on.

I remember visiting him in the Intensive Care Unit in our local hospital. After a huge overdose of pills he had woken up to discover he was still alive. His attempt at suicide had not succeeded.

His story was not unfamiliar. He had battled his addiction for years. Day after day. Then it got the better of him, and when his whole world crashed around him he decided to crash out of it.

Beneath what our culture calls psychological disorder is a soul crying for what only community can provide. Larry Crabb

This was years ago, but just the other day he shared with me his excitement at the news of becoming a grandfather.

Wonderful I thought, it was worth all the struggle of rebuild for the joy set before him of holding a new born baby in his arms.

Fatigue hits me too. Continue reading

birth – The Bit in Between – death

One Death every 40 seconds. 
 
girl depression sad suicide sand
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that each year approximately one million people die from suicide.

One death every 40 seconds and it is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds.

Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides. (Source)

We have a problem. 
What is having suicidal depression truly like?

What helps?

Austrian born, Sinda Ruzio-Sabian, tells her story of living with Suicidal Depression.
Is it an easy read?

No, its painful because it is real. 

Sinda tells her story through poetry and prose.

Many people believe that talking about suicide is dangerous.

Sinda disagrees

‘We need to bring it out into the open by sharing our lives with others in the hope that it can ameliorate the isolation, guilt and shame’

As I read the stories and the poems I was taken to the stories of many others that struggle with depression.

The shame, guilt, and fear of telling others about what is really going on. Isolation creeps in and vulnerability increases.

‘The Bit in Between’ brings the reality of  living with suicidal depression into a format that can be embraced by others.

The hope is that by doing this others can truly connect with the struggle.

Sinda gives the reader a set of tools she has collected over the years that has helped her.

  • Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude
  • Watch my vocabulary with myself, attempting to get rid of should’s, have to’s.
  • Daily readings – from various affirmative and twelve – step programmes’ books.
  • Meditation
  • Listen to relaxing music/ sounds.
  • Exercise
  • Eat well.
  • Sleep
  • Socialise
  • Ask – checking with friends that what they said is what I heard.

Sinda shares her secrets. 

‘They say you are as sick as the secrets you keep. Well all I now know is that until I started leaking with therapy I was a very sick puppy! Quite apart from the fact that I did start talking I wasn’t aware of how sick I was. Sharing these feelings. Finding out what I wanted and how to express these wants. Bit by bit learning to be open with others was, and continues to be, a slow and often painful slog but the journey continues to worth it.’

Do you, or someone you know, struggle with suicidal depression? 

This could be a life saving book.

You can purchase it at Amazon (Paper back and Kindle) or directly, by emailing the author.


Like to leave a comment?

Barry Pearman

Help ... My friend is suicidal

Help … My friend is suicidal

It was a shock, a sad and terrible event that could have been prevented. 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post ‘I’m and All Black and I’m Ok’.

What prompted it was the suicide of someone in our local community.

In our Church service, the following Sunday morning, people were still in shock from the event.

Someone asked what could we have done if we had known this man was in such desperate despair. What should we do if we suspect someone is deeply depressed?

I was asked to prepare some teaching that could give some simple advice that anyone could carry out.

I have written about the topic of suicide in the past and so I am busy preparing a small document that will be available to you for download.

There are of course other areas related to Mental Health and Spirituality that I can write about.

What questions do you have?

What areas do your friends, family, work mates, parishoners or yourself, struggle with?

Here are a few that come to my mind.

Help! my friend is

  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Worried
  • Grieving
  • Hearing voices
  • Thinking God doesn’t love them because of what they have done
  • Cutting
  • Struggling with forgiveness

Now I don’t claim to have all the knowledge to answer all your questions, but I do have a great group of professionals and friends around me that can.

What I would like to be able to offer is some free downloadable pdf’s that you can use and pass on.

So what are your questions?

Where are you stuck?

What do you and others need help with?

Remember that there are no dumb questions.

People are often hesitant to ask questions fearing they maybe percieved as being ignorant.

Ask the question and help everyone’s ignorance!

You can do this via leaving a comment below or emailing me.

Go on, ask the question and possibly help thousands of people.

 

Barry Pearman

Image by David Merret Creative Commons Flickr



I'm an All Black and I'm Ok

I’m an All Black and I’m OK

It’s our national sport here in New Zealand; some say it’s our national religion.

Rugby, it’s not a game for wimps. 15 players are throwing themselves at each other to get a ball across a line at the other end of the field. No helmets, no shoulder pads, the only protection being a mouth guard.

We New Zealanders are the best in the world. The All Blacks won the World Cup last year, and last night celebrated 16 wins in a row when they triumphed over South Africa to win the inaugural Rugby Championship.

It’s a great game played by tough men. Love it.

Like many sports, it can teach us valuable life lessons such as teamwork, perseverance, and practice.

One particular past All Black is John Kirwan recently knighted for his services to both Rugby and Mental Health. A man that has been open and honest about his struggle with depression. In fact, he has probably helped thousands and thousands of men all around to be able to get the help they need facing depression. Check him out here.

This blog post is not about Rugby, it is not about The All Blacks, it’s about suicide.

This week in our local community we have had someone take their life. It was a huge shock to everyone.

In our church service today we prayed for the family and the community.

In New Zealand, 547 people killed themselves in the period from July 2011 to June 2012. Chief coroner Judge Neil MacLean believes that suicide needs to be “gently” brought “out of the shadows.”

Here are some of my thoughts.

We need more John Kirwan’s.

Men who can talk freely about the battle of depression.

The Kiwi male stereotype of being self-sufficient is a huge barrier to getting the help and support needed.

I talked to the congregation today about us all needing safe relationships where we can talk. People who are suicidal first of all need to know they are loved and have value. Then out of this base of security further help needs to be sought.

I have recently started reading On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men by Richard Rohr.

Here are some excerpts

After twenty years of working with men on retreats and rites of passage, in spiritual direction, and even in prison, it has sadly become clear to me how trapped the typical Western male feels. He is trapped inside, with almost no inner universe of deep meaning to heal him or guide him. Historically, this is exactly what spirituality meant by “losing your soul.” It did not happen later or after death unless it first happened here.

One of the most surprising but revealing discoveries [is] that much male anger is actually male sadness. Men often have no way to know this themselves, and many probably even think of themselves as “angry men.” They are often very sad men, but they have no differentiated feeling world, no vocabulary, no safe male friends, no inner space or outer setting in which to open up such a chasm of feeling-not even in their churches or with their partners.

We can live without success, but the soul cannot live without meaning. Father Richard Rohr OFM

We were never meant to be alone. We all need friends, safe friends.

People who will affirm our value and worth.

Friends who will be with us when the world around us is All Black.

 

Question to consider. Share in the comments 

  • How much does a person’s ‘losing your soul’ play into suicidality?

Barry Pearman

Image by Riv Creative Commons Flickr

Why Paul’s 'Fruitful Labour' is a Great Antidote to Suicide

Why Paul’s ‘Fruitful Labour’ is a Great Antidote to Suicide

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

To him darkness was a close friend. Always present, never leaving, clinging on like a wet shirt.

Life sucked. No joy, no hope.

As he sat with me I felt Holy Spirit sweep into the room.

‘Great’ I thought ‘It’s not up to me to try and get this person off a suicidal one way track’

Something lit up within me as I listened and watched the sadness pour forth.

An invisible Paul Simon started to whisper

Hello darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

There was a vision planted in his brain of death, hopelessness and suicide.

I saw something else though. I had a different vision, a compelling vision that drew me in and offered a lantern of light to him if he wanted to take it.

There was something of the creator that had been sown in this person’s soul. Something of their (Father, Jesus and Spirit) very own nature that was needing to be released. I was given the gift of discovering it and bringing it to the world to see.

He felt like that there was nothing of worth within him. He felt like a complete failure, powerless, unable to move into his world and change a thing.

She could not see any beauty within her, nothing. She was ugly, there was nothing of beauty within her that would be desirable to others.

Hidden under all the accumulated rubbish of life was a seed that needed watering and nurturing.

That seed could bring much blessing to others if allowed to grow and mature.

Fruitful labour!

Paul was in a tough spot. Life was tough, real tough.

Martyrdom was casting a decapitating shadow over this life.

He was torn between two loves. To be with Christ or to be others and helping them grow in faith. He puts it this

As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work [fruitful labour] for me to do.

If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose.

Hard choice!

The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better.

But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here.

So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues.

You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other. Philippians 1:22-26

Some theologians consider Paul may well have been suicidal. A hot debate topic.

Regardless, Paul’s reason to live was found in the serving of others. He had an others centered life.

He wasn’t ready yet to die, there was more to be done. In his darkest moment of life he found the reason for life.

Serving others invites the focus of life to shift from ourselves to others. We have to be wary of our motivations for serving others. It should never be to avoid facing our own issues but to have something fruitful, productive and rewarding can be a great motivator to keep on going.
Questions to Consider and leave a Comment.

  1. What reason or purpose do you have for your life?
  2. Do you think Paul could possibly be suicidal?
  3. What are the rewards and dangers of having a focus of serving others?
  4. What is ‘Fruitful labor’ for you?

Barry Pearman

Image: seyed mostafa zamani Creative Commons Flickr

Suicide of the Soul

Suicide of the Soul

Out of the corner of my eye there was an Asian man trying to get my attention. 

He was pointing and gesturing to look behind the car I was sitting in with a friend.

In the rear view mirror I could see a young man lying on the ground. Jumping out of the car I could see him at the foot of some steps he had come down.

First Aid skills kicked in and I made sure he was safe from traffic, breathing checked, help enlisted from others etc.

At first I thought it was an epileptic seizure but when we found the empty pill packets we knew this was a suicide attempt. Emergency services were called for and soon an ambulance arrived. Police arrived too as they had been told about his distress and were out looking for him. He was soon receiving the best of medical attention.

Finding this young man was a completely random event. I just happened to be there at the right time.

It shakes you up.

To see the absolute desperation and confusion of a fellow human soul. To see the shocked and pained responses of those gathered around the body.

From my experience of working in Mental Health I knew what would happen to this young man. He would be shipped off to hospital, stomach pumped and then handed over to the psyche team for assessment and therapy consisting of medication and skills training.

He would learn coping strategies for life so that when the negative thoughts etc. came along he would have some tools in the tool bag to get him through the pain. He might be assigned a some social worker that could help with finding work, accommodation etc.

All of this is good and needed, but as I sat next to his prone body on the asphalt under heat of a summer’s day, I wondered who would attend to the care of his Soul.

Was any one doing this at the moment? Who would breath some Spirit (Holy) life into him?

The medical well-being of the body was being scientifically treated. He would be given a hospital number and a little white wrist band along with a diagnoses to categorise his behaviour.

Everyone reading his file notes would know something of his life, they would form judgements and boxes for him to be in.

His Soul was a place of desperation.

He desperately needed connection with maybe a few others that believed in him. That could walk with him, help him to check his perspectives and would, now here is dangerous word, love him.

He needed people who would help him make connection with a loving God.

People that would not see him as a client, a patient, a body, an appointment, or a problem to be solved. This young man was and is a human being, created in the image of God to be both a recipient and participator of community.

All the medication taken and skills learnt may well help him to function, but still the ragged raw need for him will be connection.

I have found  that connection of the soul is needed at the base of every suicidal person I have come across.

People needing to know in their souls that they have value and worth.

This quote inspires my Soul.

Beneath what our culture calls psychological disorder is a soul crying out for what only community can provide. I see a healing community as a group of people who place connecting at the exact centre of their purpose and passion. Connecting with God (worship), others (loving service), and ourselves (personal wholeness). All else is either a route to or a result of connecting. Loving God and loving others lie at the core of God’s intention for his people. Larry Crabb

Who will tend the soul of this young man? Who will provide Soul care to him and those around him?

Could it be you?

Question to Consider: 

  • What fears bubble up in you as I ask this question? 

Leave a comment below and your thoughts may well form good topics for future blog posts. The questions you ask are the same being asked by possibly thousands of others. Be their voice!

Barry Pearman
Image: D Sharon Pruitt Creative Commons Flickr