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letting go with butterflyWhat do parents need to know about suicide? They need to know there’s something they could do that might make the difference if they suspect their son or daughter is thinking about taking their life. That’s good news! This is part one of a two part series outlining something called QPR = three simple steps (QPR steps) anyone can learn. They can actually help prevent a suicide.

What is the number one cause of suicidal behavior?

Untreated depression.

When discovered, depression is highly treatable. Complicating factors arise, however, when a person self- medicates (using alcohol – a depressant, or drugs).  As odd as it sounds, research shows that “once someone decides to end their life, the hours before death are often filled with a kind of chipperness, even blissful calm. This change in mood is a good time to apply QPR.”  Who needs to know this technique? Everyone – not just concerned parents. I encourage you to share this information with your friends. Let’s spread the word and save lives.

The three steps are:

Question – the person about suicide.

Persuade – the person to get help.

Refer – the person to the appropriate resource.

The first step of asking “the question” is the focus of today’s blog. Continue Reading »

Are you the mom or dad of a child who is struggling with suicidal ideation (thoughts and fantasies of taking their life). Do they struggle with bipolar, depression, PTSD, or schizophrenia?  Are you tormented not knowing if they’re safe or not – from themselves? Do you have an uneasy feeling that something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it? Do you worry they feel worthless and their life doesn’t matter?  If so, this is for you. This information in this blog could be crucial for you and your child.fragile

This material is from The National Suicide Prevention Hotline website. The following signs may mean someone is at risk for ending their life. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, or if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If your child exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). A trained individual will be there to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays. Continue Reading »

designDid you know National Suicide Prevention week starts tomorrow? Authorities state that: “Every 17 minutes in America someone commits suicide.”

Because my daughter has been on the verge of many dark nights when only God held back her hand from ending her life, I know how difficult it is for a mom or dad to understand what it’s like to be suicidal, then find a way to function while this dark cloud hangs low over their heads. There aren’t many other things that have the power to produce more terror in the heart of a parent.

I want to share a great resource with you today It’s one of the foremost books on the subject, written by one of the leading authorities: Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison. It will increase your understanding about this epidemic that’s sweeping the country, leaving a wake of grief and pain in its path.

It may surprise you how Jamison, teaching professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, knows so much about suicide. She herself was nearly one of its victims, struggling with bipolar disorder for decades.

PhD in psychiatry, Jamison truly knows what she’s talking about in every sense of the word.

The back cover describes it as, “the first major book in a quarter century on suicide, and its terrible pull on the young in particular… Where it has become one of the most common killers of Americans between ages of 15 and 45.

An internationally acknowledged authority on depressive illnesses, Dr. Jamison has also known suicide first hand: After years of struggling with manic depression (bipolar), she tried at age twenty-eight to kill herself.

This is a book that helps you understand the suicidal mind,  recognize and come to the aid of those at risk, and comprehend the profound effects on those left behind.”

Here’s what others say about Night Falls Fast:
“A profound an impassioned book…it will stand as the authoritative study of suicide for many years.”

“This powerful book will change people’s lives – and, doubtless, save a few.”

“Jamison brings us face-to-face with the suicidal mind in a manner so intense and penetrating… A drama as narratively compelling as anyone might see on the stage.” -The Washington Post Book World

“A sweeping, authoritative look at suicide…her experience brings passion to every page of the book…”

“A must read for anyone who has thought of suicide or loves someone who has…from the first page, she hooks the reader, blending scholarship, life experience and keen writing ability.”

Kay felt compelled to write this book for two reasons: She strongly believes there are treatments that could save lives, and that the future holds great promise for the intelligent and compassionate care of the suicidal mentally ill. Throughout the world, public health officials are seeking a strategy that can decrease the death rate of suicide. I hope they they hurry.

If you feel discouraged, then you need this next book:
Do Not Lose Heart by Dave and Jan Dravecky. Former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, Dravecky’s bout with cancer resulted in the removal of his left arm and ended his career. But, he did not lose heart. In his suffering, he found unquenchable hope.

Full of wisdom and promises of Scripture you’ll find their book full of encouragement and comfort.

These words of truth have done that for me many times:

“As they (whose strength is in God) pass through the valley of Baca (weeping; arid stretches), they make it a place of springs . . . they go from strength to strength. . .” (Psalm 84:6-7a)

 

This is a re-post of a blog I wrote on August 27, 2011.

Current events around the world strike fear in the hearts of many people. Another journalist was beheaded. No way!  How could this happen? Attractive Mature Woman What next?  The reactions are similar to what parents in pain over the behaviors, struggles, and choices of their children experience.

My child’s on drugs? They have a problem with alcohol?  They’re cutting themselves? They have an eating disorder?  They have a mental illness?  They’re suicidal? They’re attracted to the same sex?  They have a problem with pornography? They’re in jail? No way! Shock, denial, and fear are huge.

This Bible verse comes to mind:

I called on Your name, O Lord, out of the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice, “Do not hide your ear from my prayer for relief, from my cry for help.”
You drew near when I called on You;
You said, “Do not fear!'”
(Lamentations 3: 55-57)

Do you ever feel like you’re in a deep, dark pit? I sure have – exactly like this verse describes; crying out for God to hear my prayer and bring relief; to do something and please, hurry! That’s when I needed to hear these words.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m really honest, I would tell you that when I draw near to God I don’t always feel His nearness. Oh yes, I have felt Him close – powerfully close — many times, but not every time.

Those are the times I had to rely on my faith and what I believed to be true. This passage helped. It told me when I cry out to Him and do my best to seek Him in my pain,  He will  respond.

He draws near.

He not only hears, but he takes action.

He comes.

He is moved by my pain.

It touches Him.

He is not apathetic.

Don’t you ever believe that. It’s a lie.

What does He say?  “DO NOT FEAR!”  Exactly what we need.  He addresses our greatest need, deep at the core of our being. Often unspoken, He knows it’s there, constantly lurking just beneath the surface of our emotions.

You know what it’s like. That sense of foreboding, of what might be ahead, out there somewhere in the future. If you weren’t already in the lowest pit, this fear can throw you into one.

When your world is shaken and you cry out to God for help, I hope you’ll remember these things:

He hears you, and He will come near to speak words of comfort to your soul – exactly what you need when you need it.
Dear mom or dad, hear your Heavenly Father, Mighty God, King of the Universe, for whom nothing is too hard, whisper to your heart, “Do not fear!”  May His reassurance lift you out of the pit and set your feet on solid ground, even if your world is thrown into upheaval, because you know you are Not Alone.

What three words do hurting parents need to hear from God?

Do Not Fear!

support group1Are you a mom or dad who thought you’d lose your mind from fear and worry over your beloved child?  Powerless, you stood by watching while they began going down the wrong road of drugs, alcohol, and self-injury. Maybe they were diagnosed with depression, OCD, bipolar, anxiety or some other mental illness.

They’ve possibly revealed a Same Sex Attraction or have been living a gay lifestyle.  Your heart may be breaking due to their incarceration and ongoing trouble with the law.

Alone is not good on this journey. Your natural instincts tell you to keep it to yourself, but isolation only increases your pain and makes it worse. I want to tell you about something that can make a huge difference. It can help you more than you could imagine – being in a support group. Continue Reading »

Today’s blog is an excerpt from the book I’m writing about my difficult journey as a parent.

“No one is exempt from tragedy or disappointment—God himself was not exempt. Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, butDisappointment rather a way through . . .” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God; Zondervan. New York, NY. 1988; p.217)

As loving, conscientious parents we had the need to find an explanation for why things turned out like they did with our daughter. At nineteen, she was struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, bipolar, anxiety, cutting, and trauma from being raped. How could this happen to the dreams I had for her? What did I do wrong? It’s not fair! Where is God? I was so angry and disappointed. Continue Reading »

Have you ever felt hopeless about your child? They were arrested – again. Now they’re facing a longer jail or prison sentence. Have you reached the point where you couldn’t believe any more that change was possible? Maybe they relapsed for the umpteenth time. You were encouraged after their last stint in rehab, convinced this time was going to be different. They finally “got it”. You’re hopes rose, then fell, shattered once again. Or maybe they struggle with a mental illness they can’t manage. Suicide threats are frequent. You can’t take it any more.

HHP blog9You want to have hope–oh, how badly you wish you could. But you just can’t. You’ve been disappointed too many times. Your heart’s been crushed too often.

Maybe you got your child back – not just once, but several times–only to lose them again to drugs or alcohol, to mental illness, to one more bad decision, to any number of things. The list of possibilities is long. You’re too familiar with them.

Can we be honest? You aren’t who you once were. You’re smarter and wiser now. You know more than you wish you did–much more. You’ve become cynical. Resentful. Bitter. You’re faith may even be wavering. Hope is gone. You’ve given up. I did–BUT GOD helped me find a new kind of hope. Continue Reading »

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