Death of Attempted Death

Before walking into the hospital room I knew I needed to pray. I needed to pray that I’d have ears to listen, and a spirit of acceptance and love. We were walking into yet another hospital room of a sweet child who tried to end their life.

We walked in and all I could say is, I understand and this makes sense, just know your understood and that you are not alone. These are the words that our world needs to hear everyday, not just when the bottom falls out. When we let people know that they are not alone in their struggles, this can start a beautiful reaction of change and healing.

1 Thessalonians 5.11 Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Encouragement is rare in a culture of negativity & constant judgement. It’s rare because judgement is easier, it is easier to speak negative thoughts and to judge others.

Knowing that this child was in need of encouragement and dealing with massive amounts of shame and guilt. The only option is acceptance, grace and love.

We had such a great visit and learned so much from our time. Best thing we heard was “I want to get better” these are huge words of hope and future healing! We also saw God bring beauty from my ashes to again help someone else.

Lucy applying comfort and grounding to this sweet child.

As we left I stopped by the nurses station and asked how often do you see adolescent suicide attempts at your hospital. The response shook me up, said that everyday they have many beds occupied of attempted suicides, and it’s constantly rising.

We must let others know we are listening and available without judgement. This is an issue that has to be spoken up for. I understand it’s not comfortable, neither are funerals of our loved ones. So we need to speak up now, before it’s to late. When people break an arm they get help, when people need heart medicine they go get it. This is no different, the only difference is the cultural stigma of mental health.

We have the chance NOW to speak up for those who don’t have a voice. We have a chance to love others who have never experienced love. We have a chance go show grace and introduce them to Christ. We have a chance to save lives of the downcast and hopeless.

It’s time to be attentive to the ones we love and who God has placed us around. We must never assume everyone is doing good just because their instagram looks good and they “seem to be ok”. We can be the ones to ask the hard questions and slow down and take time for others.

So what can we do to equip the everyday person who feels this way? Are there coping skills they can employ to combat these emotions? When psychologists or therapists use the term “coping skills,” it’s a positive term. They are healthy habits to navigate stressful situations. They require hard work, but these skills are healthy and helpful:

1. Meditation and breathing.

I’ve written about this before. Often, stopping to breathe slowly and deliberately can untangle an anxious mind. Meditating on positive truths or good memories both can reduce anxiety. It enables us to focus on constructive thoughts, even our own growth, and see a larger picture. Many today call this mindfulness and I find it very helpful.

2. Calling a trusted friend.

Everyone should have at least one person in their life who they can call and gain a listening ear, an empathetic heart and a change in perspective. John Crosby said “mentors are a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, and a kick in the seat of the pants.” I know many students who recovered from hopelessness by instantly calling a friend.

3. Serving others meaningfully.

Any act of service to others gets your mind off of yourself. While I know the problem may not be this simple, adding value to someone else cultivates the best in all of us. This has been proven over and over again. I am most prone to feel melancholy when I focus on myself.  Looking outward almost always helps restore hope.

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

This term, CBT, has surfaced as a helpful coping tool for anyone who feels hopeless or anxious. It represents logical thinking, instead of emotional reasoning. Suicidal thoughts come from cognitive distortions. CBT forces us to challenge hopeless voices in our heads and exchange them for positive reasoning and true self-affirmations.

I encourage you to look these up and study them. We have to find a way to offer hope to those that are felling hopeless.

We must put to death, the attempts of death.

“The opinions and views expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer, Second Baptist Church, Houston, TX.”

One thought on “Death of Attempted Death

  1. When my adopted son was struggling to find his identity during high school, he periodically cut on himself as an out cry for his mental instability, but 2 of his friends in the 11th grade at a Katy high school committed suicide within 2 months of each other. During this time period, I was so afraid for my son’s life. He finally came out of his depression and suicidal thoughts to become a socially responsible and stable young man. The process is long and arduous, but he learned how to change his thinking so that he controlled his thought process instead of it controlling him.

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