Depression and suicide is the hardest things for me to think about it. The thought of losing anyone because it has been driven in their head that they are worthless or in a situation that they feel is inescapable really takes a tole on me emotionally.
I learned two really depressing things in class that lead me to post about this subject matter.
- Suicide is the third most common cause cause of death in 13-18 year olds
- Suicide is the second most common cause of death for college students
Those numbers are extremely alarming! This is a very real subject! So how can we as christians, or plainly just as human beings, change these statistics? First lets look at why people feel this way.
Why People Feel Depressed – What goes through their head
Generally people become depressed because they feel less of themselves than others around them. They have been brought to believe that they are worthless. People around them take advantage of them and use them. They often have received a lot of negative feedback from their family, friends, and surrounding. People get depressed because they don’t feel good enough. They feel no matter how hard they try, thing will never change, they will never be accepted(this can be applied to both their personality as well as outward appearances). They have been conditioned to believe they simply aren’t good enough, and won’t ever be!
What a lot of people don’t realize is the emotions that depressed people have are very much real, especially when depression starts to turn the corner to suicidal thoughts! What these people go through is just as real as any emotion you have in your life. What is hard for a lot of people is that they think they can help depressed people just by telling them “do not think that way because it isn’t true.” Sometimes you might even add in there that “I care for you,” “I value you,” and etc. It may be nice to hear that just you care for them, it isn’t enough to get over their feeling that they are not good enough. This feeling is burned to them so deep within their system, it takes more than a few words at this point to change their hearts back over.
How Can We Help?
First thing is first, do not preach Jesus at them(Yes Jesus is great, but the difference in telling someone their worth and actually showing it to them is huge. In your actions Jesus will be revealed) ! And do not just tell them to not feel that way! The easiest way to prevent (most) depression starts from the very beginning. Treat all people with respect, give people thanks, let others know you care for them, doing all the little things can prevent the feeling of worthlessness, giving a random stranger a smile, helping others out, following the golden rule “so in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you(Matthew 7:12),” kindness, patience, love, and etc.
Now secondly, what about those who already are in depression? For those already in depression what they need is a true friend. Not a consular, not medication, not therapy, and etc. They need a true friend. Someone who will listen to all their problems, someone who doesn’t judge, who doesn’t get angry at their mistakes, who is always there for them, who knows their past and still accepts them the way they are, who they can trust, and so on. Actions speak louder than words. To have someone tell you they care for you means nothing, but to have someone who tells you they care for you and will do anything for you is what counts, that is what will make a difference.
Be the friend that you go to the end of the earth to help. The friend that will put aside anything and everything to talk. The friend that puts his/her words where their mouth is.
Here is a testimony from a good friend of mind. This testimony is to help give hope to those in need, as well as to show the importance of the impact a good friend can make on someone.
I’m writing as a friend of Joshua. A friend that has been living with depression/suicidal thoughts since high school…
-It started when my parents got divorced when my dad said “I can’t handle you or the kids” to my mother, when I said “if he wants to leave, let him” back to my mother. Little did i know that I was going to regret the attitude that I had towards my father. I have always been the person that people consider “strong”, can deal with whatever life has to throw at me. I’m really not, I’ve just gotten really good at putting things on the back burner of my mind. I went through high school resenting my father. I started trusting in the wrong people and getting involved with the wrong things. I did a lot of it to spite my dad. College came around and the suicidal thoughts were at there highest. I learned to shove more things out of mind. I looked to things that I thought could help. None of those things were trusting friends or family. I didn’t trust anyone, had enough people walk out of my life before I wasn’t going to make myself vulnerable to anyone. Alcohol and a dumb boy who was abusive (and would run my life for the next 3-4 years) became the things that I thought could “save” me. They were constant and they were something that I could rely on. I lived with these poor choices for years before one day the counselor at the college suggested that I come talk with him. I don’t know what it was in me that thought it was a good idea, but I went along with it. I was tired of feeling the way that I was feeling. I wanted it all to go away. I was determined that if this didn’t work, than nothing was going to get better. This decided whether I choose to live or not. So I went, and he brought a lot of demons out of the closet. Things that I now couldn’t get off my mind. He made me write a suicide plan (I thought it was a joke) and at one point he said to me “I don’t think that either of your parents love you”. I shut him out. They next day he said he was leaving. Another person walking out of my life, I was too much for another person to handle. That’s when the cutting really started to become uber frequent. That’s also when Joshua found out what was going on with me. I don’t think I really opened up to him about everything at the time but he still showed me that there was hope when I thought it was over.
That was 2+ years ago. I could go into great detail about the past 2 years but I won’t. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I’m “cured” and these thoughts don’t still bother me. They very much so do. There have been close calls and stupid things that relied on. The point is, I was shown hope. I was given that friend that truly and honestly has never left me by the way side. Do I deserve everything he’s done for me? Nope, not at all. In fact there have been times where I’ve told him not to bother with me anymore, there is no hope. In my case, it was very true that all I really needed was a good friend. I didn’t deserve it but I was still very thankful for it. I honestly probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him. He also was able to show me hope through Jesus. It wasn’t easy and I resisted for a long time. Eventually though I realized that it was Jesus working though Joshua for me. What grace and mercy I was given!!
My hope is that you now have a better idea on just how important you may be to a person. You as the reader may not be dealing with depression/suicide but know someone who is. I encourage you to reach out to them. Be that friend they need. The hope they need to think that living is worth it. That they’re worth it. Thank you Joshua for showing me hope and making me realize my worth!
Thank you dear. That was quite the testimony. And no problem! It’s the least I can do for you. You deserve it!
Jesus gave us His life. He literally went through hell for us. An accurate viewing of what Jesus went through on earth for us, can be found in the move The Passion of the Christ. The least we can do in return is lend a helping hand to those in need. Strive to be more like Jesus.
- Things You Shouldn’t Say to Suicidal People (ninjaloungehouse.wordpress.com)
- Take our Youth Crisis Suicide Quiz (horizonfamilysolutions.wordpress.com)