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Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

This past weekend I had what I would call an eye opening moment concerning self esteem and interpersonal relationships.  My pre-teen daughter had a couple of friends overnight.  These girls spend many hours together at school but this was the first time that they had an overnight together.  All three are high energy girls and each one is a bit of a diva.  So, I didn’t expect the weekend to go without a hitch. However, as the girls got comfortable I started to hear comments and partial comments that made me stop and listen a little more closely.  The reason for that?  Continue reading:  Write Where You Are

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       Have you ever talked with someone, in person or on the phone, and FELT the pain that they were going through?  Staying connected to those around us demands an attitude of awareness and compassion.  Having a relationship with others, that goes beyond the surface, requires time, attention, and sensitivity.  Are you able to feel someone else’s pain?

        Communicating comfort, love and caring towards others is easy.  All you have to do is reach out to them, for them to feel that love and caring.  Will they talk about their pain; it depends on whether they are ready or not.  Some people internalize what they are going through…they can’t share it until they have processed what they are struggling with.  Others unload their challenges at the drop of a hat. 

       The key to staying connected and being helpful to another person; is knowing that person well enough to know how they handle painful situations.  If they need someone to talk to when dealing with difficulties, try to be there for them.  If they need time to process what they are going through…make sure they know they can call on you when they are ready to talk it out. 

       Lately, it seems like there are too many news reports of people who have broken under stress or pain and have become desperate…hurting themselves or someone else that they professed to love.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  If everyone tried to be more aware of those around them…this world would be a better place.  Do you know someone who is hurting; or, is it you who is going through a hard time?

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     Ok, I am going to rant a bit for a minute.  Twice this week the news has hit us with two terrible stories about families that self-destructed through murder-suicide.  Two families that were destroyed.  One family in particular left a suicide note allegedly saying that the reason they were dead was because both the husband and the wife lost their jobs…were in debt…and were rejected by their employers.  The other family’s reasons have not yet been announced.  The family members allegedly say that there was no clues to this tragedy.  What i want to know is…can we stop families from hurting the ones that they love?  Yes we can, encourage them to seek help:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  Each time something like this happens…those who were lost leave behind friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances and community members who are hurt, confused and saddened.   We have to take care of each other and learn to be more in tune with those around us.  (more…)

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       Actor Willie Ames is famous for his roles on Eight Is Enough (1970’s) and in the show Charles in Charge (1980’s), he has had a large fan following over the years.   Willie also starred  in video’s from 1995-2004 as a superhero named Bibleman; winning a whole new generation of young fans.  He became a Christian and an ordained minister after struggling for years with drug/alcohol addictions.  He appeared to have things together in his life.

        Just this past November Willie, and his second wife Maylo McCaslin Ames, wrote a book together called Grace is Enough.  Shortly after this book was published, on Thanksgiving 2008, Willie Ames allgedly tried to take his own life.  This is why God tells us to keep our eyes on him and not on man ( or woman).  We are vulnerable to attacks by the enemy (Satan) and we can fail one another as role models from time to time.  It is unfair to put someone on a pedestal as an example to follow because they are; for all intents and purposes, human just like us.  Only Jesus is the perfect example to follow.

         It seems that Willie found himself in the position of having to declare bankruptsy, having his vehicle repossesed and having his wife of 22 years ask him for a divorce.  I am sure the fear of failure, rejection, the possibility of an upcoming divorce, slipping back to the pull of his addictions, and the financial difficulties all contributed to his suicide attempt.  When people are overloaded with difficulties that come all at once…that is when escape starts to sound good…it is an illusion that a Christian is tempted with by his spiritual adversary, Satan.  Suicide is not a solution…it is an really just another way to self-destruct; it an attack on that person’s physical and spiritual being.  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  It is important to seek help when depression and despair overwhelms a person. 

        Willie is a Christian yes, but he is a human being also.  One who has struggled with these issues of addiction and self-destruction.  He has tried to live in a place of leadership; which is admirable.  From reading excerpts of their book….it sounds as though both Willie and Maylo have allegedly come from previous places of dysfunction.  No one lives a perfect life…Christians are a work in progress; and, some of the same negative circumstances and forces that affect non-Christians, affect Christians as well. 

         I hope that through this time of difficulty, that Willie and his family can receive proper spiritual counseling and emotional counseling to help them sort things out.  Certainly, we wish him well in his healing path.  As anyone who had had to struggle with these kinds of issues…it is important to know that support is very important from family, friends and, health care professionals; when it is needed.

          For those who would condemn or look askance at Willie’s actions and ask incrediously, how a Christian could do such a thing; I would counter that by asking that person to think compassionately.  When people are in despair and going through some of the worst situations that life has to offer …faith is a lifeline… but, faith is a fragile thing sometimes.  We are to encourage one another and lift each other up.  While Willie played a superhero….he is not superhuman…he is a man who has to find his way back to a place of prominence, by putting faith into action once again,. 

          Do you think Christians are immune from depression and confusion; or should they be?  Do you know any other Christian who has struggled with addictions and depression and then been able to build their life back up from that desperate place?  Have you yourself been there?  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide               1-800-273-TALK       .
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Update:  you may also want to read:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268391,00.html

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     For those who have not heard the news story this past week; a man by the name of Bruce Pardo dressed up as Santa and went on a shooting rampage directed at his ex-wife and her family.  He was aware that they held an annual Christmas party.  He had been planning this for quite some time.   About a week or so before the shootings took place…Bruce Pardo and his estranged wife,  Sylvia, were officially divorced after 2 years of marriage.  This man who dressed up as Santa, needed help.   If he had gotten it…maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

        It sounds as if  the Pardo’s marriage was one of deceipt.  Mr. Pardo had not disclosed to his wife that he had a child from a previous relationship that he did not see, nor did he help support.  It seems that when this child was a toddler in Mr. Pardo’s care; the child ended up in a pool and almost drowned.  The young child is now around the age of 7 ; but, Bruce Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife.  She discovered that the child existed by going through tax papers and finding out that he claimed the child as a dependent.  He denied the situation and Sylvia called her mother in law who confirmed that a child did in fact exist and was disabled.   She filed for divorce…he did not want it.

       It seems that during this time…Bruce also lost his job and then was ordered, by the court, to pay support to his soon to be ex-wife.  By all appearances…Bruce did his best to follow through on the court’s dissolution of his marriage….yet, all along he planned his revenge on the woman who divorced him and those who were closest to her and helped her to leave him. 

        Bruce rented two vehicles and he had things planned out.  He had an extra large Santa suit made up for him.  It seems that at the annual party, Santa always showed up.  He went to the home with a gift in his hand…when the door was opened by a young 8 year old girl…he opened fire, shooting her in the face.  He then went about shooting and looking for specific people.  After he shot the people he went looking for…he then used a homemade device to set the home on fire; inadvertantly causing himself 3rd degree burns when part of the Santa suit melted into his skin from the incendiary device he used to start the fire.

         People in the home had tried to hide and some were able to flee.  A sister of Sylvia’s escaped to a neighbors with the young 8 year old girl who was shot in the face.  She was able to call 911.  After starting the fire, Bruce Pardo shot out street lights…allegedly to help further his escape. 

         People are speculating that he had plans to shoot his own mother who was planning on attending the Christmas party, at her ex-daughter in laws parents home.  She felt ill that evening and was not able to attend.  Bruce blamed his mother for siding with Sylvia in the divorce.    Also allegedly a possible victim of violence was the divorce lawyer who represented Sylvia.  One of the rental vehicles was sitting near the lawyers home. 

        It appears that Bruce changed his plans after he was burned.  It is thought that he was in great pain.  He allegedly had purchased a plane ticket for Illinois to go there and cross the state line into Iowa to see a friend.  He also had about 17,ooo.oo dollars plastic wrapped to his body.   Instead of implementing those plans…he drove approximately 30-40 miles to his brothers home and broke in and shot himself dead.

         What is hard to understand is; didn’t anyone who knew him or had occasion to spend time with him, during the weeks preceding the violence, see his mental breakdown?  Was he so good at hiding his wrath that he was able to misleed the people in his life?  Or did he isolate himself a this time?

         Those familiar with the divorce situation say that he seemed almost eager to have it over with.  The neighbors say that he was friendly and even wished them a Merry Christmas after telling them he was attending a Christmas party. 

          People who knew him said he was a friendly guy.  They are shocked.  And yet, a close friend of Sylvia allegedly said that Sylvia said he changed almost immediately after the marriage.  He became secretive.  Others say that Bruce had a secret guilt about the child that was gravely injured on his watch.  The mother of the child allegedly says that he was involved when the child was in the hospital; but then…he didn’t visit nor did he support the child.  In fact, he kept the child a secret from many…including his new wife.

         The thing is…people who struggle with mental health issues dont always get the help that they need.  Bruce Pardo needed that kind of help to cope with the feelings that he had from the tragedy that happened to his child.  He needed support and counseling to heal up from the guilt that he most likely felt after the child was injured.  He needed to have pre-marital counseling to help him break the news of this part of his life to his intended wife. 

          Sylvia needed a husband who could share this past with her.  She needed him to seek marriage counseling when their marriage appeared to flounder shortly after it began.  She needed some indication that the man she married was deeply disturbed and capable of such violence.  She needed protection from the man that she fell in love with. 

          Experts will tell you that people who are in a state of flux…or life changes are often the most vulnerable for domestic violence.  This is a dangerous time when emotions are raw and assets or custody rights are at stake.  Passions are running high.  It should almost  be mandatory to have to have some sort of counseling to help people through the maze of emotion and legal wrangling that takes place.

          I can’t help but to think of those that lost their lives and those who were left behind to deal with the aftermath.  God help them.  The things that they saw and heard will live with them for a very long time.  And what about those who weren’t there; but, were directly affected such as Bruce Pardo’s mother or his brother.  What about them?  People need to pray for all of them.  They are not responsible for his actions…and yet, they are directly affected by them as much as Sylvia’s family and friends.  His brother…can you imagine…how will he ever be able to go back into his home?  He has to wonder…why did his brother come there to commit suicide?   His mother…she was obviously friendly with Sylvia and her family; how will she relate to the surviving members?  They are all hurting…will they be able to help support one another or will it be too painful for them to see each other?

          So many questions and so few answers.  The thing is…unfortunately…people who are depressed or going through trauma often don’t think past the moment, about the long term effects of their actions.  It is the survivors that are left to cope with both the questions and the answers.

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My good friend, Ken McArthur is standing in a circus tent today
asking 2,000 people to spread a message of hope to teenagers who
don’t think that life is worth living.

I think it’s a great message of hope for anyone and would love to
see all of my readers think about spreading it today.

Here’s Ken’s simple message for for giving hope (and maybe saving
someone’s life!):

G – Greet and meet: talk to others, smile, say hello, ask
someone how they are doing

I – Involve yourself and others: find a cause you can support,
volunteer, pledge resources. Get the people around you
involved, especially if you see someone beginning to
withdraw. Invite them to participate in some activity, to
“get out” of their comfort zone

V – Validate others: tell others that they matter – especially
family members and friends that you tend to see daily but
may take for granted, give genuine complements

E – Empathize: be a listening ear, take time to be fully
present, don’t try to solve – just acknowledge someone’s
feeling/hurts.

Spread this message today!

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          Suicide is not a pleasant subject.  It is a word that makes most people cringe.  People who have lost a loved one to suicide cringe too; they have more of a reason to be disturbed by the word.  Most of us don’t stop to think about suicide death on a daily basis…but maybe we should.  For those directly affected by a suicide…it is an especially difficult thing, to grieve…because there are so many added things to work through. 

          Loss is one thing; that is bad enough…but, add to that… justifiable feelings of abandonment, anger, denial, financial distress, shame, isolation, shock and even rage for being rejected by the loved one; for something as unknown and final as death, many times without any warning that suicide was being considered. 

           It is a hard subject to talk about because studies often have shown a correlation to discussions about suicide and the rates of suicides that have increased after say a media interview or article that is published in a large viewership.  So how do you address such a terrible thing as suicide without taking the risk of an outbreak of suicides?  I am not sure…but i do know…that listing some of the signs or risk factors is important…because it is possible to at least become aware of some signals that may alert friends or family to a person who is contemplating taking their own life. 

            Some of the obvious signs are:  sudden changes in personality or behaviors, drug or alcohol use, life changes such as loss of job or marriage, verbal comments such as life isn’t worth living…, depression, neglecting personal well-being or appearance, loss of interest in things the person previously enjoyed, extreme mood swings, sleeping excessively, giving away precious things, avoiding close friends or family, isolating themselves, gaining or loosing noticeable weight without trying, lack of effort at school or job, listless, a feeling of hopelessness or failure, lots of negative or sad comments, focussing on negative circumstances and obsessing about them.

             There are times when people are more at risk than others, for some it is during their teenaged years if they struggle with acceptance and sometimes depression, for others it is in middle age when possible sudden life changes are perceived as failures or loss such as divorce or forclosure, the elderly are often at risk of suicide because of health issues, isolation from friends and family and many times because of financial issues.   It is important to remember that some medications carry the risk of increased thoughts of suicide…so talk to your doctor about these issues if there is any concern at all.

            All ages and sexes are at risk of a potential suicide.  People must get better at listening to each other; and, they need to stay connected by communication on a regular basis.  No one wants to think of friends or family doing the unthinkable; but, it can happen to anyone. 

            Many people try to respect people’s privacy and back off when in fact, it is at these times that they are needed more than ever.  Fear of not knowing what to say or do is common.  When in doubt…it is always best to contact a professional.    Here is a national hotline to contact if you or someone you know is dealing with the idea or fear of suicide:   1-800-273-TALK.
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

                The impact of suicide is long lasting on those survivors who are left behind.  Every life that can be saved is a gift…every person has value.  We must begin to find ways to open the opportunities to share with one another the hurts and disappointments in life and find ways of overcoming the effects of those things in our lives and in the lives of people that we care about.  Do you know someone who was able to turn the corner and avoid the tempation of suicide?  How did they do it?  Do they share with others about their experience?  Many people in schools, nursing homes, and professionals in your local communities could benefit from that knowledge so that they can help others.  How can those experiences benefit others?

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