Save Our Spirits



Dedicated to helping you get in touch with your spirit and with life again.
Dedicated to promoting wellness and a sense of being whole in all areas of our lives.
Dedicated to helping people live their lives joyfully, strongly, fully and freely.

Become whole. Become who you are in the here and now.
Become who you were created to be - a reflection of love.
   Heal your body.      Heal your mind.      Heal your soul.
 

Why?



WHY?

                                                                                                                                                        @2012 SaveOurSpirits



WHY?         This is the eternal question that those who have lost a loved one to suicide ask themselves.



It took me a very long time to figure out the answer to this question and I only found the answer when I was in the abyss myself. It quite simply, in most instances, is a wish to put an end to the pain. It is not necessarily a wish to die for I think given a release from the pain, many suicides would choose differently. They just don’t see or know of another way to end the pain.


From my own perspective and feelings, there would have been nothing that anyone could have done to prevent suicide if I had chosen to go through with it because it didn't have anything to do with how much they loved me. It was all about me. While I do not believe this is true in all instances since there are many reasons why people die by suicide, I felt this to be true in my situation. I was so afraid of others and I had little to no emotional support or emotional comfort especially in my own family that I don't know if it would have made a difference. I do recognize that it wasn't their fault. Much of my anguish was coming from my own mind but depression tends to create isolation in people suffering and that can make things worse.

 

Emotional support probably would have helped me when I was in severe pain but it would have needed to have been someone compassionate and who could listen instead of dismissing my feelings or telling me what to do, but I don't know the answer to that question. I never got to the point where I formed any kind of plan. I had thoughts because of the pain but I never really wanted to die so I kept looking for solutions. When I was in the outpatient program, it seemed that most of the patients that were suicidal did not have much in the way of emotional support from family members, but this was not true in all instances. For me, I think it would have made a difference in how I felt; however, not having any emotional support from my immediate family members made the isolation and depression worse. Not learning or ever feeling that I was part of a family emotionally really did take its toll on me in many ways and contributed to me feeling worse than I would have if I had emotional support. I had physical and financial support but not emotional support.

I also feel that ultimately depression and suicide seem to be utterly selfish acts. Depression is really all about oneself, but a self in pain and that is all the person can think about because the pain is so severe and unrelenting. However selfish, please consider that this selfishness has a place where the self feels totally suppressed and alone. Selfishness then serves the higher purpose of recovery in some way. It can be a bringing back of the self to the self, to others and to God in a more powerful and expanded way if it is treated in a kind, helpful and compassionate way. This selfishness can then be used to fuel a recovery of the whole person – the body, mind and spirit of the person to transform or return to something quite extraordinary. I found more than I ever thought possible in my recovery. I hoped for a better life with less pain but I found extraordinary on the other side of the selfishness along with a desire to turn my journey into something bigger than myself. Don’t be so harsh to judge those who are having emotional difficulties. You never know what has happened to them and who they can become given a chance.


I really have a difficult time with people who trash those who threaten suicide or are mentally unstable, those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol or have emotional problems or mental disorders. It seems that when someone has a physical illness, everyone is so upset and horrified. When people are born deformed or people become disabled in a car accident or have a serious illness, it is tragic. I agree. So are suicides and emotional suffering. All of these are tragedies. People seem to find compassion for those with physical infirmities but not so much for those who suffer emotionally or mentally. Why then, are people who have emotional troubles treated differently or even with scorn and disdain by many in our culture? Do we somehow bring it upon ourselves because of how we think? Is it some kind of weak trait that should doom us all to die and be put out of our misery? Is it our fault if we don’t know or see how to think or feel healthier? Perhaps you could develop a little compassion and sensitivity yourself in the emotional realm of life. I think that you just don’t understand how people could be so upset and messed up.

 
I know that not everyone feels this way towards people with mental illness or emotional troubles and that many just don’t understand this way of thinking. However, I have heard enough hurtful comments, some directed my way, as to want to speak about this issue. Some of these comments I have heard directly from medical professionals and those who are supposed to be helping others. I have never heard any derogatory, snide or rude comments directed toward any patient with a physical disorder or serious illness. Never. Not even when I worked in a medical clinic. I have also heard enough kind, compassionate questions as to how I could find myself in such a situation as to suffer so much emotionally. Outward appearances do not always tell the story. In fact, many people look upon those with mental illness with some skepticism because the illness cannot be seen or they cannot understand why someone would have mental troubles in the first place.

I think that perhaps those who get angry at us or make fun of us do not understand the frame of mind of the ill person. There seems to be no connection to the thought processes of an ill person because they are foreign to the person who cannot comprehend what might be happening in the mind of someone who has been traumatized or is mentally ill. Indeed I do think that the thought processes are very different. I think that the healthier person has better emotional and communication skills than the mentally ill person which helps them to live in the world, communicate with others easier and handle life in a less stressful way. I wish that I had better capabilities for communicating in my relationships. My difficulties are enough sometimes to make me want to stop having relationships. I’m not sure what creates the difference and if it is environmental or something inherent in the person who is healthier. Maybe both factors are important. I do know however, that skills are very important and I don’t feel that I learned those skills when I was younger.


Why are we treated so poorly and rudely sometimes when we go to the doctor or a hospital seeking help for a mental illness? I speak from personal experience here. Not only have I been treated this way personally, I have heard it from more than one doctor and a few medical professionals that people with emotional troubles are more of a pain in the butt than anything else. I have heard snide and rude comments behind a patient’s back about how difficult it can be in dealing with them. I’m sure that can be true in many instances, but it is frustrating and humiliating for someone to seek medical attention when they are having difficulties and then be treated as though they have no right to take time away from other patients who need help with their physical ailments or just thought of as being “crazy.” Are we less worthy somehow of treatment or consideration or are these professionals just unsure how to deal with the patient’s emotional problems. People laugh or mostly get angry at us for our “weakness” of mind but nobody knows what lurks in a person’s past that has done so much damage. If you have never experienced any kind of severe, unrelenting emotional pain, then you honestly have no idea how much it hurts. What makes one person bounce through life and another stumble, falter and give up?


No matter what the reasons, many of us have been treated badly and looked down upon or scorned by the very medical professionals who are supposed to provide us with help. I have had to hide my mental illness from doctors who I felt would only blame my difficulties on problems of anxiety or stress. I know the difference. One doctor missed my COPD when I went to see her because of difficulty breathing. I gave her a full history but she told me that I was experiencing anxiety and that was causing my breathing troubles. I went to see another doctor because I literally couldn’t breathe. I did not give him my full history as far as my mental illness. Pulmonary tests confirmed the existence of COPD. He was rightfully angry at me when I told him my full history afterwards but I couldn’t take the chance. I knew something was seriously wrong and I knew it wasn’t a panic attack. Years ago, not long after my sister’s suicide, I went to an emergency room seeking help and I was told by a doctor that I was taking time away from others (physically ill patients) that needed help more than me.


People with emotional or mental disorders are in pain just as much as the patients who are in pain physically. Emotional pain is different though. I personally would take physical pain any day over emotional pain. I think that many professionals who do not have psychology or psychiatry practices are uncomfortable with patients with emotional troubles. Indeed, I believe that they can be difficult patients to deal with at times. However, it does not make it easier for anyone to seek medical attention when they have experienced this kind of attitude of ridicule or scorn even once. People can be cruel and insensitive when confronted with a person with mental illness. It seems not okay to be overly upset, afraid or grief-stricken or unable to handle our feelings well. We must then act stoically with the proverbial stiff upper lip. I think maybe we would all do better if we got to express our grief at funerals. I’m thinking that wailing is good for the soul. Do we make you so uncomfortable or do you just not understand how we can hurt so badly?


I think actually that mental illness might be a reflection of our society. So many people seem to be suffering from depression or other mental illnesses and the problem seems to be getting worse. I think from personal experience that many people are actually very uncomfortable with their feelings and expressing them in a healthy way. I don’t think this comes from not wanting to do better. I think it stems from a lack of skills. I think that a lot of people never learned essential emotional life skills and that is why we have so many experiencing such difficulty today. If we can train our armies to fight a battle physically or our children to live in this world physically, why do we not seem to care that we are not training our children to deal with life emotionally as well? Are emotional life skills such as learning self-esteem, setting boundaries, resolving conflict, confidence, healthy ways of relating to others and our feelings any less worthy than learning how to take care of ourselves physically? Why do people assume that someone should have to be taught how to tie their shoes but not how to deal with conflict, set boundaries or protect their self emotionally? Are we just supposed to learn emotional life skills automatically? Are we worthless or somehow less than normal humans because we didn’t automatically know or develop healthy self-esteem or emotional skills? I believe education can change these self-defeating behaviors. I believe education and awareness are the keys.


What about the drug addict, the alcoholic, the child abuser and the road rager? Might there be some underlying cause for their addiction or rage, such as abuse or shame. They say that we are worthless and self-haters and miserable. How do we know to be different if we were never taught about self-esteem and standing up for our self? They call us weak-minded when we were never taught to be strong. I’m not trying to provide an excuse for bad behavior. It just seems that it’s okay to have a deficit in the area of physical health but not a deficit of emotional or mental behavior or skills. Someone taught us or we learned the hard way how to manage our finances, work hard, get a job, take care of our kids, pay our bills and other life skills all on the physical level. Wow, that’s great. What about our emotional health? What about teaching our kids a healthier way to get out anger than beating up on a sibling or the kid at school? What about teaching them that it’s not okay to burn somebody with cigarettes or sexually and physically abuse someone? What about teaching healthier ways of dealing with anger and rage and so possibly reduce the instances of rape and murder? What about teaching healthier emotional skills so that drug abuse does not continue to run rampant in this country and ruin the lives of so many? What about not subjecting our kids to violence in cartoons, video games and the media so that violence does not seem to be an act of no consequence? What about teaching everyone that they are special and that life is sacred and not something to be easily disposed.


I for one don’t feel that I was taught how to live and survive in this world emotionally. I think I would rather have learned to survive emotionally more than physically. Why do people trash others when much of the problem seems to be a lack of skills, a lack of knowledge and a lack of love and support for our emotional health? If we don’t learn this from our parents or family, how do we learn? We don’t learn these skills in school and children beat up, abused or emotionally neglected tend to be afraid, hide and be on the outside in society. Some take out their rage by killing themselves or others. What makes one person more prone to violence than another? What makes one person more prone to suicide than another? I think isolation and a feeling of being unloved has a lot to do with it.

Are we just supposed to learn automatically what is acceptable and what is not as far as boundaries and personal space protection? Are we just supposed to learn or know how to make relationships automatically work if we never see it in our own home? How do we know that what we experience growing up is not healthy and that there are better ways of doing things? I don’t remember ever learning any emotional life skills in school. So, if parents don’t teach their kids emotional survival skills, where do they learn them? If children don’t have an example to follow then where do they learn these skills? Children look up to their parents as gods who are knowers of all things, not to others, as to how to approach life and we think that how we grew up is normal.


By the way – jokes about suicide are not funny to survivors of suicide or people who have lost loved ones to suicide. I know a sense of humor is good to have; however, we find it difficult to laugh at these jokes and remarks. You never know when a suicide survivor is around. If 35,000 people die by suicide every year just in the U.S., there are a lot of people out there who have lost loved ones to the madness. If 500,000 try to commit suicide very year – also lots of people in pain out there. Using your fingers like a gun to your head to shoot yourself – not funny to survivors of suicide, especially those whose family members used a gun on themselves. Also not funny – rude comments and jokes about how crazy we are – people are in pain and you never know what has happened to someone in their life.


Please also try to have a little more compassion for those suffering from depression and mental illness. One never knows what a person has been through in their life or the difference that some new skills could make in their lives.



“Do not give them the ‘snap-out-of-it’ speech. They would snap out of it if they could . . . . They’re not able to. It’s a health issue. It’s brain chemistry. They need medical attention,” she said. “It’s not a matter of being wimpy or weak.”[1]

                                                                                                -Denise Batters



So why, do so many want to trash those who are suffering emotionally, but not necessarily physically? People suffering emotionally are in just as much pain as someone who is suffering from a severe physical illness or injury, which creates its own sort of emotional pain. Yet because their injury or suffering cannot be seen, they are called crazy, worthless or weak and looked down upon with disgust and rejection by many in society. Many people don’t seem to understand the pain that they are in much less reach out and help them. Emotional pain is excruciating and many of us would gladly trade a physical infirmity for our emotional pain any given day. Show us the way out! Please! Many people kick us verbally, or worse yet, just ignore us, instead of trying to understand that we are just trying to survive in a world that we don’t know how to live in emotionally and one where we are not accepted or understood very well.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD0_9Vawffw&feature=related

“How my family and friends react to my mental illness” by ttcnow2008.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeaQT_U-Sto&feature=relmfu

“People found my cancer easier to deal with than my depression” by ttcnow2008.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUaXFlANojQ&feature=related

“Change A Mind About Mental Illness” by BringChange2Mind.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2r8aXyCO5Q&feature=related

“Stigma and Mental Illness: A First-Hand Experience” by philgloss88.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb-atFxV5Yk&feature=related

“Mental Illness: Create Your Own Label” by doncielo7.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1m6k7Ji-6o&feature=related

“The label ‘mentally ill’ is outdated and harmful” by gercacn.



It is very difficult for those of us who are suffering to live in a world where we are not understood or supported. Neither does it feel that anyone wants to understand us or listen to us. I feel like the subject of depression, suicide and mental illness makes many uncomfortable. When my younger sister died people would ask how it happened but as soon as they were told it was a suicide, they would become very silent or change the subject quickly for the most part. It becomes a very uncomfortable silence and a subject that nobody really wants to talk about except other survivors of suicide - those of us who know all too well what it is like to have a loved one take his or her life. I would like to help bring some changes in attitude towards those with mental illness, depression, suicidal tendencies or any other mental difficulties as well as to help others become more comfortable with what they are feeling. It seems that many people are uncomfortable with what they are feeling and so we don’t know how to talk about things or comfort others.


Here is an article that I found interesting about the subject of people’s aversion to discussing suicide and depression in addition to the above videos:


            I challenge you to read this column to the end. Many people will read that the topic is mental health and suicide and turn 
            the page quickly… which tells the story all too well. The reactions were symbolic of many of us not wanting to confront 
            the issue of suicide, depression or mental health. The topic touches the dark side inside many of us… scared to admit …
            remember the theme song of the TV show MASH–‘Suicide is Painless’?[2]

 
What I would have dearly given to learn at 5, 10 or 15, the skills that I finally learned in my late 40's and that I am still learning in my early 50’s. Learning finally that it was okay to be me, to have my feelings and to be able to express those feelings as well. What a difference it might have made in my life to learn how to be a part of a family in an emotional way instead of feeling that we were all separate, isolated and living totally different lives. What a difference it might have made if I would have learned how to discuss problems and work them out instead of seeing anger and silence for the most part. What a difference if my parents’ lives had been emotionally healthier.


I lost a younger sister and a nephew to suicide. Both of them died at the age of 24, unnecessarily in my opinion. I feel that for want of some better emotional life skills they might be alive today. What I wouldn’t give to have them alive and in my life. My younger sister never made any attempts on her life. We found out later in our family that she attempted to go to one of the local hospitals for help, but she was turned away for some reason unknown to us. I think that maybe she was not attended to as well as we could have, but not for lack of love. It was a lack of knowledge and skills of how to deal with our emotions and to be able to be fully in our relationships with family that contributed to her death. If we just ignore or deny the problem, it will go away, right? She shot herself one day, leaving no room for help any longer.

Medication could have been part of the problem and a factor in her suicide but we will never know the answer to that question. I don't know if my sister had problems with the medications. In retrospect, I feel that the medications were very harmful to my body and my brain. I feel that they blunted the pain that I had no other way of knowing how to ease or remove at the time. I had no emotional support and no way to really get the pain out because I didn't trust anyone emotionally. I also feel that the medications were toxic to my brain and may have actually made my symptoms worse over the years. Since I did not know how to handle my feelings in a healthy manner, I continued to take the medication because the emotional pain was worse than the side effects of the medication. My symptoms continued to get worse over the years despite increasing the medication and so I wondered if there was even a chemical imbalance at all and if it were not related to something else instead. In retrospect, I feel that some of my mental difficulties were related to the medications. They did not correct any chemical imbalances in me in over ten years and while I had some periods of time when I felt okay, for the most part, I got worse over the years.


My nephew had problems with the medications. I was told that he did not want to take them and that he felt that they were either hurting him or not helping him but I do not know if that contributed to his death in any way.


My younger sister left two young children behind when she died. She left two boys who loved her very much. She left behind a traumatized family trying to understand that eternal question all survivors of suicide ask - Why? She wanted to get better but she didn’t see any other choice to help her end her pain at the time. Neither did her son so many years later.


Well, it took me a long time, but I finally answered the eternal question in my own time. My sister left a note explaining that she was in pain, asking us to help her get better if she lived. I don’t think that either she or her son really wanted to die. I know that they just wanted their pain to stop. I feel that both were unable to get help in a way that made a difference and they were unable to really reach out to others. Not for lack of love, but for lack of emotional life skills and lots of fear. I don’t think that they felt that they had another choice. We all loved them very much but they didn’t know it or they didn’t feel it. We were unable to reach them and they were unable to reach us.


Suicide is the ultimate end. You think that you are alone, but you are not. Your family and friends would probably help if they knew how to live healthier and communicate better themselves. There are many, many people out there trained in counseling and crisis centers that can help you through a difficult time and listen to you. God is always there for you and has your heart in His hands always. Always. Suicide is a final answer for pain that can be gotten through and removed. New coping skills, love, spirituality, feeling God’s love, self-esteem, confidence, dealing with grief, dealing with anger, talking with others about difficulties and such can be learned. Life can be rewarding and full with some effort and new behaviors and ways of thinking and responding.

Please do not make what is a very final decision without giving some of the other choices a try first. I can tell you firsthand that they can make a difference. I’m not promising miracles. Only God can do miracles. He can heal us and show us the way. I am telling you that life can get better, easier and healthier emotionally and physically. I am also telling you that you will have to put some effort into your life to change it and that it may not be an easy fix but that recovery can be done and that it is well worth the effort. The rewards are out there.


Never mind leaving a family to ask why. Ask yourself why not give life another try. You might find something grand on the other side of the pain. I did.


Why? I got tired of hiding my emotions, feelings and myself from the world. I want to change the attitude of those who make fun of us, feel uncomfortable or get angry at people with mental illness. I want to educate people, including those who don’t understand, that for many of us learning new skills would make a whole world of difference. I am tired of feeling that I need to keep quiet and not speak. I want to help others learn that life can get better and be healthier. Yes, it will take some work but I do not believe that most suicides want to kill themselves. I feel that they just want the pain to stop. I think that if suicidal people felt that they had other choices that they may not give up hope. I believe that most suicides are tragic and unnecessary and could be prevented with some new skills and other changes in life.


Why? Because too many of our friends and family are dying every day. Because suicide is the final act in a life which started out like any other full of hope and happiness but which became completely hopeless, full of pain and feeling very, very alone. Because with some new ways of living and finding love and a relationship with the Creator life can be full and joyous again. Because we can be free. Because we can live again. Because we can love again.


That is why.


This is why.

 

Death is not the greatest loss in life.

The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.

                                                                                                -Norman Cousins

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp2Yk5QPQPs&feature=related

“Try Again - National Survivors of Suicide Day November 22, 2008" by csuspect.

“...stick around another day.....[Seein]”




“Suicide is not chosen;

it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.”

                                                                                                -www.metanoia.org/suicide

”A large part of the problem, is that young people are being born into the world and growing up without much hope. And so, they become murderers, they become suicide bombers.”

                                                                                                            -Arthur Hertzberg


“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is something valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”

                                                                                                            -E.E. Cummings


“Hope is a necessity for normal life and the major weapon against the suicide impulse.”

                                                                                                            -Karl A. Menninger


“I think a lot of what is going on with kids who get pushed too far and attempt either murder or suicide is that they are trying to deal with their own non-existence for the people who are supposed to care most for them.”

                                                                                                -Richard Russo


"Subtle grades of depression kill more people than all the other diseases of mankind combined. There is no antidepressant that will cure a depression which is spiritually based, because the malaise does not originate from brain dysfunction but from an accurate response to the desecration of life. The body is the reflection of the spirit in its physical expression, and its problems are the dramatization of the struggles of the spirit which gives it life."
[3]



FEAR OF REJECTION AND FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN OFTEN KEEPS US FROM RECEIVING GOD’S INCREDIBLE BLESSINGS. One thing that I have observed over the years is that even though people are miserable where they are at in life, they often find it hard to change. I will ask them, "what are you really risking to let go of this situation and follow Jesus [or God] in faith?" Their response is fear. They will often say, “Yes, I am miserable, but I know this misery.”[4]



Maybe people do not feel that they have any other choices in life.

Sometimes what we know feels safer than what we do not know.

 


…yet how many of the following people or the thousands that die every year could have been saved by knowing there were more choices available to them that might help stop the pain?



www.youtube.com/watch?v=whOerPSYvQc&NR=1&feature=fvwp

“Faces of Suicide” by hope 164.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=528uOVE4A9w&feature=related

“Faces of Suicide” by nicoleca0427.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TLVi4QImEY&NR=1&feature=endscreen

“Teen Suicide” byita1ianguy2002.

How many who are suffering emotionally can be helped with different choices available?


Thousands of people die by suicide every year. That number does not include the ones that attempt suicide and the ones that are slowly killing themselves. How many spirits are suffering that can be helped so easily with some effort and choices?


How many…



 

[1] http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1143405--mp-s-widow-urges-national-suicide-prevention-program.
Denise Batters in discussing the need for coordinated national suicide prevention programs in Canada instead of, or in addition to, the many separate programs. Mrs. Batters lost her husband to anxiety, depression and suicide in 2009. “To a casual observer of Parliament, Dave Batters was the last guy who would take his own life. The Saskatchewan Conservative was one of the most upbeat and engaging young rookie MPs when he was first elected in 2004.”

[2] http://www.lambtonshield.com/in-the-wake-of-the-loss-by-suicide-of-yet-another-teenager-some-keenly-wise-thoughts/.

[3] Hawkins, David R., Power vs. Force: An Anatomy of Consciousness, The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, West Sedona, AZ, Veritas Publishing, 2004, pg. 231.

[4]
http://devonchurch.org/sermons/2009/pages/20091011.html.








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