Suicide Prevention

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When I considered suicide

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Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that God is our Life and that we can never lose life or be alone or abandoned. She wrote: “Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth” (Science and Health, p. 91). 

 Brian Kissock | from The Christian Science Monitor

A RECENT MONITOR ARTICLE REPORTED ON THE TRAGIC SUICIDES of American military personnel, which numbered over 200 last year (“US Army suicides on track to hit new high in 2009,” Nov. 18, 2009). This news of the desperation felt by some individuals who are serving their country is heartrending.

At a time in my life when my world was collapsing around me and I faced the possibility of personal bankruptcy, I considered suicide. Even though on the outside I appeared to be dedicated to serving God, I had been living a fast-paced lifestyle, seeking to accumulate more and more money and possessions, and giving little time to prayer or spiritual study.

Coming face to face with the temptation to kill myself was an arresting moment. I reluctantly contacted a Christian Science practitioner, and we began to pray together. The first thing the practitioner asked me to do was to learn to listen for God’s voice, which speaks to each of us individually. This guidance may come as a specific direction or as a thought that can be translated into a right human action. As I tried to do this, my mental turmoil lessened, and I began to feel some peace and quietude.

Over a period of weeks, deep Bible study and prayer comforted me and brought a sense of peace. The thoughts of suicide faded away and were replaced with a greater tolerance and compassion for others. I also adopted a much more principled way of doing business. Eventually, a completely new business emerged, and bankruptcy was no longer necessary.

Subsequently I felt led to join the Samaritans in Britain, an organization dedicated to trying to help those who are troubled or suicidal, and I volunteered for some years.

I’ve found this verse from the Bible helpful: “Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Knowing this has brought me great comfort. Also, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesthat God is our Life and that we can never lose life or be alone or abandoned. She wrote: “Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth” (Science and Health, p. 91).

Many things can lead a person to consider suicide. Sometimes despair arising from the loss of a loved one, from feeling one’s life is a wreck, or perhaps from being on the war front will suggest death as the way out of one’s trouble. Choosing suicide instead of continuing to suffer from a terminal illness is an ongoing issue that has received much publicity in Britain.

In one way or another, these situations argue that our lives are matter-based and confined within a material realm from which we will never be free. Within this realm, everything is limited, and few thoughts are ever given to God, goodness, or hope. There’s also often a belief that God does not exist, or that if He does exist, He cannot or will not help us.

But Christian Science has proved to me that none of this is actually true. The child of God’s creating is spiritual and forever loved by God, an essential part of His creation. Spiritualizing my thought—trying to live the commandments and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount—helps me see the reality of God’s care for us. Such a mental shift changes our attitude toward others. We learn to treat our neighbor as we would desire to be treated, and are able to love more. Each of these steps changes our thoughts, and our way of life.

Ultimately, the answer to depression and suicide, and the argument that we are separated from divine Spirit, is to claim our spiritual rights as God’s expression. His sons and daughters are created for a purpose. We can put this concept into practice by expressing Godlike qualities in all we do. If we express God-given love, compassion, integrity, enthusiasm, energy, and delight in what we do (and we can!), this will help change our world.

Instead of suicide, there is another way out—a way that leads to love, not sorrow and despair. I know. I walked that road, and am here to tell about it.

COMMENTS:

1. Reina Lam Says:

 

Thank you for your article. I have been there to. I am working through it and this helps. Thanks again.

 

2. Robin Lewis Says:

 

All my adult life, when things get tough, I think of suicide as a way out, even though so far I’ve managed to resist the urge of acting on it. I applause you for relying on Christian Science to solve your problems, as it takes a committed, courageous and strong person to radically rely on it. I was introduced to Christian Science back in the 1980’s, and was able to experience the love of God. It’s as if a veil was lifted and then I knew I was spiritual and purely love, not matter. The feeling lasted about a week, then faded away. I didn’t have the courageous to fully embrace Christian Science, and continued to rely on medications to help me with my panic attacks. I thought that one experience would instantaneously heal me. I will always cherish that experience and I believe that’s what keeps me from suicide. Mary Baker Eddy says that we will continue to take the same problems with us on the other side. However, I do continue to read the Sentinel since then.

God Bless,

Robin

 

3. Ernie Says:

 

Robin—

I’ve always liked and been helped by Christ Jesus’ statement “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). And then there’s this statement Mary Baker Eddy makes in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: “Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee. Therefore despair not nor murmur, for that which seeketh to save, to heal, and to deliver, will guide thee, if thou seekest this guidance.” Knowing that the Christ, God’s voice speaking to the human consciousness, is always with us and that no situation is so severe that God and His Christ aren’t present with us—well, with that knowledge and those two right at hand, there’s no situation that can make me despair (for long!), no situation that can’t be healed. There’s power in that.

 

4. Rob Scott – Chicago Says:

 

It is not only the military that has a high number of suicides but also the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) community. It is NOT because of sexuality but stigma and discrimination especially from religion. I never see this group included in the articles on suicide and Christian Science other than the coverage of Tyler Clementi by the CS Monitor.

Christian Science is hope that is alive and healing. Hope is the major weapon against suicide. The people that need it most are the ones who are being excluded or made to feel unwelcome by the Church. Mrs. Eddy never would have put up with what some church members are doing or have done.

The American Foundation for suicide Prevention stated recently:

A panel of 26 leading researchers, clinicians, educators and policy experts have released a comprehensive report on the prevalence and underlying causes of suicidal behavior in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents and adults. The report was published as the lead article in the January 2011 issue of theJournal of Homosexuality. The article is currently available online.

Titled “Suicide and Suicide Risk in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Populations: Review and Recommendations,” the report makes sweeping recommendations for closing knowledge gaps about suicidal behavior in LGBT people, and calls for making LGBT suicide prevention a national priority.

“With this report and recommendations, we hope to move LGBT suicide prevention squarely onto the national agenda and provide a framework for actions aimed at reducing suicidal behavior in these populations,” said Dr. Ann Haas, lead author and director of prevention projects for AFSP. “It’s time for the federal government, suicide prevention agencies, mental health professionals, policy makers and LGBT organizations to join together to bring this problem out of the closet and work toward effective solutions.”

Despite four decades of research pointing to elevated rates of suicide attempts among LGBT people, national suicide prevention initiatives, including the 2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, have given scant attention to suicide risk in sexual minority persons.

Key Findings and Recommendations

Although multiple studies point to elevated rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse among sexual minority people, the panel found that these problems, by themselves, do not account for the higher rates of suicide attempts that have been reported by LGBT people.

THUS, the consensus report identified Stigma and Discrimination as playing a key role, especially acts such as Rejection or Abuse by Family Members or Peers, Bullying and Harassment, Denunciation from Religious Communities and Individual Discrimination.

This is for those who never had a voice.

My prayers are for those LGBTQ brethren who left the Church for being made to feel unwelcome. My prayers are for those who made them feel unwelcome for they know not what they have done. My prayers are for those who feel alone and are suffering in silence.

You are not alone!

It is time for things to change!

 

Truth,Wisdom, Love, and Sincerity, 

Rob Scott

Vice President
Emergence international
Chicago, IL