This is not a post about suicide. But these alarming numbers reflect a tremendous loss of hope, not only for those who actually die by suicide, but also those who attempt it, those who can't bring themselves to do it, and those who live with chronically despairing thoughts. I believe it reflects a larger societal trend toward hopelessness.
Just the other day I saw a Christmas movie about an affluent family where the father and husband lost his job and the family consequently lost their income and their home. I have to admit feeling some PTSD as that movie triggered me to relive some of my own trauma. That family received a sort of Christmas miracle. My nightmare dragged on for several years of hopelessness and despair.
If you have emotional energy, you can lift yourself out of relationship failure or financial problems no matter how deep you are in. However, when you are in the dark abyss of emotional and spiritual exhaustion, everything you do feels like a total effort. It even feels like a struggle to open your mail. If you are in this spot or sometimes feel you are in it, here are a few suggestions:
2. Self care is important. If you are in a deep financial hole or you are recovering from a significant relationship failure, you may believe you have to work every minute possible to get back the things you have lost. You may believe you can't afford to take care of yourself. Your self-care practices are more important in this season of life than any other. I am not suggesting spending hundreds of dollars on spa treatments if you can't afford that. But you can afford something. Take a day off and do something with your kids. Take a few dollars and buy yourself some fragrant bath salts. Go for a walk in the fresh air and ponder the beauty around you. Write in a journal. When I was a mid-single there was a place out in the woods that was pretty easily accessible where I liked to go occasionally to be with God. I called it my sacred grove. I would go out there on a Sunday afternoon, bringing my scriptures and a notebook and I would read and record my thoughts. That didn't cost very much, but it gave me much needed refreshment and a larger perspective. There are innumerable things you can do to take care of yourself and reduce your stress level that are free or cheap. Remember that you cannot give out of an empty well. That includes giving to your children, your employer, your clients, or your creditors. Taking care of your mental health is job one for taking care of all the rest.
You don't have to wait until the situation has completely resolved to feel better. You can take small steps right away. You can make plans today. You can take a step toward completing those plans today. It might just be opening all that mail that has piled up and putting your own payable debts into a written summary. Just getting your brain around the problem will feel good--even if it makes your stomach turn for a minute or two.
Taking action will help you to feel better--even if it seems like a drop in the bucket. The thing that will help to restore your shalom is if you are moving in the right direction instead of backsliding further. Action is empowering even when it is small. As you progress through small steps, you will build momentum and strength.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew 11: 28-30.)
Even 2,000 years ago, people labored when were heavily laden with the cares of the world. Jesus promised them (and us) rest to their souls. Avail yourself of this promise and let His love in. Don't stay trapped behind walls of pain and shame. Don't stay in the exhaustion of despair. Open the windows of your soul and let in the light and fresh air. It is there for the taking. "“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).