Suicide: Not Such A Simple Thing

Suicide has been thrust into the national limelight as this past week as the  son of Marie Osmond and the son of Walter Koenig each tragically took their lives.  Both struggled with depression.  Earlier this month fashion designer Alexander McQueen also took his own life.  He also battled depression.

Michael Blosil was one of eight children Marie Osmond has, five of which were adopted.  He was only 18 years old.  Marie has been in the public eye for decades being part of the famous Osmond family.

Andrew Koenig is known for playing a character named “Boner” in the well know sit-com “Growing Pains.”  His father Walter is best known for his role in the original Star Trek television series.  Andrew was 41 years old and suffered with clinical depression.

Alexander McQueen was a 40 year old internationally known fashion designer.  His suicide came days after the death of his mother Joyce.  The two had an incredibly close relationship.

Many might think that three men who seemed to have so much would ever think of, let alone, taking their own lives.  Because their parents were so well known or in the case of Alexander who was himself an international icon some seem to take some sort of perverse delight in their tragic deaths.

On various online sites two things seem to come up as a reason for people to mock these tragic events.  It is well known that Marie Osmond is a Mormon.  It was well known Alexander McQueen was gay.  These two facts are used by insensitive jerks as reasons these men took their lives.  Not only is that ignorant it is the height of cruelty towards those families and loved ones who remain.

It is true that many celebrities struggle with depression.  It is true that many who are gay struggle with depression.  It is true that children of celebrities struggle with depression.  It’s also true that construction workers struggle with depression.  As do doctors lawyers, pastors, nurses, fast food workers, teenagers, beautiful women, handsome men, and on and on.

Many of us have struggled or do suffer with depression.  People with anxiety disorders suffer with depression.  Those with OCD, bi-polar disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, and others suffer with depression.

The point I am trying to make is nobody is totally immune from depression.  As you know I have often spoken of those in the body of Christ who are too quick to minimize and spiritualize depression and other mental illnesses.  It’s also clear many outside the church do the same.  For some reason there are even those who find humor in all of this.  It’s hard for me to fathom.

The church specifically and society as a whole will hopefully make great strides in dealing with the topic of mental illness.  There is no argument to be won.  There is no huge doctrine that needs to be reinvented.  Jesus did mention two important things that would help us all.  All of us could benefit by revisiting what He shared here.

Mark 12:28  And coming up one of the scribes heard them reasoning, knowing that He had answered them well, he asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all?
Mark 12:29  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord;
Mark 12:30  and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment.
Mark 12:31  And the second is like this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

Being Proven: Streams In The Desert, February 28th

There he proved them” Exodus 15:25

I stood once in the test room of a great steel mill. All around me were little partitions and compartments. Steel had been tested to the limit, and marked with figures that showed its breaking point. Some pieces had been twisted until they broke, and the strength of torsion was marked on them. Some had been stretched to the breaking point and their tensile strength indicated. Some had been compressed to the crushing point, and also marked. The master of the steel mill knew just what these pieces of steel would stand under strain. He knew just what they would bear if placed in the great ship, building, or bridge. He knew this because his testing room revealed it.

It is often so with God’s children. God does not want us to be like vases of glass or porcelain. He would have us like these toughened pieces of steel, able to bear twisting and crushing to the uttermost without collapse.

He wants us to be, not hothouse plants, but storm-beaten oaks; not sand dunes driven with every gust of wind, but granite rocks withstanding the fiercest storms. To make us such He must needs bring us into His testing room of suffering.

Many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God’s testing room of faith.–J. H. McC

It is very easy for us to speak and theorize about faith, but God often casts us into crucibles to try our gold, and to separate it from the dross and alloy. Oh, happy are we if the hurricanes that ripple life’s unquiet sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious. Better the storm with Christ than smooth waters without Him.–Macduff

What if God could not manage to ripen your life without suffering?

Praise & Worship: February 27th

Song List

1.  Help All The Hurting People-  Erick Nelson and Michelle Pillar

2.  My Redeemer Lives-  Nicole C. Mullen

3.  Everlasting God-  Chris Tomlin

4.  King Of Glory-  Jesus Culture

5.  Let It Rain-  Michael W. Smith

6.  Breathe-  Kathryn Scott  (Vineyard)

7.  At The Cross-  Hillsong

8.  My Peace-  Maranatha Singers

9. Why Me Lord-  Kris Kriistofferson

10.  Who Am I-  Casting Crowns

11.  Make My Life A Prayer To You-  Keith Green

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports, February 26th

Psalm 42:1  As a deer longs for a stream of cool water, so I long for you, O God.

Father,

We listen to You. You have the words of life. We drown in confusion. We fall under pain and grief unable to ascend even to our knees to pray.

You are holy. Your Spirit pulls us from the mire of pity and careless mistrust. You set our feet on unalterable Truth. We have a means to continue.

Though all the world be aflame around me, You shower me with a reign of complete goodness. Your enemies bow to Your excellence. They shave their souls with failure and eat the scraps of their own conceit. They are full of starving need. Have mercy on the perishing.

Draw your people to a new standard that meets You in the air. Let our feet not be soiled by complacency or compromise. Increase our obedience to the likeness of Jesus. Let us escape from the traumas the wicked inflict. Send grace.

We lean not on our own understanding, but upon the arms that secure us.
We are not without. We shall dwell in the steadfast house and temple our hearts beside the Throne of Glory.

You alone are God. We accept your righteousness. Create us renewed in Your image.
Wholly toward You,
Amen            ~clean hands pure heart~

New Prayer Request

Allan–  Our brother-in-law is in critical condition following a car accident.  Please pray for a miracle.

Past Prayer Requests

Mom– Would you all keep our family in prayer? I posted here under another name before, but feel more comfortable with this handle considering my prayer request. Our just turned 20 yr. old son, who disenrolled himself from his engineering studies 2 weeks ago, has been on a roller coaster ride for the last 3-4 weeks. Fortunately, he lives with us in an apartment on our property. First he was diagnosed with depression and prescribed prozac, then celexa. Unfortunately, he was pushed into mania and a mixed bipolar state. He is now recovering and though still agitated, is coming down on the correct medication, with good sleep, good food and good exercise. He has been diagnosed as bipolar and we now have begun the journey of helping him get the right help, medications and plan for his life. Please keep him and us in prayer, and prayer for wisdom for his doctor and counselor. Thank you so much—

Set Free– erunner – we still have no building for our church it’s not easy to share with another ministry since we are limited to having any special services. Please continue to pray that God will answer soon. And when he does I’ll be sure to let you know. I will continue to lift these other prayers you have here in your website I know they are more serious then what I am requesting. God’s Richest Blessings.

Angela–  Keep Angela in prayer as she continues on her road of recovery from Anorexia.

Okie Preacher–  Battling unknown physical problems and depression.  “I have a physical problem that the doctors have not been able to identify. It has been characterized by severe muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, fatigue, shortage of breath, dizziness, difficulty swallowing, and coughing fits that almost cause me to pass out.”

Long Term Prayer Requests

Allan–  Oden’s six month old son had a liver transplant.  Pray that his body doesn’t reject it and that he recovers swiftly and completely.

White Horses- Prayer for anxious thoughts and worrying.

Allan–  My mother is going to need bypass surgery on both legs.  She has Peripheral Arterial Disease.

Shaun Sells–  Keep Shaun in prayer for wisdom as he seeks to continue his ministry to those with mental illness in his church.

Dusty– Continued prayer for deep depression.

Rachel–  Continued prayer as she struggles with bi-polar disorder.

Natalie Tan–   Keep Natalie in prayer as she continues on the road to recovery from Anorexia.

Allan–  Our nephew’s wife has M.S.

Dorci- I would love it if people could pray that our son Eric would fall in love with Jesus and would follow Him with all his heart. Thank you


Economy Takes Toll On Mental Health

Chicago Sun Times Media

Anyone who’s been laid-off in the past 18 months knows it is difficult to cope with unemployment or being unable to find another job. Some people cope with their job loss by finding new hobbies, going back to school or spending more time with family.

But are others seeking relief through drugs or alcohol or by withdrawing from any social interaction? Hinsdale resident and psychologist Akram Razzouk said he has seen an increased number of patients seeking mental health services, especially men age 50 and older.

“Men over 50 are highly vulnerable,” he said. “They feel they may never find work again.”

Razzouk is the chair of the psychology department for the Adventist hospitals in Hinsdale and La Grange and is the medical director for behavioral medicine for outpatient care. He also sees patients at his private practice, Salt Creek Therapy Center in Hinsdale.

How men cope with unemployment differs from women, who are more likely to shift their focus to family. Men place their identity in their job and experience a significant loss of identity when they lose their job, Razzouk said. Some men will cope with this identity loss by withdrawing from family and friends or taking up drinking or drugs. He has seen a lot of men who worked in finance, construction, consulting or manufacturing losing their jobs.

“They get stuck,” he said. “They get a false feeling of ‘Oh, I’ll find something else,’ and won’t go down a level for work.”

Women seek mental health services more than men, and an estimated 12 million women and 6 million men suffer from depression, Razzouk said.

“Men are reluctant to admit they have a challenge that requires outside help,” Razzouk said.

When men don’t admit they are depressed, Razzouk said symptoms show up through back or headaches, digestion problems, acid reflux or chest pains. He said this is why it’s important to encourage primary care physicians to look for these signs and ask about the patient’s job situation.

“Our method is to highlight, alert, the medical professional to look beyond the superficial,” he said.

Razzouk depends on physicians to identify any mental illness problems and prescribe them an anti-depression/anxiety medication.

“There’s not enough psychiatrists to deal with the flood of men,” Razzouk said.

He interviews patients with these physical symptoms of depression and those who make a suicide attempt to see what kind of treatment they’ll need, whether it’s medication or cognitive therapy services, which helps patients adjust their negative thinking. Between 85 and 90 percent of people who seek treatment find an improvement in relationships and better self-worth, Razzouk said.

“Pain is guaranteed; suffering is optional,” he said.

Suzanne Andriukaitis, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Chicago, said NAMI has been receiving more phone calls for treatment suggestions. NAMI provides educational programs and information for people suffering from a mental illness and for their families on how to live with someone who has a mental illness. Andriukaitis said people with untreated depression are at a great risk for suicide.

“Depression is a potentially lethal illness,” she said.

For more information on depression or other mental illnesses, visit www.nami.org.

Many In Wales Think An Eating Disorder Is A Lifestyle Choice

This story comes out of Wales and illustrates that misinformation about eating disorders are far from being isolated to the United States.  This article examines the mindset of people in this small nation, showing how they are tackling this topic.  Allan Taken from walesonline.co.uk/

A WORRYING number of people in Wales believe that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice, shocking new research today reveals.

A survey commissioned by the charity Beat reveals that one in five people in Wales do not believe that eating disorders are a serious mental health problem.

And a quarter of people questioned in Wales believe that people only get eating disorders because they want to lose weight.

Experts said the surprising findings are fuelling misconceptions about eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.

The survey coincides with the official launch of Beat Cymru this week.

Emma Healey, director of operations for Beat, said: “Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of people with a psychiatric condition – people are dying as a result of eating disorders.

“If the condition is highly stigmatised and if people assume it’s a lifestyle choice, then that increases the guilt and shame that a sufferer may feel.

“Eating disorders are caused by a whole range of complex issues – there is no one simple cause.”

The survey also revealed that many people in Wales, particularly older men, believe that eating disorders are nothing more than a teenage fad.

And a quarter of the population believe eating disorders are caused by diets going wrong and that people only get eating disorders because they want to lose weight.

Bethan Jenkins, who is chair of the Nationals Assembly’s cross- party group on eating disorders, said: “We don’t have much research about eating disorders in Wales full stop and we don’t have much research about the stigma and stereotypes.

“It confirms what we thought – that people aren’t knowledgeable about what eating disorders are.

“Studies show that eating disorders are a mental illness and we need to be able to communicate that better to people in Wales.”

It is estimated that more than 50,000 people suffer from eating disorders in Wales.

But despite the size of the problem there are few dedicated services for patients, although there are plans for specialist units to be built in Bridgend and Abergele.

Many people are forced to travel to England for inpatient help and there have even been cases of families paying for private treatment because of a lack of NHS funding.

The Welsh Assembly Government announced in June that new dedicated teams will be set up to improve the treatment on offer to people with eating disorders.

The two new teams, for North and South Wales, will include doctors with specialist knowledge.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said at the time: “Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential in providing support and care for people with eating disorders.

“This will lower the risk of their condition worsening and improve the outcome for individuals.”

Beat Cymru, which has been funded for five years by the Big Lottery and is officially launched tomorrow, will provide a network of self-help support groups led by trained volunteers across Wales, provide information and support for people in Welsh and campaign to challenge the stigma attached to eating disorders.

Susan Ringwood, chief executive of Beat, said: “Beat is determined to challenge the stigma that many people affected by eating disorders in Wales feel.

“It is vital that people understand how serious an eating disorder is and where they can get help and support if they are ill.

“We will challenge stigma and ignorance where we see it but also ensure that people with eating disorders receive the support and information they need to beat their eating disorder.”

Figure skater Sarah Perrot was 14 when she broke her shin while training.

She was in plaster cast for eight months, during which time she put on a lot of weight as a result of inactivity, depression and comfort eating.

Sarah, who is now 20, said: “Once out of the cast, I couldn’t train like I used to at first due to muscle wastage so this depressed me and my weight got me down – I was nowhere near as slim as the other girls on the ice and now nowhere as good either.

“I started to cut food drastically. By the time I was 17 and in sixth form I was basically classed as independent by my mother – she never forced me to eat or anything just left me to myself.

“The weight began to drop so quickly at first I was happy. Comments would be passed by family members that I was losing weight but I would just say I was stressed due to exams.”

During the summer of 2007 Sarah, who lives in Newport, said she cannot remember eating a meal.

She started college as a dress size 10 – the same size she was before breaking her leg.

“You think I’d be happy, but no,” she said. “I was placed to do some skating tests in the February and knew I was not going to look as good in a lycra dress as the size six girls do.”

When a new outdoor ice rink opened in Swansea, Sarah was exercising 12 hours a day, skating laps of the rink and manually cleaning the ice.

“By my 18th birthday, a week after the close of the rink I was a size six. I still wasn’t happy,” Sarah said.

It was after she returned to college that Sarah realised just how thin she had become.

“One day I overheard some friends speaking about me and they were brutally saying how thin I was and how they noticed I never ate.

“I turned to a mirror and looked and for the first time I saw me and I was horrified – my clavicle bone was so bony, my face was sunken in at the cheeks.

“I went from hating it because it was too fat to horrified at how bad it looked.”

Sarah began to make small changes and began eating again – she met her fiance Daniel in June 2008 and was determined to be able to eat proper meals with him.

“I have found a healthy balance in my life – nothing is restricted and I don’t cut anything out.

“My relationship with food is still not perfect – at bad times I will revert back.

“I am now becoming a ice skating coach, and know if I ever saw a girl who suddenly became thin or displaying any of the habits I used to, I would be the first person to go up to them and talk.”