There is a news article circulating around my hometown about an 11-yr old boy who died from a gunshot wound. The authorities suspect it was suicide, with bullying as a main factor in the situation. My heart breaks!
First, bullying is no laughing matter. People respond in different ways, and the issues stemming from bullying will manifest at various times throughout our lifetimes. We need to be reminded, and teach our young people, that our actions and words have consequences. Matt 22:36-40 says: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Whether one is a follower of Christ or not, the second part of this passage is common sense: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Later in scripture, the question, “Who is my neighbor?” is answered. Everyone. Flat out, any one you encounter is your neighbor. Does not matter race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, etc.
Second, suicide is not something from which we can hide. I guarantee you know someone who has been struggling with suicidal thoughts or who has lost someone they love to suicide. Don’t be afraid to talk about this serious issue! Talk to your children. Talk to each other. If you are someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts, ask for help! I promise, you are not alone in the struggles. I also have battled suicidal thoughts, depression, and the loss of a loved one to suicide. My suicidal thoughts began back when I was in 8th grade (1993-1994), and I have battled them on and off over the years. Through counseling, journaling, rediscovering my faith, finding some amazing friends, and taking medication (I just started taking antidepressants again for the 5th time…), I am making it through. In the journey through grief, I find that there are still turbulent times even after 13 years after my sister passed away. Just as surprising to me though is the fact that I find moments of peace on this grief journey as well. I can’t tell you which bothers me more, however. Sometimes, when I feel at peace, I battle a feeling of guilt. I know there is no reason to feel guilty, and that is part of the struggle.
Thus, I talk about it. That is one of the tools in my toolbox of sanity that I utilize often. That is something I learned through counseling. Truly, I highly recommend it!
If you are struggling, please, ask for help. If you don’t know where to begin, start here: Suicide Prevention Services. If you know someone struggling, reach out and share the information.
No matter how young or how old we are, it is ok to ask for help. It is ok to struggle. It is ok to talk about it. You are worth it. Press on.