Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Some people with bipolar disorder become suicidal. Anyone who is thinking about committing suicide needs immediate attention, preferably from a mental health professional or a physician.

I found 2 very useful articles against suicide. One is taken from the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the other is from a book "Broken Minds" written by Steve and Robyn Bloem:

1) This article is taken from the website of National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH said "NIMH publications are in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without the permission from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). NIMH encourages you to reproduce them and use them in your efforts to improve public health. Citation of the National Institute of Mental Health as a source is appreciated."

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But there is good news: bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.

Some people with bipolar disorder become suicidal. Anyone who is thinking about committing suicide needs immediate attention, preferably from a mental health professional or a physician. Anyone who talks about suicide should be taken seriously. Risk for suicide appears to be higher earlier in the
course of the illness. Therefore, recognizing bipolar disorder early and learning how best to manage it may decrease the risk of death by suicide.

Signs and symptoms that may accompany suicidal feelings include:
• talking about feeling suicidal or wanting to die
• feeling hopeless, that nothing will ever change or get better
• feeling helpless, that nothing one does makes any difference
• feeling like a burden to family and friends
• abusing alcohol or drugs
• putting affairs in order (e.g., organizing finances or giving away possessions to prepare for one's death)
• writing a suicide note
• putting oneself in harm's way, or in situations where there is a danger of being killed

If you are feeling suicidal or know someone who is:
• call a doctor, emergency room, or 911 right away to get immediate help
• make sure you, or the suicidal person, are not left alone
• make sure that access is prevented to large amounts of medication, weapons, or other items that could be used for self-harm

While some suicide attempts are carefully planned over time, others are impulsive acts that have not been well thought out; thus, the final point in the box above may be a valuable long-term strategy for people with bipolar disorder. Either way, it is important to understand that suicidal feelings and actions are symptoms of an illness that can be treated. With proper treatment, suicidal feelings can be overcome.

How Can Individuals and Families Get Help for Bipolar Disorder?
Anyone with bipolar disorder should be under the care of a psychiatrist skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Other mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatric social workers, and psychiatric nurses, can assist in providing the person and family with additional approaches to treatment.

Help can be found at:
• University—or medical school—affiliated programs
• Hospital departments of psychiatry
• Private psychiatric offices and clinics
• Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
• Offices of family physicians, internists, and pediatricians
• Public community mental health centers

People with bipolar disorder may need help to get help.
• Often people with bipolar disorder do not realize how impaired they are, or they blame their problems on some cause other than mental illness.
• A person with bipolar disorder may need strong encouragement from family and friends to seek treatment. Family physicians can play an important role in providing referral to a mental health professional.
• Sometimes a family member or friend may need to take the person with bipolar disorder for proper mental health evaluation and treatment.
• A person who is in the midst of a severe episode may need to be hospitalized for his or her own protection and for much-needed treatment. There may be times when the person must be hospitalized against his or her wishes.
• Ongoing encouragement and support are needed after a person obtains treatment, because it may take a while to find the best treatment plan for each individual.
• In some cases, individuals with bipolar disorder may agree, when the disorder is under good control, to a preferred course of action in the event of a future manic or depressive relapse.
• Like other serious illnesses, bipolar disorder is also hard on spouses, family members, friends, and employers.
• Family members of someone with bipolar disorder often have to cope with the person's serious behavioral problems, such as wild spending sprees during mania or extreme withdrawal from others during depression, and the lasting consequences of these behaviors.
• Many people with bipolar disorder benefit from joining support groups such as those sponsored by the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA), the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), and the National Mental Health Association (NMHA). Families and friends can also benefit from support groups offered by these organizations. For contact information, see the "For More Information" section at the back of this booklet.

2) In a book "Broken Minds" written by Steve and Robyn Bloem, Steve described in a very vivid manner the great suicidal temptation that overcomes him and other sufferers and called it "A Sin of the Broken Spirit." He shared his own distressing experiences and God's grace in preserving him from suicide. He also provided a list of the strongest reasons he had given to convince himself not to commit suicide. This will be helpful to anyone who is contemplating suicide during a severe clinical depressive episode or those with suicidal thoughts for some reasons. It may be helpful to carers of such sufferer in his attempt to dissuade him from taking his own life and I trust it will be helpful to any pastor or elders in ministering to such a one with a broken spirit.

"A Sin of the Broken Spirit

Looking at the cold statistics, we cannot forget that the numbers refer to real teenagers and young people - individual men and women of all ages - for whom daily existence has become so awful that self-destruction is preferred. Many of these people are married with young dependent children, just as I was when suicide seemed so appealing. So the human cost goes far beyong the people who die. The dying are parents, spouses, siblings, and children. They have coworkers and fellow students and teachers. They play in the park and shop at the mall. When they die by their own hand, they leave a lot of emotional carnage among the living.

The reason so many mentally ill people commit suicide is not that they are uncaring of others or morally bankrupt. They fall prey to a disease that poisons their minds. Their mood is utterly dark and alone, and a shadowy doorway beckons as the only escapte from hell. Suicide has been called a movement away from the pain. Scripture in fact recognizes the unbearable pain that leads to the temptation to suicide. Proverbs 18:14 states, "The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?"

Grace alone answers the question, and it comes in different forms to bear the broken spirit through tribulation. Acccording to 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to resist. That is true of all tempations, but we still fail to resist and do yield to sin. The difference with this sin is that, heinous though self-murder by a Christian may be, it is the sin committed by a broken spirit.

It could shock some to read that a young Christian father and husband, ordained to the gospel ministry after graduation from a conservative, Bible-teaching institution, could seriously be tempted to suicide. After entertaining such thoughts, shouldn't I be disqualified forever from the ministry? If you believe that, then you must in fairness say that no man who has ever broken any of the commandments is qualified. Humans from a broken world are the only sort God calls to lead His church. To be human is to know, and occasionally fall victim to, temptation. Most are not faced with a temptation to take their own lives. My personal struggle with that temptation has been a tough one. By God's grace, I have never actually attempted suicide, but in the midst of a severe depressive episode, the temptation to do so remains a formidable fiery dart in the Devil's arsenal.

According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, God will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able to resist. Too often God's gift of grace in trial and temptation is presented as a grace that alleviates suffering so that the believer can bear it. But it may be that He does not change the struggle but gives strength of mind to bear up under it.

Some counselors do not appreciate the depths of struggle and are quick to condemn. In so doing, they can help Satan push a believer toward suicide. The King James Version offers an apt translation of 1 Thessalonians 5:14 : "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded..." The Greek here literally means "small souled." A clinically depressed person does feel, as I sometimes have felt, feebleminded. I think we get the meaning in this verse turned around. We comfort the unruly and save our harshest warnings for the weak.Extracted from pages 56 and 57.

Put on the Armor

We should instead be helping the feebleminded to put on the armor of God so that they can stand against Satan. In the batle against temptation to suicide, the helmet of salvation and the breastplate of righteousness take on particular importance.......Extracted from page 57.


In the person contemplating suicide, the brain has been thrust into a swamp of sadness, where God seems to be either angry or missing. It is hard to fight Satan-stirred emotions when the mind does not seem to work, when the spirit is broken, when all positive feeling is gone.

In such times, God provides others who can come alongside. Pastors on the front line here, for they often are the ones who hear the depressed person's last call of despair. We've already seen that doctors also encounter these cries. Professionals in the field of ministry and medicine need to be familiar with the indicators of suicide. Anyone who is ever in a counseling role needs training in how to talk to someone who is entertaining thoughts of suicide.

But anyone can suddenly find himself or herself in conversation with a suicidal person. If so, some general principles can help:

If someone does bring up such thoughts, encourage the person to talk openly and honestly about them. This person is already thinking about it and may already have a plan.

Any truthful deterrant you can give is appropriate.

Since the person may not consider suicide to really be "murder," it is wise to gently remind of the sixth commandment....

... A nurse wrote, telling real stories of unsuccessful suicide in which the survivors ended up seriously disabled. ....

The thoughts and others like them were a potent restraint. Here is a lists of the strongest reasons I have given to convince myself not to commit suicide.
- It is a sin and would bring shame to Christ and His church.
- It would please the Devil and would weaken greatly those who are trying to fight him.
- It would devastate family members and friends, and you may be responsible for them following your example if they come up against intense suffering.
- It may not work, and you could end up severely disabled but still trying to fight depression.
- It is true - our God is a refuge, "and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You" (Ps.
9:10). God, your Father, will deliver you through what you are facing. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:10 that God "delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us."
- Help is available. If you push hard enough, someone can assist you to find the help you need.
- If you are unsaved, you will go to hell. This is not because of the act of suicide but because all who die apart from knowing Christ personally will face an eternity in a far worse situation than depression.
- If you are a Christian, then Jesus Christ is interceding for you before the Father, that your faith will not fail. He shares your afflictions. Psalm 56:8 says, "Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?"
- God will keep you until you reach a day when your pain will truly be over. Wait for God's time for that, not your own. According to Revelation 7:17c, "God will wipe every tear from their eyes." After going through some awful things, Paul was still able to say, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom.
8:18). Extracted from pages 58 to 60.

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