Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Suicide, My Sister Cyndi and Matthew Warren, number two in a series

From vain regrets down this is a 2010 re post.
Because of stigma, most obituaries do not mention the word suicide. It seems to me the most common label used in obituaries is "died unexpectedly," or “died suddenly" A very sad report came out of the Saddleback Church in the last couple of weeks. Rick Warren is the well-known pastor of this mega church in California. His son, Matthew, committed suicide Friday.

Because of Pastor Warren's fame (much of it has come after he wrote (A Purpose Driven Life), a window has been opened that creates an opportunity for a national discussion about suicide.
Suicide is responsible for 49.1% of violent deaths worldwide. This is much more than both homicides and war related deaths. It is a global problem.

My sister Cyndi had read our book that my wife Robyn and I wrote. It is called Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It. The largest chapter in our book deals with suicide. She ordered about 20 copies to give away. She was proud of us for getting my depression out in the open. Cindy had bi-polar disorder and for years my wife Robyn and I (and our kids) tried to snatch her from the dark clutches of mental illness. She lived in Florida and we lived in Michigan.

Vain regrets
I am a pastor and a mental health clinician but she hid her dark thoughts from me. Cyndi visited my parents in Michigan a month before she shot herself and we spent time with her. While she was with my parents and us, she put her fingers up to her head in the shape of a gun and pulled the trigger.
I asked her not to do that but did not probe further. I wish I had done so. Survior's guilt is a common thing when someone is close to you commits suicide.
Two days before the act I had called her and talked to her about some problems that she was having with her children. She made a veiled comment about "taking less responsibility" in regards to her children. I mentioned it to my Mother, but neither she or I thought it warranted a response. I regret this. Some people have wondered why I could not stop her. I don't have the answer to that question.
But the real culprit is the disease. Fifteen percent of those who have major depression successfully end their own lives. The best answer to suicide is early detection and, crisis intervention. The church of Jesus Christ must talk more about the subject of suicide.

The Perfect Storm
A suicide is like a perfect storm. Cyndi used hollow point bullets and had checked the Internet about how to commit suicide without maiming herself. There are many web sites today, that press others in the chat room to end their lives. Stresses in the environment, alcohol and drug abuse as well as the biology of mental illness all intersect to set the stage for suicide.

I have had depression for over twenty five years. Suicide is a great temptation for me when I am in an episode of depression. It is because I want to move away from the horrible brain storm that is in my head. Robyn and I are dedicated to help those who are in the throes of mental illness. I encourage you to get our book and read it. http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187.  The largest chapter is on suicide. 
If you would like to learn more about our book, including the table of contents and actual content of the book, please go to: