You Don't Have to Struggle Alone
Whenever I hear of such heartbreaking news as the recent loss of life for a beautiful young pastor’s wife and mom of three, I am reminded of how close I came at one point to making some similar despairing decisions.
We were pastoring in New England and I was feeling an abundance of church pressures, the strain of my husband’s (the pastor’s) busy schedule, disappointments in myself, lack of trusted relationships, and just overwhelmed with the daily demands of my growing family of four children. At that time, I couldn’t begin to imagine who I could talk to and who would begin to understand this dark, drowning feeling I woke up with every day. Could anyone see or understand that I didn’t really want to live anymore? And, if I let someone know what kind of leader, minister’s wife or mom I thought of myself as, would it possibly be embarrassing or disqualifying?
Since serving in a leadership role at Emerge Counseling Ministries in Akron, Ohio, over this past year, I view all this so differently.
In a recent article on dealing with suicidal thoughts or tendencies, our clinical director at Emerge Counseling, Dr. Steve Dunleavey writes:
The CDC estimates that 9.3 million adults in the U.S. reported having suicidal thoughts in 2015. In 2020, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-54. Even biblical giants, like Job (7:15-16), Jonah (4:3), and Elijah (19:3-14), could have been said to have had thoughts of suicide on at least one occasion each . . . and God included these parts of their histories in His written testimony to us.
There are several mental health conditions that can lead someone to consider suicide. Depression is the most obvious. When someone’s symptoms of depression include a sense of hopelessness (i.e., the feeling that “this will never get better”) or helplessness (i.e., the feeling that “there’s nothing I can do to make this better”) suicidal thoughts become more likely. Other mental health conditions, such as severe anxiety, and bipolar disorder, can also lead someone to have suicidal thoughts.
Thankfully, God helped me get through that season of hopelessness as a pastor’s wife through a couple of wise counselors, seeking out friendships, and the Word of God. However, if I had that dark season to live again, I would have been much quicker to seek out a professional Christian counselor or clinician. I now have the opportunity to see how so many people are helped by the faith-based services offered at Emerge Counseling.
If you are suffering greatly with depression, despair, or even suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. These feelings are much more common than you may imagine. Whatever you do moving forward, please do not try to manage this by yourself. While you may feel afraid, choose not to be embarrassed—but to talk with someone.
Remember, the anonymous AG HelpLine number is a direct call to Emerge clinicians. While you may have other solid Christian counseling options in your area; however, if you take time to call the HelpLine number (1-800-867-4011), it will be completely confidential. The HelpLine is designed for AG pastors, their spouses and children to use. For the hours of service or to reach out to Emerge at any time of the day, the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read Dr. Dunleavey’s full article on SIGNS OF SUICIDAL THOUGHTS & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM, go to this link at the Emerge website.
Pamela Crosby, M.A.
Emerge Counseling Ministries