When Life is Too Hard

(Robert Repke) #1

A person dies by suicide about every 12.8 minutes in the US and, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. This week, Drs. Vince and Jo Vitale discuss listener-submitted questions on this subject including:

If I have a background of chronic abuse and neglect, how do I trust God will actually provide for me?
Can a person who commits suicide go to Heaven?
Is it wrong to ask God to end my life?

Check out the Ask Away Episode:


(Vange Lutfy) #2

I just listened to the discussion regarding suicide and appreciate your thoughtful comments. I am a Christian and so was my husband. We have both struggled with depression for many years. We were in Christian counseling for eight months and also on meds for depression and anxiety. My husband took his life in June of this past year (2018). He left home, and no one knew where he was. The police found his body 6 days later, badly decomposed because of the heat. The medical examiner’s report showed that he had taken both bottles of his meds, but it was not enough to take his life. He had a hatchet in his vehicle and actually died from chop wounds to his left arm. It seems that we did everything we could to get help for him in the way of Christian counseling and meds. My two daughters and seven grandchildren are suffering emotionally. I struggle with depression, but will not take my life because I don’t want to cause more suffering for my family. I am so lonely and feel cut off from God. I believe the Bible and am aware of all the promises, having been a Christian for many years. But I am not experiencing comfort or God’s presence. I do attend church and a Bible study, but both are empty rituals that do not encourage me. I have been through years of counseling as well as trying a number of meds. I have been prayed for and anointed with oil several times at my church. Each day, I beg God for help to continue another day. Please pray for me and my family. Thank you. And thank you for your ministry that touches and helps so many.
Vange Lutfy

(Billie Corbett) #3

Hello Vange,

Having read your post, I am deeply sorry for your loss, your family’s loss and your personal suffering.
Sadly, you are experiencing one of the most painful things a person can go through in this life… losing a loved one to suicide.
Truly, I am sorry your spouse didn’t get the help he needed. How very tragic for his sake, as well as, yours, your daughters and your grandchildren. (Definitely, I will be praying for you and your family.)

I would strongly enourage you to seek and find professional help for your own depression. It might take sifting through a few counsellor’s until you find one you can truly connect with. But, having said that, please, make sure who ever you see, that their training includes understanding grief/loss, as well as, serious mental health issues such as clinical depression and despair.

Do you have a medical doctor involved in your care? Please, be proactive for your own well being. The use of medications to stabilize mental health should always be followed carefully by a medical professional. (While they can do great good for some people, they can also worsen matters for others.)

I am thankful you communicated clearly in your post, you have decided taking your own life is not an option to you. I am glad you can see clearly how devastating that would be to your remaining family. Although, I completely understand the feeling of wanting to end it …just to stop the unrelenting pain.

Does the dark place you are in feel like it will never end? If my guess is right…you look behind you, and see bitter pain and suffering. Then, you take stock of the present…only to be still experiencing the same…Worse yet, you look toward the future…and literally see no end to it! This is the practical definition of despair…complete and utter hopelessness and helplessness. It is humanly untenable.

If you feel unable to cope with the reality of your circumstances (and your own feelings about your circumstances) …if they are completely overwhelming you, there is no shame in seeking to be hospitalized…with the intention of stablizing your over all emotional, mental and physical health. (I wish your husband had of understood he had other options to try.) For yourself, try to remember, you have options which maybe yet be available for you to try.

May I ask, what is the level of friendship within your faith community? For people to become this badly depressed, they must feel deeply isolated and cut off from any meaningful connection to others.

God has placed us as human beings within community…We are social beings. There are social, emotional, psychological needs that God intends for us as human beings to minister to with one another.)

I will take a risk here, Vange, and share I have suffered, as well, all my adult life with an anxiety disorder and clinical depression (with suicidal ideation). Truth be told, I barely survived the depths of the depression to which I plunged.

As a Christian, it has been very difficult journey, because sadly most Christians lack understanding and awareness regarding mental illness. In fact, my experiences with Christians during my worst states, were part of what drove me to want to end my life. The intense sense of hopelessness, failure, defeat, and despair about myself led me to such self loathing and self hatred…that killing myself was the only way I thought I could protect others from the pain my existence brought into their lives.

When I came into the faith, at 17, many years ago, I was completely wrecked and broken humanly speaking…I knew I was a hopeless sinner, and complete failure as a human being…
But, part of my initial understanding of the gospel…was God was going to save me. He was going to fix my brokenness. He was going to make me new, and I would be a “normal” person…(who could live, without the terror which at that time plagued me.)

But, God didn’t fix me…not, in the way I thought, nor in the way other believers thought…(At least, not within the reasonable time frame that I was expecting.)
At the time, this made me think and feel… “I can’t even do being a Christian right.” More shame…more guilt…
My sadness is so great, that others can’t stand me…and I couldn’t stand myself! (If I could have crawled out of my own skin, I would have.)

I cried, (actually I sobbed for a least 7 years straight) …
During that time, God kept me…(at times, it was just one minute at a time).
I developed knee problems, because I was on my knees praying, crying out (literally) to God, more times than I was on my feet.
I begged Him to take my life…I told Him how I hated myself…
How I couldn’t find my way out of the darkness. (Nothing made sense…In retrospect, I am sure verging on psychotic, at times. My reasoning became distorted and I teetered on the edge of insanity.)

As a fellow sufferer of mental illness, and as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ…Vange, I encourage you…do not lose hope, in God’s love and goodness.

He does love you. Your sorrow, grief and suffering will not separate your from Him. Only press in to Him. Cry out your whole heart in prayer. Pour out your bitterness of heart and soul…He can take it. He will understand…He can and will bring you through.

While I know…hearing a stranger attempt to comfort and encourage is a long shot…I can say with absolute surety…God did not fail me. He brought me through the depths of mental illness…(When I reflect on that time, I don’t think it is very common for a person to survive and come back from that place.) But, now, I believe that God allowed me to go through the complete mental / emotional collapses I experienced, because He in knew what was down the road. There were others whom he would use me to comfort and support. ( I work with messed up teen girls.)

Nothing is wasted in God economy…our most bitter suffering can be worked together for good. In our present culture, there are many people suffering from mental illness, loss and grief…Their hearts, minds and spirits have been broken…
But, God can save to the uttermost those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. You can be that testimony to them.

God can and will use you in due time…(after He has brought healing balm into your own heart and life.) As a result of you entrusting yourself and your suffering wholeheartedly into His Almighty hands, He will quicken you to bless those who are suffering in similar ways.

I could quote many scriptures to encourage you…but, you have probably heard most of them applied in one way or another. So, bottom line, I encourage you as a fellow sufferer and as a believer…
to trust God…even with…and especially with what is completely beyond your ability to comprehend. Trust Him with your suffering…with your grief, with your brokeness. His love endures forever.

This was what turned the tide for me while I was in despair. It came down to…God is either who he says he is…or He isn’t. He is either truly good or he isn’t. If He is truly good, even this unbelievable “mental health hell” I am experiencing has a purpose for good. (Isn’t that the test of the suffering soul? Will we believe God is good, even when all of our life experience contradicts that claim?) By God’s grace at work in me, I choose tobelieve, objectively, the truth…that God is good…even though, all the evidence in my personal life and experience indicated differently.

God gave me the faith to hope against all hope…not in myself, not in my experience, not in others…but, in Him ALONE. (Even faith was loaned and given as a gift…because God knows…there wasn’t a drop of strength left in me.)

My dear friend, persevere…God will bring deliverance.

I will leave you with one scripture I know experientially to be profoundly true…

Jesus said:

“Seek and you shall find
Knock and fhe door will be opened unto you
Ask and it shall be given”

P.S. :blush:

Is your name short for anything?
My youngest daughter’s name is Evangelene.
She has always gone by Vangie or Vange.

(Susan Lynn) #4

I loved this episode. I’ve dealt with moderate depression since college. And I really don’t think the messages I heard about depression were accurate. Some people said, “you’re depressed because you don’t have faith.” … that’s a very dangerous thing to say to someone.

I’m so glad Vince & Jo talked about how depression can be a medical issue, and sometimes you need to go to the doctor. I hope the stigma of mental illness goes away quickly and people start getting the help they need.

I loved Jo’s listing of God’s view of us, His creation, His beloved.

I have a family member who has bipolar disorder and they said that when they were in the thick of depression, they couldn’t even fathom God existed. But they had two dogs that stayed by their side and loved on them and I wonder if God worked through those pups.

Bottom line, I’m so thankful for God’s grace and love. He is mindful of our frames and knows we are but dust, while loving us with an everlasting love.

(Billie Corbett) #5

Amen and Amen!
Thank you for your contribution to this topic.

(Vange Lutfy) #6

Thanks so much for your very kind reply to my post. I appreciate the time it took for you to write the lengthy and meaningful response.
I have been to at least seven different counselors in my adult life. Also, I have tried at least five medications for depression. One or two of the meds helped, but only for a time. I have a Christian psychiatrist that I see every few months to monitor the medication I am on now. Before my husband killed himself, he left me for nine months with no plans to return. He did return, and that’s when we began eight months of counseling together. He told me that it was either leave me or commit suicide. So he finally did take his life when the Christian counseling sessions convinced him that leaving me was not the Christian thing to do.
I have several kind friends I meet with who pray for me, but none of them has suffered with depression. So their answers are shallow.
I do believe the Word of God is true, and it is my foundation. So you are right, I have read and memorized many of the verses that deal with depression. The mental suffering has been with me many years. I don’t know how long I have left. I am 70 years old now. I too beg the Lord for help. I am so sorry that you also suffered so terribly. I’m grateful you are better now and can help others.
My name is short for Evangeline.

(Kathleen) #7

Oh, @Vange_Lutfy. I am so so sorry for what you’ve gone through. I cannot even imagine. :disappointed: My prayers are with you and your family.

(Billie Corbett) #8

Hello Vange,

Truly, my heart aches with you. You have my deepest condolences and empathy for what you have so graciously added to my understanding.

I am deeply saddened that your spouse’s all or nothing thinking was reinforced by Christian counselling, in a way that he could not manage or accept…given his fragile mental health.

What really matters now is you! And your remaining family.

Since I know it is really impossible to bring the type of comfort, love and support you need…all I will say further, is I will pray faithfully for you.

The thought just crossed my mind of the paralyzed man, whose friends torn off the roof to get him to Jesus. May we all on this format, be tearing off the roof, so to speak, to get you that type of immediate presence of the Lord Jesus…with the hope of His healing power.

If you feel connection in this medium is helpful…there are many of us here. Reach out and ask for what you need. :kissing_heart:



(Vange Lutfy) #9

Thank you, Kathleen. I appreciate every prayer.

(Vange Lutfy) #10


Thank you for your prayers. I feel that I have done everything I can do, humanly speaking. I so appreciate that you did not offer more advice. My family and I need the Lord’s help, and I would just ask for prayer for relief from the depression, and healing for all of our broken hearts. Thank you, and I pray for you and your family to be blessed.

(Billie Corbett) #11

You are very much in my thoughts and prayers…
and will remain so.
My apologies for offering advice, Vange.

(Jolene Laughlin) #12

Hi Vange,

I read your posts on this thread. I will pray for you, that God will give you hope and a sense of purpose. I will also pray for your family as you all deal with your husband/father/grandfather’s death. I know the darkness is overwhelming sometimes. Your commitment to living, if for no other reason than the well being of your kids and family, tell me you are a person of extraordinary strength and determination.

I pray God reveals his love for you in a special way today, and opens doors to lead you toward a path of ministering to others.

(Vange Lutfy) #13

Thank you so much for your prayers. It means a great deal.