When You Feel Like Giving Up on Life
EACH year tens of thousands of people in the United States alone attempt to take their own life. The Bible gives a fundamental reason why many are in such a state of despair. It explains that we live in “critical times hard to deal with.” People feel the pressures of life with great intensity. (2 Timothy 3:1; Ecclesiastes 7:7) When a person is overwhelmed by life’s anxieties, he may contemplate suicide as a means to escape pain. What can you do if you have had such thoughts?
You Are Not Alone!
Even though your situation may seem desperate, remember that you are not alone and that sadly nearly everyone is coping with some type of problem today. The Bible states: “All creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together.” (Romans 8:22) While in the short term it may seem that your problem will never be resolved, things often do improve with the passing of time. In the meantime, what can help?
Share your feelings with a mature, trusted friend. The Bible says: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.” (Proverbs 17:17) The righteous man Job, described in the Bible, opened up to others during his period of turmoil. When he felt what he referred to as “a loathing toward my life,” he stated: “I will give vent to my concern about myself. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul!” (Job 10:1) Confiding in others can diminish the intensity of your emotions, and it may give you a fresh perspective on the problems you face.*
Pour out your heart to God in prayer. Some have the idea that prayer is just a psychological crutch, but the Bible says otherwise. Psalm 65:2 calls Jehovah God the “Hearer of prayer,” and 1 Peter 5:7 says: “He cares for you.” The Bible repeatedly stresses the importance of relying on God. For example:
“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.”—PROVERBS 3:5, 6.
“The desire of those fearing [Jehovah] he will perform, and their cry for help he will hear, and he will save them.”—PSALM 145:19.
“This is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.”—1 JOHN 5:14.
“Jehovah is far away from the wicked ones, but the prayer of the righteous ones he hears.”—PROVERBS 15:29.
If you tell God the difficulties you face, he will provide help. For good reason, the Bible encourages you to “trust in him at all times . . . Before him pour out your heart.”—Psalm 62:8.
When More Is Needed
Studies reveal that most people who take their life have a history of depression.* This underscores the fact that medical attention may be necessary. A physician may prescribe medication or recommend dietary adjustments. In some cases, a program of exercise is an effective supplement to treatment. Professional medical care has proved beneficial to many.*
The Bible contains much information that can give you support and hope. For example, at Revelation 21:4, the Bible says regarding Jehovah God: “He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” This is a divine promise, and meditating on it can provide relief.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are sharing this Bible-based hope with millions of people around the world. As a result, many are finding genuine hope in these distressful times. For more information, contact Jehovah’s Witnesses in your area by visiting your local Kingdom Hall, or write to the appropriate address on page 5 of this magazine. You can also visit our Web site www.watchtower.org.
Some have received help by calling a suicide-prevention center or a mental-health center.
For more information on depression, see the July 2009 issue of Awake! pages 3-9.
Awake! does not endorse any particular treatment. Each individual should carefully evaluate his options before making a personal decision.
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HELP FROM THE BIBLE
● “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God; and the peace of God that excels all thought will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6, 7.
● “I inquired of Jehovah, and he answered me, and out of all my frights he delivered me.”—Psalm 34:4.
● “Jehovah is near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”—Psalm 34:18.
● “He is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.”—Psalm 147:3.
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IF YOU HAVE THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE . . .
Share your feelings with a trusted friend
Pour out your heart to God in prayer
Seek medical advice
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FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Family members and close friends are often the first to recognize that a distressed individual is contemplating suicide. Taking action can save that one’s life! Be an empathetic listener. Acknowledge the reality of the difficulties that he or she is undergoing. The Bible says: “Speak consolingly to the depressed souls.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14) Urge the distressed one to get help, and when necessary, follow through to make sure that such help is arranged.