Today, I'd like to bring back Jiwan, the amazing teen writer who blogs at Live and Laugh With Jesus. Jiwan has great news about going onto university, which you'll see God in action. Please click the link above and read her short testimony.
Jiwan, thank you for returning and answering these most difficult questions on depression and suicide. As a student, have you ever heard of anyone in your high school who has attempted suicide or died by suicide?
I know of a many who have contemplated suicide, one who attempted suicide and unfortunately I lost a wonderful friend this summer, he had taken his own life.
I'm sadden to hear that, Jiwan. What are the general feelings or thoughts from your circle of friends about what this person has done?
Most of us don’t talk about it, because the concept is so surreal. We will say a few lines about it, and then the mood becomes somber, because I don’t think we can fathom the reality of what happened when we lost our friend. I don’t know how else to say it but we were devastated and confused and somewhat angry. I just don’t think we can believe that it happened.
Does this act to end a life shock or surprise you and your friends?
But then when you stand there and watch your friend in a casket it seems like everything falls through. Everything you thought was secure is not, and your love towards the person seems meaningless. So I guess surprise can be used to describe the feeling, but it must be paired with empty. Because at that point I know we all just felt empty.
Do you have thoughts as to why this could be happening? Could it be too much pressure to succeed? Too little time for everything a student wants to accomplish? Or do you believe it could be something else altogether that causes a young person to end their life?
Well, first there is some generic stuff, like hormone and body changes that a child doesn’t know how to deal with; struggles in the home play a huge factor. But I think- and I don’t know if this is right or wrong--so please extend grace--but I think it’s a mixture of not knowing if you’ll ever feel happy again and our culture.
When you’re depressed you feel like nothing good exists, like this feeling of despair will never end. And our culture today is very hedonistic, we think we should always be happy, on a perpetual ecstasy. So I think either individuals feel broken and then look at a “happy” world and think there is something wrong with them and go further into depression.
Or that individual pursues pleasure, thinks displeasure is unnatural and then doesn’t know how to deal with negative emotions and feels hopeless. Of course this doesn’t encompass every situation, but I do think it plays a role--especially when I talk to some of my friends.
Lastly, Jean Ann, kids are cruel. I don’t know if my generation is more or less cruel then in generations past, but they are cruel. Sometimes, you just don’t feel like fighting them any longer.
What would you say to a young adult who feels hopeless and helpless to change the circumstances of their situation?
I don’t know if this is good advice or not, but I am currently talking to a girl who is dealing with depression and battling it. I try to get her to engage in the world around her. Sometimes when you look at your situation and are only engulfed in your situation you lose track of everything that is going on around you. But if you lift your head, you will find joy, hear of other people’s struggles and get your mind off of yourself. That’s what I usually say, but it is a process of love and relationship.
If you had a friend who was depressed, give us more of an idea of how would you try to help them.
That saddest thing is I don’t know how to help them. You try and try and try but sometimes you can’t make it better--that is the most frustrating part. I try to be there for them when they need to talk, try to get their mind off of their situations, sometimes I pray for them and I all in all try to keep a relationship. That is very difficult and sometimes people can be irrational when they are emotional, but I just try to meet them where they are. But it is very difficult, and I just hope what I do helps.
Do you believe Christians are immune to suicidal thoughts?
I must admit I’ve never given it much thought. But I don’t see any reason to believe this, so I would say no, I do not believe Christians are immune to suicidal thoughts.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Jiwan.
Hmmm… well I’m 17 years old, I love sports, especially basketball and, like other girls, I talk a lot. MOST importantly I am a follower of Christ.
What would you like to see yourself doing five years from now, ten years from now?
You know I’ve wanted to be in the ministry for quite some time. And when I start university next year I will be majoring in the Bible and philosophy (maybe theology). And I always thought I would become a Christian apologist, but as time is passing, I’ve felt God nudge me more into woman’s ministry--specifically in restoration of women who have been wounded by the sex industry. Now I don’t know what God has for me yet, actually I don’t know at all, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in 5-10 years I was working in Thailand, for the name of our Lord.
Do you one day want to be a wife and mother?
I want to make use of my singleness, and once you’re married with a family your ministry involvement changes. So even though I want a husband, I don’t think God has finished molding me into a proverbs 31 woman and I don’t want to hinder my ministry work. So that was a very long answer to say… no I don’t see myself as a wife and mother, at least not yet.
Jiwan, thank you again for stepping up and answering these difficult questions. Suicide is a growing sorrow in our world, and we so appreciate your thoughts on the topic of depression and suicide. God bless you dear friend!
Father, thank You for bringing Jiwan into my life. She inspires me to keep at the race You have set before me as I seek to love and follow after You. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.
Until next time . . . find a teen and learn from them.