Here is an article to save [Click HERE] for when you or a friend are depressed and even consider suicide. The article is written by Senior Pastor Brian Jones. Brian is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of Second Guessing God, Forgiveness, and Finding Favor. He’s the Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in suburban Philadelphia. Brian and his beautiful wife Lisa have three amazing daughters, one of whom, Chandler, we had the privilege of hosting in our home while she was an intern at The International Justice Mission in DC during the summer of 2015.
I enjoy Brian’s writing style and wit and have reblogged a couple of his articles in the past. This particular article grabbed my attention due to the fact that over the years I’ve had the opportunity to walk with some dear friends who were dealing with depression. I’ve always felt less than adequately prepared to be of much assistance to them even as a friend, much less as a counselor. My one piece of sound advice to them has always been to seek well-qualified professional help. But I always have sought to be a good listener and to truly understand what it is they are experiencing. Incidentally, I don’t pretend to do even that as well as I would like.
Anyway, when I read Brian’s article it seemed to be of such a quality that I would like to share it with others. Before doing that, however, I thought it wise to run it past a friend who is currently struggling with depression. I asked him if he believed it was worth sharing. Here is his response:
“I appreciate you sharing the article with me. Needless to say I have read a tome of such things over these last few years by my own initiative, but it is an exceedingly rare occurrence for someone to share such things with me out of concern. Interestingly, Jones quotes Psychologist William James (1842–1910, whom I believe is often called the father of modern psychology) saying that there are those who are “organically weighted on the side of cheer.” If James was correct, then there is in those people—who I assume constitute the majority—an inherent and endogenous inability to comprehend the experiences of those who are weighted otherwise; it is for them, a natural blind spot. This deduction (or induction—whichever it is) I find helpful in contending with the loneliness and isolation that is such a universal experience for those in recalcitrant depression.
“As for your questions about the usefulness of the article, unfortunately I (and others in my lot) are not always the best people to ask. The darkness (as I have come to name it), particularly at its most unmitigated points, produces a cognitive fog—a haze through which nothing is seen clearly. All sound becomes like white noise that does not soothe, but rather distracts with its incessant din—I have often likened it to how a sunburn feels in the shower. Words on a page get jumbled. Compassion, pleasure, and general interest are anesthetized to the point of numbness, and the outward and manifold expressions of joy and laughing in everyone else seem perplexing and incoherent. The point, I think, is that it becomes nearly impossible to discern things that are useful from things that are superfluous, things that are helpful from things that are desensitizing, and things that are superficial from things that have form and dimension. Even worse…is the suspension of the ability to discern what is God-centered from what is man-centered. So, truthfully, I struggle when I try to engage such things.
So, with that clearance for sharing the article from my trusted friend, here it is: RMF
A Note For Anyone Who Has Thought About Suicide (Like Me)
By Brian Jones
I talk to my cat a lot.
If you spent five minutes with him, you would too. Seriously.
He acts like an affectionate Golden Retriever. He’s big and fat and cuddly and constantly wants to jump on your lap and snuggle. Anytime Lisa and I hug he’s like, “Hey, let me in on some of that!”
If you’re not a cat person, I will pray for your dark, miserable soul. 🙂 Continue reading