Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spady, Suicide and Depression

Click here for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline

I am once again faced with the sadness of reading about a famous person’s depression and suicide. Like so many others I woke this morning to read of and hear about the tragic death in Paris, France of Chef and CNN show host Anthony Bourdain.

I watched his show maybe once, ever. But knew of him through interviews and commercials. Its not my knowledge of his death that saddens me. Its the suicide. Along with the death earlier this week of fashion designer Kate Spady we are all reminded of how fame, fortune, and accomplishment are not enough to fend off the terrible grips depression can have on people. It’s power can feel overwhelming. And it can take lives leaving behind a wake of incomprehensible grief for those who knew the deceased. As in the examples of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spady, Tyler Hilinski in January, and Robin Williams a few years ago; one doesn’t need to personally know someone to be effected.

I have never attempted suicide. I have thought about it.

The betrayal of my ex-wife and the associated circumstances that lead to our divorce after 28 years of marriage caused me to fall into an almost deadly depression. For nearly 2 years I struggled to make it through each day. I cried every day. It got so bad that crying become a necessary comfort. I remember times when if it got late in the day and I realized I hadn’t cried that day, I would make myself cry because I felt I had to cry to feel normal. The will to continue living is weakened in such circumstances. The will to end it and stop the pain grows. Obviously for some ending it all becomes the solution they see as their only option. I felt that way, way to often. It’s frightening to think back on those times now.

If I could say anything to help those suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts it would be these two things. Not all people care about you. But some do. Some do very much. The other thing is that you can find salvation, literally, through God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I discovered my ex-wife’s cheating and she confessed it and then all the lies and false and incomplete stories came to light I knew right away I would need help. I knew the feelings in me were too strong and too destructive to try and cope on my own. After meeting with and rejecting several counselors and counseling services I turned to my church. My church provided a counseling service I had previously never known about. It provided me a new friend and sound wisdom in the face of irresponsibility and illogical behavior I was faced with every day.

I prayed every day. I read the Bible. I read lots of books. Most of the books I read were self-help books or biographies of successful people I admired. Not surprisingly I kept finding in these books a recurring theme. God was at the center of many people’s success. So, while I always felt I led a good life and believed in Christ; I made a more deliberate effort to pray, read the Bible and eliminate from my character and my behaviors things that were in conflict with God’s teachings. I am also not ashamed to admit reading the Bible and studying it taught me how to accomplish so much more in life and in my relationships. While I had led a good life. I was still doing much wrong, that I didn’t realize. I’ve done much better since. I will continue to improve.

The other thing about depression is that friends and family tire of your depressed state. Initially you can find all the support you can handle. Everyone has a sympathetic ear and kind words of wisdom and support. But as your depression lingers or if it goes away and returns many of these same people ostracize you. They stay away. They no longer want to be part of your problems. You have worn them out.

It’s easy to understand, to a point. Nobody wants to be around a sad person all the time. This sad or depressed person can bring you down and effect your own life. But, there is a difference between a negative person who is always grumbling and having a glass is half-empty view on life versus someone who is depressed. If you are the friend or family member of someone who is depressed, I urge you to hang in there. Don’t turn away from them. And realize you can positively change their life for the better. The perpetually negative half-empty glass type of person is someone you want to avoid. But the depressed person can be helped. If you were there for them at the start of their depression. Be there at the end. You and they will reap the rewards of a closer relationship in the future.

I lost friends and family through my depression. They are gone now and probably don’t care that I have rebounded and am a happy person again. I have found love. And while I now know that falling back into the spiral of depression is something I am susceptible to doing, I am wiser for having come through it and can fend it off on the occasions when it creeps back into my conscious.

So help those that you can. Share God’s word. And if you are suffering yourself be proactive in combatting your depression. Take steps. The pain can go away and happiness can be your end story.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255

 

What if Your World Ends Tomorrow?

3759: Mayan Calendar - Aztec Stone of the sun

Mayan Calendar – Aztec Stone of the sun

 

All over the world scared and misguided people are preparing for an apocalypse they believe was foretold by the Mayans over 1000 years ago. Major movies have been made based on this predicted catastrophe. Books have been written. TV shows, documentaries have spoken to the subject. The History Channel on cable is loaded with End of the World programming all week.

 

The Mayan calendar prophesy is not one I worry about or believe. If anything catastrophic or particularly unusual does happen it might signal or bring about a change in culture worldwide. But the end of the world is not in my plans for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to Christmas and to the year 2013…and 2014 and 2015 for that matter.

 

But the Mayan Calendar phenomena combined with the tragic shooting and murder of 26 wonderful people in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday got me to thinking about this question, are you ready if your world ends tomorrow? What if you died? Certainly, it’s extremely likely everyone reading this today will be here tomorrow. But none of the 26 in Newtown or anyone who knew them could have fathomed that last Friday December 14, 2012 would be their last day on earth. It’s certainly cliche` but true; nobody knows when their time will come.

 

I’m not trying to be dark or morbid. Death is part of life and we all will leave this place someday. In most cases you’ll have some idea the end is near. But for far too many the end comes suddenly, and unexpectedly.

 

Do you have a Will? Do you have funeral plans? What happens to your body once you’re done using it? Who decides?

 

Are you square with God if you believe in God? What about those you leave behind? Do they know you love them? Do you tell them enough and demonstrate it enough for them to be certain once you are no longer able to tell and show?

 

In my adulthood I’ve lost two people close to me and been affected by their deaths both emotionally and tangibly. My Grandmother on my Mom’s side, and my father both died in 2001. One had a Will, the other didn’t. They both left behind a mess, one worse than the other.

Jerome Mathis Schuett

 

 

My Dad died poor, with very few assets. So were he to have had a Will there wouldn’t have been much to dispense. But absent that little document the passing on of his possessions fell to his wife, who was not my Mom. She chose to allow my older brother the pick of seemingly anything he wanted. I was left with what he and she didn’t want. This in spite of the fact that I was closer and more involved with my Dad’s life the last 10-20 years of his life than was my far-away brother. You can imagine my frustration with my stepmother’s decisions. Worst of all was how she handled my father’s most materially valuable possession. He had a 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible of which he was the original owner. He kept it in pretty good condition. It was the car I drove when learning how to drive. I wanted it. She didn’t. She offered to sell it to me for a price twice what its sales value was. I happily passed on the offer, but asked her to give me the right to match any offer she received in her efforts to sell it. She agreed but then traded it straight-up for a used Volvo and never told me of it until afterward. Again, you can imagine how I felt about that.

 

Grandma Zella and Aunt Sharon

My Grandmother had a Will and left a modest estate of cash and antique furniture. But she used her Will to punish a daughter who for reasons I can’t fathom fell out of her favor. She also used the Will to attempt to control from the grave the life of her other daughter. And she put in charge of the estate a grandson who she’d not had significant contact with for 20 years simply because she, again, wanted to punish others close to her and because she was not a trusting person. Further details aren’t necessary except to say that estate exists today, more than 11 years after her death, and it’s still causing problems, issues, with those she left behind. It’s really sad. I watch it from a mostly disinterested distance and shake my head wondering if the old woman had it as part of her intention to cause so much strife within her surviving family.

 

Are you ready if your world ends tomorrow? Would you want your surviving friends and family members to speak or write about you as I just have about my Grandmother?

 

Planning for when you aren’t here is not fun, and its difficult. But take it from someone who knows, its important for those you leave behind. Just thought you’d like to know.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome

The Deaths of the 12 Apostles

When questioning the facts of Christianity I wonder if atheists ever give thought to how the 12 Apostles of Jesus died? It seems to me that if you want to really know Jesus or something about who he is and what he did you’re best-off knowing or learning of the people who were there, walked with him, talked with him, learned from him and witnessed the miracles. And if you are a non-believer how do you explain the deaths of most of these Apostles? What mania could have taken hold of these 12 divergent men that they would subject themselves to such fierce persecution and painful death in the name of what they preached and believed?

Isn’t it common sense to figure that they bore witness to something so extraordinary that they were compelled to undergo such torture rather than retract their beliefs? The link below provides a sanitized version of the deaths of the Apostles:

The Deaths of the 12 Apostles.

This video provides a more detailed version of the gore that fell upon most of the Apostles:

Faith will carry us through, but having faith does not exempt us from logical thinking.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

The Top 5 Regrets In Life By Those About to Die

Nurse log, Quinault Rain Forest Nature Trail

This article was written by a hospice nurse who tended to countless numbers of dying people. Their voices speak to us in a way no others can. Perhaps you will find it inspiring, even life changing. While some may find this dark. I think it’s illuminating.

http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2011/05/31/the-top-5-regrets-people-make-on-their-deathbeds/

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Goodbye Dad; again.

Dad & Arica

My Dad with his first Granchild

Ten years ago tomorrow, November 30, 2001 my father died. Amongst the things I remember about this day is that Beattle George Harrison Died the previous day, but the news escaped me until the morning of my father’s passing. I also remember hearing a horrible Christmas song that morning about a young boy wanting to buy some new shoes for his dyeing mother. The song probably isn’t that bad. I guess a lot of people liked it. They made a TV movie about it. But I hated it. It always brought me back to the day I lost my Dad.

Losing my Dad was far more emotional and troubling than I would have ever predicted prior to its occurrence. I was a basket case for at least six months. I thought about him daily. And then slowly over time it got better.

At my Dad’s request he was cremated. Cheap and/or practical to the end. I bought the urn. His remains were kept in the possession of his widow. Not my Mom. She had been married to him his last 20 years beginning my Senior year in High School. Initially she talked of spreading his ashes in a couple of locations in Eastern Washington where my Dad frequently went camping in one of his RV’s (He rented RV’s for a living. So he had many over the years). But that never seemed right to me. Sadly I didn’t have a good alternative. It’s all just as well because the idea of spreading his ashes drifted away and never occurred.

My Dad’s widow died 2 months ago. I took possession of his ashes, and a few small items of his that she’d retained over the previous ten years. My office is now decorated with mallards, as my house was growing up.

Keeping his ashes in my home is not an alternative. He never saw this house. I bought it 2 years after his death. Keeping him here just wouldn’t be fitting. Fortunately I actually thought of the perfect place to spread his ashes, and that is what I am doing tomorrow

Dad's resting Place

He is where my Dad's ashes will spend eternity.

. I will drive up to Bellingham, where my father was born. Along the way I’m picking up his brother, my Uncle. Together we will drive to a favorite spot of my Dad’s along the Puget Sound waters south of the Canadian border. He spent countless days in this place as a kid. He took me and my brother to this place time and again. And in my 24 years as a father I have taken my family here innumerable times. I will dig a small hole in the beach when the tide is out, and will deposit his remains there, amongst the clams, and muscles and crab. I will then say a prayer. And then I will say goodbye Dad…again.