Scars Speak

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What comes to mind when you read the word SCAR?

A scar can be left over from a surgery or a “trophy” on a veteran of war. It can be a reminder of a painful accident or a traumatic physical assault. And not all scars are visible to the eye. Sometimes we carry internal scars caused by wounds from a verbal assault, emotional or psychological damage.

“We’re stronger in the places we’ve been broken.” – Ernest Hemingway

One thing all scars have in common is they tell us that at some point in time, trauma occurred. They also tell us by their nature, the incident that caused the trauma happened in the past. The hurt may or may not remain, but the scar always does.

Some may look at their scars and be unaffected or even laugh because they don’t have any recollection of the actual incident. They may have had surgery and been under anesthesia. Or, they may have received their wound in an accident but their memory of the event has been erased.

There are some people, however, who have to look in the mirror and live with negative memories associated with their scars every day. They are the ones I’m writing about today. Scars caused by abuse, neglect or violence. Their scars are a constant and merciless reminder of pain. The relentless pain of hatred, rejection or violence against their person or spirit. Those memories summon our worst nightmares and haunt us with torment. Sometimes the scars taunt as if to say, “You deserved what you got” or “You’ll never be good enough. You’ve got the scars to prove it”. They are reminders of the powerlessness in abusive encounters. To some, a permanent warning sign to stay inside an imposed boundary. And they can’t be erased. The most we can do is cover them so the world can’t see. Because if the world sees them, they will wonder how our scars came to be, and we can’t bare to reveal or re-live the trauma.

Donita’s mother burned her with cigarettes and left scars from beatings with an iron hanger. Veronica’s uncle sexually assaulted her and her sister leaving a different set of scars. The pain of shame on top of sexual assault with the pressure of keeping a secret no girl should have to bare. Morgan’s arm is scarred with needle marks from a life she desperately wants to forget from her drug-addicted past. As beautiful as she is, Chandler wears scars under her clothes from cutting. No one knows because she masks it with a fake smile. Shauna wears long sleeved blouses and lots of bracelets to cover her wrists after attempting suicide. Makeup and jewelry cannot completely hide years of abuse to Trina’s face and neck at the hands of an abusive husband. Women and girls with faces and bodies acid-burned by their own husbands, fathers, brothers and family members–people they should’ve been able to trust to love and protect them. Every single scar from abuse cries out, “Why me?” Our faces, our bodies, our minds and our spirits are such a deep part of our identity. When we are assaulted in any way that is meant to inflict injury and pain by another, visible or not, it is inexcusable. When it is self-inflicted pain or abuse, we hurt and scar the same.

Thankfully, as the saying goes, beauty truly can come from “ashes”. We can rise to a better place. The other thing that all scars have in common is they Tell a Story. Your story. A very personal story. A painful story. A pain-filled story. But yours, nonetheless. So what’s so great about having a personal painful story? Nothing. That is, nothing in and of itself. But your scars, our scars, tell us and the world, “I am here!” They say without speaking a word, “I lived through it!” THAT is the story. THAT is the grace. It is your badge of courage. It says you are a fighter, a victor.

The truth is, the scars are proof that you made it through. You are meant to be here. And maybe one day, you will come to understand that you lived (or made it through the pain) to tell your story so that others can learn from it. And in so doing, what someone tried to take away from you, (your confidence, self-worth, freedom, identity, voice) ended up positioning you to give strength (and courage and hope) to another. And in the process, gave you back the voice no one could ever truly take.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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15 Quotes about Suicide

Life ebbs and flows, and is forever changing. When darkness, pain, or despair feel like permanent companions, it’s important to remember, nothing ever remains the same forever. Darkness can lift. We can find relief from pain and sadness. And hope, though it may seem buried and no longer within reach, is still very much alive whether we feel it or not. Hold on because there are people that love you, dreams to chase, experiences and joys yet to be discovered, and most of all, because your life is a gift to you and the world, and it really does matter. Take courage… Choose life.

People never forget a friend or loved one who has succeeded in suicide. We carry it every day, not in the back of our minds, but in the center of our broken hearts. -Candace

Suicide is a desperate attempt to get out of what seems to be an intolerable situation. It appears to be a way of escape from the pain of living. -June Hunt

No one teaches you how to do this. How do you let go of someone who you love so much? -Kathy

When people kill themselves, they think they’re ending the pain, but all they’re doing is passing it on to those they leave behind. -Jeanette Walls

But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself. -Albert Camus

I feel as though the carpet had been ripped right out from under me, and I have been left to pick up the pieces of a dream that would never be fulfilled. -Katrina

Sometimes even to live, is an act of courage. -Seneca

It’s hell. But it is survivable. You have to understand that and take ownership of it: suicidal feelings and behavior are survivable. -Suicide Survivor

To have him gone forever is a pain that will never go away. -Bethany

Those struggling with life-threatening thoughts do not feel connected to others. They feel all alone— even alone in the midst of a crowd. -June Hunt

I’m the girl nobody knows until she commits suicide. Then suddenly everyone had a class with her. -Tom Leveen

Did you really want to die?
No one commits suicide because they want to die.
Then why do they do it?
Because they want to stop the pain.
-Tiffanie DeBartolo

She will never know how much she is loved. -Desiree

When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralyzed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing, and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain. The future cannot be separated from the present, and the present is painful beyond solace. ‘This is my last experiment,’ wrote a young chemist in his suicide note. ‘If there is any eternal torment worse than mine I’ll have to be shown’. -Kay Redfield Jamison

At the split second I hit freefall, I didn’t want to die. What did I just do? The voices were gone. I was right there, facing ultimate death… I said God, please let me live. –Kevin Hines

Psychologist, Dr. Sheldon Solomon says: We all have the capacity to create meaning and to lead rich lives. This is a possibility that defies nationality, class, and culture. We can all get through dark times; we can choose life, and we can come out stronger in the process.

Resources:

For help, contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime 24/7, to be connected with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area.

Learn More: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Tools that Can Help Save Lives (by Lisa Firestone, ph.D.)

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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She Will Never Know…

Desiree’s friend died in a suicide pact with her boyfriend.  She was only 17.

She will never know the number of people she has hurt.
She will never know the damage she has done.
She will never know how many people she touched with her vibrant spirit.
She will never know how much she will be missed.
She will never know how much she is loved. –Desiree

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Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless

“Suicide is a desperate attempt to get out of what seems to be an intolerable situation. It appears to be a way of escape from the pain of living.” –June Hunt

According to the World Health Organization, approximately one million people die by suicide annually. Suffering suicide is a deliberate act of killing oneself while in an extreme state of despair. In Latin, sui means “oneself” and cide means “to kill.”

In her book, Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless, June Hunt addresses faulty assumptions: “My future holds no promise;” “My wrongs won’t be forgiven;” “My dreams won’t come true;” saying, “so goes the fatalistic thinking of the hopeless.” Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless is part of the Hope for the Heart series authored by June Hunt. She is a popular speaker, radio host, and counselor known for offering biblical hope and practical help at pivotal times in peoples lives.

Living with Hopelessness

How sad it is that there are people around us who find the idea of exiting life early a welcome solution to their seemingly untangleable unending/unresolvable torment. They are convinced that death will rescue and relieve them from suffering the heavy burden of overwhelming pain. They are without hope.

God created everyone with an inner need to feel significant, yet the desire to live slowly burns out within a heart that no longer sees a reason to live. As the candle of hope is extinguished, that inner sense of purpose is snuffed out by overwhelming despair.”

Hunt speaks to the power of haunting trauma, mocking shame, suffocating secrecy, engulfing agony, a victimizer’s power, crushing emotional burdens, tormenting self-hatred, and the catalysts that push sufferers over the edge. Those who entertain suicidal thoughts are often surrounded by feelings of smallness (powerless over their tormenting internal or external accusers), darkness, coldness… hopelessness.

Her acrostic (that spells the word escape) gives clues to issues that often attend suicide: Excessive Loss, Social Isolation, Critical Illness/Impairment, Abusive Background, Psychological Disorders, Excessive Guilt.

You’re Not Alone

When we lose our capacity for hope, darkness takes advantage and begins to seep into our thinking. It fools us into believing the worst, isolating us, and making us believe we are the only ones experiencing this inner hell.

  • Do you ever think that life is not worth living?
  • Do you ever wish you could fall asleep and not wake up?
  • Are you thinking of harming yourself?
  • What do you fear the most?

When you’re in the darkest depths of despair, when you feel emotionally trapped with no way out, remember, you’re not alone. Countless thousands all around the world are experiencing the same feelings of hopelessness. Did you know that over 90% of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder, or that untreated depression can significantly increase the risk for suicide? She writes, “Those struggling with life-threatening thoughts do not feel connected to others. They feel all alone–even alone in the midst of a crowd.” What we need to know about people obsessed with or considering suicide is this:

People don’t want to die—what they really want is for their pain to end.

That means they want hope. They want a reason to hope. But they need something more powerful than themselves to lead them out of the darkness that deceives them into thinking and believing that death is the answer, and into the light.

Getting Help

The author outlines three stages for observers to be aware of in the case of potential suicide (associated thinking/behaviors/attitudes); characteristics of suicidal teens; and various questions you can ask a suicidal spouse, child, or friend. Readers will also learn definitions, characteristics, causes, and most importantly, steps to solutions. The booklet offers a run-through of personal spiritual history, medical history, thought patterns, and family suicidal history that can be used as an assessment aid; plus a practical checklist with examples of ways to alleviate suicidal obsession.

There is also a special section for parents, educators and coaches dedicated to “bully-cide.” (Bully-cide refers to a person who dies of suicide because of the torment, fear, and humiliation associated with being bullied.)

If you are plagued with suicidal thoughts, or suspect someone you know might be, this booklet provides a quick overview with both practical and spiritual help. It is also wise to share with a trusted friend, advisor, medical and/or mental health professional.

In reestablishing hope for the heart, the author leads readers back to God’s desire: to restore lives through his love, to give comfort, and compassion. He wants to make broken lives and shattered hearts whole again–to alleviate pain, heal hearts, and restore hope.

Author June Hunt

About the Author June Hunt is a biblical counselor whose award-winning radio program “Hope for the Heart” is heard on nearly 900 radio outlets around the world. She is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as crisis counseling, child abuse, forgiveness and self-worth. Her “Hope for the Heart” booklets have been translated into 27 languages.

Additional Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (or call 1-800-273-8255)

Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors

How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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