Talking about suicide

The news of the suicide of a lead pastor, Andrew Stoeklein, broke my heart. He was 30 years old, a loving husband and a father to three kids. Before his suicide, he was open with his battles with depression and anxiety.

At this time of writing, I’m still mourning the loss of this person who I don’t know personally. All the while thinking, what happened?

To a person who obviously knows Christ deep in his being and his soul.
Knows of the hope of Christ.
Knows the power of prayer.
Knows about seeking help. (which he did)
Knows how much His Heavenly Father loves him.

Yet he was in so much pain and darkness that he wanted to take the pain away. And he did.

My heart is broken for him, his family, his friends, his church.

Please join me in sending lots of prayers to his family. If you are inclined to do so, you can contribute to #careforkayla at This campaign will provide education costs for Andrew’s boys, day-to-day expenses for his wife, Kayla, and financial security during a tough season.

Many of us may not be able to comprehend how a person could take his or her own life. But to the sufferer, they may feel that death is the only way out.

The sad and scary thing is, there could be people around us who are in danger of suicide. Either we may not know the signs of suicide (though not everyone would display the signs), or we have a misconception about a suicidal person. Saying that it’s a cowardly act is one of them.

Understanding more about suicide.

How might someone think or feel like to be suicidal?

Hopeless, there’s no way out.
Overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
Their pain is unbearable, and there’ll be no end to it.
They are of no use to anyone.

Some of the outward behaviours could be:
Avoiding or isolating from others.
Self-harm or have the intention to self-harm.
Change in appetite.
Sleep is affected.
No desire to take care of yourself.

Facts and Myth about Suicide

(information from Befrienders)

Suicide Myth
People who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention.

Suicide Fact
People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. They are in pain and oftentimes reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope. Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always.


Suicide Myth
Suicide always occurs without any warning signs.

Suicide Fact
Sometimes there are warning signs. (However, there might not be signs or you might not be able to tell)


Suicide Myth
Once people decide to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them.

Suicide Fact
Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal do not want to die; they just want to stop their pain.


Suicide Myth
Suicide only strikes people of a certain gender, race, financial status, age, etc.

Suicide Fact
Suicide can strike anyone.


Suicide Myth
People who attempt suicide and survive will not attempt suicide again.

Suicide Fact
People who attempt suicide and survive will oftentimes make additional attempts.


Suicide Myth
People who attempt suicide are crazy.

Suicide Fact
Not necessary. They are in pain, and probably have a chemical imbalance in their brain. Anyone could attempt suicide.


Suicide Myth
People who attempt suicide are weak.

Suicide Fact
Not necessary. They are in pain and probably have a chemical imbalance in their brain. Many people who are very “strong” die by suicide.


Suicide Myth
People who talk about suicide are trying to manipulate others.

Suicide Fact
No. People who talk about suicide are in pain and need help. And telling them that they “just want something” or “are trying to manipulate” is both insensitive and ignorant. People often talk about suicide before dying by suicide. Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always.


Suicide Myth
When people become suicidal, they will always be suicidal.

Suicide Fact
Most people are suicidal for a limited period of time. However, suicidal feelings can recur.


Suicide Myth
People who are suicidal definitely want to die.

Suicide Fact
The vast majority of people who are suicidal do not want to die. They are in pain, and they want to stop the pain.


Suicide Myth
You should never ask people who are a suicidal person if they are thinking about suicide or if they have thought about a method because just talking about it will give them the idea.

Suicide Fact
Asking people if they are thinking about suicide does not give them the idea for suicide. And it is important to talk about suicide with people who are suicidal because you will learn more about their mindset and intentions, and allow them to diffuse some of the tension that is causing their suicidal feelings.


Suicide Myth
When people who are suicidal feel better, they are no longer suicidal.

Suicide Fact
Sometimes suicidal people feel better because they have decided to die by suicide, and may feel a sense of relief that the pain will soon be over.


Suicide Myth
Young people never think about suicide, they have their entire life ahead of them.

Suicide Fact
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Sometimes children under 10 want die by suicide.


Suicide Myth
There is little correlation between alcohol or drug abuse and suicide.

Suicide Fact
Oftentimes people who die by suicide are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Suicide Myth
People who are suicidal do not seek help.

Suicide Fact
Many people who are suicidal reach out for help.

Counselling, support, someone to talk to:

Please help someone or yourself to seek help. Here are some links you can use. 

Receive the HopeMail newsletter on Sundays.

I send one article a week exclusively to this mailing list before it’s posted on this site and anywhere else.

There’s no spam. Just honest, useful content to help walk toward a joyful life. Why not join us?

Send me HopeMail!


Don’t go through (and don’t let someone go through) pain alone.


I remember the feeling when I plunged into something like depression, and I didn’t know who to turn to.

It felt like I’m drowning in this dark void of awful loneliness. So alone. Like everything inside of me, my soul, just sinking into this pool of black ink. Everywhere I look, pitch black—a potent cocktail of desperation and violent rage.

I’ve been wrongly taught by the world that emotions and feelings are not to be trusted. So, I’ve learnt to box them up.

Unknowingly, I became an expert in compartmentalising my pain. I didn’t do it on purpose, somewhere along my life, I just learnt how to function normally.

I went to work ‘normally’, I led my team ‘normally’, I went to church ‘normally’, I laughed ‘normally’, however, I was everything but normal. I was crumbling, and my days just became harder and harder.

I didn’t know how to open up. Who to turn to that won’t:
or worse, ask me to justify my feelings.

I tried to rationalise it away. My problems are small compared to the world.

I tried to pray it away. But the sadness stayed.

I tried to coat it with Words from the Bible. Nothing sticks.

I tried to escape it with Frasier. The laughter lasted only as long as the sitcom.

I felt guilty and weak for feeling this way. I asked myself mockingly, “are you being melodramatic?”

Chin up! The world says.

In fact, someone brutally commented on my blog, “try not to be too dramatic!” I felt at once ashamed that I may be emotional. But angry too, for being judged.

Herein lies the problem.

Some of us are just too quick to pass comments based on our views.

Some of us, too busy to pause and listen.

We have talkers, speakers, self-help, no-help, preachers, teachers.

But we need more listeners. People to listen without passing judgement.

Because pain is lonely.

The shortest verse in the Bible is—

Jesus wept

He is not dispassionate. He is empathetic in our weakness. He does not tell us to be less dramatic nor fault us for feeling sad. It is ok not to be ok. We can draw comfort from knowing that.


Don’t apologise for mourning, grieving or weeping. God comes into our pain and feels with us. He will also bring along the right people to walk alongside with us through this wall. Please reach out.

And if you know someone who is going through a tough time in life, please reach out to them.

We don’t need to be a counsellor, but we can be a friend, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on.

We can be the one to give an encouraging smile, send an encouraging note, deliver a bouquet of flowers or chocolates maybe, or just offer help.

We may not be able to offer solutions to people’s situation, but we can be a comforting presence in the midst of their pain.

If you think this article can be useful to someone, please share.

Does this mean I’m no longer sad?


Today, in church, someone asked how am I doing. I gave a genuine answer, “I’m good.” Does that mean I’m no longer sad?

Over these past few weeks, I do wonder whether I am exaggerating my emotions, even feeling ashamed that perhaps I’m just emotional and a drama-queen. I can’t explain why I don’t mope around with a downward turned lips, that I still can work; heck, laugh and make silly jokes. Then I stumbled upon this article—depression doesn’t make you sad all the time. I think it explained the situation pretty well.

Excerpt: When I’m having a depressive episode, I’m not walking around in tattered black clothes, weeping and wailing.I keep working and have friendly chats with the people I work with. Above all, I experience moments of happiness.

Read the article here.

Do you experience this situation too?

Struggling with anger and sadness.


Major drama—This is how I feel in my head.


But, life must go on. This is how I need to exhibit self-control in front of people, especially at work.


While I’m struggling with these, I struggle with God.

In your anger, do not sin. Let go, let God.

These rage, these sense of injustice, these wanting to burst into tears in public, these loneliness of not knowing who to talk to, who can I trust not to judge? And this thought of I should first deal with this with God, and not run to other people. But, I’m having trouble keeping calm and acting as normal as possible. It’s like this darkness trying to fill up the white space, and it feels good to let it be. Yet, I know I must stand guard and not let the Devil have a foothold of my weakness.

Dear Lord, help.