Thoughts about the soul? Watch

AmyJ
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I'm feeling pretty lost and I wanted to gather a few views on some of my thoughts, mostly just to feel less crazy.

Four months ago, one of my best friends died. He had bipolar disorder and tried many medications but nothing worked for long, and eventually his depression was considered "treatment-resistant", whatever that means. He overdosed, he was gone when they found him, although I have a deep feeling it was not intentional.

Since then I've had a long period of wondering what has happened to my friend's soul, where he is, if he can hear me. I feel half-mad sometimes. All I can think about is dying, and the fact that I'll die too someday. It's so grossly unnatural for a person to die in their 20s - it's shown me that it could be anyone, it could be me next week so why bother with anything? I feel hopeless.

Some faiths believe that your soul goes straight back to God; some that it sleeps, some that there is no soul and no God. I don't know what to believe. The last time we spoke, he said he was waiting to try some new medication - and should it not work, he would take an overdose. My reply was something asinine like, "Fingers crossed then. Let's talk about something else. How are things with family? How is your job search going?". And now that will always live with me. I just want to know where he is, I want some kind of comfort.
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AmyJ
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The reality that his physical body is in the ground now is a really awful thought which keeps coming back to me.
I keep imagining that's it cold down there, damp, lonely, too far from the surface, and he's just been left there whilst we go back home and carry on with mundane things. I would rather believe that his soul has gone somewhere. How can you detach yourself from the only semblance of a person you have known (their body) though?
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FailedMyMocks
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In Islam the soul or spirit is called the Ruh. When a person dies the Ruh is stripped from the material body. The body is buried and the Soul is sent to the Barzakh which is the resting place for souls until the Day Of Judgement.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by AmyJ)
I'm feeling pretty lost and I wanted to gather a few views on some of my thoughts, mostly just to feel less crazy.

Four months ago, one of my best friends died. He had bipolar disorder and tried many medications but nothing worked for long, and eventually his depression was considered "treatment-resistant", whatever that means. He overdosed, he was gone when they found him, although I have a deep feeling it was not intentional.

Since then I've had a long period of wondering what has happened to my friend's soul, where he is, if he can hear me. I feel half-mad sometimes. All I can think about is dying, and the fact that I'll die too someday. It's so grossly unnatural for a person to die in their 20s - it's shown me that it could be anyone, it could be me next week so why bother with anything? I feel hopeless.

Some faiths believe that your soul goes straight back to God; some that it sleeps, some that there is no soul and no God. I don't know what to believe. The last time we spoke, he said he was waiting to try some new medication - and should it not work, he would take an overdose. My reply was something asinine like, "Fingers crossed then. Let's talk about something else. How are things with family? How is your job search going?". And now that will always live with me. I just want to know where he is, I want some kind of comfort.
I'm so sorry to read of the bereavement you have suffered through the loss of your friend. And I'm especially sorry to hear of how his death is impacting on you. I can't begin to imagine what it is like to lose a friend at all, let alone this way.

It is very natural to ask questions and to seek answers, when faced with a sudden and somewhat-unforeseen loss like this. Many people (myself included) have an idea of what we think happens when someone dies. The reality is that no one really knows though, and that focusing on such questions is only going to result in a myriad of possibilities and (knowing people on TSR as I do) a lot of immature and unnecessarily squabbling to prove who is "right", which would actually result in the pain you are going through being overlooked.

So if it's OK by you, I am going to focus on what *you* are feeling and going through, rather than telling you where I think your friend is and what may have happened to his soul. I think that's the more helpful thing to do: to focus on helping and supporting you in this moment :yes:

There are two things that really jump out at me from your post. One is your sense of life being pointless if we could die at any moment (please do correct me if I've misunderstood what you said about that), and the second being a sense of guilt about your last conversation with your friend. Let me address these separately.

The notion that we could die at any moment is a terrifying one, for sure, when one thinks about it. I don't know about you but I'm someone who needs to know and prepare for everything in life. So the prospect of not knowing when one may die, is a very unnerving one. But, in a way, whatever one's (lack of) religious beliefs might be, the very fact that we don't know when we might die, or where we may go when we die, actually shapes a purpose in life, and a point to it. If you don't know when you might die, it's best and good to make each second count. We do this by living in the moment and living as best a life as we can, and being the best person we can be, and the best friend we can be

Which brings me to your second point, about your last conversation with your friend. It sounds like you are blaming yourself a lot for not acting or saying more about his feelings, in that last time you spoke. The reality is, that you really weren't to know how serious your friend was being when he said this. Indeed, even *he* may not have known how serious he was being. (I say this as someone who has a mental health problem which is effectively schizophrenia and bipolar combined. I know that most of my suicide attempts over the years have not been premeditated and I have not known when I'm about to attempt something.) It is not your fault that your friend took his own life.

I think it may be good for you to explore some bereavement counselling, to explore your feelings about your loss in a safe, measured and professionally-supportive environment. I hope you take this suggestion - and indeed, this whole post - in the spirit it's meant

:hugs:
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AmyJ
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
I'm so sorry to read of the bereavement you have suffered through the loss of your friend. And I'm especially sorry to hear of how his death is impacting on you. I can't begin to imagine what it is like to lose a friend at all, let alone this way.

It is very natural to ask questions and to seek answers, when faced with a sudden and somewhat-unforeseen loss like this. Many people (myself included) have an idea of what we think happens when someone dies. The reality is that no one really knows though, and that focusing on such questions is only going to result in a myriad of possibilities and (knowing people on TSR as I do) a lot of immature and unnecessarily squabbling to prove who is "right", which would actually result in the pain you are going through being overlooked.

So if it's OK by you, I am going to focus on what *you* are feeling and going through, rather than telling you where I think your friend is and what may have happened to his soul. I think that's the more helpful thing to do: to focus on helping and supporting you in this moment :yes:

There are two things that really jump out at me from your post. One is your sense of life being pointless if we could die at any moment (please do correct me if I've misunderstood what you said about that), and the second being a sense of guilt about your last conversation with your friend. Let me address these separately.

The notion that we could die at any moment is a terrifying one, for sure, when one thinks about it. I don't know about you but I'm someone who needs to know and prepare for everything in life. So the prospect of not knowing when one may die, is a very unnerving one. But, in a way, whatever one's (lack of) religious beliefs might be, the very fact that we don't know when we might die, or where we may go when we die, actually shapes a purpose in life, and a point to it. If you don't know when you might die, it's best and good to make each second count. We do this by living in the moment and living as best a life as we can, and being the best person we can be, and the best friend we can be

Which brings me to your second point, about your last conversation with your friend. It sounds like you are blaming yourself a lot for not acting or saying more about his feelings, in that last time you spoke. The reality is, that you really weren't to know how serious your friend was being when he said this. Indeed, even *he* may not have known how serious he was being. (I say this as someone who has a mental health problem which is effectively schizophrenia and bipolar combined. I know that most of my suicide attempts over the years have not been premeditated and I have not known when I'm about to attempt something.) It is not your fault that your friend took his own life.

I think it may be good for you to explore some bereavement counselling, to explore your feelings about your loss in a safe, measured and professionally-supportive environment. I hope you take this suggestion - and indeed, this whole post - in the spirit it's meant

:hugs:
Thank you so much for this reply, TLG. I've read it several times, focusing on different parts, and it's comforting.

Mostly I hate the finality of his death. I believe it was accidental (I have my reasons), and so I've felt very angry about it, angry at God, wondering why it had to happen. I want someone to come along and convince me that his soul is either still around (and can understand, isn't angry with me, feels empathy) or is with God and unaware of us, but peacefully so. I have some feelings that because the death was accidental (most likely), his soul might - have a difficult time accepting that it has moved on? That he might find it difficult coming to terms with his death, if that makes sense?
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Racoon
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(Original post by AmyJ)
Thank you so much for this reply, TLG. I've read it several times, focusing on different parts, and it's comforting.

Mostly I hate the finality of his death. I believe it was accidental (I have my reasons), and so I've felt very angry about it, angry at God, wondering why it had to happen. I want someone to come along and convince me that his soul is either still around (and can understand, isn't angry with me, feels empathy) or is with God and unaware of us, but peacefully so. I have some feelings that because the death was accidental (most likely), his soul might - have a difficult time accepting that it has moved on? That he might find it difficult coming to terms with his death, if that makes sense?
I'm so very sorry you have lost your friend, I think I can understand a bit where you are coming from because a very close friend of mine died quite quickly of cancer a couple of years ago. It brought the thought of death to the forefront of my mind and for about a year I couldn't go straight to sleep without thinking very deep thoughts about death, the moment of dying and the whole idea of life being very short, none of us knows the day or time we will pass on.

My comfort has been my Christian faith. I can't provide all the answers to the questions you seek but I put my hope and trust in God to take care of all those who are suffering with any depression or mental anguish in any way in this life and the next. The God I know and love is a good God.

When I'm overcome by sadness I listen to something like this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzVjwHx8rKU
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gjd800
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I deal in Buddhism and the general tack is that there are no souls. Whether that is of more or less comfort to someone in this situation depends on how invested they are in 'soul' concepts to begin with. I don't know if it has helped me or not in circumstances whens someone has died, but I am overall pretty comfortable with death, so maybe it has. I dunno.

Very sorry to read about your friend. I had a friend die from an accidental overdose of diet pills a couple of years ago and it was a pretty tough time for everybody. The fact that we could be dead tomorrow is, I think, incredibly liberating. It gives an impetus for us to do things now. Enjoy things now, because we don't know how long we have got. I've always had that mindset, so it's easy for me to say and perhaps not as easy for you to visualise, but it is perhaps worth considering things from this perspective. Life is valuable because it is so short, and we ought to give it our best crack precisely because of its transience.

You can't blame yourself for a pithy response to a ****e situation. You can't dwell on it. Your mate would not want you to.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by AmyJ)
Thank you so much for this reply, TLG. I've read it several times, focusing on different parts, and it's comforting.

Mostly I hate the finality of his death. I believe it was accidental (I have my reasons), and so I've felt very angry about it, angry at God, wondering why it had to happen. I want someone to come along and convince me that his soul is either still around (and can understand, isn't angry with me, feels empathy) or is with God and unaware of us, but peacefully so. I have some feelings that because the death was accidental (most likely), his soul might - have a difficult time accepting that it has moved on? That he might find it difficult coming to terms with his death, if that makes sense?
No problem. I'm about to take a flight back to UK from Sri Lanka, so can't reply properly now. Please poke me to reply tomorrow?
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Galloway35
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Hi Amy,

I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s passing. Don’t feel half-mad about wondering what happened to your friend’s soul. It’s natural for people to be curious of life after death because it’s a part of life.

I am a Christian that believes that people go to heaven after death as a result of having faith in Jesus Christ. It’s possible that your friend could’ve had an encounter with Jesus before his last breath. Only God can judge because He knows our hearts.

You seem like you were a great friend because of the way you’re concerned about his soul. Certainly, your friend was thankful for your friendship. All you can do is have hope that he had a clean heart and be encouraged knowing that there’s a beautiful continuation of life after death for those that love the Lord.

I pray that God gives you answers and comforts you on your healing journey!
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by AmyJ)
Thank you so much for this reply, TLG. I've read it several times, focusing on different parts, and it's comforting.

Mostly I hate the finality of his death. I believe it was accidental (I have my reasons), and so I've felt very angry about it, angry at God, wondering why it had to happen. I want someone to come along and convince me that his soul is either still around (and can understand, isn't angry with me, feels empathy) or is with God and unaware of us, but peacefully so. I have some feelings that because the death was accidental (most likely), his soul might - have a difficult time accepting that it has moved on? That he might find it difficult coming to terms with his death, if that makes sense?
It's very understandable to feel angry about it, and to feel angry at God too.The thing is, people can say all they like about whether his soul is around or not, but if that doesn't match any beliefs you already may have, then it might not bring as much comfort as you think/want? For example, I can tell you what I believe as a liberal Roman Catholic but if you're not RC too, then my banging on about Purgatory isn't that helpful ready And even if you were RC, if it doesn't align with what is already your personal worldview, then it might not prove that helpful...

FYI: I think that last bit you talk about is more in line with views/teachings on reincarnation/spiritual rebirth, than it is with a notion of being in heaven with a god? My country of origin (Sri Lanka) is a largely Buddhist country and my understanding is that the circumstances of your death can impact on how you are reborn in the next life. To my knowledge, there are no teachings within Christianity (or at least my denomination) about the circumstances of death impacting upon the soul...

Huge hugs to you :hugs:
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username4205182
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AmyJ
I'm sorry for your loss. :console:
You have to believe in whatever helps you them most. It doesn't have to fit with a religious view, you can believe in whatever you want. Not sure if that makes sense, but at some point you will have a moment where you realise where his soul has gone. It may or may not fit with a religious idea but that doesn't matter because it's true for you.
:hugs:
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NJA
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The soul "sleeps", to be raised / awoken either at the first or second resurrection.

The first occurs when Jesus returns, the second at the end of his millenial rule on Earth.

To be in the first you have to let Jesus rule in this short life.
You'll find He's a good ruler, in fact you are not compelled to obey him, it's just that you only experience his love, joy and peace if you do.

Daniel 12v1-3
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AmyJ
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Logging in for the first time in a while, I thought I'd update this thread because there's something untrue. I wrote (I assumed, I was almost certain) - that he overdosed. In the fullness of time, we found that it was natural causes - aggravated by medication, but not caused by it. I was and still am completely shocked, and it stirred up a new set of emotions. But I feel more sure about the soul. I still talk to him, write to him sometimes, imagine what he'd say to me. I also imagine magical interventions where we discovered the illness and could wind back the clock. Thank you for your replies. I find myself thinking a lot about death, but also marvelling at people who reach great ages - Kirk Douglas is 102! What strange hand of fate makes those decisions.
Last edited by AmyJ; 10 months ago
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OxFossil
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(Original post by AmyJ)
Logging in for the first time in a while, I thought I'd update this thread because there's something untrue. I wrote (I assumed, I was almost certain) - that he overdosed. In the fullness of time, we found that it was natural causes - aggravated by medication, but not caused by it. I was and still am completely shocked, and it stirred up a new set of emotions. But I feel more sure about the soul. I still talk to him, write to him sometimes, imagine what he'd say to me. I also imagine magical interventions where we discovered the illness and could wind back the clock. Thank you for your replies. I find myself thinking a lot about death, but also marvelling at people who reach great ages - Kirk Douglas is 102! What strange hand of fate makes those decisions.
I was touched to find this thread - thanks to your update. Things must be quite raw still, especially with this new discovery. I don't have much to add to The_Lonely_Goatherd's wise words, but maybe it is worth reinforcing some of that?
In the immediate aftermath of a death, no-one believes that they have said or done the right thing the last time they saw their friend. But what you did was really good. You were there, with your friend, reminding him that you cared; that he was loved.
It sounds as if you've come to feel a little better about what has happened since. In case it helps, I think often of my own death and find great comfort in the thought that every single bit of my body will return to the earth; that tiny creatures will use the energy stored in my cells to make eggs, to feed their young, to build wings, and legs and squishy parts. The calcium in my bones will feed generations of plants; flowers will bloom because of me. Even the titanium in my broken bones will nourish some strange micro-organism. In fact, my death will be a source of life energy for many years to come. Even without the thoughts, memories and small kindnesses I (hope) I might leave as a legacy to my friends and relatives, that seems pretty good to me.
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