By Nancy Black
My best friend killed herself when she was 44. She hung herself in her bedroom closet while her 10-year-old son was in the living room. Her own mother had killed herself 27 years earlier. She went out, bought a gun and shot herself in the family’s garage. She left her will on the driver’s seat of her car. Both women had serious, untreated mental health issues.
I’ve had two close friends lose their young sons to suicide. One hanging; one shooting. Both boys were angry after fights with their mothers and reacted in the most extreme ways. Neither boy had shown any signs of major depression leading up to their deaths. I also know plenty of alcoholics or addicts who tried to end their lives, some multiple times. They saw no other way out from the horrible throes of addiction.
There IS another way, though. It sounds so frick’n cliché but, as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, “Tomorrow IS another day!” Today may seem helpless and overwhelming, with the thought of having to struggle through another day of existence beating you down to life’s lowest levels. But, please, don’t give up! Help is available.
If you don’t have a close friend or confidant you can talk with (or even if you do), call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately. Their phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And they have trained professionals, many of whom have attempted suicide themselves, to guide you to finding help.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. Please review the chart below, which lists warning signs. It could be a friend, family member, neighbor or even your favorite local merchant who is currently feeling alone and afraid. Reach out. Lend a hand and an ear. And really listen to what the other person is saying. Too often, we ask someone how they are without expecting, or sometimes even wanting, a real answer to our question. A person can answer, “I’m fine,” while their body language is saying the opposite. Take the time to truly care about others. Because it really would be a lonely world if we were in it alone.
There is hope. There is a solution. Life IS worth living!