Thursday, July 20, 2017

Suicide – The Lessons

I suppose that this blog post has been brewing for a few weeks now, but for some reason, I decided to wait on it.

I guess that is because I think the subject matter is painful and close to my heart.

As a person who has always leaned towards the darker side of life, I know how these suicidal thoughts begin. 

They don’t shout; They whisper. 
And for some, the whispers get louder and louder until they are the only thing heard.

There are many ways to try and silence the whispers, but they are not always apparent. Sometimes it can be a long talk with a stranger like on a hotline or a talk with an empathetic friend. Don’t let those feelings turn into a soundtrack for your life. Your life deserves to be lived aloud.

Today, we heard the news of yet another rock musician committing suicide, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. A few weeks prior, the legendary rock musician Chris Cornell was found in an apparent suicide.

A suicide of anyone who has affected me has always been a reminder for me to value life’s positive, even though finite, moments. A suicide of anyone is tragic, but when it is a person who has helped others overcome suicidal feelings through their art it becomes something devastating. 

This afternoon, I read something along the lines of how Chester Bennington gave voice to our feelings when we were feeling voiceless and alone.

This is undoubtedly true.

It was true for Chris Cornell.
It was true for Kurt Cobain.
It was true for Michael Hutchence.
It was true for Robin Williams.
It was true for Ian Curtis.
It was true for…

I could keep going for a long time with this list. But, I refuse to. It isn’t helpful and it’s sad.

It doesn’t ease the pain of the fact that, these beautiful people have taken their own life.

Perhaps, their absence, not the act, serves to make us rethink what makes us angry, sad, or worrisome. Those in the public eye who lose their lives to suicide are NOT “martyrs” and it would NOT be honorable to follow in their footsteps. That would be reckless, horrible, and insane.

What they did should not be praised, BUT it should always be remembered as a reminder of how pain can overcome even those who have helped others through their troubles. And, perhaps maybe even saved them from that dark hole of pain that leads to suicide.

Sometimes what we do for others we cannot do for ourselves. So, it is important to be aware of your friends. 

Be aware and active if they seem down, or unlike themselves. 
Be aware and active when they seem withdrawn or angry. 
Be aware and active if they are giving away their possessions. 
Be aware and active if they are drinking too much or doing drugs. 
Be aware and active if all contact from them ceases.

Most importantly: Love, do not hurt. No, a person battling depression does not want to hear “GET OVER IT”. You should “get over yourself” if you think that way and think that is a solution to mental illness.

And for the last time, suicide isn’t a cowardly act. It’s a desperate and desolate one.

Here are some resources for those struggling with thoughts of suicide or know someone who is:

You Rock Foundation :

National Hopeline Network 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.TALK (273-8255) For hearing and speech impaired with TTY equipment 1.800.799.4TTY (779-4889) EspaƱol 1.888.628.9454
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education, advocacy and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.