I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about suicide. It feels like such a delicate topic, the elephant in the room and even shameful, to admit you have attempted it or had a loved one die by suicide. It’s so prevalent, yet we often times only hear about it when someone famous chooses it. It’s like a quiet black cloud that moves through the world, sometimes we can even ignore it. We feel the sorrow when we hear about it on the news, but that comes and goes. Sometimes we question, “But how? That person had the whole world, why would they choose to end their life?” Unfortunately it’s not that easy, there are no simple answers.
Why aren’t we talking more about suicide?
Here are some statistics:
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America.
Every year 42, 773 people die from suicide.
For every 1 suicide, there are (approx) 25 attempts.
In Indiana it’s the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals aged 25-34.
On average (in Indiana) over all age groups, 1 person commits suicide every 9 hours.
I write this today because I recently lost a friend to suicide and my heart is shattered, each piece feels something different: anger, grief, confusion. It’s hard to imagine that he isn’t out in the world laughing and joking, which is how I think about him most. Laughing. Happy, bright and shining. I think about those who were closest to him and their lives have stopped, their grief is unlike anything they have felt before. Suicide is a hurricane of devastation that never ends.
He wasn’t the first person I’ve known to die by suicide, but it never gets easier, it never makes sense and if past experience dictates future, then I will forever wonder what more I could’ve done. I will lay awake at night for the years to come and think about him, wondering how he felt that final day and wondering, how we could have saved him. I will think about all of the life he could’ve lived. All of the things he is missing.
Here are some warning signs:
It is hard to read them because it feels like there are often signs when there is no thought of suicide but also because it’s hard to look back, to see what was missed, to feel helpless about an action that has already taken place. It instills such despair. A life ended when it wasn’t supposed to.
I write today to start a conversation about suicide.
I write today, for you, the mourner, you the person left behind but mostly to you, the person who has contemplated, who maybe has even planned it out, who have wondered if life is worth living anymore. It is. I promise you, it is. Taking your life, away from the many many people who love you, it will devastate them. But it will also take away your chance to live. Even if you feel that you’re up against a wall, I promise you, there are people that will help break down that wall. You may not see or feel it, but there are so many people who love you, who want and need you to live and be in their lives. You are loved. You are worthy of life.
There is help for you.