I want to follow up on yesterday’s post, Suicide Brings No Relief to Anyone, because I wrote it with a lot of emotion. Even twelve years after my friend Darlene’s suicide, I still feel angry, scared, guilty, and perplexed by her choice to end her life.
I also want to acknowledge that when someone is suicidal, they most often aren’t thinking about how much their death will hurt others. Before each of my suicide attempts, I felt like my emotions were screaming at me. I felt so hopeless I could not stand it. I felt so afraid that I literally couldn’t reach out to a friend for help. I really did think the world would be better off without me because I didn’t matter at all.
I felt like a drowning person surrounded by mirrors. Each second my thoughts screamed SAVE ME I felt my reflection staring back at me. There were no lifeboats in sight, only my own frightened eyes.
What breaks my heart the most about Darlene’s suicide is that she had attempted suicide many times before. She had reached out for help in the past, but found that help inadequate. She needed more help than she could find.
Each of my suicide attempts almost killed me; I have been blessed with second, third, and fourth chances at life. So many chances, actually, that I can’t put a number on them. I want to use this current “extra” chance at life to bridge life and death together. I can speak up and Darlene can’t. I want to speak for both of us.
Whenever I post about suicide, I feel like Harry Potter saying the name, “Voldemort.” In those books, everyone around Harry calls Voldemort “he who should not be named” or “The Dark Lord” or some other euphemism. By saying the word “suicide” I’m naming something that many many people do not want to hear, but not naming the issue won’t make it go away. Leaving an issue in the dark helps no one. We live in a day and age where communication is easier and faster than any other time in history. We talk about cancer, despite the pain associated with it. Suicide shouldn’t be different.
Remember that suicide is complex and everyone’s struggle is unique. If you think a friend might be struggling, do not hesitate to ask them if they think about suicide. You won’t put the idea in their head! The idea is already there. By bringing up the topic of suicide, you give permission to your friend to talk about their thoughts.
No matter how alone you feel, it is not too late for help to come, I promise you. You need to stay alive to get that help. Please do.
Visit my Help page for resources to help you or a loved one who is experiencing suicidal feelings.