A few years ago a friend of mine completed suicide. She was one of the kindest people that I have ever known. She spent her entire life caring about other people, being aware of other people's needs and emotions, and always being there for someone when they needed it.
She also battled alcoholism, it was her demon, and it ultimately took her life. She tried for all of her adult life to quit, going into rehab, and many treatment programs. She always went back to that dark place, it was almost like it pulled her there.
There was this belief deep inside of her that she did not matter, that she was bad, and that no matter what she did she would never be good enough.
I learned a lot from knowing her, and it has helped me to better understand suicide. I realize now that it's not just a choice that someone makes in a selfish moment. But it is the ultimate culmination of such extreme pain that it becomes the only option.
This week a hate group is visiting my community, a group that comes only to bring pain and to share and spread hate about everyone. I find it an interesting parallel to the suicides of famous people this week. That hatred that be we feel inside for ourselves that can lead to suicide has to come from somewhere.
I don't have all of the answers about suicide, but one thing that I do know is that it is a desperate act. Suicide is preventable, we know that to be true. One thing that I know that we can all do as individuals is to be kinder to everyone. To not perpetuate hate in any way.
It has become a common thing to say that we don't know what someone else is going through and that we should always be kind, but it is so very true. I feel the need to repeat it here, we never know what people are going through, but what we can do is have an impact on them in a kind way. A smile, a hello, being friendly. Being understanding, giving people a chance and allowing for mistakes has a huge impact on our world. It is a small thing that each of us can do as an individual, but it can change the world one smile at a time.
Don't be afraid to ask the people that you know if they are okay if you notice something different about them. Talking about suicide does not perpetuate it, it prevents it. It's an important message because there has been a falsehood shared in our culture the talking about suicide actually causes it to happen and that is a lie. If you notice something different about someone in your life, say something.
Is it also a good idea to just check in with people, even if you don't notice something different. It is not unheard of for people to commit suicide and no one knew that they were depressed. Some people are just very good at hiding it. Take the time to check in, to care and to ask.
Sometimes no matter how hard we try suicide wins out. This is not ever something that you should blame yourself for. If you know someone who killed themselves and you were trying to help them, you were making a difference. The ultimate choice is theirs, we can give love and kindness and awareness as much as possible but that is all we can do.
I love you, I see you, you matter,