Suicide. It isn’t a word that we ever have expectations will be part of our story or someone’s close to us. However, it shows up uninvited bringing pain and sorrow that can be hard for even the strongest of us to bear.
It has arrived in my life in many different forms. My own battle with suicidal thoughts appearing as an escape clause to painful parts of my story that in the moment I believed I could no longer bear. Hearing the words “I want to die” spoken from the lips of my loved ones has shaken me to my very core. Standing beside graves of my dear friends who sought escape from their pain shouldering the grief of being the one left behind; the “I should have” or “if I would have” thoughts lingering for years. Answering the calls of parents and spouses desperate for help to save their child or their spouse.
It is uncomfortable for those who can’t imagine it touching them to hear and face the reality of suicide. But the thing with suicide is it shows up whether we are comfortable with it or not. Facing it and understanding it are the very things that can prevent it, but often the thing we want to do the least.
Today can be the day you decide to find comfort in the uncomfortable and step up to make a difference in the lives of those around you. How can you do that?
1)You can make the commitment to be present with someone who is in emotional pain by listening, allowing them a safe space to share, and following up with them.
2)You can take someone’s suicidal thoughts seriously by understanding they are in pain regardless of if you think they are seeking attention. The important thing is they are in pain and need help.
3)You can ask someone if they are ok and not turn away if they say they aren’t.
4)You can sign up to be trained in suicide prevention to help equip yourself to respond.
5)You can ask for help if you personally are in pain.
6)You can help a loved one get connected to a counselor or other resources if they need help.
7)You can use your time, talents, and resources to support organizations in our community that are helping with this cause