Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you google suicide prevention you can find an exhaustive list of resources: websites, hot-lines, non-profits, to-do lists, etc.. You can also find all of the statistics. So I won’t bother telling you how many people take their own lives every year (an awful lot), or how much those numbers have grown over the past several years (exponentially), or how the pandemic is effecting those numbers (take a guess).
Instead, I will tell you that I have no idea what to actually do on World Suicide Prevention Day. If I think about it too much, my mind will travel down roads I really don’t want to navigate. Dark roads.
My best friend ended his life nine weeks ago, and I am still so heavy-laden with grief over his actions. But I’m not quite sure there could have been any prevention. When someone is in that darkest of places will they actually call a help-line? Will they stop to reach out to family and friends? Will they google suicide prevention? I don’t think so.
Maybe it’s my own defenses telling me that there is nothing anyone could’ve done differently. Nothing I personally could’ve done differently. Not in those last moments.
But what about in the weeks, months, or years before? Should I have seen that what we both brushed off as bad days was really clinical depression? Should I have known that his growing anger at the world and the government was the sign of a looming mental health crisis? Should I have realized that the stillness and the isolation of Covid quarantine was too much for his traumatized inner child to bear? Should I have? Should I? Should?
I can should all over myself, and still have no answers to the three million questions in my mind. All I know is that I am still here. And if you’re reading this, then so are you. And even though I am currently slogging through this stormy sea of grief, I am just a message away if you need to talk to someone.
I know a lot of us are having a really hard time right now. And I also know that some of you have been visiting your own darkest places lately.
I can’t carry your load for you, because it’s heavy, and I have my own, but I can listen for a little while. And perhaps in those moments, we can lighten each other’s loads just a bit. Just enough to take a few deep breaths and to remember that we are still here. Live.
And as long as we keep going, and keep encouraging each other, and stay connected, every day might be suicide prevention day.