Did you really want to die? No one commits suicide because they want to die. Then why do they do it? Because they want to stop the pain.
It is a dark place when people see no escape except to permanently turn out the lights. This is where my 51 year old friend has been for the past few days. For weeks the light in his life has been gradually shut out. By the end of one our talks he said he felt better. But he woke up in the middle of the night and in a fit of fear, paranoia, shame, and despair he attempted to take his life. He has refused to avail himself of the National Suicide hotline and the local suicide chat line I gave him information for. I’ve been working with his mother and together we are consulting and strategizing. He has been in the midst of a divorce and it is breaking his heart. My friend is several states away, making this even more challenging. He will hopefully be getting some mental health care soon. It may require his mom having him committed for evaluation.
I share this because at any moment anyone can be called upon to help in such dire circumstances. They are heart-wrenching conversations. To speak to someone who has lost all hope and who cannot be reasoned out of it is worrisome to say the least. And where expressions of love, positive affirmation, walking with them right where are, or listening and empathizing brings barely a ray of light into their lives. All is dark and the most we can sometimes do is gently, and sometimes firmly, keep trying to let just enough light in that they don’t succeed in turning off the power permanently.
It’s not the first time I’ve been in such a situation and I’m feeling the need to become better educated. Better prepared. I want to make sure what I do and say is helping and not hurting. So this is an invitation to me and to you for us to be prepared when darkness descends and threatens death.