Hey, fellas, it’s me. How about we sit for a little while and have a talk?
Ladies, you’re welcome to listen in, but this is really for the guys.
When I saw the headline yesterday about the death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss at the age of 40, I was shocked. I was floored. I just couldn’t believe it.
Then, when I read that it was a death by suicide, my heart just broke.
Here was another guy who appeared to have it all: a great wife and family, a successful career, the love and respect of his peers and countless fans.
And nobody knew about the battle he was secretly fighting. Until, ultimately, he lost.
His wife, Allison Holker Boss, with whom Stephen had just days ago celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary, issued a statement which said, in part, “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.”
His former boss, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, said about him, “tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart.”
The online tributes to “tWitch” have been flooding in from various people in the entertainment industry, expressing complete shock and sadness over the loss of someone so universally loved.
Many of these tributes have included an urging to reach out to people in your life, because you never know what someone is going through.
So, this is me reaching out to all you guys out there.
I know men are expected to be strong, tough, self-sufficient. We can handle anything. We don’t need anyone’s help. Whatever is bothering us, we can deal with it.
Admitting we can’t causes us shame. It means we’re weak, inadequate, that we’re not real men.
So we just kill ourselves, instead. More than 38,000 of us in the USA just last year.
You see that, guys? Thirty…eight…thousand.
I lost an uncle to suicide, in August, 1985.
I myself have thought about it more than once. Even came close to doing it one afternoon. Fortunately, I didn’t go through with it.
Instead, I called a counselor I was seeing at the time, and told him I needed to come talk to him right away. And he said, okay.
So, I’m familiar with how it feels, in that moment of desperation, when you’re certain there is no other solution. That utter hopelessness that almost crushes you under its weight. That convinces you that everyone would just be better off without you around.
I’ve been there, gentlemen. And in that moment, I reached out for help.
So please, please, listen to me, men:
If you find yourself at this point in your life, if you’re battling a demon (or demons) that only you know about, if you’re seriously thinking about suicide…
I beg of you, tell someone!
Whatever you’re going through, I promise you, you don’t have to do it alone.
Asking for help does not mean you’re weak. It does not make you less of a man. If anything, it makes you more of one.
There are plenty of veterans who have asked for help. There are plenty of athletes who have asked for it. You gonna tell me any of them are weak, that they’re not really men?
This, knights in shining armor, is just too big and mean a dragon to try and slay by yourself. Trust me.
Listen, I know it’s out there, the public stigma surrounding suicide. Nobody wants to talk about it; everyone just wants to ignore it.
Well, guess what, y’all: It’s widely considered a public health crisis. Worldwide. We ignore it at our peril.
Help is available, guys. In the US, call 988, or go to https://988lifeline.org/ right now.
Live outside the US? Look here for additional resources from other countries. ‘Cause it ain’t just American men who need help, you know?
Get help, gentlemen. I guarantee you, all Stephen Boss’ family wants for Christmas is to have him back with them. Give your family the gift of yourself.
(And please, everyone, be kind to each other. You really don’t know what someone else is going through.)