A Month to Save a Life

 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in America.

Two years ago this month, I wrote a series of posts on this topic, “A Ray of Light”, Parts 1-4. I invite you to read them if this is something that concerns you or someone you know. I shared information about the signs a person may be suicidal, what to do for someone who is, and who to contact for help.

This means something to me. I myself have had suicidal thoughts in the past, and came close to doing it once, and I lost an uncle to it many years ago.

It still registers as a national health crisis, as often as it occurs, and it’s getting worse. The statistics bear that out.

And I have to ask, why is that so? Where are we failing these people?

Is word not getting out that help is available? Is suicide still too uncomfortable a subject to mention in public?

Well, how comfortable are we with all these people killing themselves?

Folks, we have to talk about this more. We need to be perceptive around our friends and family. We need to not be ashamed to ask for help. We need to not hesitate to ask to help.

During this month that focuses on suicide, let’s all make it our focus. It’s extremely important. We’ve got to get a handle on this. Way too many precious lives are needlessly lost every year, every day. We can put an end to it.

Life can really suck sometimes, I know. But let’s all face it together. None of us has to alone. Please, reach out for help. Don’t give up.

 

I almost gave up 33 years ago. I’m glad it didn’t happen.

Crisis Text Line

 

This website was brought to my attention, and I want to share it with you.

It’s called Crisis Text Line. It’s a place where you can send a text message anytime, 24/7, for free. A trained counselor will receive your message, then text a reply, and the two of you can begin a totally confidential conversation, the purpose being to bring you to a safe place emotionally.

And if this sounds to you like some suicide hotline, it’s not just for people who are contemplating suicide. Any emotional distress you’re experiencing, you can talk about with someone over the Crisis Text Line. Share only as much as you want with the counselor, who will actively listen to you, empathize with you, and maybe ask some questions.

The conversation usually ends when both you and your counselor feel you have reached a safe spot, but not before then. Take all the time you need and remember, it’s all confidential.

You can reach them by texting HOME to 741741 in the US, or to 686868 in Canada.

I haven’t gone there, myself, but over 102,000,000 messages have been exchanged since August 2013, when this site opened. So, somebody’s been there. Roughly 75% of those texts are from people under 25 years of age, among whom texting is a more common means of communicating.

If you’re going through a tough time emotionally, and you don’t feel like you can talk to anyone over the phone or face-to-face, here’s another option for you. If you use it, I hope it helps. If you want to learn more about it, just go to https://www.crisistextline.org/

I wish you well.

 

Stay Here With Me

 

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

And I have a message for you.

If you’re thinking about killing yourself…

If you’re thinking that life is just too hard to take…

If you’re thinking that there’s no hope, no other option…

If you’re thinking that you’re a hopeless case…

That you’re utterly worthless…

That everyone would be better off without you around…

That no one understands the depths of your pain…

That you’re just tired of trying to get through day after f###ed-up day…

That you’re all alone…

I promise you, I have thought every single one of those things. And more. Pretty recently, in fact.

And I’m still here. And I’m glad.

Life may look pitch black from your view, but I’m telling you: there is a light.

And if you need some help finding it, there are some people who can give you that.

In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 800-273-8255. Internationally, visit http://www.iasp.info to find help near you.

Believe me, I know life sucks, but I don’t know anybody who can help you get through death.

So stay here with me, and live. Let’s face this together.

Who knows? We might even end up liking it.

And How Was Your Day?

 

The surprises life occasionally drops in your lap can sometimes be nothing short of incredible.

 

I drive a shuttle bus five days a week for a particular business. I’ve been driving it for two years, now. In that time, I’ve gotten to know several of the folks who ride it on a regular basis. I know many of them by name, and enjoy talking with them when they ride with me.

We’ll talk about just random stuff: music, sports, the job, the mercilessly hot weather (currently), whatever.

And, somewhere in the conversation, I try to get a laugh or two out of them; maybe make them forget a few seconds about the stress of the day. Some people, I can joke with relentlessly, because we know each other that well by now.

This one fellow, who shall remain nameless, and I are like that, but one day, we got a little deeper in our dialogue. I don’t recall how we got to this subject, but I shared my depression struggles with him, which led to him opening up about his depression, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.

He told me he’s thought about it “logically”, i.e., exactly how he would go about it.

I told him about how I wrestle with those same thoughts, and recommended that he get help, as I did. Because, like I’ve said before on this blog, that’s way too big a dragon to try and slay on your own.

He thanked me for the talk, and we haven’t brought it up since. Which is probably bad; I should have followed up on it with him. But, I don’t see him as much, now; since relocating to the main office, he doesn’t need to go to the other facility too often. Not that that’s any excuse.

So today, when I walked into the office, the lady at the security desk, who I also know, had a card for me from him. Now, we both expected it to be something funny, because he and I sometimes leave snarky little notes for each other with her. She kinda gets a kick out of being the go-between, I think.

Not this time. Instead, it was a thank-you card. Inside was a generous gift, and a note which read:

I really struggled on a daily basis with depression during my old job. Part of the reason I was always on the bus was you. Thank you for making me laugh and smile.

 

I just stood there for a minute, looking at that note, totally dumbfounded. I genuinely didn’t know what to think. I’m still trying to get a grasp of the significance of it.

At the very least, though, it’s immensely gratifying. I have no idea if I’ve helped anyone with what I’ve written on this blog; I can only hope. But, I can take some satisfaction in knowing I helped him.

With just a few jokes. Who would have thought?

I don’t know what this story will mean to you, if anything. Like I said, I’m still processing what it means to me.

But, have you ever been at a point in your life where you never envisioned yourself being, wondering why you were there?

I don’t know for sure, but maybe, this guy was the reason I’m right here, right now.

Which blows my mind just a little.

Love one another, y’all.