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You just never know — 1 Comment

  1. I’ve been thinking about what you wrote for a while. The obvious conversation is about suicide, and the realities of that. I’ve had two people in my life seriously consider suicide in the last several years. One was a twenty something client, who, when I got wind of his intentions, called his case manager immediately who got him help and treatment. Fortunately that ended ok, but it shook me up badly for a while. It is like looking over the edge of a cliff and watching someone fall, even though you have no intention of jumping yourself.

    The other was a friend who was dealing with depression and made public the desire to end their life by suicide. I was the first to find that out, and frantically tried to reach out to professional help for this person. Once there was help available, they took it, much to my relief. Knowing I was on the verge of losing someone, and might not be able to get help fast enough was one of the worst feelings of my life. Despite the fact this person lives quite some distance from me, they are still an important and valued part of my life, and I am grateful to this day that they are part of it.

    It is difficult to comprehend the possibility of losing both of these people, primarily (as far as I understand it) to untreated depression. That distresses me, because I hate to see people succumb to something that is treatable.

    Having said that, I firmly believe in assisted suicide for when a terminal illness has reached a point where someone decides they’ve had enough, and wants the dignity to stop before the illness gets worse.

    The bigger question for me, is not just about suicide, but about the chasm between what the public sees, and what is actually going on. I spent the early part of my life trying to maintain a public facade of “everything’s wonderful” when I was being tormented and frankly abused by people with significant substance abuse problems, and likely severe mental illness, neither of which was acknowledged, much less treated.

    Bridging that chasm and trying to process and accept the damage that came from the chasm between the two has been a struggle for me, but I think it’s critical to not letting the bad triumph. Lately I wonder if too many people are losing the ability, or the willingness, to look past the facade of our public personalities. As a society, I hope we find better ways to heal the internal, instead of just plastering on a facade.

    I hope “J” is at peace, which seems a lame thing to say, but I don’t know how to equate how choosing to end his presumed misery offsets the pain his family is now having to deal with.

    My condolences to the family.