I was in my mid twenties driving home from New Hampshire and half way into the road trip, I remember getting a phone call from one of my best friends telling me that our other best friend had gotten hit by a car while walking.
That same friend who was hit by a car was hit because she decided to jump in front of it to end her life, but it didn’t quite end the way she had imagined. She was in a critical condition for about two weeks, maybe even longer. I knew something was going on with her and her depression, but I never knew that she would actually attempt to kill herself. As much as we told her we loved her, cared for her, and would have done anything to help her, that was never enough.
I was recently looking at some statistics and sadly, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is on the top ten leading causes of death, and it is the second leading cause of death between ages 10-34.
Suicide is not an easy subject to talk to about, especially with someone who is at risk regardless of how low or how high the risk may be. However, it’s important to continue to have conversations with someone at risk of suicide, and you should always speak up if you’re worried about them.
I knew I had no idea how to help my friend at risk, but I always kept my communication open with her and let her know that I cared for her. Her case was very severe and there came a point when I had no idea what to do or say to make her feel better. If anything, I had to be careful when having conversations with her because certain things would trigger her negative state of mind. Without having to give too many details about her situation, I continued to talk to her mom and our mutual friend on a regular basis. The three of us communicated about the situation and tired to figure out how to get her help, which came down to involving the professionals: doctors, therapists, psychologists, etc.
As much as it hurt to see her face such a dark side and as much as I knew there was nothing I could do at the time, I still felt guilty for not being able to help.
You may not be able to help them directly, but you can continue to show them that you love and care for them. They need that constant reminder as much as they may not believe it at the moment. They need someone they can talk to and trust.
There came a point where my friend’s thoughts took control over her, and sometimes she was very delusional. However, I always listened and I felt that that’s all I could do at the time. If it gets to a point when you feel helpless, talk to another close family member or a friend and see where you can take it from there. You don’t have to deal with it on your own. You can also get the professionals involved from the National Suicide Prevention Life Line at 1(800) 237 TALK, they can guide you in the right direction.
If you are someone going through a rough time and are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone you can trust and get professional help. It’s not going to be an easy process, but I promise, with time, effort, commitment, and the right help, you will get better slowly, but surely.
It took my friend several years to overcome her worst and it took a lot of work, but she stuck with it and she’s gotten so much better. It makes me happy to see her living today and enjoying the moments she wouldn’t have been able to enjoy if she hadn’t been here.
Know that you are unique in your own way as everyone else is. You have so much to offer in this world and remember that you are not alone in this.