Thursday, October 9, 2008

Your life matters *

Yesterday, someone told me that they were going to kill themselves. As casually as one might order a coffee, they explained that they were going to end it and how. I launched into my 101 reasons that life is better than death before they diverted to attend to work. I was left shaken and wondering if it was some sort of tasteless and off-colour joke or if this person had just cried out for help from an unlikely source.

A very close friend of mine committed suicide while I lived in Ottawa. I was the last person Chris spoke to before he hung himself. Our conversation was strange, his thoughts not making sense to me. But I did nothing. I didn't see the warning signs. Didn't know how disturbed he was under his charming facade. I was on my way to his house when a friend called to tell me that he was dead. He had hidden all scissors and knives in the house so he couldn't be saved should someone find him in time. I've never forgiven myself. I blame myself for not doing something in time. For not saving his young and promising life.

Yesterday brought all of this screaming back. I was not going to make the same mistake again. I went to our HR department to ask for their help and advice. God bless them - they took my concerns seriously and launched into action. A full scale search ensued when we realized that this person's meeting had been canceled but they were nowhere to be found. For almost two hours, we couldn't find them. For almost two hours, I relived the day before Chris' suicide. For almost two hours I wondered if this person had taken their life because I hadn't acted fast enough. Hadn't refused to let them leave my side. Then, just as the police and this person's spouse were being contacted, they appeared.

I'm happy to say that as of yesterday at 5:00, they were okay. HR and our employee assistance program offered immediate counseling and triage to determine how much of a threat they were to themself. They decided that this person was safe to go home to their family. I left an email in their mailbox explaining why I breached their trust to go to HR. Why I was so quick to act. I had a response last night that they understood and were thankful.

So now I'm left with my own demons terrorizing my mind and body. I can't stop crying. Can't stop shaking. Can't stop thinking of what could have happened. What did happen years ago. I'm going to take the day off of work today. I can't imagine facing this person and not dissolving into a sobbing mass. I do it now just thinking about the whole situation in passing. I thank God that I have my husband and my heartsong here to keep my sane. Adam took care of everything last night and rubbed my feet to help me relax. My baby stroked my hair, asked me if I was okay and then did his darnedest to distract me with games and laughter until he fell asleep.

To any of you out there who are feeling depressed or contemplating suicide, remember this: your life matters. Even if you feel completely alone, there are people out there who need you. Who love you. Your life matters to someone - even if right now it doesn't matter to you. There are people you can talk to to help you work through your problems.
Call 1-800-273 TALK to talk to professional suicide prevention counselors.

* I'm sorry if this post is stilted. Is nonsensical. Today it's more about trying to journal out my issues than sharing a story.


Anonymous said...

You are a true and caring friend and someone people open up to and that can put so much pressure on you. But realize my little one that you cannot solve everyone's problems but just by being you that makes a tremendous difference in so many lives. You are truly loved by so many. We don't expect you to be perfect and don't expect it of yourself.
Muma Mugs

Nick and Ce said...

I can completely relate to both aspects of the experience you have recounted here. I also shook with the tension of potentially being the last person they spoke to before committing suicide.

You took decisive action, based on your best instincts; all anyone could ask or expect.

I would urge you to take steps to look after yourself now and even consider some form of professional counselling yourself.

Take care, Nick

wordmama said...

Trust my wonderful family to come through with great advice and kind words.

I have signed up for some counseling with someone who specializes in traumatic events surrounding death. I'll be seeing her tomorrow morning - apparently they move pretty fast on these things as the sooner you address it, the better your chances of getting through it.

The W.O.W. factor said...

WM..I lost a BIL years ago, and I hate to say it but there were no warning signs! We awaited his arrival at an Amtrak station as he was moving to our place and had a job to begin on the following Mon...he never came
I'll never forget...

wordmama said...

It's a terrible and heart wrenching thing when you realize how many lives have been touched by suicide. If only those who chose this path knew how much love was felt by those they left behind...