By now I’m sure you may have heard of the 21 year old quarterback for the Washing State University Cougars, Tyler Hilinski, committing suicide this past Tuesday at his apartment in Pullman, Washington. If you haven’t, click on this link to read the story. After you read it, come back here and keep reading this post. I’ll wait.
When I read this headline for the first time, then read the story I had tears down my face. Suicide hits me hard for personal reasons; my father killed himself in 1992 by hanging. My mother has been hospitalized and treated for severe depression and attempted suicide. Yes, suicide is personal. I’ve witnessed it’s destruction first hand, seen what it can do to a family, how it devastates lives. How suicide is a lie. And here another young man has fallen victim to that lie. I grieve for his family and friends as I understand first hand the feelings left behind. Hurt, emptiness, anger, lingering questions left unanswered, shame and yes, guilt. You wonder what was happening, why it was happening. Was anything said to anyone, did anyone pick up on the subtle clues that this could happen? You feel guilty that you could have done something, anything to stop this! You feel shame in that you’re angry at the person for killing him or herself, being so selfish in doing so. It’s all part of the grieving process that never quite seems to end, always showing up again and again, year after year on the anniversary of it. Yet time will heal some of the wounds left behind, yet time can never replace what was taken from you.
I’m going to say this first and foremost: suicide is NOT the answer and it never will be! If you are reading this, and you’re thinking about it, even for a fleeting moment, stop what you’re doing and text the following: CONNECT to 741741. Someone will connect with you and talk to you! If you want to call then call this number in the US: 800-273-8255 (800-799-4889 for the hearing impaired / deaf). Seriously, stop reading this and text or call!
For the rest of us, take a look at the following screen shots taken from the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. This information could help you save a life.
Also, take a look at the risk factors that could lead to a person commiting suicide.
I cannot stress enough that suicide is not the answer to what a person is going through. As a person who has lost one to suicide, watched another almost take their life, and having battled depression for parts of my life, I understand. I really do. If you’re a parent, pay attention to your kids, especially if they are in college. But even then, start earlier and be a part of their life, listen to them, watch them. Suicide doesn’t care how old you are, what color you are, what gender you are or what religion you believe in. Take this time and opportunity to listen, listen, and listen some more to those you love. If they are depressed or in a suicidal state, don’t hesitate; get them the help they need! Don’t regret later what you might be afraid to do now.
Again, this is something I am very passionate about and for good reason. Suicide is not an option, ever. If you feel like that in any way, get help, reach out, Don’t. Do. It.