For the past 24 hours my Facebook timeline has been flooded by friends' statuses announcing that a very near, dear and sincere co-worker, friend and acquaintance has passed away; he killed himself. I never met him but I had heard of him in social circles and occasionally he popped up on Facebook as a mutual friend. The amount of respect he had from every single person who came into contact with him is indescribable.
While I never met this person I too feel like I'm grieving because of the impact the suicide has had on my friends. I don't know much about this person and whether or not he lived with mental illness or what he was thinking or feeling but it is clear he felt like he needed to end his life.
Not once but twice I too thought I needed to end my life. My suicide attempts were five years apart and each time I felt emotional pain that was too deep to describe. Emotionally my world felt like it had already ended and physically I wanted the same fate. Relationships had gone sour, finances were sour, and my career wasn't much better either.
I saw no other way out; I didn't see things getting better for myself. I didn't think I could live my life without feeling such a deep depression. To me, ending my life was the only way to solve my problems which I've learned is not the case.
I remember being rushed into the emergency room, and as the doctor began to stabilize me I had regret. As I was fading into unconsciousness I asked the doctor if I was going to survive and he said, "Arthur, I don't know. You're condition is very serious and not medically stable right now." It was those words that made me realize all my problems were miniscule compared to the self-induced medical challenge I was facing.
While I felt like I hit rock bottom my challenges were put into perspective. I no longer had control over the medical challenges I was facing but just hours earlier I had the power to fix my problems and give myself a better quality of life.
Part of the reason why I felt like I had needed to end my life was because of how detached I felt from people whether it be friends, family or co-workers. During my self-induced medical and mental health crisis there was a miscommunication as to my condition and word quickly spread that I had died. I learned about this after being discharged from the hospital.
The miscommunication was a blessing in disguise, it illustrated that I had a place in this world; I was liked, loved and respected. But it made want to live life to the fullest and grasp every second of every day. I learned that if I didn't want to live my life for myself, that I owed it to the people in my life to live my life for them. After all I've inserted a little bit of my life into all of theirs.
I don't know what my acquaintance was thinking in his final days on Earth but I can empathize with the pain that possibly led him to taking the action that he did. I will not judge him for it because I've been in the same situation myself, but had I had the opportunity I would have told him that no matter how deep the emotions are it does get better.
There's a classic saying that goes, "Live everyday as if it's your last." While mental illness and suicide are very challenging topics, we need to treat those around us as if today is their last day too. If they could see just how loved and respected they were if they were no longer with us it make them think twice before making a life altering decision.
If you or anybody you know is thinking about ending your life please seek out help immediately. It will be the best decision you will ever make!