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article imageFade To Black: Saving A Life That Doesn't Want To Be Saved

By Bob Norman     Apr 9, 2007 in Health
Suicide touched my life for the fourth time last night. I'd like to try and help keep it from touching yours.
Around 2am this morning a call came in to me at work. My friend Rick had called to tell me that he'd just found out that another friend of ours had taken his own life last week. Because the three of us weren't as close as we'd once been, the news had taken a while to work it's way through the grapevine and down to Rick and I. This isn't the first time I've gone through this. This is the second one of my friends from High School to kill themselves. Another person I know tried to shoot themselves but only succeeded in leaving them self crippled and disfigured. The last member of my class to try was lucky enough to survive but still carries the memory and the shame. I know that story all too well because the scarred wrist in the accompanying photo is mine. In !983 I tried to take my own life.
I don't talk about it. Ever. I'll share almost any detail of my life but this one I keep bottled up. Hearing about Ron's death last night made me stop and think about it however. I don't know what it was that finally drove him over the edge, like I said it's been years since we were really close. I know in my case it was a combination of factors that built up until I took a razor knife to my wrists. What they were really doesn't matter here. As I walked down this dark branch of memory lane last night I realized that maybe I could turn this around and do some good. I'd like to find a silver lining.
I'm no expert. The advice I'm about to give is based on personal experience and years of reading. Suicide is responsible for 35,000 deaths or more a year and 140,000 hospital visits and in some cases it can be averted if you know what to watch for. I say some cases because if a person is really determined to kill themselves it's almost impossible to stop them in the long run.
Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment thing. In my case I thought about it for weeks before I finally tried it. I planned it down to the last detail. I even took myself out to a special breakfast the day of my attempt. Watch your friends and family if they seem to be depressed. If they seem to be putting their affairs in order or giving away their possessions, you want to step in and talk to them.Even if they deny it, and they probably will, keep your eyes open. Don't over power them with attention but, let them know you care. If nothing seems to help and you suspect that an attempt might be imminent don't be afraid to call for help. Police and Ambulance crews are trained to deal with suicidal people and that call might save their life. It's better to embarrass them than to lose them forever.
Suicide for most people is a solitary event so try not to leave them alone if possible. A suicidal person is going to look for a chance to get away by themselves so don't provide the opportunity. Support their life, not their death.
Last, get them help. If they won't go to someone, bring someone to them. Once you've made up your mind to kill yourself you won't give up the idea alone. Again,call for help if you need to. There's no shame in admitting you can't control the situation. We all need help.
I was lucky then and I'm lucky now. Twenty-three years ago I was lucky to have friends that helped pull me through and show me I had a reason to fight to carry on. Today I'm lucky that I have a soapbox like DJ that let's me reach far more people than I ever could otherwise. If anyone finds strength or answers here I'm more than satisfied.
If there's anyone reading this who might be thinking of taking their own life I beg of you to wait one more day. Talk to someone, go to the emergency room, see your Pastor. Do something to buy yourself another day of life. It will get better. I know, I've been there.
R.I.P Ron. I hope I helped you help someone else. May you be the last.
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