The pain was too much. Options were exhausted. He chose to leap into the icy water from a bridge. What remained of the body was discovered nearly two weeks later nearly ten miles downstream. It is with great sadness that I write of Joshua who committed suicide a couple months ago. He was an intelligent, funny and nice person. We had been acquainted for several years since we had mutual friends. I would chat with him at parties and give him a hug. I was always happy to bump into him while out and about since he was so very personable.
I never knew of his depression or anxieties. He only informed a few people in our group of friends. I worked for several years with people who have SPMI serious and persistent mental illness. Joshua was interested in my work but never told me of his own challenges. I wish that he had reached out to someone during his last hour of life. Perhaps they could have gotten him to a hospital for help. Suicide is final. I fear that he changed his mind as he neared the water but it was too late. If he did survive the fall, the cold water would have rendered him unconscious within ten minutes or so. I hope he was at least knocked out from the fall and did not suffer physical pain on top of the mental anguish.
Some people consider suicide as selfish. I think that is rarely the case. I have contemplated ceasing existence many times. I didn’t think that my life was worth the bother. No one would miss me if I were dead. I was in fact a burden upon the planet. Thankfully, I was able to quell those negative thoughts with the assistance of a talented therapist. I haven’t felt that bad for years but occasionally the fleeting idea of suicide enters my mind. It is not a viable option anymore. If anything, my cats need me.
Most people with mental illness are highly intelligent and profoundly sensitive. Unfortunately, our society still attaches stigma to this medical condition. Mental health is a biological genetic disposition, the person neither weak of personal will nor did they choose to feel differently. We need to accept mental illness like any other treatable malady. People with SPMI are contributing members of our society and you probably aren’t aware of who has mental health issues and who doesn’t. Very very few people fall into the stereotypical “crazy” behavior. www.nami.org has a lot of great information.
If you have suicidal thoughts contact the Helpline at 1-800-273-8255 and visit www.save.org for other resources. Suicide Awareness – Voices of Education is a wonderful organization and also offers support for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. Just reach out, we need you to stay on this planet. I wish I could have told that to Joshua.
Choose to Live.