Today, I learned about a tragedy that occurred in the life of a woman who had a profound impact on T.D.’s growth and development. She helped our family so much, and even helped me, though she was not my therapist. She was T.D.’s Developmental Therapist from Early Intervention and came into our home and lives every week for nearly a year. And she is one of the few absolutely saintly people I can say that I know.
Dev fell in love with a man three years ago that was in Medical School. His reserve unit was called out, so he had to drop out of school in his 3rd year. He did a tour of Iraq jumping out of a rescue chopper as a medic.
When he came home, the PTSD was crippling and he couldn’t return to his life. The VA alleged he didn’t finish his tour, so he wasn’t entitled to benefits. Dev loved this man with all of her heart and soul. But, he was living in extreme poverty without access to adequate psychiatric services.
The PTSD was too much. He took his life.
I have been a friend to several people who have taken their lives. In every case, they did not have access to adequate psychiatric care.
I have been on both sides of this. I know what it’s like to be overtaken by an illness. The pit is dark and dangerous when you’re dodging the pendulum. And, I also know what it’s like to feel the profound loss and sadness of a suicide survivor.
But, there’s a unique view that a person has from standing on both sides of that fence. From the one with the handful of pills to the other in a casket.
I feel an overwhelming empathy for the victim. I always wish that they could’ve had an extra few minutes to get to The Moment. The Moment has always come at, what seemed to be, excellent timing. It was always a millisecond of mental clarity that produced a phrase or a feeling that would stop me. If they could have hung on, just one more minute…
The loss is unspeakable. Death before due time is always tragic. But, it’s never more tragic than when it’s at one’s own hand. Friends and family are choked with profound emotion they never knew they had. And who do they blame? There is no definitive perpetrator in a suicide.
I’m not sure that a person can truly know their way around suicide at all. It’s confounding because it violates all self-preservational instincts. There are no distinct causes and effects of suicide. Why does one person only attempt a suicide and another succeeds?
In all fairness, I should probably be dead. I won’t go into all of the gory details of every attempt. This is a situation I call the Heath Ledger Paradox. My last attempt, over a year ago, involved an attempted overdose and intentional drug interactions. How is it that Heath Ledger can do it by accident and other’s can’t manage to do it on purpose?
The Moment is the only thing I can even think of.
My heart weeps and heaves at the subject of suicide. I mourn with the mothers over their children and the wives of deceased husbands. I am a mother and a wife; there is nothing more precious in the universe than my family. People are not made of materials. They cannot be manufactured and replaced.
For everyone out there that might feel suicidal – hang on!!! There is help. You won’t feel this way forever. Call someone. Call anyone. If you don’t feel like you can, call a suicide hotline. They are there to help. The link provided lists national and state hotlines in the US. Don’t wait.
For suicide survivors – I cannot even pretend to imagine what it would be to lose a loved one in that way. I know the way I feel about my loved ones. I would be devastated. I can only say that I deeply sympathize with you.
And with all of the love in my heart for my fellow bloggers, let us be honest with each other, in the very least. You are not alone. You don’t have to be in that dark place alone. We are here as a community to help. If anyone feels suicidal, speak up. I promise to do the same.