Tag Archives: suicide prevention

Prevent Suicide by Looking Up

8 Jun

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 9.58.33 AMThis is the second high profile celebrity suicide this week. I keep reading comments on social media such as, “You never know how a person is truly struggling.”

Having been one of those struggling people, who dared myself to swallow a handful of pills, fought the impulse to drive myself into a pole, or to  just end it all with the slit of a wrist, I can tell you this. And I really want to emphasize this point.

Yes. Yes, you can know how a person is struggling. You can sometimes see the brokenness in body language or erratic behavior.

The problem is that we as a society can’t look up from our phones long enough to see the tears rolling down the cheeks of the lady we passed in the grocery store. I’ve cried openly many times in public spaces. Not once has someone asked me if I was ok or how they could help.

Not once.

Do you want to know if someone’s heart is breaking? Or if life seems unbearable? Stop and ask. When a friend or family member seems off, ask that person to lunch or dinner or just text or make a phone call.  Don’t assume “someone else” can or will do it.

Most of the time, I don’t need advice on how to pray harder; I just need to know someone cares. I need someone to love me HARD (especially because the person who loved me hardest for most of my life–my mother–is gone.)

If I’m going to be fully honest, and why not? I AM struggling right now. I’m trying to find purpose. I fiercely miss my mom. I’m not sure how to set up my office and I want to be healthy but I’m always hungry. I hate being in physical therapy and I’m frustrated my foot is still messed up five years after I broke it. I miss going to church, but trying to visit one turns me into a physical and emotional mess.

Coupled with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and whatever else is on my charts, it’s A LOT.

And it’s not just a you-need-to-trust-God thing. I DO trust God, even when I struggle to understand Him. In humans, He created us to NEED each other.

Do you see? We NEED each other. One of the gifts God has given us is our need for Him, but also our need for community.

Look up, look out, look at your Facebook friends list, talk to your neighbors, CONNECT—you just might save a life, even your own.

For more information on suicide prevention, check out Project Semicolon or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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Dear Huff Post & AOL, Suicide is NOT painless

7 Jun

In my undergrad journalism classes, the importance of the headline or title of our pieces was always emphasized.  While some slick editor might come in and change a catchy headline to save space or cause sensationalism, often in magazine writing or op-ed pieces, the writer’s title was left intact…unless it was terrible.  After years of study and sometimes less-than-stellar titles for my own work, I try not to judge others too harshly.

For instance, our local paper, The Morning Call, which I think is lacking in various areas including bad headlines, terrible lay-out, inadequate copy-editing, stupid opinion pieces, and lack of newsworthy content (there’s not much else to lack in, is there?), uses the term “obits” on its main news page instead of “obituaries.”  While not the most terrible mistake in the world of news, it is in the very least tacky.  I mean, let’s look up Grandma Ruth’s “obit” online just sounds insensitive.  Some things shouldn’t have catchy little names outside the newspaper office.

This morning while I was munching down on my cereal and reading the morning news, I decided to check my AOL email.  I was aghast at what I found–and no it was not another spammy email from my wanna-be fiance James–it was this news teaser on AOL’s main page, which linking to a Huffington Post news article.

(While the screen shot below is here for effect, you actually have to CLICK HERE to see the picture in its full size to see the teaser.)

Did you see it?  And, no, it’s not the picture of Anthony Weiner and Weiner Gate or the naked man chest or even the Sprint ad (because we all know they have crappy customer service.) In case you didn’t catch it, I’ll post the picture again with a few handy dandy modifications of my own.

The teaser is so small you can’t read it, so you’ll have to view THIS VERSION, which is unreadable, so then you have to go back to the ORIGINAL FULL SIZED VERSION and see it for yourself.  I know that’s a lot of work, but I want you all to see to see picture proof.  Here’s the faulty header (in case your computer shut down looking at all those pictures): Man Finally Kills Self After 10 Tries (emphasis and color added.)

I just about threw up my Rice Krispies.  First of all, why is an article about a clearly disturbed man from California front page or national news at all?  And, more importantly, did the word “finally” really need to be added to this headline?  Then again, the teaser is only pulling from the first sentence of the Huffington Post news article which reads, “After at least 10 documented suicide attempts spanning several years, Francisco Solomon Sanchez finally succeeded in killing himself last Friday, reports the Pasadena Star-News.”  Gee, poor Francisco may have been unlucky in life but at least he finally succeeded in something–suicide!  Perhaps The Huffington Post wanted to cover this story, but did they have to be so thoughtless in the delivery?  The fact that that’s a number for the National Suicide Prevention Life Line at the conclusion of this short article doesn’t soften the blow, not for me.

Even more shocking than the piece itself are the comments left by anonymous morons with cartoon avatars.  Yeah, I’d be afraid to show my face if I uttered some of the statements these people made, which include this from “Huff Post Super User Dr Scott”: “The poor man. Can you imagine the depression this guy experienced over not being able to kill himself 9 times? The last 9 attempts took considerab­le fortitude. I’d never try it again after the first failed attempt. The shame would be too much.”  I truly hope this man isn’t a real doctor.  I can only imagine his bedside manner.

Then there’s “amugsey,” who not only disdains capitalization, but writes, “you can reach your goals if you work hard enough.”  And actually a lot of people echoed this sentiment.  Wow, you all are hilarious.  I hope you feel so proud of yourselves for being disgustingly unoriginal and callous together.

I didn’t read all the comments, but out of the ones I did read, the next comment has to be the winner for the most despicable of all, courtesy of “InsuranceGuy”: “Good to see that this determined man finally got his wish.  It will save the taxpayers money. It is the County that picks up the costs for comminting him to the mental institutions all of this time. More than likely, the county or the state paid for all the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for his previous failed attempts (one of his previous attempts resulted in 2 prosthetic legs).”  Incidentally, I also appreciate his fine grammar and spelling.

Thankfully, there were a few rational comments, but the vast majority were stupid one-liners, like suicide is funny, like Francisco Solomon Sanchez was a joke, like Francisco Solomon Sanchez wasn’t a human being who suffered or had a mother and a father.  I don’t know what demons tormented Francisco; I only know the scant details of his life reported in these articles.  I do know that Francisco Solomon Sanchez lived among us, suffered among us, and died on June 3 after jumping onto the 210 Freeway in LA County.  And I know this is a tragedy that has little finality to it.

*If you stumbled onto this post because you are contemplating suicide, please seek help.  Talk to a friend, a family member, a stranger, anyone!  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hot Line at 1-800-273-8255.  Please do this!  My friend, Matt, suffered from schizophrenia and committed suicide in 2002, just after I graduated from college.  I will never forget that day–the moment I received the phone call about his death–and I don’t want your friends and family to feel the same way.  You are so valuable, even if you don’t see it at all right now.  You matter.  You were created for a reason and a purpose.  Please, please, please get help.*

Book Review + Giveaway:: Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson

18 May

When 17 year-old Kristen Anderson laid on the tracks in front of an oncoming train, she expected to die.  In fact, she wanted to die.  The incident that should very well have taken her life only took Kristen’s legs, which was still a lot.  Life, In Spite of Me by Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer is Kristen’s story about her suicide attempt, adjusting to her new circumstances, and how God powerfully has worked in Kristen’s life making this tragedy a triumph.

Life, In Spite of Me is a powerful story is an emotional, yet redemptive tale.  This book page turner is saturated humility and honestly.  Kristen shares how several deaths including the suicide of a close friend and rape by another friend started the downward spiral that led to her attempted suicide.  Kristen then takes us through her physical recovery, which led to a spiritual recovery as she commited her life to God.

While this story was beautifully written, it became a bit dull at the “seeker sensitive” parts towards the second half of the book.  I love that Kristen has a heart to God with people and feel that Life, In Spite of Me would be a great read for anyone struggling with his or her faith.  However, it all seemed too simplistic at parts.  The pieces just fell in place for Kristen and it seemed that she didn’t face the doubts or questions so many new believers face.  Though she had difficulty with prosthetics, Kristen was able to overcome every obstacle, including the disuse of medications for depression and pain just by trusting God.  I felt that there should be a disclaimer stating that this wasn’t everyone’s experience as a new Christian.

Other than that, I found Life, In Spite of Me to be inspiration, well-written, and a good, fast read.  It is evident that the hand of God protected Kristen and that He is now using her story to bring people to Him.

Amy’s Grade: B+

Does Life, In Spite of Me this sound like a book you’d like to read?  Well, then today’s your lucky day because Backseat Writer is giving away ONE copy to a lucky reader.  All you have to do is become a follower of the site via the RSS Feed or subscribed by e-mail.  Just leave a message below telling me that you’re a follower and you’re in the running.  By the way, if you’re already a follower simply say, “I’m a follower!” Just leave a comment and you’re entered! Contest ends May 26 at 11:59 PM EST.

*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.*

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