Sunday, May 1, 2016

Suicide Leaves Survivors to Pick Up Pieces

The Indianapolis blogosphere continues to reel from the death of Gary Welsh.  Gary's death was an apparent suicide, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.  At 53, that's far too young to be leaving the world.

It's actually the survivors of suicide that are left to pick up the pieces.

As an educator, I've been trained to recognize the signs of suicide and use the QPR method to try to save a life.  Q stands for question.  P is for perusade, and R is for refer.  There are courses taught on this method.  The biggest thing that you can do for someone when they are contemplating suicide is not to belittle them or not to be afraid to ask them very specific questions.  Ascertain if they have a plan.  Never ever say things like, "You don't want to do that."  Instead, get them to understand that you legitimately care and want to help.  The last step is to refer them to someone that can help.  You're not a licensed therapist (unless you are).  Please don't take anything I've written here either as the Gospel on QPR.  The biggest thing is to let someone know you care.

People contemplating suicide will often reach out for help. They'll do it casually. Just learn to read those signs.  It's still so easy to miss them, too.

Again, I'm no expert, but I've been there. I admit that from time to time in a much different part of my life suicide crossed my mind.  It hasn't done so in years, and I am far too in love with life to take mine now.  There was a time growing up and going through what all young LGBT youth go through inside that I considered it.  I had a great support system, and I made it through the rain.  I never attempted. I was saved by my grandmother.  She encouraged me to write down everything that was bothering me.  She even encouraged me to write down my plans.

My mother attempted suicide about a year and a half before she passed away.  Tired of a life of Parkinson's Disease and arthritis, she decided to take too many pain pills.  After sleeping off the effects, she decided that God had some other purpose for her here.  She never told anyone until a random conversation with one of her caregivers in the assisted living facility.  Needless to say, I was shocked, as we all were.  Mom told me that it was the one thing she thought she could do.  She no longer wanted to e a burden.  Of course, she never was, and I look back over the last few years of my mother's life as a time that I got closer to her than ever.  She was a strong woman.

In some way, we're all survivors of suicide.

You just never know exactly what that person you see or interact with is going through.  If you notice something different about him or her, just ask them if everything is ok.  Be that listening ear.  You might just save a life.

The national suicide prevention helpline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

1 comment:

Melyssa Hubbard said...

I too have been suicidal when I was persecuted by the city. I wrote about it in my book. I knew my state was bad and reached out to friends who intervened and helped prop me up. I'm so glad I did. Today I am happy and healthy and my life is rewarding.

I appreciate you writing this post so very much. And I'm glad we're friends regardless of our politics.

Stay true, my friend. I'm glad you are part of our community.

RIP Gary.