Suicide: The Non-Solution

I didn’t think that I would ever write a blog about suicide, but because of some recent events and news stories that covered some recent suicides in Utah, I decided I have something to say and now is the time for me to say it.

Suicide is not the solution to problems you don’t want to face!

It may seem like an easy solution, but it isn’t the correct one.

Life at times may seem hard, may seem unfair, or may seem pointless.  Sometime we are upset because things don’t work out how we want them to, or plan them to, and it seems all too easy to just give up and quit.

I know.  I have felt that way before.  Have I contemplated killing myself because things weren’t going the way I wanted them to?  No.  I have made rash comments to that end, but I never have seriously considered it.  I am too much of a coward to do so.  Plus, I know the pain that is felt by those left behind.  I couldn’t do that to anyone.

Unfortunately we see it happening, and it seems to be happening more and more.

In the last two weeks, there have been two different news stories broadcast on a local television station talking about suicide among teenagers.  At one particular high school, two different teenagers committed suicide within two days of each other.  Two months ago another student at a different high school decided to take his life.  Two weeks ago one of my son’s friends in the neighborhood tried as well.  He was unsuccessful.  I am glad he is still around.

Why is suicide such an easy solution?

In one of the news stories on t.v., a 17 year-old who was friends with one of the teens who took his own life was talking with the reporter about the incident.  He is quoted as saying; “This is one bump on the way to where you’re going.  You’re going to go somewhere far beyond these minor emotions that feel big now but are so small in your lifetime.”

How do we get people to realize this?  How do we get them to get past those feelings of desperation?

My home state of Utah ranks number one in terms of residents contemplating suicide.  Utah has the eighth highest rate of suicide among adults in the nation and it is the second leading cause of death for Utahns between the ages of 15-19.

As a side note, Utah is a great place to live.  Don’t let these numbers make you think otherwise.

Communities in Utah are working to prevent this from happening any more.  Will they succeed?  I hope so.  Will there still be people that contemplate suicide?  Yes.  Will there still be people that attempt it?  Yes.  Will some of them succeed?  Unfortunately, yes.

If you know someone that may be at risk, help them.  Do what you can.  Especially if they are close to you.  You don’t want to have them succeed, because if they do, you will wonder if you could have helped them, if you could have done something to prevent it.

I know.  There are days that I wonder about it.

It has been almost three years since my brother took his life.  Some days I wish I could have done something.  I know there wasn’t really anything I could do.  He needed to get help for himself.  But could I have helped him along?  Was there help that he would have accepted if it had only been offered?

You may someday ask yourself the same question.  Know that you can help.  There are crisis hotlines, suicide hotlines, counselors, friends, family…there is help.  Get your loved ones the help they need.

Suicide is never the answer, never the solution to a problem.  Suicide is the ultimate form of giving up.  If anyone contemplating it can realize how much better their life will be if they don’t do it, they won’t.  But that is the problem…they don’t realize it.  They are to a depressive state that is beyond being able to rationalize their actions.

That is why I wish I could have helped.  My brother needed to learn that he could overcome the issues he was facing.  My son’s friend did too.  At least he has the chance to learn it now.  Those that are successful don’t.  That is why I am glad there are resources available.  You and I can help.  We need to learn how.  We can’t be afraid to.

Nobody needs to feel the hurt that my brother’s kids, or anyone else in my family has felt because of his decision.  I hope you never have the opportunity to say that you understand what I mean.

Just another view from a Palmtree.


Newsworthy Parenting

If I ever want to get a pulse on the nation and how well we are doing, I mostly go to Twitter or Facebook.  If I want to see a bunch of negative stories that paint a very bleak picture, I watch my favorite news channel…or at least go to their website.  There is so much negativity that is reported that it makes me feel like my kids don’t have a very favorable future to live in.  And when I see stories about negligent, even abusive parenting, I understand why.  What are the leaders of tomorrow learning from the parents of today?

I read an article yesterday that talked about children being removed from their home after it was discovered that they were living in abusive circumstances.  There were 10 adults and 11 children living in a 1700 square foot house.  Those are some cramped quarters, but not enough to be considered abusive.  Unless you consider that some of the kids were restrained in harnesses.  Maybe the adults wanted more room for themselves.  Regardless, that is where the issue of abuse was raised.

I don’t understand why they did it.  Okay, maybe I do.  There are times when my own kids (especially when they have some friends over) can get a bit hyper in their behavior and run around the house like wild monkeys.  At those times, a harness could be useful.  But I still wouldn’t use one even if the thought crossed my mind.  There are other ways to get them under control.  Plus, I always have the option of sending them outside where the neighbors can enjoy it too.

But somehow, I don’t think that is the reason the kids in this story were harnessed.

What terrible thing did they do to deserve it?

Maybe we should punish the parents by doing the same thing.  Let’s put them in harnesses and limit their movements.  I don’t think they would like it.  It could be worse than prison.  After all, in prison you get to move around.  I’ll bet the average prison cell is bigger in floor size than what these kids had to move around on.

The kids are in foster homes now.  I hope they are free to run and play and be kids.  And I hope they feel loved in those homes, because that is what they need.

Many studies would support the claim that if they had remained in the conditions they were found, they would grow up to be abusive parents also.  It is hard to break the cycle.  And what good, what improvement is that making on society?

They might turn out to be like the guy I read about in another story yesterday that evicted his mother from her house…on her 98th birthday.  Disrespectful if you ask me.  I don’t know why he turned on his mom.  Maybe she had harnessed him when he was a child too.  I doubt it, but there was something.  Just like these other kids.

I guess what I like is when I read stories of people that show respect to their parents and actually make them a priority.  Take as an example Steven Colbert.  Last week he abruptly, and mysteriously cancelled two tapings of this show “The Colbert Report”.  Nobody knew why and the rumors started swirling.  Maybe he was actually going to run for President of the United States and was getting his campaign in order.

Turns out, he was taking time off because of his ailing mother.

At least he wasn’t evicting her from her house.

But not only did he take time away from work to do that, he paid tribute to her (without identifying her) on his first show back.  That is a son that loves and respects his mom.  That is what we need more of.

As I go about being a parent, I am always hoping that I am raising my kids correctly, teaching them respect, and letting them know that I love them.  I also try to be respectful as a child.  I know it can be hard at times in either role.  You know what I mean.  But if I try harder, and my kids try harder, and everyone else and their kids all try harder, would we have all the violence, dishonesty, thievery, and other problems that plague society today?  No.

Jesus said, “…love one another, as I have loved you .”  It is a commandment.  Parents especially should abide by it.  And you don’t have to be Christian to know that it is sage advice.

I hope those kids that were harnessed learn that lesson.  I hope my own kids already know it.  If not, I have work to do.

Just another view from a Palmtree.