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.

Turning 40. Am I over the hill?

Today is my birthday.  I turned 40.  I got a call from my father-in-law wishing me a happy birthday and he told me I was over the hill… a common phrase I have heard a few times already today and heard many times before when someone else I knew turned 40.  I don’t think it is accurate.

When my father-in-law told me I was over the hill, I replied with, “Nonsense! Life is a constant uphill battle.”  He chuckled and responded with, “That may be true, but your best years are behind you.”  My quick retort… “Not even.  I still have five kids to move out of the house.  The best years are yet to come.”

It all brings me to a simple question: Why is 40 the magical number to be “over the hill”?  Is it because of the average life expectancy?  If so, I was over the hill on my 34th birthday.  At least that is based on a worldwide statistic from 2010.  For the United States, as of earlier this year the average life expectancy was 77.5 years to 80 years.  I don’t know why there is a range.  Maybe it is that men are expected to live 77.5 years and women for 80 years.  If that is the case, I was over the hill last year.

Even more confusing is if you factor in my religion and where I live.  Mormon men, who live in Utah, on average live 10 years longer than the rest of the nation.  That means that I won’t be over the hill for about 4 more years.  Oh so confusing.

So if “over the hill” means I have hit the half way mark and life is downhill from here, what does it mean?  Does it mean it is time for the “mid-life crisis” to occur?  If so, I better head off to the import dealership to get my Lamborghini and drive to the coast where I can take up surfing lessons and live on the beach.

To me, turning 40 is just that… marking another year of life completed.  I didn’t feel any different today than I did yesterday.  I’m not any better or worse looking.  I haven’t lost any of my memory, sight or hearing.  I haven’t lost anything.

Instead, I have gained.  Another year of experience, another year of life, another year of memories.  What could be better than that?

Getting older is a physical state of being that at some point in life will also take effect on faculties within the body and maybe the mind.  But for this new “over the hill”-er, I am still 25 in my mind and don’t plan to get any older than that.

I know, I know… Just because I am feeling like I am 25 both mentally and emotionally, doesn’t mean that my body will respond like it did back then.  Trust me, I already learned that lesson… when I turned 26.  Regardless, I am not getting old.  Like the song we would sing when I was in Primary says, “…one year older and wiser too…”  So if you want to call me an old man, I will counter that I’m a wise man too.

Just another view from a Palmtree.