I did my long run today with no intention of blogging since I did it yesterday but something came to mind I wanted to put out there. How often do you see things on FaceBook that makes you roll your eyes or cause you to say, don’t put your dirty laundry out there or so and so is just looking for attention? How often do we shake our heads and think what were they thinking? I wonder that myself sometimes but then I started thinking about suicide and how people ask for help in so many ways and while I’m a firm believer in people having to make a decision to live, I’m also convinced sometimes people just want someone to care. Sometimes people need to hear they matter. It’s not attention they seek but permission to live.
Then I thought about the teen who could not find social acceptance or acceptance from her family for her transgender identity so she took her life but used social media to spark discussion and awareness so she mattered in her death. Again, were the people in her life seeing her posts as cries for help or attention prior to her death or did they notice at all? How often has someone you claim as a friend acted differently, wrote something unlike themselves or outright said they were sad or lost or miserable? How many times when you saw that did you actually reach out? Did you shrug and think what’s wrong but go on about your day or did you react by thinking oh geesh what’s wrong now? I realize some people struggle more than others but is it too much to ask “are you ok”? Quite frankly asking someone if they are thinking of killing themselves is ok too. Suicide isn’t a dirty word. Using it might actually save a life.
I see it myself sometimes. I post some pretty raw things here and I don’t hear a lot of response. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gotten words of support on my blog, even those that were particularly raw and outright scary, from my relatives. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t toyed with the idea of the impact my suicide might have on our community and my family. I do have people who post that I’m a good person etc and I appreciate it but it’s not about me being a good person or bad. It’s about the message. It’s about meaning something in this life and no matter how hard you try, it’s not heard. It’s also about thinking maybe the message I can send in death speaks louder that in life. That no one is hearing my words or reading these blogs even. That maybe certain people will actually finally take notice if I’m gone. If I can feel this way, so can countless others. I can’t say if or when someone asks for help if they are serious but I’d rather respond and be wrong then ignore it and live in regret.
At the end of the day, the message is pretty simple. People want to matter. If they reach out overtly or in a subtle way, take two seconds to acknowledge it. Roll your eyes if you must, talk about them behind their back if it makes you feel better but don’t disregard them. Not every cry is wolf and not every choice is an attempt; some are final. Don’t be left with regret. Too late is a long time.