By: Kathleen LaPlante – January, 2011
My Dad tried it. I tried it. He used a belt. I used pills. He physically cut off oxygen to his brain. I chemically cut it off. He “succeeded”. I “failed”. He died. I lived.
He was 45 years old. I was in my 30’s. He was depressed. So was I. He was alone in his apartment. So was I. He didn’t come back. I did. When I woke, I went to the hospital. My days and dates didn’t match those of the emergency room staff. We figured out that I had passed out for two days before I came to. No one knew I was there.
My father and I were both smart. One time in school, he advanced a grade, and then he did it again another year. I, similarly, was salutatorian (#2) of my high school class, and then I was first of my college engineering class. My Dad was acrobatic and did diving and stunts. I was a gymnast. He had six wonderful children. I had two.
One of my paternal cousins also tried suicide. He used a gun. Like my father, he “succeeded”. Rumor has it that my paternal grandfather tried it too. He used water. If the rumor is true, he “succeeded”.
Suicide is real. The only statistic I will give is the number one. One suicide is too many.
It is well known that a child survivor of someone who has completed suicide is at high risk for doing the same, but there are many other instances that can be attended to. People often walk around contemplating suicide and suffering inside for a long time, so intervention is possible.
If you notice anyone is in a lot of emotional pain, is severely depressed or anxious, doesn’t want to live or has a plan to kill themselves, take them seriously. Call a suicide help line, 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255), or call 911 if you have to. Call your pastor, priest or rabbi. Just get help.
Even teenagers are susceptible to suicide. Be direct and ask them if they have a plan. Talk to other members of your family. Go to the library and find resources near your home. Consider these Internet resources.
1) Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide – www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-recognizing-signs-of-suicide
2) American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – www.afsp.org
3) If You Are Thinking About Suicide: Read This First – www.metanoia.org/suicide
4) Thinking About Suicide? – www.suicidology.org/web/guest/thinking-about-suicide
5) Helping A Survivor Heal – www.survivorsofsuicide.com/help_heal.shtml
6) Out of the Darkness Walks – www.outofthedarkness.org
Remember, suicide usually happens when someone’s pain is greater than the resources they have for coping with that pain. So become a resource.
Kathleen Laplante has since been committed to breaking the family cycle. She can be reached at email@example.com