It has been fifteen days since the incident and ten days ago when I found out. The news devastated me when I heard it… a loss of a great individual. That individual was a past boyfriend. To be exact, my high school sweetheart.
The last time I contacted him was back in 2002. However, when I read his obituary and saw his picture, my mind transported me back to our relationship. All the highs and lows that we experienced as young teenagers in our year and a half relationship. He was romantic, attentive, kind, highly intelligent and good-looking… everything I wanted in a guy. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last due to my move to San Antonio.
So, when I read his obituary ten days ago, I was stunned. How can someone so well-educated, career-oriented, social and a follower of Christ be gone so soon? The obituary stated that he died at his home. No further description. Of course the worst goes through my mind… suicide. When I spoke with some mutual friends, they confirmed my suspicions. How come no one noticed the warning signs? How come he didn’t receive mental health assistance? Why would a so-called Christian commit such an act? So many questions and no answers…
I felt numb, sad, anxious and concerned, all rolled into one. I lost countless hours of sleep, experienced panic attacks, lack of concentration at work and clung to my husband as if he was going to die next. As a counselor, I listen to numerous accounts of suicidal attempts from my clients (and yes, I take them seriously!). However, this is the first time that suicide has affected me personally. The loss of someone who I had a deep relationship with is no longer on this earth.
So, in telling my personal account, I’d like to extend to all FFC readers the facts on suicide. I wish I was the only person that has experienced this loss, but unfortunately, suicide is too common in our society. Let’s take a stand by educating ourselves about the facts and advocating for those that have had suicidal attempts before it is too late.
Suicide Facts from www.SAVE.org:
– Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year.
– Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
– Suicide rates in the United States are highest in the spring.
– Over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm.
– For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
– 80% of people who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.
– There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.
– 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year.
– Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide.
– The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.
– An average of one person dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes. (CDC, AAS).
– There are four male suicides for every female suicide. (CDC, AAS).
– Research has shown medications and therapy to be effective suicide prevention.
– Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness.
– There are three female suicide attempts for each male attempt. (CDC, AAS).
– According to the Violent Death Reporting System, in 2004 73% of suicides also tested positive for at least one substance (alcohol, cocaine, heroin or marijuana).