My first post is on a very somber note. Yesterday morning my children’s Best friend took her own life. This is more for me and my family to try and deal with the grief we are feeling. We were all close to Amanda. She had become another member of the family as far as we are concerned. We are saddened and still in a state of disbelief right now. This prompted me to find my scrapbook from my senior year. I wrote an article for our high school newspaper called The Viking Voyager. I wanted to share it now 25 years later due to the recent death of the kids friend.Please read to the end as I have added a few thoughts today.
Keep a candle burning for Amanda
A Cry For Help by Becky Shaver September 20, 1985
Is attempted suicide really a cry for help? Well, in almost every case of suicidal attempts, the person who commits suicide is asking for help right up until the time death. Many suicides can be prevented. Almost all who gamble with death give hints, warnings, clues, or messages of some sort that signal their intent. But, to hear them, one much be listening.
Knowing the clues of possible suicide attempts are not always enough. Once you are aware of a possible suicide you need to get help for that person.
Clues involving suicide could be sudden changes in personality for no apparent reason, or self-abusive behavior to oneself. Self-destruction is also a cry for help. This would include taking drugs, drinking, etc. Even taking non-prescriptive drugs is a form of self-destruction if not taken properly. Poor family, social, and academic histories may cause suicidal thoughts, and a person’s sudden interest in their wills, life insurance, other documents and possessions could be an indication of suicidal tendencies.
If any of these symptoms are present in people around you, What you need to do is get help. Do not wait to see if that person is serious. Pick up the phone and call a suicide prevention center, a hotline in your area, a hospital emergency number,a community mental health center, or a family physician. They will give you advice about what to do.
The relationship you have with this person is also important. Your support as a friend, or a caring person, may make the difference between life and death. Never tell a suicidal person that he or she is only kidding. This may sound like a challenge and cause him/her to prove you wrong.
Let the suicidal person talk about his intentions, and don’t pass moral judgement over him/her. Don’t let it scare you. It could make matter worse.
Remember that removing obvious things that may be used in suicide plans is something any caring person can do. Although the mystery of why people continue to commit suicide remains unsolved, you may be able to help someone out someday just by showing that you care.
September 23, 2010 (25 years later)
I have learned since then that there is no fault and no blame to place on anyone. None of you that thought you should have done more could have done anything more than you did. You all cared about her and tried your best to help her. Not one of you should blame yourself. If any of you feel any negative feelings, please talk to someone. I hope you have all used the services available to you in the past couple of days and have talked this out and have begun to sort out your feelings.
Suicide is NEVER the answer. Try not to glorify what she did guys. Take this experience and walk away knowing how to deal with this if it ever comes up again in your life. Know what signs to watch for from what I said above. You all were awesome friends to her, those of you that knew her and loved her. Those of you that didn’t know her, don’t feel guilty, but use your actions to reach out and get to know someone you think might need a friend. Most all of us just want to be accepted and loved. We are all human and all have feelings.
I have real-life experience dealing and coping with mental disorders. I have worked for many years with such population and as well have suffered my own mental issues and depression at various times in my life. I have some insights and understanding into what makes people tick. I am here for any of you if you ever need to chat about it. I am taking my energy and turning it to all of you and reach out to you. What can you do with your energy? Focus it into something positive now. We all need to come together and make a change with the way things are. I am talking about violence and pain and death and rage and all of that negative energy that so many people have inside of them. What can we all do to make things better. It is a very sad sad thing that happened, but what are we going to do about it now?
Signing off for now… Love and peace to each and everyone of you.