In the last three days there has been four police officers that have committed suicide in the U.S. and in Australia. One very close to home for me is a guy who I don’t know, but is a very good friend of some very good friends of mine. What really hit home to me is the fact that these people get to a point in their life where they are so distraught, and have so much emotional pain and pressure on them, that they feel the only way out is to end their own life. Having been in that situation myself, quite a few years ago now, I understand that it can seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It seems that there’s nothing that you will be able to do to get out of that hole and that is the situation you will live with for the rest of your life.
Suicide seems like an end to the emotional pain for you because of the darkness you are in at that time, but unfortunately, it is a decision made out of desperation in one moment in time that you can never take back, you can never change, and unfortunately, you don’t live to regret. Suicide doesn’t end the pain, it merely transfers it to the people that you love the most. I am by no means judging or criticising these people who get to this horrific place in their life, but merely pointing out to any of you who might be struggling that there is help and there is hope. There are people out there that can help you. I am always willing to talk to people who are struggling, and perhaps through my own story and my own example of being able to come through that darkness and out the other side to a life you love, help you realise that there is a way out.
The person I know who took his own life had many people around him who loved him. The outpouring of grief on social media from close friends of his who are saying that it’s a tragedy and that he had so many people to reach out to, but he couldn’t, breaks my heart. When you’re in that dark place it is so difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to realise there is help. It takes an awesome amount of courage and strength to reach out and get that help, and unfortunately at that time, many of these people don’t have that courage or strength, they just feel overwhelmed, beaten and exhausted.
If you know somebody who you feel might even be struggling slightly, mentally or emotionally, reach out to them, talk to them, and don’t let that conversation just hang. Don’t let it be a peripheral, “How are you”? They say, “Good”. Then you say, “That’s my responsibility done”. I had a conversation yesterday with a friend of mine, we’re not exceptionally close but I respect him immensely, about a difficult situation he’s been through in the last couple of days that I found out about. I called him and said, “How are you”? He said, “Not great”. We had a good chat about it and at the end he felt a lot better. It’s our responsibility to make sure that suicide is not an option because the people who are going through tough times know there are people who love them and that there is a way out.
IF we all look after each other more closely and reach out when we think something is wrong then we can help put an end to this insidious situation. Someone who is in that really dark place probably isn’t going to reach out to you, so you need to reach out to them and not take “I’m OK” for an answer. If you don’t believe them, then don’t let them off the hook, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life if something happens.