Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Making sense

This is a direct quote from an individual who worked with a person who took his own life, as well as his two children's, earlier this week.

"The only person that knows the facts is gone. The rest of us need to make sense with the facts we know," Rasmussen said, adding that speculation and innuendo aren't helpful for those trying to understand the tragedy. Rasmussen explained everyone reacts to stress differently, because what may be stressful for one person may not be for someone else." WDH 4/17/07

I understood what they meant. There are so many questions that will never be answered when someone commits suicide. This makes sense to the Virginia Tech tragedy, who can truly know what was going on it that kid's mind when he shot all those people?

Suicide is an awful thing to have to be a part of as a family member or friend. I think most are wondering if they missed something that could have helped the person. Of course, there are the those who talk about how selfish an act suicide it. For that person this was a choice where they possibly felt they had no other options, they couldn't share their pain, or it was a chance at freedom of whatever was causing heartache in their lives.

The speculation is always rampant. "Do you think he did it because.....?" "I didn't know they were having problems." "But she always seemed so happy." Then the question of why. "Why did he do it?" "Why would she do that to her family?" And the those things will never most likely never be answered.

While I do ask the "why's," I try to remember that whatever this person was feeling was so awful that they felt ending their life was a solution for them. The despair or pain they were feeling must have been so great. Suicide is not something that makes sense to the people left behind. They have to deal with the aftermath and attempt to balance their feelings of anger and grief.

I had the chance to attend a QPR training over a year ago. QPR stands for "Question, Persuade, and Refer" Ask the person outright if they are thinking of killing themself. There was a story of a man who committed suicide by jumping of the San Francisco bridge (if I remember the location correctly). He wrote in his note that if just one person would ask him how he was, he wouldn't go through with it. This man walked from his apartment to the bridge, which was blocks and blocks away, and not a single person said "hi." He ended up taking his own life. Sometimes a "hi" is all it will take.

We all need to learn more about suicide and the signs of it. Depression cannot be a "hush-hush" topic any more.

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