Promise me you’ll talk to someone
Published 7:46 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019
“Promise me, you’ll call me,” I said.
“I will,” M replied.
“If you get to that point, promise me you’ll call me before you do anything,” I insisted.
He huffed out a mirthless laugh.
We’ve been friends for most of our lives, and we’ve been through a lot — separately and together. Right now my friend struggles with depression, PTSD, guilt and a myriad of other problems. I don’t want him to give up.
I won’t let him.
Another friend comes to mind.
She worked hard to put her husband through an advanced degree, knowing he was unfaithful to her for much of that time. R put on a pleasant smile and didn’t let on to anyone how it was affecting her.
No one expected that on the night of his graduation, as their families prepared to celebrate together, that she would go upstairs, pull her small revolver from its place in her drawer, put the barrel to her chin and pull the trigger.
Thankfully, she survived.
Maybe it was the small caliber of the pistol, the unusual placement against her jawbone or simply the hand of God. Whatever it was, her family and friends are grateful we didn’t lose her that day.
After a breakup with a new boyfriend years later, she said he told her the only reason she didn’t want him was she was nuts.
“He told me only a crazy person would shoot themselves,” she said.
“You’re not crazy,” I told her. “You just didn’t know where to turn for help, so you gave up.”
When I was newly married, my wife and I met another young couple who was new at the church we attended. The husband and I connected immediately.
We felt we’d known each other for years, and as we continued to talk over the next few months, I know I looked forward to developing this friendship I was sure would last a lifetime.
But D was racked with private guilt he tried to hide from everyone. He was ashamed of the life he had lived as a drug addict, even though he had been clean and sober for a good while.
He hated what he had done to his family, how he’d lied and stolen and thrown away time and relationships. His parents forgave him. His wife forgave him. It was so easy for anyone else to see how much they loved him.
But he couldn’t see it. He didn’t let himself believe he was truly forgiven. He doubted God had forgiven him. In the darkness of his living room one night he again begged his wife for forgiveness for all he couldn’t let go of.
She assured him through tears that she had already forgiven him, and loved him dearly. She asked him to wait while she went and got the baby, now awake and crying in his crib.
D called to her from the living room that he was sorry, and she heard the shotgun blast.
This week is National Teen Health Week, and a large portion of the emphasis is on preventing suicide. It seems no age is too young or old. The youngest reported suicide was a 6-year-old girl in Oregon in 2016.
No one is immune. Suicide doesn’t strike the weak, the “crazy” or less-than. It seems like an easier answer than whatever the person is facing at the moment.
And it is a monster that strikes with such sneakiness and malice that even the strong can fold under its attack.
Talk to one another. Help one another. Listen to one another.
You may never know what someone else is struggling with, and you may not understand it if you do know.
No one else will know what you’re dealing with if you won’t share it.
So promise me you’ll talk to someone if you’re hurting, if you’re struggling.
Brett Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-265-5307.