Monday, January 29, 2007

every eighteen minutes

I work at a suicide hotline. I talk about suicide every day. I'm used to it, I understand it. But when the issue suddenly surfaces in my life outside of work, it still seems just as shocking as before I had any training.

It appears as if one of Nick's friends tried to kill himself today. Nobody really knows for sure, because he's still unconscious and breathing on a ventilator, but it's pretty obvious that his wreck was no accident. I barely even know this guy, but it just seems so preposterous to me. He's really good looking, has a beautiful girlfriend he's been with forever, a college degree, a great job, lots of's such a glaring reminder that crisis can happen to anyone. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people my age. In the United States, twice as many people die each year by suicide than homicide. Despite these outrageous statistics, it's largely ignored and stigmatized by the general public. It makes me very sad.

When I was in training, they told us that when a group of people who had actually survived jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge were interviewed, every single one of them said that at the moment when their feet left the bridge, they absolutely, positively, wanted to die. But by the time they hit the water, they'd changed their minds, and they were grateful to have survived. Jarod's in ICU now, fighting for his life. I hope he's one of the ones to wake up and feel happy to be alive.

UPDATE: Jarod died Thursday, 2/1/07.
“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.”


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