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Suicide Solution?
Photo: Clara Natoli
“I’ve seen death once, not long ago, and near my home
Not a tiny bird or cat
But a boy my age and all alone.”

Those words began a work of poetry that I wrote when I was 18 years old. I wrote it in memory of a friend who was 17 when he took his life just three days before Christmas on a Sunday morning.

I can still remember my mother’s shaking, raspy voice echoing up the stairs to my bedroom as she called me to come down. I knew something was wrong. I sat down at the kitchen table and she explained how a friend of mine had taken his own life early that morning. His family was devastated. The details of his death are better left unsaid.

The next few days were a numbing blur, as everyone in the community tried to make sense of it all. He was a good looking, good acting, honor student who seemed to have everything going for him. Apparently, those who knew him best did not even realize the struggle that was going on inside his mind. And those questions kept popping up.

Why did he do it? What could cause him to feel so hopeless that he would actually take his own life? Didn’t he know that it was permanent? Years later, those questions still remain unanswered, because he took the answers with him to his grave.

In the United States alone, suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-24 year olds according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a lot of people.

Girls are twice as likely to attempt it; boys are four times as likely to actually do it. When anyone does it (boy or girl), it hurts everyone in their lives; their parents, their brothers or sisters, their team mates, their friends, and their teachers.

Suicide Only Stops Your Pain

If you are in constant emotional turmoil, it’s only natural to want a way out, to want the pain to stop. But suicide only stops your pain. The ones you care about most won’t ever stop hurting. They’ll be left to try and pick up the pieces of their broken lives because you made a permanent decision.

Here are a few things that might help you if you are feeling desperate or depressed. They are not the only things you can do, but they may help you find some peace:

1. Find someone to talk to and be honest about your situation. It’s not an admission of weakness to tell those you care about that you feel like your life is falling apart. Everyone has these feelings, and talking to someone else about it can help you sort through it. A school guidance counselor or teacher that you trust can point you in the right direction. If your parents can constructively handle it, talk with them. 

2. Find something positive that you can get passionate about. Take up a hobby, learn to play a musical instrument, or just start walking a few miles a day to help you blow off some steam. Finding something worthwhile to do can really help.

3. Talk to God about it. God wants to hear what you have to say, no matter what it is. If you’re angry, say so. If you’re feeling lost and empty, have that conversation. Our God has big shoulders and will listen to what is really on your heart. You may not know where to begin, but just start. The longer you talk, the more you’ll be able to pour out what’s on your heart.

4. Make plans for the future. Don’t stop looking at what you want to do with your life someday. Stay in the game and write out the goals you have. Make steps toward completing those goals, and don’t accept the small temporary defeats along the way (even when they feel like major ones.)

5. Get plenty of rest. Your body is going through a bunch of stuff at this stage in your life. You are going through (or have gone through) some major changes; physically, emotionally, and mentally. Give your body and your emotions time to catch up. Rest and recuperation are not only a good thing to do, they’re necessary.

If you are a young person who has contemplated taking your own life, please understand; your life has more value than you can ever imagine. You are worth fighting for, and your belief in that idea will make all the difference in the decisions you will make. Hang in there, because life really is worth living.

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By Michael Temple. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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