I don’t know if it has hit other people as hard as it’s hit me, but it seems to me like hardly a day goes by without suicide being in the news. There’s been a rash of celebrity suicides – the young woman from The Bachelor, the actor from Rizzoli and Isles, a young Bollywood star, a pair of radio co-hosts. Those are the ones that get the attention because the people involved are well-known. But every day, for every one of those celebrity suicides there are so many of others.
My friend Angela lost her fiancé Jon approximately two months after Tony died. He took his own life after leaving only a brief note for her. Today Angela found out that Jon’s cousin took his own life, too, leaving behind his wife and two young daughters.
My heart is broken for them. How can it ever heal, when every single day thousands of other lost and lonely people make that same irreversible decision? I am not exaggerating. The probably-underestimated total is one million suicides a year worldwide. That’s two thousand seven hundred thirty nine. Each and every day, 365 days a year. And the number is growing.
How on earth is this not something we’re talking about? Reporting on a celebrity’s death is one thing, but if nobody is bothering to put it in the larger context in which it belongs, we might as well not be talking about it at all.
There are diseases that lead to suicide. Things like depression, schizophrenia, paranoia, substance abuse and others. We marginalize all of these things. Tomorrow I am going to post some pictures of the human brain to illustrate why these diseases of the brain are physical, and must be treated with the same compassion, the same care, and the same coverage as any other ailment of the human body.
Update: I just heard from someone in the comments section who said she has considered suicide and that she feels there would be nobody who would miss her. If you feel that way, even for a second, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). They are there 24 hours a day every day. The world cannot bear your loss. Please get help.