It’s World Suicide Prevention Day.
I don’t want to talk a whole lot about it. To say that days like today hit home would be understating it.
It has been one year, three months and ten days since my brother took his own life.
He had recently been diagnosed as bipolar and he suffered from severe depression. He, like a lot of other people with such mental health issues, had been self medicating with drugs and alcohol, and that only made matters worse.
His mental illness was only part of him. He was funny and goofy and he loved his kids and his wife and his family and he didn’t put up with bullshit. He worked himself to the bone, so hard that he’d already torn his back up and he wasn’t even forty. He’d do work for local churches and never charge a dime.
He could draw like an angel and swear like a devil.
And he was sick. His demons got to be too much for him in the end.
People are going to do a lot of talking about warning signs and what to do if you feel like you’re at the end of your rope. If you’re in that spot or if somebody you love is in that spot, pay attention. Reach out if you need help. Help is there. Hope is there. You’re not alone, not matter how much it feels that way.
But on the flipside…there are also people like me. People who are thinking about those they lost to suicide. People who saw the signs, who tried to do something.
There were signs with my brother. He talked about doing it. We knew he was sick. We tried to get help for him.
And sometimes…it doesn’t work. If you’ve been in that place…be kind to yourself. I’m still struggling with guilt, with regret, with anger. That struggle will probably continue the rest of my life. I guess it’s normal.
Below is a list of suicide hotline numbers for various countries, list from International Bipolar Foundation.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05
Canada: 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)
Estonia: 3726558088; in Russian 3726555688
Finland: 010 195 202
Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000
New Zealand: 0800543354
Portugal: 21 854 07 40/8 . 96 898 21 50
South Africa: 0514445691
United Kingdom: 08457909090
Veterans’ Crisis Line: 1 800 273 8255/ text 838255