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View Full Version : Know someone struggling right now? Reach out!



Scott Shepherd
08-06-2010, 7:03 PM
Not a post I'd normally make, but I'll throw it out there in hopes it helps one person, some where, some how.

I have a relative that was out of work and was having a hard time finding a job. He had worked as his wife's family business for years, went out for back surgery and found himself without a job when we came through the surgery. Couldn't find a job. I saw him about 6 weeks ago, and he was the same old happy, cheerful, optimistic guy I had always known him as, just said he was looking for a job.

Got the news today that he committed suicide this morning.

Makes all of us wonder what signals we missed, or how we could have helped him more than we did.

This is the 5th relative we've lost in 9 weeks now, so I think we've all had about enough of this, but none the less, we're here, they aren't, so I guess we push through it.

So if you know someone out there that's struggling, maybe it's worth taking a few minutes of your day to stop by and check on them, pick up the phone and call, or even reach into your network and see if there's anything you can do to help them. You just never know what tomorrow brings, and what you do today, might stop you have having a tomorrow like my today.

John Mark Lane
08-06-2010, 8:07 PM
That's a very touching post. Thank you. I am sorry for your loss, but grateful that you are able to turn something positive from it, in reminding the rest of us to try to be a little more alert and a little more pro-active in responding to those in need. I will take it to heart.

Mark

Belinda Williamson
08-07-2010, 11:00 AM
Steve, I am so sorry to hear about all of the losses in your family recently. Thank you for posting. I think of someone and then just don't pick up the phone. I need to change that, and thanks for reminding me. Take care.

Mitchell Andrus
08-07-2010, 12:26 PM
There are some that will not let you help. The more help that's offered, the more helpless and hopeless they feel and become. The downward spiral can be fast and devastating.

On the other hand, a member of our church and our postmaster took his life a few years ago. Good job, friends..... it was a mystery until we found that he had terminal cancer. Never told anyone and checked out before it got messy. He traded us all one type of grief for another. You never know.
.

Dave Lehnert
08-07-2010, 1:04 PM
Another thing to think about on the subject.

After 24 years of employment with the same company I became unemployed at the end of May after the company sold out.
Our company is still paying us right now so I am not on unemployment.
Some people like friends, Family , or just people I know get down right mad or nasty at you because they THINK you are on unemployment.
I can understand the feeling when you see people taking advantage but unemployment is insurance that YOU paid when working for years. No one should have a problem with one using it when needed. No different that paying car insurance and collecting after a crash.
I know one guy who will not take unemployment because of the pressure or stigma it has. But could use it.

My point is- Before complaining about "The Government spending our money" think about what company you are in and are you belittling a person who may really need the help.

Belinda Williamson
08-07-2010, 3:11 PM
Another thing to think about on the subject.

After 24 years of employment with the same company I became unemployed at the end of May after the company sold out.
Our company is still paying us right now so I am not on unemployment.
Some people like friends, Family , or just people I know get down right mad or nasty at you because they THINK you are on unemployment.
I can understand the feeling when you see people taking advantage but unemployment is insurance that YOU paid when working for years. No one should have a problem with one using it when needed. No different that paying car insurance and collecting after a crash.
I know one guy who will not take unemployment because of the pressure or stigma it has. But could use it.

My point is- Before complaining about "The Government spending our money" think about what company you are in and are you belittling a person who may really need the help.

I don't want to take away from Steve's post, but I would like to clarify one thing. I don't know how things work in Ohio, but in Georgia the EMPLOYER pays into the unemployment program, not the employee.

Henry Keller
08-07-2010, 7:48 PM
I understand about the judgmental side of people about unemployment and disability.I am fortunate to have retired at age fifty,but when people ask about my lack of employment,they assume im on disability and cheating the government.

Jim King
08-07-2010, 9:43 PM
Scott:
I have lived a life that people dream of. I have lived a life of adventure, ups and downs, the best friends all over the world, successful businesses and worked with all sorts of characters the world over and in general have no reason to be as I am.
I am manic depressive or the modern name is “ bipolar”. Thoughts of suicide hit you several times a day and are always near to the surface. The outward signs are hard for people to detect and when someone does try to talk to you about it you get worse knowing you have been detected. The best way in my opinion to handle a person such as you mentioned it not to talk about it but just be a friend and keep the person busy. There is no reason for anyone to feel guilt about a person killing them self as it comes from the inside and is not painted on their forehead.
To put it simply being bipolar is the same as being a closet crazy and there seems to be no cure and the control is not so sure either. You did nothing wrong and this disease does not go away , you can be the life of the party and the problem can surface in your mind at any time during the party.
It is not a pleasant thing , just part of the life of many people who most often do not know they are afflicted.
Hope this helps. You did nothing wrong.

Scott Shepherd
08-08-2010, 8:59 AM
Thanks Jim, I really appreciate your post. I'm sorry you suffer from those thoughts on a daily basis. That's got to be very difficult to deal with. I agree with you completely, I think the thing that comes to mind the most is just being a friend for people that are in tough spots right now. Maybe more so than many of us are on most days, when life seems to get too busy to take the time to just check in on a friend.

As days past, we are left with very little clues on this one. This guy was super friendly, super outgoing, and one of those people you'd describe as someone that loved people and loved life. Most everyone that talked to him days before said he was just the same guy, happy and outgoing.

There's a horrible factor (other than the obvious) on this one. He took his life in a way that wouldn't allow for a viewing at a funeral, and he did this while one of his teenage children were home, and they found him. For someone that adored his children, I can't believe he put his child in a situation to find that scene. It's something that child will be haunted by for the rest of his life.

It's sad all the way around. Just remember to be a friend to those friends you have. You just never know if that visit or phone call just checking in to say "Hey" is exactly what that person needed that day.

Dan Hintz
08-08-2010, 11:30 AM
Steve,

Depression is, in essence, a chemical imbalance. You can control it to a degree with drugs, diet, lifestyle changes, etc., but in the end you're at the mercy of your own body. The stronger the imbalance, the weaker the desire to "care" about much. Unless you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a sign here or there, we appear normal in every sense of the word. Yeah, caught that, did ya? It appears I don't have as wide of swings as Jim, but I've learned to handle myself better than most. I like to think I have a pretty good life, but that's irrelevant to the chemicals kicking around in our brains.

Sometimes you just have to bite your lip and realize there's nothing you can do...

Jason Roehl
08-08-2010, 1:35 PM
I don't want to take away from Steve's post, but I would like to clarify one thing. I don't know how things work in Ohio, but in Georgia the EMPLOYER pays into the unemployment program, not the employee.

Very true, Belinda, however, that is money that an employer could otherwise be paying their employees if unemployment insurance were not a requirement. I think it might be interesting if it were left up to individuals to purchase their own unemployment coverage--perhaps some would drop the "I made them fire me" approach to changing jobs. ;)

Our condolences to you and your family, Scott. Sadly, I suspect we will be hearing more and more similar tales if the economy does not improve significantly soon.

Ken Fitzgerald
08-08-2010, 2:04 PM
Scott,

My sincere sympathy at the loss of your relative and expecially to his child who had to find him. I can only imagine what that young kid will suffer for the rest of their lives.


Twice since 1976 I have had suicidal people call me on the phone with loaded pistols on their laps. Once it was a co-worker and once an extremely close relative. Incredibly both times, my Mil and FIL were visiting and my FIL watched me sit at my kitchen table and try to talk this person out of finishing what they were considering doing.

I am not trained for such matters but both times the arguments I used was to try to force the person to accept responsibility for the lifetime of grief they were about to cause the ones they loved and who loved them.

In one case, I convinced the person to take the loaded pistols and place them in a locked brief case and leave them where I had access to them. I drove several hours, retrieved the guns, fixed a CT scanner this coworker had in a down situation and returned home with the guns. Some months later, he came to my house on a long weekend, spent the weekend with my family and I and returned home with his guns. He died of natural causes some 25 years later.

The family member I had to get involved with still survives today. That person lived over 1,000 miles away. If I hadn't been able to convince them to not follow through with their threats, I'd be still suffering the guilt today of my failure.

I also have another family member who is bipolar, manic-depressive. Dealing with this person is a challenge, at best.

Suicide is only easy for those who take their own lives. The grief they leave for those left behind is incredible.

You must convince that young teen it was not their fault and that they are suffering because the father took a cowards way out. He placed far more suffering on his children than he himself was experiencing or capable of bearing.

My sincere sympathy to all those involved.

John Mark Lane
08-08-2010, 10:13 PM
This thread touches some deep places. I'll take it a little further, for me anyway.

Some time ago, a dear friend, someone I love very much, shared with me her little "Sunday secret" -- each week, she reads the "Post Secret" website. This was started by a guy named Frank Warren, who invited people to send him post cards with their most intimate secrets written on them. And each Sunday, he posts a handful of them online. All anonymously, of course. I read it each week, and my friend and I occasionally talk about the "secrets" posted there. It is something we are able to share, and that in itself is meaningful to me. But the "secrets" can rip your heart out....

http://www.postsecret.com/

Many of the secrets relate to life and death, and Mr. Warren has now published a series of books that compile the amazing postcards he has received.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_5?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=postsecret&sprefix=posts&ih=3_0_0_2_0_0_0_0_0_1.109_289&fsc=4

In addition, due to the proximity of these intimacies to suicidal tendencies, and the actual suicides of real people known to the postsecret community, Mr. Warren has supported and continues to support suicide help lines. These include the Kristin Brooks Center.

http://www.hopeline.com/

You can volunteer, or contribute, or just be aware of the pain people are enduring and the very real possibility that some will not be able to endure it...alone.

I have lost three friends to suicide. I hope not to lose any more. Just wanted to spread the word about some of these things.

Hang in there,

Mark

Jim King
08-09-2010, 11:17 AM
Suicide is only easy for those who take their own lives


Ken:

I have to disagree with your statement. I donīt think it is an easy decision for anyone. I have lost a number of freinds over the years to suicide as these type of people tend to end up in the backwaters of the world more than would be typical in the States or whatever more normal society.

About a year ago we were siting on the patio have the nightly happy hour with an employee from England and a couple of customers that were in town.
The next morning I was early at the mill with the customers and got a call that Wally who used to be a member here on this site was found hanging in his house by another employee who went to check on him as he was late to open the tool area. He left the house that night happy and know one to this day has an idea why he did it but he was as bipolar as you could get. There was at least two people in his brain. It was well planned out as he took a ladder to his house that afternoon and bought the rope. It was not a spur of the moment thing.

On the lighter side one day in Africa close to 30 years ago I was sitting by the pool with a freind and he noticed that I was not normal and was depressed .
He looked at me and said you know I kill for a living and as you are my friend I will kill you free if you want. I didnīt have an immediate answer but have since thought about it many times and had many good laughs about that day.

It is not a black and white issue and as we are still in a medical knowledge void and have a lot to learn I am sure this will take another hundred years for people to know what really is the cause.

Pat Germain
08-09-2010, 11:04 PM
That's such tragic news. I too am very sorry for your loss, Scott.

I'm glad some people have mentioned that such situations are the result of illness. I can understand how you can't make sense of what this person did. That's because it doesn't make sense. It's not a rational decision. While a stressor like job loss can be a catalyst, it's still an illness. It's not much different than a friend getting pancreatic cancer. And people shouldn't blame themselves for either situation.

Steve Griffin
08-09-2010, 11:28 PM
Thanks for having the courage to post this Scott.

It's so easy to become complacent, especially if life is going well for you, and forget how others may be struggling.

Each morning I wake up, I'm filled with happiness to have another day ahead of me, and each evening feel some sadness that such wonderful life is one day shorter. It's easy to forget others are just barely hanging on, and might even give the appearance of being the happiest people around on the outside.

I think it's good for everyone to reflect on different approaches to take if ever around someone who is thinking of suicide. My biggest fear is I may say something to make things worse.

I do remember a friend who successfully talked someone out of it telling me what he finally said that helped his friend. After an hour or two of talking, what really worked was when he said:

"IF you kill yourself, you will never find out how things would have turned out"

-Steve

David Weaver
08-10-2010, 9:44 AM
Lost a relative this way, too, and same situation, the relative did it at home and in a messy way. Another relative of mine was the trooper who got called to the scene.

It was a relative who had (apparently) beaten a serious bout with alcoholism, and who seemed to be on the mend, better than he had been in years.

It's been harder on his two boys than anything, and stunted how far they've gone in life.

People are tough to solve, but if reaching out and helping solves it for anyone, it's worth it - especially to their loved ones and especially if they have kids.

Scott Shepherd
08-10-2010, 12:09 PM
No courage needed on my part to post it. Just thought it was worth mentioning. As some have already said, there are chemical reasons that don't allow logic to be part of the equation and it's not much any of us can do in those situations, but you just never know if that one phone call or visit could help someone that just needs a friendly face around at the right time.

In our case, the info we are getting is that the night before, they had a kid related party, and he was laughing and joking and having a great time with all the kids. Went to bed happy, woke up, took his life. As some have said, trying to understand it will just frustrate you because you're trying to logic something out that is illogical.

Phyllis Meyer
08-10-2010, 12:22 PM
Scott, you and all involved will be in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for posting this. It is a very hard situation and most of us know friends/family that have experienced this in some way. This is such a tough time in this economy and I agree, if there is someone in your midst going through a rough time, do reach out! I also understand the folks that don't show any outside signs when they are struggling, and one would never know.

Sincerely,
Phyllis