Today is National Suicide Awareness Day, and while I could throw a bunch of harrowing facts at you – the statistics that say every forty seconds, someone dies from suicide; suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds; etc., etc. But sometimes, I think these can just look like numbers.
I could tell you about the actor that fed so many of us smiles and made so many laugh or the singer who made me and countless others in my generation feel less alone, I could mention the man who treated the world like his home and made friends with people everywhere just by sharing a meal. But sometimes, I think these can just sound like stories.
I still remember that night in October, gobbling down pills like Alice where everything around me wielded an “eat me” label, where every bottle of liquor was labeled “drink me” with a sign only I could see. It’s weird to think I’m approaching fifteen years since my last major attempt. It’s weird to think that had I not been with someone who recognized the warning signs, I might not have lived through the night.
My point is this: the warning signs might not always be visible, the smiles might not always be cracked, and some of us are experts at hiding our pain or deflecting it, but be vigilant. If a friend doesn’t seem okay, double-check. If a co-worker seems a little off, maybe check in on them. But here’s the thing: few people will ever get upset with you for caring, and who knows whose life you might save. We don’t know everyone’s battles nor do we know everyone’s scars, so the least we can do is be nice.