Just a few weeks ago, the beloved Chris Cornell, world renowned voice of the 90’s grunge movement committed suicide. I was crushed as my own life flashed before my eyes.
In 2008, I left my I.D. and wallet at my family’s home while I walked 5 miles through fields and woodlands and climbed the north end of a Western European castle, walking on the ledge at its highest point contemplating the step off. In 2007, I ran out into a busy intersection in NYC wishing to get hit by the oncoming bus. Going back to 1988, I almost set my neighbor’s car ablaze after stuffing the gas tank with rags ready to be lit. For the next 20 years, my alcohol and substance use abetted me as I went through plan after plan in my own head before acting on them again later on.
Today, I am forever grateful of my failure to follow through and complete such attempts.
At the most recent incident, I had recently began my journey into recovery and found that I had some other issues I had to confront. I spent the next 4 years in outpatient counseling and therapy.
Unfortunately, the number of suicide deaths in the United States is increasing. In many cases,
alcohol, illicit substances or prescribed medications are common threads. Regardless
of the situation, there are alternative solutions. There is more and more help readily
available to anyone who seeks it. We CAN and DO recover.
I attended a conference on suicide in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts the other week. In an area with one of the highest suicide rates in the state, there are many hands out there ready to lift someone out of suffering. It was beautiful to see how communities in Berkshire County have united to foster resilience in their community.
Massmen.org is a peer run program focused on mental health for men. The Brien Center is a program focused around mental health for families, adolescents and adults as well. The Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention often has local events. If you are in the Upstate NY, Western MA, North Central CT or Southern VT areas you can easily find support there.
It’s both aberrant as well as relieving to be sharing this on such public forum. Writing about it has been healing. Talking about it can shed light on the darkest of places, reduce undesired feelings and stigma. If you or anyone you know is contemplating hurting themselves regardless of where you are in the US, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255(TALK).