Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Life without Regrets

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), approximately 90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illnesses -- such as major depression, bipolar depression, or some other depressive illness.  Such was the case with my sweet friend Melissa.  She was a young, beautiful and talented mother of three who took pride in her home, her appearance, and her family.  She took her life on August 1, 2011.

As a mother, I know I have felt some of those same feelings Melissa felt, about the overwhelming task of taking care of family, being a good wife, being a good friend, spending time with my extended family, my calling at church, being a good neighbor, the list goes on and on.  I guess I wonder if I could have done more.   I told myself I didn’t HAVE the time while the truth of it was I didn’t MAKE the time for what may have been most important.

I did not make the effort to show compassion to her like I should have.  When she spent a few months in the hospital for psychiatric care, I did not visit her, I didn’t call, I didn’t write.  I should have reached out. 

 When she came home, I just treated her normal, like nothing had happened, in an effort to try and keep things normal.  I should have offered to help. 

When I made a phone call a few weeks ago to her to thank her for the lovely plate of cookies she made for my family, she said to me, “I hope you know how closely I am watching you so I can learn from you as a mother and as a wife.”   I should have tried to make a difference.  I didn’t.  

Suicide can be prevented.  According to the AFSP, many times, there are warning signs to look for including observable signs of depression, increased alcohol or drug use, recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks, threatening or making a strong wish to die, making a plan, or unexpected rage or anger. 

With so many things on our "mom" plates, we need to make sure we are taking the time to show love and compassion the best we can to those around us.  This life is short, live it without regrets.

For more information, please visit www.afsp.org

1 comment:

  1. The fact that you weren't shy/stand-off-ish about allowing her to rub shoulders with you was probably more huge than you could ever realize. Knowing you probably made her life "more normal". The fact that you were her role model means you did something very right in her life.

    And for whatever anyone else says about it, not that I advocate suicide in any way, shape, or form: There are things worse than death, and living with mental illness (unmedicated and/or without help - and sometimes even with it) may just be one of them . . . hence the drastic action some people take.

    Many thanks for your post