This morning I woke up to an inbox flooded with emails regarding something I wrote yesterday about hope. These were all deeply personal, heartfelt messages.
There were a few emails about divorce. Three were from people losing spouses to dementia. One older lady even sent an email detailing the many orthopedic benefits of going without a bra.
And forty-two emails were about suicide.
Here are a few sample sentences from the letters:
“I was gonna take my own life when I was sixteen… But my best friend called and told me she was thinking of me.”
“My father died by his own doing and I almost died the same way when I was depressed, but my family stepped in… I’m on medication now.”
“We never said the word suicide in my house after my brother died…”
“Well, personally, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my bra. For me, the benefits of going braless are simple, no indents from painful wires or straps on your back fat…”
The truth is, I don’t like talking about
suicide any more than I like talking about underwire bras and back fat. For one thing: I’m male. For two: My life has been tinted by suicide.
My father took his life when I was a kid. I grew up thinking about this issue a lot and it got to a point where I wanted NOT to think about suicide ever again.
In fact, this is the reason I spent a lot of time reading humor when I was a boy. Humor is not just slinging jokes and one-liners. It’s a way of looking at the world without losing your mind. It’s sharing the worst moment in your existence in story form, then breaking the tension in the room with a flippant remark about not wearing a bra.
I say all this to tell you that suicide is a very personal subject to me. And…