Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, where I live. But if you are in the age category of 10-34 yrs of age, like my son, who is 30, then suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US.
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Just another fact since I’m talking stats.
Tonight my son is sitting in a psychiatric ER, again, while yet another medical team tries to decide what to do with him. 12 hours ago I made the dreaded phone call to the police department in the county where he was last seen to ask for help in finding him, a “welfare check”. After giving the dispatcher a recount of the last awful 48 hours they informed me that with the help of his cell phone carrier they could probably locate him by “pinging” his number. When they told me of that capability the situation suddenly felt more grim. In my mind I saw it all playing out… it wasn’t pretty. I thought I’d have more time to ground myself after reporting him missing (in the past it was more like hours). My experience with pinging was limited to what I’d seen on television or heard on the Radio Lab podcast “Serial”, when the police where trying to locate the body in Linkin Park by pinging her phone.
So, in the empty silence of my house I was overcome with grief because I knew he was about to be found, probably within a matter of minutes. A familiar and horrible heaviness suddenly enveloped me and for a few minutes I sat motionless at the kitchen table, staring at my phone. Then I started to sob uncontrollably, because I knew this was it. That awful time had come. He was gone.
My mind started drifting, imagining him in the hours earlier, before the pinging, when he was still alive. I saw him sitting in his car somewhere, maybe on Sullivan’s Island, or Folly Beach, maybe sitting on the edge of a dune, maybe with heroin. But I kept seeing him in his car, all alone. He was terribly sad, probably numb, and very confused. He had no one to say goodbye to, no one to hug one last time. No one to look into his blue eyes and say “I love you” one last time. No one to hold him while he ever so bravely said goodbye to the world.
I sat at the table asking myself “if only”… I should have… why didn’t I just…”. So I cried for him, huge tears of sadness and love and longing, and the weight of it all, all that grief, it felt like it would bury me.
My phone rang soon. It was his sister, saying he had been found at his dad’s house, and he was alive. He was taken to the Medical University ER and was admitted for psychiatric evaluation.
Now comes the aftermath of coming up with yet another game plan. Untangling it all to find a new plan.
Part of what I want to convey with this post is that suicide threats should never be ignored. There is no time for “thoughts and prayers”. Action is what’s needed and there is no time to waste. It’s a medical emergency — no different from a car crash victim, or heart attack. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.
Families: learn all you can about how to help someone suffering from mental illness. They need you in their court. If you don’t know, or if you need a refresher, go online and learn about what you can do to help your loved one. It’s a potentially terminal illness so why should it be treated differently? Below are some links to help get you started.
NurseGrit will revert back to the original topic, mental health. I hope it will help someone. Thank you for reading.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml National Institute for Mental Health.
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255