Hot Topic Tuesday - Suicide

This fall, the news was filled with stories of young people killing themselves. Every time I'd read another story, my heart hurt a little more. I wondered, what went through their minds in the moments before they did it? Before they stepped into the noose, jumped off the bridge, or took the bottle of pills? How could it seem so hopeless?

The only personal experience I've had with suicide was about five years ago. It was a Sunday morning, and we were getting ready for church. The kids were downstairs watching television and I heard a distant sound, like crying. I remember putting my curling iron down, going to the stairs, and listening, thinking it was something on the television. I called down to the kids and asked them what they were watching. It didn't seem to be coming from there. I went back in my room and heard it again. Crying from somewhere. Somewhere outside. Maybe a child, I thought.

But it was time to go. I guess the crying didn't concern me enough to figure out who it was or why. We went to church, came home, and then we heard the news from our friends who live down the street. The neighbor behind us had come home from working nights as a nurse at a hospital, opened the garage, and found her husband, who had hung him self in their garage. The crying I'd heard had been hers, after she discovered his body.

I didn't know them well. They pretty much kept to themselves. He walked their dog past our house all the time, and we had a dog, and my husband had talked to him a few times. It's interesting to me that I, a virtual stranger to them, felt guilty. I felt guilty that I hadn't reached out to him more. Hadn't tried to get to know him. Hadn't done any number of things. As if I could prevent it? It seems so silly now. But isn't that what we do? We ask why, and wonder what we might have done differently, so sad that a life had to end that way.

For weeks, I thought of him. I couldn't walk or drive by their house without visualizing him in there, doing that. And I felt so badly for her. If *I* was haunted by it, what about her? Having to live with that image for the rest of your life? But even worse, wondering what role she played in his decision.

I applaud authors who take on the difficult of subject of suicide, and what it does to the people who are left behind. Today, our own Courtney Summers celebrates the release of her latest YA novel, FALL FOR ANYTHING, about a girl, Eddie, whose father commits suicide, and who becomes consumed with the question of why. We'll spotlight this book tomorrow in more detail. But honestly, as a fan of Courtney's other books, CRACKED UP TO BE and SOME GIRLS ARE, I cannot wait to read this book. In my opinion, Courtney is one of the best contemporary authors of our time. She isn't afraid to go to the dark places in a special style that is all her own.

Other books about teen suicide I highly recommend: 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher and HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour.

The mother in me won't sign off of this post without posting a help line, in case you stumble across this post with thoughts of suicide. Please, talk to someone. Your life DOES matter. The national suicide prevention line is 1-800-273-8255.

Another place to go for help, if you are a lesbian, gay, trans, bi, or questioning young person, is the Trevor Project. They have a nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline - 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.

Has suicide ever touched your life? Feel free to share in the comments.

11 comments:

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Such an important post. I think suicide is a matter that should be discussed and I too applaud authors who write about this tough subject matter.

Unfortunately, suicide has affected my life. I lost my brother-in-law a couple of years ago and it was so unexpected and I constantly thought what could I have you done to help to stop this.

I can't wait to read Fall for Anything. I imagine it will be a powerful read.

Thank you again for talking about this issue.

Lydia Sharp said...

Great post.

My husband's father committed suicide when my husband was 12. It still affects him.

A friend of mine committed suicide when he was 16. I was 18. It still affects me.

I heard of two suicides while I was in high school, of people I never knew. I also heard of an adult friend of a friend who killed herself when I was a teen. Even though I didn't know them personally, it all still affected me.

I've considered suicide myself on multiple occasions, the most often of which was shortly after I graduated high school, but some instances have been more recent.

And my husband struggles with thoughts of suicide during especially bad episodes of his bipolar depression, with an intensity I've never seen in anyone else. Scary stuff.

I never really sought out to write about it, but I have. And am. And I like reading books like THIRTEEN REASONS WHY because they're so realistic, and I believe the best thing for someone considering suicide is simply an understanding of what they're going through.

FALL FOR ANYTHING is already on my reading list. Cannot wait to dive into it. Another one I've recently added is CRASH INTO ME by Albert Borris.

Thanks so much for this post.

Heidi Ayarbe said...

Other great books that deal with suicide are: LESSONS FROM A DEAD GIRL, PERKS OF BING A WALLFLOWER, and HATE LIST ...

Tough subject matter. Important important to read and share with kids and adults.

Pam Harris said...

Actually, one of my friends from high school committed suicide. We had lost touch right before she did it, and that's one of my biggest regrets. I commend authors who are able to write about this poignant topic.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Nic, I'm so sorry about your BIL. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Lydia, I'm sorry for your losses. I'm so glad you and your husband have each other. And I'm glad you are writing about it. :)

Heidi, yes, some more excellent books, thank you! I've read all of those, just have a short memory bank. :)

Pam, I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

ivanova said...

I'm so glad you did this post! I think suicide prevention is so important, but people do not like to talk about this extremely depressing topic. In November I organized a vigil for the teens around the country who died by suicide this fall because of bullying and homophobia. 80 people attended, which is a lot for our small city. There are many more people affected by suicide than a person might think.

I think even though suicide is 100% preventable, people who are left behind were not to blame and should not have to feel guilt along with all the many other emotions. A shout out for some of my favorite YA books that are about suicide: The Suicide Year by Lena Prodan, Trigger by Susan Vaught, and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (which someone else mentioned.) I haven't read By The Time You Read This I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters, but she's one of my favorite writers.

I think it's great that you included a suicide hotline number in your post. I also want to mention the Trevor Project lifeline, 866-4-U-TREVOR, which is the one and only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, trans, bi, and questioning young people. They talk to tens of thousands of youth every year and they are there for anyone who is struggling.

Micol Ostow said...

Thanks for such an important post, Lisa.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Thanks ivanova - I edited the post and put the Trevor Project number up. I knew about it, just didn't think to put it up there, so thank you!!

Ginny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Walker said...

Great post, Lisa. I think we've all been touched by suicide one way or another, sadly. I remember a day in high school when our principal told us that a girl in our class was gone. I still think of her sometimes. She was popular, always laughing; I have no idea why.

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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