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BRENDA LOOPER: Not without hope

Look out for each other

By Brenda Looper

This article was published June 13, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

On seeing news last week of first Kate Spade's and then Anthony Bourdain's deaths due to suicide by hanging, I had a flashback to the day in October 2014 when my mom called me about my nephew. David, who had had a troubled life but had made many positive changes, killed himself, leaving family and friends to mourn him, but none of the attention being given now to the latest celebrity suicides.

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LRCrookAttorney says... June 13, 2018 at 8:58 a.m.

This is a great story, mainly because, based on the numbers, there is a “suicide epidemic” in the United States. Congress needs to act and make laws where suicide is determined to be illegal. Make stores stop selling; rope, knives, guns, belts or anything that has previously been used by people that have committed or attempted suicide. These numbers are much higher than overdose rates, and we as citizens need to uprise for something to be done. (of course all in a sarcastic tone)

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GeneralMac says... June 13, 2018 at 9:25 a.m.

In my lifetime, I have had 12 people I knew quite well comitt suicide...

(1 )cousin
(1 )brother-in-law
(4) co-workers spread out over years
(3) friends.......they were all cousins, grew up quite close to each other and their suicides were over a 40 year period. One in his early 20's, (2) were retired and age 70
(2) retired farmers in their 70's
(1) wife of a businessman in our small town

I was very close to some of them.
All were male except the last one.
Each one was a shock to me but there wasn't a thing I could have done or said that would have prevented ANY of those suicides!

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LRCrookAttorney says... June 13, 2018 at 9:47 a.m.

GenMac...However, the legislature has created an opioid epidemic, mainly because opioid abuse and overdose has reached the rich community and those are the people Congress (both R and D) listen too. Therefore, if they believe that stopping the production of any pills will curb the overdose by heroin then they are "duty" bound to pass legislation to prevent suicide. This is a given because more die from suicide.

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Packman says... June 13, 2018 at 10:21 a.m.

Thanks for writing this, Miss Brenda.

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JakeTidmore says... June 13, 2018 at 10:43 a.m.

Thanks Brenda. Like you, I do believe and hope something can be done to help turn thoughts of suicide into thoughts of living and coping. Like GM, I have a few folks I've know who have either committed suicide or attempted to do so. In February of 1978, my best friend tried to end his life when he felt that he was going nowhere in life and had accomplished nothing. I got a letter a few weeks later while overseas in Germany and in it he wrote:
"Jake...the kid finally went through with what he has been threatening to do since time immemorial; ie, go at himself with great pace and abandon with a hunting knife. I've just been released from the hospital following two intensive weeks of both physiological and psycho type testing and rehabilitation. I won't go into the details surrounding this fell circumstance, but I did end up doing rather serious damage to my neck (in search of frustrated, I might add my elusive jugular vein (stock Mad magazine humor attempt may be inserted here at your own discrete matrix), wrists, and 7 (count'em) puncture wounds in the region of my chest and heart.
I have a feeling that now is the time I need my best friend the most, but dammit! I have to finally get rid of some of my more pressing faults, and stand up and be counted as a majority of one. I most seriously lost all contact with reality, but am now hovering on the brink of flirting with some get-down tenacity to pull me through the rest of my (sic) life."
To bring the tale into perspective, he slowly escaped from the valley of the shadow, finally got a teaching degree and professorship in North Carolina, and married a beautiful young German lady 10 years his junior about 15 years ago.
I did write to him frequently during that critical time and we're still best of friends despite the distance of space and time between us. I don't feel like I actually brought him back from the brink. I think surviving the actual experience and re-discovering his own resolve was the key. Still, I was there when he reached out. One day he will return the favor if I so need it.

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PopMom says... June 13, 2018 at 11:01 a.m.

Thank you Brenda for a lovely column. I truly believe that more like 5 out of 5 people suffer from some form of mental illness. We are all a little crazy--just to differing degrees. People truly do need to be more civil to others. I also find refuge in nature--gardening and visiting national parks and wilderness areas. City life makes me a little crazy at times. Comedy also is a great stress reliever. The most important thing I've learned in life is not to compare myself to others. Life is a journey--not a contest. There will always be somebody smarter and prettier than me, but I fill my days with doing things that I want to do--with my family or friends or in solitude--and try to not think about the crazy man in the White House.

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MaxCady says... June 13, 2018 at 1:14 p.m.

What is it that makes some people more susceptible than others to want to do themselves harm? We've all been through hard times and life altering events. I've had them all, dad died when I was 15 y/o, been through a divorce in my 30's, 3 years ago I lost a lucrative job and 2 months later my mom died. Is it emotional resilience? I don't know, but through all that, the thought of suicide never entered my mind. There just seems to be a lot of discontentment these days.

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GeneralMac says... June 13, 2018 at 2:46 p.m.

......"to do themselves harm"...

I doubt any that commit suicide view it that way.

The ones I knew seemed to just want to put an end to "everything" as they saw no alternatives.

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GeneralMac says... June 13, 2018 at 2:49 p.m.

Out of the 12 that I mentioned, only 4 were due to marital problems.

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Packman says... June 13, 2018 at 4:15 p.m.

PoopMom (not a typo - attempt at comedy) says we all need to be more "civil" while calling the person over 60 million decent, hard working people voted for POTUS "crazy". Not very good at practicing what you preach, are you, Poop.
Although I agree wit Poop about finding refuge in nature, especially during duck season, just after daylight, with a flight of mallards cupping into the hole........

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