Actions defeat ‘personal hell’

Joshua Boley, Staff Writer

Several years ago, my best friend from high school tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.

Thankfully, the hospital pumped his stomach so he did not succeed.

I remember thinking at the time that while I was happy my friend lived, I couldn’t believe how stupid he was for even trying.

All too often, the view people take of someone who would attempt suicide is that they are selfish, cowardly and weak.

While these words are used to describe those who have had suicidal thoughts by those who have never had them, they do little to convince someone contemplating suicide to take a moment and rethink the actions they are about to take.

In actuality, what someone who is thinking about suicide needs is a legitimate reason to live.

The love of a friend or family member or even something as small as being a key person at work has curbed many suicide attempts.

Many students may have their first suicidal thoughts while attending college.

Reasons vary from academic and athletic stress to relationship issues or just missing home and family.

While many students deal with these issues, for some, the weight from one or a combination of these issues is overwhelming.

Some suggestions:

First, while you are walking around this campus, be aware that all of us are dealing with something.

While you may not be aware of the personal hell someone is going through, you can still make a difference in that person’s life, and it’s as simple as being nice.

Second, I hope you are not dealing with thoughts of suicide and pray that, if you are, you find someone to talk to.

Find a fellow student, advisor, minister, friend or family member.

If you can’t reach anyone else and need to talk, you can always call the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

There are even outlets available here on campus.

A conversation about suicide cannot be had without getting personal or showing emotion.

For those touched by suicide, there is no other way.

My high school buddy is now married to a beautiful wife.

They have two daughters and he is doing quite well.

Life has a strange way of looping back around in a way you might never see coming.

Shortly before classes started this semester, my wife of 16 years left me.

I can tell you that, at that moment, I did not view suicide as a stupid option.

It was my high school buddy listening to me on the phone that helped me make one of the most important decisions in my life.

I chose to live.