Watch your friends, coworkers, loved ones. Holiday Issues.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dmp, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. dmp

    dmp Senior Member

    May 12, 2004
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    Enterprise, Alabama
    Serious hat = ON

    One day a couple years ago, I decided to leave work about 30 minutes early. I get on I5 Northbound out of Fort Lewis, and drive the 8 miles or so to the State Route 16 interchange, where I merge on to HWY16. Just about the usual spot, the traffic slows. Now, usually, traffic slows for one of two reasons:

    1. 95% of all drivers are Idiots.
    2. There was a wreck coming the OTHER direction/Off on the shoulder and because #1 is true, everyone slows to 5mph so they can look for bodies.

    I have a game plan. Driving a car which is only about 11? feet long enables me to sort of "safely" dart around thru traffic. I have a pattern I follow which puts me in the right lane BEFORE every on-ramp to HWY16 - Left lane as i pass the on-ramp, and back to the right just after the on-ramp. It usually puts me to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Took the place of the infamous Galloping Gertie as seen HERE) about 20-30 cars before I would have been, staying in either lane. (20 cars ahead AT the bridge means about a 2-5 mile head start AFTER the bridge.)

    That day, my plan was all screwed up. BOTH lanes were moving about the same rate. That rarely happens. Tuned to 106.1FM I hear the traffic report that the right lane of the OTHER direction on the bridge is closed, mid-span due to some "police action".
    This pisses me off. Thinking back, the local PD had troopers climbing over the bridge for some exercises. I start wondering who the Nimrod is who scheduled training during RUSH HOUR. I begin to fume a little.

    By the time I get to the start of the bridge, I hear traffic is now backed up 5 miles behind me, and at least that far the other direction.

    "Some knucklehead better get fired" I think.

    As I get up on the bridge, I see several police cruisers lined up facing the wrong way in the on-coming right lane. Perhaps 5 or 6 total. Then, as I approach one of the larger mid-span towers, I see a dude standing on the guard rail with two guys (police negotiators) talking to him, and 10? other County and state Police further back. As I slowly passed the place, I could barely keep my eyes off the would-be Jumper. He was just standing there, calm, head slightly bowed, wearing blue flannel and jeans. I'd guess his age to be mid 20s, with close cut hair, shaven on the sides, and short on top (like mine).

    My heart dropped. My whole attitude changed. Here I was bitching about being 30 minutes late (actually, just about on-time, considering my usual commute, because I left early), and this poor guy's life was so out of control he felt it wasn't worth continuing. How lame am I?

    I can empathize with the jumper, however. There have been times in my life where I have seriously thought about walking to the dresser and getting the 9mm out... A few of my online friends from other forums know what I am talking about. I'm okay now, but couple years ago, I was hurting in a big way. One of the REASONS I am okay is becaus, believe it or not, there are a few people out there who care(d) enough to ASK me "Dude, you haven't been yourself...are you okay?"
    Outwardly, things seemed fine to most people around me. But inside I was (am?) a mess of emotion, frustration, and confusion. Luckily, however, thru a faithful friend and a faithful God I made progress with the issues I can('t?) affect change on.

    I am saying all this to say, be careful to take notice of your friends as we approach yet another Holiday season. While the Holidays didnt directly relate to my issues, I am full aware of the depression they can bring. Childhood failures coming back to haunt. Adult Career issues. Marital problems. These are just a FEW of the many, many areas that can put stress on our loved ones. Dont be afraid to TALK to those around you who seem unusually distant or down. TALK to your peers, siblings, etc. If you suspect they are contemplating suicide ASK them "Are you thinking about hurting yourself?".

    Here are some Danger signs that someone is considering Suicide, from a US Army resource:

    • Talking or joking about suicide.
    • Statements about being reunited with a deceased loved one.
    • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.

      Example: "Life is useless." "Everyone would be better off without me." "It doesn't matter. I won't be around much longer anyway." "I wish I could just disappear."
    • Preoccupation with death. Example: recurrent death themes in music, literature, or drawings.
    • Writing letters or leaving notes referring to death or "the end".
    • Suddenly happier, calmer.
    • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
    • Unusual visiting or calling people one cares about - saying their good-byes.
    • Giving possessions away, making arrangements, setting one's affairs in order.
    • Self-destructive behavior (alcohol/drug abuse, self-injury or mutilation, promiscuity).
    • Risk-taking behavior (reckless driving/excessive speeding, carelessness around bridges, cliffs or balconies, or walking in front of traffic).
    • Having several accidents resulting in injury. Close calls or brushes with death. Obsession with guns or knives.

    What do you DO if you feel someone is seriously considering Suicide?

    Ask him or her! That may sound absurd and very scary, but you must ask him if he ever feels so bad that he thinks of suicide. Don't worry about planting the idea in someone's head. Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive illnesses, although not all people have them. If a person has been thinking of suicide, he or she will be relieved and grateful that you were willing to be so open and nonjudgmental. It shows a person you truly care and take him/her seriously.

    If you get a yes to your question, question the individual further. Ask if he has a plan, or a method, or if he has decided when he will do it. This will give you an idea if he is in immediate danger. If you feel he is, do not leave him alone! The person must see a doctor or psychiatrist immediately. You may have to take him to the nearest hospital emergency room.

    Always take a suicide threat seriously and never keep it a secret!

    You must never call a person's bluff, or try to minimize his problems by telling him he has everything to live for or how hurt his family would be. This will only increase his guilt and feelings of hopelessness. He needs to be reassured that there is help, that what he is feeling is treatable, and that his suicidal feelings are temporary.

    If you feel the person isn't in immediate danger, you can say things like, "I can tell you're really hurting", and "I care about you and will do my best to help you." And follow through - help him find a doctor or a mental health professional. Be by his side when he makes that first phone call, or go along with him to his first appointment. A supportive person can mean so much to someone who's in pain. This is an opportunity to interrupt the long process that for many, leads to suicide. You may save a life!

    • Thank You! Thank You! x 2
  2. no1tovote4

    no1tovote4 Gold Member

    Apr 13, 2004
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    I think they should sticky this one until after the holidays.

    This is good timing as the holidays definitely have a high rate of depression for many people.

    :clap: :rock: :bow2:

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