“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone,” said Shannon Adler. The depths of despair that lead someone to consider ending their own life cannot be described in words but those who have felt it recognize it for what it is, both in themselves and in those close to them. In those moments it is easy to feel invisible to the world: “Would anyone miss me if I weren’t here tomorrow? Would anyone care?” An individual who may be the first one to volunteer to help someone else can easily find themselves feeling unworthy of the same kind of help, particularly when isolated. The greatest medicine for that feeling is finding or creating connections with others.
Both nature and nurture mold us into social creatures and it is in community that we thrive. Isolation is the enemy of peace of mind and in its darkness fear and pain grow and is considered one of the warning signs of suicide. Despite that, there are times when isolation seems comforting and familiar, no matter how unhealthy it may be for us. Taking the steps into community can be uncomfortable but the rewards are virtually endless.
Something as simple as a phone call to a loved one or a meal with a friend can begin to form or renew connections to remind people who are considering suicide that they are not alone in the world. The person on the other end of the line or across the table is demonstrating affection for the person by spending their most precious commodity – their time – with them. Communities begin to form when one person communicates to another “I care for you and want to spend time with you” and find that that feeling is reciprocated. “Maybe this person does care,” they begin to think.
The more time spent in community the more this message is communicated. Soon the phone call turns into a visit. Two people at the dinner table turn into five. The support of the fellowship begins to drown out the despair as each person feels appreciated. “These people care for me.” The support offered to one person in the community burns brightly and sets the stage for the same support to be offered to another when that person needs it. We learn to care for ourselves as we learn to care for others and rely on each other to bolster our own self-love.
A young man once spoke to his father about faith – faith in humanity, faith in oneself – the subject makes no difference. “I fear that I have lost my faith, father,” the son says.
“That’s alright, son,” the father says. “You can borrow mine for a while.”
D’Amore Healthcare provides a strong community of support in our 24-bed subacute psychiatric treatment facility located in Orange County, California. It is licensed by the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Health Care Services and is accredited by the Joint Commission. D’Amore accepts most PPO insurance plans and is in-network with Anthem.
For more information on suicide prevention please visit take5tosavelives.org.