Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy World Suicide Prevention Day

Celebrated: Around the world, sponsored by the World Health Organization

I don't want to write about this today. I've already said everything I have to say about this, here and again here.

But the post on "Five Practical Reasons Not to Kill Yourself" still gets more traffic than anything else on this eight-year-old blog, and although I've disabled comments on that post (and will allow comments on this post for only a day or two), people still send me personal emails to argue about it.

And yesterday I read this post by Erika Christakis about the death of Harvard junior Cote Laramie, a boy who was loved, a boy who shone brightly, a boy whose world got too small to keep the monsters from blocking his way. Because that's what depression does: it makes your world small and dark and unbearably heavy, and it keeps you from believing that things might ever be any other way.

"Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem," says the National Institute of Mental Health. "Public health problem"? Yes. It's the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, outranking (among other things) both prostate cancer and cervical cancer. It's contagious and it's hereditary.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has launched a new public awareness campaign called Take 5 to Save Lives. They ask everyone to take five simple steps:
  1. Learn the warning signs for suicide
  2. Join the online movement to prevent suicide
  3. Spread the word
  4. Support a friend
  5. Reach out if you need help

Dizzy and I are going to the vet in about an hour, to have that terrible conversation about how we ease his transition into whatever comes next for dogs. I hope that's a long transition, and as easy as it can possibly be. In the meantime, I learn from him about how to live in a world determined to kill us. It's still fun to ride in the car; it's still interesting to sniff things. Bacon is still amazing and sometimes people will pet you or give you treats for no reason at all. You never know who you might meet when you go outside, and you have no idea of what might happen tomorrow, so you don't worry about it. Humans can't live like dogs, but it might not hurt to try once in a while.

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