I can only speak for myself when I say how I am affected by suicide.  As a suicide prevention professional, I am faced with the reality of suicide every day.  Personally, I’ve known three people who have died by suicide.  Not to mention, the famous people who have died by suicide that have also affected me.  For me, when someone I admire and respect dies by suicide, I feel afraid.  I feel afraid that if these people who, in my opinion, were so much stronger and capable than I am could not handle life, then what chance do I have?  I already feel like a huge failure and that my whole life has been a series of bad decisions that left permanent damage for those I love and myself.  In spite of the failures, I’ve pushed on.  I’ve gotten back up off the ground, dusted myself off, and kept going.  Then, out of the blue, someone ends their life and I feel so scared.  I think, if they couldn’t make it, then how can I?  I won’t name names but I’m sure we all can think of people who have died by suicide that seemingly had so much to live for.  I can hardly imagine what could have been so awful about their lives that death seemed preferable.  As for myself, I admit I’ve had thoughts of suicide off and on for many years.  The thoughts are not bad like they use to be and they don’t come nearly as often.  On the other hand, it does enter my mind once in a while and I quickly kick the thought out.  I have chosen to live.  It does get hard sometimes.  I can choose to focus on those people who I know have had a much more difficult life than I have.  I can look up to these other bumbling humans who have not led exemplary, graceful, and problem-free lives.  These are the ones I can look at and say to myself, “if they can go on living with all they have to deal with, then surly I can too.” Diane Webb


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