Like many of you out there, I’ve known more than one person who’s been down and out and felt helpless. Sadly, like some of you, I wasn’t there when they were at their lowest and looking for a hand to hold or an ear to listen to their troubles. It’s more likely than not that either you, or someone you know has had a close friend or family member take their own life. For me, it’s happened a little more often in the last few years than I’d care to think about. What hurts most when I think back on the lives of my friends who are no longer with us, it that suicide doesn’t care about what rung of the economic ladder you stand on, what color you are, your religious or even your political beliefs. Deep seated depression, the kind that makes you look at your liquor cabinet and full bottle of pain killers and say to yourself “Well, it can’t be any worse than it is now.” hits people of all walks of life.
But because we as a society are of the utmost level of cowardly when it comes to having difficult conversations or admitting when we need a hand; whether it’s in fear of being labeled weak, or the fear that comes from being rejected by someone we trust enough to spill out guts out too, when the time comes to have a conversation about how someone is really feeling or whether they (or even you, if you find yourself in this place) need some help, we clam up. We make an uncomfortable joke. We stop answering the phone when someone calls. We tell ourselves and our loved ones that everything is “fine” or it’s just a “case of the Monday’s”.
In all reality, suicide is not 100% preventable, but it damn sure shouldn’t be happening with any regularity. So when a buddy of mine posted some photos to Facebook a couple weeks back with the number to the suicide hotline hoping to start the conversation and get people to not shy away from the topic, it really hit me. Reading through the comments in which people were disgusted that he would post such a thing, to say the least, pissed me off. Was his photo shoot the absolute best way to show the ugly and dark side of how people feel right before going over the edge? Maybe, Maybe not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that you saw it. You saw it and it forced you to say something about it. His post if nothing else, was successful on that front.
That being said, I reached out and asked if I could come in to the studio and take a crack at my own interpretation of what that feeling looks like and what I felt may get the conversation going. The hardest part of the whole thing was trying to find someone who would model for, as once again it’s a touchy subject that no one really wants to have rammed in their face. Nonetheless, a most excellent human and good friend of mine stepped up to the plate and absolutely crushed it. Here’s the three shots I’m most happy with:
Hopefully, my thoughts and intentions come across in the imagery. It’s definitely something I will be thinking about more and revisiting at least for the next little while. In the meantime, know that if you’re reading this (or hell, even if you aren’t), you are loved. If you are considering suicide as an option for you, know there is help. Reach out to someone. Don’t beat around the bush. If you don’t know someone who you think understands, call this number: 1-800-273-8255 or Text Connect to 741741 if you’d rather not speak on the phone. Whatever you do though, ask for help. You are not weak, you are not crazy. Helping and loving one another are what make us human and it’s the only thing that will ensure we continue as a species. Stay Safe, Stay Alive, Keep fighting. As always, Thanks for reading!