A Holiday “S” Word Story

While the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year and it typically raises most of our spirits (even those who are walking around somewhat stick-in-the-mud-ish most of the year), it can also be a very difficult time of the year. Nearly everyone knows that psychic readings are predominantly about relationships, love, career or life’s purpose with a drizzle of miscellany on the side. But, every now and then someone will contact me with other agendas or needs on their mind:

A few seasons ago, I received a very ominous call from a woman who had left her home and checked into a hotel room. She was crying and emotionally upset and I nearly dropped the phone when she literally told me: “I want to commit the “s” word and I’ve swallowed a bottle of Valium”!!! Because of the context, I of course knew that her reference to the “s” word meant SUICIDE.

Like a lightning bolt, FEAR STRUCK my very being (along with a prayer that this call would somehow turn into a deeply-disturbed, punked call). Surprising myself by how fast fear can make me respond, my mind went racing back like a short stack of falling dominoes to retrieve information from my Suicide Prevention Training; and, I calmly:

1. Found out the name of her hotel and its location and the number and strength of the pills this poor soul had ingested.

2. Found my ipad and googled the phone number for the police department in her city (I already knew from past experiences that like many 911 centers across the country, my local 911 department could not or would not contact other 911 departments across the country).

3. Grabbed another phone and contacted a police department in her city.

4. Kept this very distressed woman engaged on the phone for what seemed like hours until the emergency responders arrived at her room and took her to a hospital.

Because of HIPAA privacy, I heard nothing else about the woman and so my mind went into overdrive with concern for this very ailing woman. However, eventually, after many weeks passed, the woman called me and informed me that she was back in therapy and working on trying to fit into a world, society and culture that was very difficult for her, she went on to explain how she ALWAYS felt worse around Christmas. It seemed to her that she was supposed to be happy around the holidays and because of the pressure to do so, it made her feel worse about not being able to rise to the occasion to do so. She could only feel a deeper anguish and pain of isolation and depression and she had attempted the “s” word on past holidays as well.

Mostly I listened to her, yet somehow, I decided to ask her why she called suicide the “s” word. She explained to me that her mother had committed suicide while she was growing up and that afterwards no one in her household was allowed to talk about it or say the word suicide so they referrd to it as the “s” word if they talked about it at all.

One of the most important things I learned in my Suicide Prevention Training class was that if you suspect someone is suicidal, ASK THEM directly: “ARE YOU HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS” and discuss it OPENLY. Most suicidal people want their PAIN TO STOP and don’t really want to end their lives.

I decided to write this story today because for the grieving, isolated, lonely and depressed this can be a very difficult time of the year. I’m hoping through sharing this story, someone reading this may be able to better understand that a suicide is preventable and that YOU can be the person helping to save a life through engaging the suffering person, listening to them, remaining non-judgmental and getting emergency responders to help as soon as possible.

Please remember to always take the “s” word seriously and get help immeditely and KNOW THAT YOU CAN PREVENT A SUICIDE.