Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Back From The Brink.

I don't think I told you that a few weeks ago while driving to LAX (our airport in L.A.), the traffic on the 10 Freeway near Crenshaw was stopped in one direction because there was a suicidal person standing on the ledge of the freeway, with two officers holding her legs and another two holding her shoulders so that she wouldn't jump.

At first, I was a little disappointed. Naively so. Though I've had my own share of struggles, self esteem issues, things (and breakups) I thought were bad at the time, I never considered suicide. Never an option. I always thought, knew, believed, had faith that no matter how bad things seemed, there was always a light and a better day and times ahead.

And better days came... then some bad days... but then more better days. Untreated or undiagnosed mental illness aside, there are always solutions for coping with life's struggles. I think.

Anyway, heard Oprah's doing a show today about people who tried to commit suicide but survived... and what life means to the now. Haven't seen the show yet. After work. Hope it's inspirational and that the people see their lives as a gift now.

Also, heard about this book: Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and other Outlaws by activist Kate Bornstein. Heard about it on my favorite podcast, Feast of Fools. The book and show focus specifically on LGBT community issues. We've all heard the correlation between suicide and the struggle with sexual orientation identity.

Related facts and stats on suicide can be found on the NAMI website.

I've been thinking about this subject lately -- not suicide, but how we role model and mentor people so they don't feel like going to the edge -- as new first-year students take on their role as college students. You know, the 1988 Boys I told you about. College can be hard, no matter how great a school district you came from. I'm amazed at the number of young people who WANT mentors and someone to just be there.

And my advice to them... college is supposed to be hard, you're supposed to be poor, you're supposed to be tired, you're supposed to work hard, and you're supposed to play hard too all while in college. And you're supposed to reach out for help when you need it while here. Because these four years of college struggle are paving the way for the life you want at age 30, 40 and beyond.

Anyway, I don't know what happened to that woman on the 10 Freeway overpass. But I hope they managed to save her and get her the help she needs.


Anonymous said...

Society places a huge stigma on depression and other mental illnesses... when someone goes for counseling they are immediately looked at as if they are crazy but yet we are quick to dope up our kids on all kinds of pills to "keep them sane".

Just another racism or homesexuality type issue that most people believe if we do not address it will just go away.

LadyLee said...

You know, that happens down here in the ATL a few times a year- someone threatening to jump from a bridge. I don't laugh at them, but I always think, what happened in their life? What is the backstory that brought them to that very point in their life?

I agree with Reddman... there is such a huge stigma attached to mental illness... yet there is so much help available. Hopefully, someday things will change.