September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. When I urge individuals to talk with their friends and family about suicide, I am not on some fan bandwagon. September is hard. September represents so much loss.
September, twenty-five years ago. I am in the weirdest fight, yet all couples going through fertility drugs will understand. We are yelling, hugging, crying, loving… all the time and maybe all in five minutes. We are stressed out from doing Clomid treatments for months, and regulating intimacy based on schedules, temperatures, and timers. All of this insanity in the remote hope we might become pregnant. September, twenty-five years ago, we conceived Caleb.
September, eleven years ago. We are at peace. Donna and I have a healthy thirteen-year-old son and a one-year-old adopted daughter. My business is going great, Donna’s career is going well. Without trying and contrary to several doctors’ opinions, in September eleven years ago, we conceived Emily.
Over ten years begging to have another child, when Emily tragically miscarried and our church ostracized us, we lost it. We lost our footing. I questioned everything I thought I knew about faith, prayer, and God. Then the day after Christmas a fire gutted the building where I was starting a coworking space. Slowly, all my contracts and businesses vanished.
I had just come to terms with Emily’s death and the subsequent losses of my businesses when, eight years after Emily, Caleb died by suicide. This dwarfed everything prior. This time I had a few people willing to stand alongside me on this loneliest of roads. While Caleb did not die in September, the focus on prevention makes this month very hard.
The message is too important to let my September-related baggage get in the way. I must talk about it. Be The One To Talk. Talk to your people, see how they are, spread the truth about mental illness. Don’t be afraid to have the tough conversations.