Thank You For Asking...
Thank you for stopping me in the ladies room this week and asking me how I was doing.
Even though we work together on a daily basis, we do not socialize outside of work. We do not go out to lunch together or meet for drinks after work on Friday. Despite this, you took the time to stop me and ask me how I was - not just once but several times. You told me that I didn't seem myself and let me know that someone cared. You opened up a conversation and handed out a lifeline had I needed it. And for this I am forever grateful.
You see, it was a bad week for me and I was barely hanging on. I was dealing with numerous personal issues and deeply grieving my father who had passed away several months ago. For someone who is constantly told how strong I am, I wasn't feeling very strong. In fact, I was feeling weak and sad. I was hanging on by a thread. And you noticed that about me. And you ask me how I was...
And although I wasn't suicidal at that point, I was in a bad place. And you noticed. And you asked...
This week, we lost two prominent celebrities to suicide. Unfortunately, we lost 2,998 other not-so-prominent humans to suicide this week as well. And for every one we lost, at least 20 more attempted to take their own lives but did not succeed. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 million people take their own lives each year. And while I was not one of them, I could have been.
So thank you for asking me how I was doing. Thank you for noticing that I was not myself. Thank you for offering help had I needed it. Thank you for the lifeline.
I, in turn, will pay it forward and return the favor. I will look more closely at the people that I see everyday and try to notice when someone seems off, not themselves or in a bad place. I will look into others eyes and try to notice sadness and hopelessness. I will ask the people who I know are strong how they are feeling. Because even the strong feel weak sometimes.
I will start a conversation and offer a lifeline - just like you did my friend.
And if we all do the same, maybe that number of 3,000 lives a day will drop by just one, and then by two or three - until every hopeless person out there is handed a lifeline - just like you handed me.