We've all heard that phrase, "Ain't no way."
"Ain't no way he would do that." "Ain't no way she would hurt herself." "Ain't no way he would kill himself." "Ain't no way she would even think like that."
From my long tenure in the people business, along with first-hand experience, I've learned that the phrase "ain't no way," does not apply when it comes to thoughts about or the act of suicide.
Incredibly, some of the most well-known leaders in the Bible have had thoughts of committing suicide. Such thoughts were evident in the lives of Moses, in Numbers 11:15; Elijah in 1 Kings 19:4; and Jonah in Jonah 4:8. Sadly, many other famous people in and out of our Bible history, such as King Saul, as told in 1 Samuel 31:4; but also Cleopatra (30 B.C.) and Ernest Hemingway (1961), have committed suicide. From the famous to the infamous, the act of suicide knows no boundaries.
Suicide is real and can happen to anyone, whether famous or not. The act of suicide boils down to a very real equation: typically unresolved past pain, plus negative coping skills, combined with an overwhelming event.
A person kills himself because the pain of the past - such as from mental, physical or sexual abuse memories - just doesn't go away. Add to that pain negative coping skills such as abusing alcohol, drugs, food, gambling or pornography, and a person is set on a vicious cycle of slow destruction.
The pain of the past plus negative coping skills - combined with an overwhelming event, such as the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, the death of a loved one or clinical depression - can all add up to making a person a candidate for suicide.
We can successfully break the suicide equation by addressing who we are and what has happened to us. We can positively cope with negative life experiences through exercise, journaling, hobbies and with our relationships with our family, friends and God. We can react to the overwhelming events in our lives by choosing to ask for help from our family, friends, clergy and the medical community.
The night my own father committed suicide in the backyard, he was all alone and chose not to ask for help from anyone. I wish that he had; I think he'd still be with us if he did.
We are here for you. Who are we? We are your family, your friends, the Airmen and leaders in your unit, your clergy and your medical community. We care, and we are here for you.
The phrase "ain't no way" does not apply to the thoughts or the act of suicide. It was John Donne who said, "No man is an island." We are all very real human beings, with very real experiences and very real lives, who can lean on very real friends.
If you are hurting, we are here for you.