I remember years ago listening to a doctor speak on the radio and something stuck with me ever since. I’m paraphrasing but the gist was this:

When someone who has been sad, distant, not themselves for a while suddenly starts going out of there way to see people, often giving them gifts or possessions don’t assume they got ‘better’. This is the time to really ask them if they are okay; to reach out and not simply accept the answer of ‘fine’ or ‘great’ or ‘never better’. Because for some people the relief of having made the decision to end their life can make them happy, euphoric even. 

He pointed out that often this change in the person is such a relief to their friends and family after having seeing someone they love suffer, they just don’t realise what has caused the change and frankly they don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ because they are just so happy to have the person they love ‘back’. But in reality, the person they love is saying goodbye. 

During the interview, he told the story of a colleague (back when he had a factory job before he became a doctor) who had been depressed for a long time. One day he came in and was really happy, people kept commenting on how good it was that he wasn’t sad and grumpy anymore. He gave people some of his things, took people to lunch. Went home and killed himself. 

He explained that when the police came to talk to people, they told him it was a common story they heard “but they were so much better.” 

So be there for your friends and family. Tell them what they mean to you. Let them talk to you without fear of judgement. LISTEN. Suggest people get help if you think they need it. 

Finally, let me add: The world will not be better off without you in it. You matter. You will be missed. Please don’t harm, hurt or kill yourself. 

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