Suicide Through the Cracks: The one the system missed

Posted: August 2, 2018 in addiction, Depression, inequality, mental health, psychiatry, psychology, stigma, suicide
Tags: , ,


“You see the giant and the shepherd in the valley and Elah and your eye is drawn to the man with the sword and shield and the glittering armor. But so much of what is beautiful and valuable in the world comes from the shepherd, who has more strength and purpose than we can ever imagine.”
-Malcolm Gladwell

By Cortland Pfeffer

I survived a suicide attempt. I also spent years receiving treatment in rehab centers and psychiatric hospitals. However my friend, Joe, did not survive. He spent many years on the streets and in jails before taking his life on February 25, 2010. This is what suicide looks like. This is him after hanging himself.

There is no difference between us, besides our resources and the subsequent treatment we were provided. He grew up in a rough environment including his home, neighborhood, school, friends, and life experiences. I grew up in a family that had money, offered support, and always knowing I had a security blanket if things went astray.

That is how our stories began and unfortunately how one of our stories end. But did it have to end this way?

There is enormous stigma associated with the word “suicide.” People cringe when you even mention the word and immediately change the subject. If we are afraid to talk about it, how on earth do we think we are going to prevent it? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, taking more than 40,000 per year. At this rate, in one decade, we lose 400,000 people to suicide – equivalent to the entire population of Oakland, California.

When someone is suicidal, the typical reaction is “don’t talk like that!” or “that’s not even funny.” Or it turns to simplifying the situation such as, “other people have it worse than you,” or “just snap out of it, things will get better.” Nobody wants to “deal with it” and most people will adamantly refuse to even discuss it. You may even be considered selfish for having those thoughts and leaving close ones behind.

But when suicide does occur, the response is quite the opposite. Suddenly, everyone is there and feels terrible. They did not see the signs, never saw it coming, and can only talk about the amazing qualities of the deceased. It even goes as far as to hear people saying, “why didn’t they just reach out?”

If anyone has ever lost someone to suicide, they know the tremendous amount of pain associated. There may not be a worse feeling in the world. There are so many unanswered questions, “what ifs”, and “Should haves”. In the end, nobody commits suicide because they want to die, they commit suicide because they want the pain to go away.

I was suicidal, Joe committed suicide.

Part of the reason Joe is dead is because of the stigma associated with suicide along with the professionals he worked with that neglected and labeled him. He did not get treated as he deserved.

Joe didn’t have money, my family did. He went to jail and stayed long-term, I went to jail and got bailed out. He stayed in jail, while I was offered treatment instead. His crimes were all non-violent drug possession charges, mine were DUI, assault, and disorderly.

The difference? I had money and resources. Based on the information in the paragraph above, is there any other reason for the difference in penalties?

Joe and I were also born with the same temperament, which is more in tune with others emotions and greater sensitivity. This is neither good nor bad, just the way we were born. This is not to say that being emotional is guaranteed to create issues.

To be on this far end of the spectrum, along with consistently being denied needed support, along with the unhealthy environment is a formula for addiction. They refer to this as the biopsychosocial model. The biology is the genetics, the psychological refers to the emotional neglect and trauma, and the sociological refers to growing up in a broken home, overpopulated schools with minimal resources, poverty, and lack of positive role models.

But to also be denied the needed support on a consistent basis.

Some people are born more sensitive than others, which means they are going to get hurt more easily. Being an extremely sensitive male is vastly unacceptable in this society. It results in repeated invalidation such as “you are overreacting,” “you shouldn’t be feeling that way,” “men don’t cry,” “tough it out,” or “what’s wrong with you?” It also leads to being greatly misunderstood and isolation. The only way to gain acceptance is to create a mask, or a false self, to find a sense of belonging or purpose. People accept you when you wear your mask, which makes it more difficult to remove. But deep inside, we know it is not our true self.

For example, the mask teaches us that men are supposed to act out in anger when they are hurt. When we respond in anger, it is accepted. When we misbehave, we are accepted.

The mask brings us great power to finally feel alive. The more acceptance and connection the mask gains for us, the more we try to fill these roles. In fact, we start to believe that we are the mask we wear.

Then something bizarre happens. People turn on us for that exact same mask that they once praised. Suddenly you took things too far, you get labeled and judged for the same behaviors that were once glamorized.

This leads to addiction. It can be any substance or activity outside of ourselves that allows an escape from the pain. This can take the form of alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, co-dependency, anger, or any compulsive behavior that lets our soul temporarily come through the cracks in our mask.

Each culture and society has their own version of acceptable masks. But they all serve the same purpose, to escape the pain and hide from any difficult emotion. It grants us temporary relief, which is reinforcing, as it seems quite simple to take a pill, smoke a joint, or drink a beer and the pain instantly vanishes. This creates a pattern of depending on our substance/behavior, believing that we are killing the pain, but in essence we are only adding fuel to the fire. The need for the substance/behavior becomes a matter of life-or-death and we start doing things we normally would never imagine all in an effort to use again and ease the pain. These new behaviors get judged and labeled as being a “bad person” which only adds layers to the mask and we begin to hate the monster we have created.

And that is just it, we hate the monster, the false-self, the mask. We don’t hate ourselves, we hate the mask that we have been wearing.

So, the truth is when we say, “I want to kill myself,” we have it reversed. It is not the “self” that needs to die, it is the “I”. The “I” refers to the ego, the false self, the mask. We need to kill our false self and then the healing can begin.

As Eckhart Tolle states, “The secret of life is to die before you die, and find that there is no death.” He is referring to the death of the ego, the self-righteous suicide.

No health professional ever reached out to Joe, no one even talked to him, nor did they even know how to approach him. Instead they saw a “criminal” who was “angry” and was misjudged and mislabeled. While I went through the same difficulties, I was referred to as the “patient” that had a “disorder” and only needed proper treatment.

They never got to see beyond his mask. Joe was the most sensitive, caring, loving, and loyal person you could ever meet. However, that was not accepted in his culture so he became the angry, arrogant, drug addict – which is more acceptable. He wore this mask his entire life, hiding his true self which led to more drugs, crimes, and erratic behavior.

No one in the field ever even dared to think, “This is a genuinely caring kid who has never gotten a chance to show himself.” Because once the label is created, everything you do is attached to that label. They read your chart and a decision is made before the first encounter.

While my rap sheet was for more horrendous, I was considered “a poor sensitive kid that needs someone to love him.” Whereas Joe was considered “unreachable.”

The difference in outcomes is related to how the patients are treated. One of my favorite sayings is, “you can get anyone to tell you their secrets if you love them enough.” Yet, in this field we are told to get the deepest secrets of the client, but not get too close. It doesn’t work that way. I won’t show you what is behind my mask until you show me what is behind yours.

He let me see behind this mask and I let him see behind mine. And that is how true connections and relationships are built. I know the real Joe, something the “professionals” never took time to do.

Although I received better treatment, Joe was the better man. We shared a special bond and he would always reach out to me at times of need. One time he ended up in jail and had no place to go once released. He called me and we let him stay in our home for a while. On the first night at dinner, he looked to my wife and said, “this is the best food I’ve ever had.” And he meant it, to him it was everything, while I had become so grown so accustom to these things I had taken them for granted.

Joe had a unique following of people. He loved to love. If he had two dollars to his name, he would spend it on others. He gave just to give, never expecting anything in return. This is what attracted people to Joe, he was pure once you got to see behind his mask.

He also had a son, Anthony, who he loved more than anything. You could see and sense the love these two had for one another. Joe would always say, “I love you buddy” and kiss Anthony. I never saw a man kiss his little boy before, it was admirable. I make sure that I do that with my three-year-old son now and I think of Joe every time.

Anthony never saw the labels of “drug addict,” “bipolar,” or “criminal.” That is the beauty and genius of children, they do not see masks or labels. Anthony only saw him as I did, as an angel. A kind, beautiful human with so much severe pain that nobody knew existed.

His friends started showing up at the house, and I started coming home to see my 10-year-old daughter sitting at home with a bunch of strange men I’ve never met.

After a few warnings we told him he couldn’t stay here if these people kept showing up on their own. He told his friends to wait until he was home, but they refused to listen. That’s the downfall of being so pure, people will take advantage of you. It broke my heart, but we had to remove him from our home for safety of our daughter.

A few months later I received an email that gives me chills just thinking about.

“Joe is dead. He hung himself.”

He didn’t call me this time. Perhaps the pain grew too great that he didn’t want someone to talk him out of it one more time. I had kicked him out, I was his support, and the guilt I carry with me is insurmountable at times.

So, when people ask me why I fight so hard for patients, this is one of the main reasons. If we lived in a just world, Joe would have received the treatment I received and he would be with us today. If we lived in a world guided with love, somebody would have built trust with him, got to know him, and offer the services he needed. But in a world guided by fear, we judge, label, and allow 40,000 cases like Joe happen each year.

People do not go away when they die. Only the false self dies along with the body. Our spirit lives on forever. The things Joe passed on to me, I still carry and pass along to my children. He is with all of us that remember him. He is here right now as long as we let him in.

I love you Joe.

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Taking the Mask Off” is the new book by Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne. Cortland Pfeffer spent years as a patient in psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and jails before becoming a registered nurse and working in the same facilities. Based on his experience, this story is told from both sides of the desk. It offers a unique and valuable perspective into mental health and addiction, revealing the problems with the psychiatric industry while also providing the solution – one that brings together science, spirituality, philosophy, and personal experience.

“Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution” is available on Amazon, and Balboa Press

  1. Dpadrie says:


    That is a sad but wonderful story you tell about Joe, You have some very good insight and it is so true what you say that people will only show you beyond the mask if they know they can trust you. However, if you know what you know and have been through similar experiences the person across from soon get that you know what you are talking about, they will know if you are getting them and if they can trust you, It is a therapists job to ensure that the client and therapist transference is mostly done subconsciously and with suicide it is such a delicate taboo area that yes people are terrified of it for many legitimate reasons because they are afraid they will get it wrong and what a huge responsibility it is to take on such an itricate subject and to be willing to to work with it. for any person even a therapists and I am with you on this but like with most interventions I believe you need a professional but one with some experience and always one that feels confident to do the work. So I won’t say to much more except I admire your courage and I will hold Joe in my prayers he sounds like a really nice and good person who got lost through I am sure all the things you mentioned and the services are inadaquate here in Ireland but i am sure in this area it is so in the world. But hey all we can do is make a difference wherever we can as we will never manage to save them all and i know your not saying that , we do need to improve and I can Identify with you so much as have had two friends in the last two years do the same thing and I know that guilt so well . If only I had, Maybe I could have , and so and so on … But you know what it has created and stered you in the direction your going and if we can keep letting people know that it is alright to be your true self, and in saying that we need our ego as a defense mechanism especially in our younger yrs however, I think one of our jobs is to deflate the ego to a healthy size where you can also see the truth. I would have loved to have said more but have to go and maybe ill drop back in . It is really a pleasure listening to a real person speaking his truth. Lastly I think with people who are suffering we need to show them that love and keep reaffirming their dignity. Love and peace to you and yours..


    P.S. I am dyslexic so please forgive any errors spellings grammar mistakes as had no time to proof read .

    Liked by 4 people

    • I love this comment “we need to show them that love and keep reaffirming their dignity”

      I make spelling and grammar mistakes all the time

      Is the message that counts

      Liked by 1 person

    • colinandray says:

      You make some excellent points but I do not believe it takes an expert in the field to befriend somebody in distress. That is such a dangerous myth because it puts people off. Let me explain:

      If you know somebody who is clearly having difficulties, you only need to be human(e). You only need to say “Let’s go for a coffee and talk” or “I care about you and am worried.” or whatever similar expression covers the same sentiment. You need no experience except to be human(e).

      Of course there will come a point when professional guidance will be required but that can be approached later. The initial, and most important step, is to assure them that they are not alone; that you care about them; that you will help them wherever you can.

      On this line of thought however, you must never tell them “what you would do”, or to “just work though it” or “it’s okay it’ll sort itself out” because it won’t. The best you can do is suggest they consider certain options. i.e. You use your expertise to point them in the right direction, but they ultimately have to make the decisions.

      Be a friend!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Dpadrie says:

        Hi Again,

        Had to reply. I get what your saying and agree but you also have to remember that not everyone has the same ability , insight and knowledge about suicide. Plus suicide training is there for a good reason and is really useful to spot the signs and gain that knowledge of the do’s and don’ts I suppose you can call them, because I have seen unqualified people like a family member do exactly what you spoke about , this Jesus snap out of it John, Get on with it will you.. etc etc. And I have also had a family member after doing this once and losing a family member who then had a nephew who was going through it and he wanted to go up and give him a section 30 as he called it. It is slang words used by the police for interagation as the case maybe. But thank god he was telling me what he was about to do as I was able to manage to get him to seek professional help for him. So yes a befriending and going for a coffee giving them the time really listening I mean with suicide you need to have the ability to listen intently to what a person is really saying. And the reason I say this is because the well trained ear will spot the signs even from this side of the mask if you are a good listener. Plus yes you got to be real careful of what you say and as you say try and get them to reach a decision to get some help. I mean again it can be so complex in some cases and intoners pretty straight forward. And I am of course saying this from years of experience and personal experience too. Sorry not sure what to call you..Is it ok to use Paul or Mike a more american name 🙂 But yes individuals are so very fine tuned when they are speaking with someone and transference is at work all the time so they are acute in the awareness if you are being genuine and also they are gaging your energy and that must be at least attempting to transfer that love integrity while reaffirming their dignity self esteem and worth . And of course in my experiencing all individuals are unique at source so they can often need different things , and , again it is lets call them the other person instead of therapist , the other persons job to listen for those needs because within what people say there are always hidden messages . I am sure you have came across this .. and again Paul/Mike that is why I say not everyone has that ability to deal with suicide issues . And I have met those people who are terrified because it holds up a mirror that we are all susceptible and vulnerable to such things you know . So much really needs to be taken into account but also very often all that is needed is a friend to hear them and be there for them I agree also. And you sound like you would be a real good and wise friend to have. I only met you on your blog and I sense your value..

        Peace and love to you and yours,


        Liked by 3 people

  2. This touches close to home as I too lost someone to suicide.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. brianbalke says:

    When I went through this, the most frightening statement came from one of my closest intimates. From a life experience that included Jesus, Robert Kennedy and MLK Jr, he said: “What you are doing is admirable, but a lot of history teaches that the people that care the most get killed. Maybe the reason that nobody is standing up to help you is that we’re waiting for you to prove that love works.”

    If I hadn’t chosen to focus on the admission that what I was doing was worthy, I probably would have gone crazy.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Dani Lynn says:

    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. Love & Light -Dani

    Liked by 3 people

  5. luverley says:

    Thank you for sharing and writing a powerful article. Tooo many days i feel suicidal and nobody knows how to react it is hard. It’s isolating. I’m sorry you went through this and Joe too. I will think of him today and all the good things he had to share.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. James says:

    Thank you for sharing the author’s story and about Joe; he did the best that he could to be himself despite the deep emotional pain he may also have been feeling.

    In the article the author wrote: “Being an extremely sensitive male is vastly unacceptable in this society. It results in repeated invalidation such as “you are overreacting,” “you shouldn’t be feeling that way,” “men don’t cry,” “tough it out,” or “what’s wrong with you?” ”

    These statements were also very true; I heard them said to me while I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. I was raised in the U.K. (and now live in the S.E. of the U.S.), and was told these things by my mother and father. Yet hearing these things from your own parents and family is the same as them telling you that you’re not acceptable as you are; that there is something wrong with you, that you don’t fit in, and that you have to change in order to continue to receive love, and to not be mocked anymore.

    Hearing these type of comments is highly stressful for child and adolescent sensitive males – especially for introverts; it damages the development of what is known as their self-esteem or self-worth. They hear derogatory messages from people they trust and have loved, and introject those opinions. They believe them to be true because parents are often the primary sources of feedback about who we are when we’re children.

    In response to hearing derogatory comments, at times an adolescent male who doesn’t feel good about himself may make poor choices (e.g. turn to the sensory pleasure of using substances that can be addictive) as a way to repress and seek distraction from being unable to cope with the strong feelings they have in response to what they’ve heard family members say.

    Speaking as a sensitive adult male in his early 40s, there are times when I feel that I don’t fit into U.S. mainstream culture, which is replete with its stereotypes of “acceptable” masculine men. I do appreciate that stereotypes are generalizations and don’t accurately describe everyone.

    The male stereotype in the USA that seems (to me) to be acceptable to society depicts men who are supposed to work ‘hard’ or long hours to sustain American capitalism, to provide financially for the family and pay for the house with its white picket fence; they remain dominant over women and children, and have a low level of emotional awareness, sensitivity, and expression.

    Is there anyone else (women and men) who have observed aspects of this stereotype as I have described it? Am I alone in having jumped ship and not subscribing to that way of being as a man?


    Liked by 5 people

  7. colinandray says:

    Celebrate your individuality James! When in male company, I refuse to talk about sexuality, about women, and I am not interested in soccer, football, baseball or hockey. I enjoy track sports and love gymnastics and skating competitions. Needless to say my social circle is small, and my closest friends are female. I am very happy with me! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Dpadrie says:


    I would also like to say that is always advisable to support as a friend but also to seek out professional help. I mean this is a very sensitive subject and an area that no one should assume they know what they are doing as the road to hell was paved with good intentions. I don’t doubt for one minute that often a supportive friend is enough however, often it is much more complex than one can realise. I have been and like Joes friend I am still here to tell the tail but man am I glad I also had the professional help I received. And I certainly did not come from a privileged home or back round. Through my experiences I ended up later training in the field of psychotherapy and boy was my eyes opened to the truth in such cases. I now have 12 years of working in mental health also and I have to say it is highly dangerous to assume a role or to assume you think you know what is best for anyone. That is the very reason people go get expertise training just like in any profession. I mean would you allow a friend do surgery on you if he was not trained.? Would you let your friend invest your money if he was not expert in the field. Come on guys as I have said further back it is a very delicate area and OFTEN i said OFTEN A friend will be enough but also it can lie much deeper.. and I can’t say it enough you can never assume you know what is going on in a person and some people hold there masks much tighter and they may never allow anyone in . Some people will be unreachable and some will be reachable . But please don’t ever feel that you are enough always try bring the person to accept professional help . That is the wise choice to make, and, yes if they make the choice all the better because they will always feel a little bit impowered if they can make their own choices. Because let me just say that suicide comes from feeling powerless, so powerless to the degree that a person feel that the only power the have left within them, the one last power and ultimate power is that I have the power over my life, and, it is a very extreme position to be in where you can see no other options left accept that one. Now I have nothing but love and empathy for people who have come in contact with suicide and people who have suffered suicide, and, people who have died from suicide. And, It is a powerful story of Joe so sad and so well put and protrayed by the blog owner and I agree with so much of what you say and it really hits home. I have nothing but respect for others that have been through what you and others and myself have been through. But if it has thought me anything it is to never assume that I know best or better than anyone else , Even dow I have been there. Even dow I am one of the blessed a surviver. Please we give people the status of expertise because they have studied and trained and looked at all the intricacy’s of the given subject why would anyone think different of such a thin iced subject as this. Nobody should ever play god in these situations and I am not suggesting that anyone is , just to be clear but I am just saying life is precious we all know that and I certainly would not place myself in my friends hands to do anything that regarded my life if he was not fully qualified to do so. Much respect and love to you all but if you are ever feeling suicidal yes use a friend for support by all means .However, seek professional help along with that, and ill leave on this note , I would expect nothing less from a true friend than for them to direct me toward professional help . I recognise my limitations as a human being and any through friend should also know when they are out of there dept. And if they haven’t at least done some training in whatever area a person needs help they should never assume the right to such a huge responsibility as someones life.

    Peace love and well being to you all, and, again thank you so much for your story. As I said I will definitely keep Joe and you in my prayers.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Both a friend and a good professional Will help

      Some professionals are the problem, while some are great

      You’ve spoken very wisely about this


    • colinandray says:

      Hi Dpadrie – I cannot argue with anything you have said (I too have been in that field) however, I will maintain that a simple befriending can make a huge, and possibly life changing, difference. Yes, one must know ones limitations as this can be a precarious field to venture into however, is it that difficult to say “I’m worried about you. What’s up?” Is it that difficult to say “You need some help here. How about we get some professional opinions and I’ll come with you if you wish?”. Is it that difficult to say “I care about you. How can I help you?” Is it that difficult to say “Can I take you to a place I know where they can help you?” (which presupposes of course that you know what services are available in your area). I am not suggesting that such a crisis can be handled solely by a “good samaritan” however, I am suggesting that they can provide a role by simply affirming the value of the subjects existence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dpadrie says:


        Absolutely sounds much better when said like you have just said it… I’d always just be worried that some people would pick up a message and think they are now equipped to deal with a friends suicide Ideation because I heard to befriend is enough , who needs expertise , because I have seen the outcome of people trying to assume that role and not really understanding the seriousness of it, because as much as people are afraid of it the ones that know wow might be out of my dept here, there are also bloody idiots out there who are quite dangerous when it comes to thinking they know what is best. And I have also met the internet wizards who think ill just google it and read some articles on it and then go out thinking they know what they are doing. Again any logical mindset will of course know this is not wise but trust me there are some people who think they have found the fast track way to sort out all the problems in the world … AHH THE INTERNET 🙂 really .. I actually have a son who thinks all the answers to his problems are on the net … and that is so ridiculous .. while the internet is a revolutionary discovery and brill for some things it is so dysfunctional in other ways. Anyway yes got you and as I said I just wanted to be sure that people are not taking the wrong message from it .

        Respect love and peace to you all,


        Liked by 2 people

      • Dpadrie says:

        Hi , Love the blog set up. Did you do it or did you outsource it .?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a word press theme


      • colinandray says:

        Dpadrie: Your question about blog setup is positioned as a response to my comments. I would assume that your question was intended for takingthemaskoff. Regards. Colin.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on Diary of a Recovering Codependent and commented:
    Thought provoking and painful but it is the reality. Please take a few moments to read. Someone you know may be struggling and you don’t even know. Thank you takingoffthemask and sharing this story. It needs to be heard.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Dpadrie says:

    Yep not working out for me to good the wordpress themes , oh your on a paid one , is it?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. gingersnap74 says:

    Reblogged this on Caterpillar To Butterfly and commented:
    This hits home for me. I lost a cousin last year to suicide and weeks before that I took the noose off of my best fiends neck for him to be alive still today. I also have seen the face of depression in my own mirror. It’s very serious and for some it’s a daily struggle or a trigger out of the blue.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thank you, from one kind caring soul to another. I leave my heart out on my sleeve, itkeeos me real, destroys my masks, and enables me to be… kia kaha

    Liked by 3 people

  13. This is truly a complex issue. One of my co-workers daughters committed suicide last week. Someone else on a community page that I belong to witnessed her roommate stabbing himself in the neck, just yesterday. This is such a complex issue. I’ve been thinking lately of how do we as a society give these individuals who need help, the chance of getting help. Most of us know someone who has either tried or has been successful at taking their own lives. As resourceful human beings, if someone wants to take their life, they will indeed do so. How do we help them? How can we be more supportive if at the end of the day, that option still exists? These are the questions I have been kicking around for quite awhile as I try to make myself more aware of the struggles of those with depression.
    Sorry for the loss of your friend. It’s instances like these where I hope there truly is a ‘better place’ free from suffering.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You ate right, this is only scratching the surface of the issue. IN Belgium, they will assist a suicide if someone is chronically depressed. I just think everyone should have equal access to supports and the best treatment. Not based on money. We are messed up in America that way. Now if someone wants to end their life and has tried all things and had had equal access. Then we are on a different subject.

      Also once someone has committed to doing this, it is almost impossible to stop tjem. But before that, we can

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Tessa says:

    Reblogged this on Advocate for Invisible Illness! and commented:
    I can so relate to this. RIP Joe!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Martha says:

    Beautiful….your friend has wings to help even more now. I survived my suicide attempt so this was heartfelt for me. I didn’t get the best treatment and the medicine made me worse, I only had God to help me through. Many told me I was being stupid, crazy and selfish but the hardest pill was blacks don’t commit suicide. I survived but it could have been worse. Thank you for sharing! Continue to teach the world n your children how to love the way he shoes you.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Reblogged this on CELONA'S BLOG and commented:
    Very massive and important read to all it may concern..
    I thought I should share..
    Go check out this great blog!!

    Liked by 3 people

  17. cindy knoke says:

    “So, the truth is when we say, “I want to kill myself,” we have it reversed. It is not the “self” that needs to die, it is the “I”. The “I” refers to the ego, the false self, the mask. We need to kill our false self and then the healing can begin.”
    Wow. I need to spend more time reading your blog.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. cindy knoke says:

    Oh, and I am so very sorry about Joe.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Laura Johnson says:

    Joe was like a brother to me… He was also my brothers best friend. I miss him like crazy. RIP lil Joe❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  20. gchan7127 says:

    Wow, this is so sad. Thank you for sharing. I really agree with this “In the end, nobody commits suicide because they want to die, they commit suicide because they want the pain to go away.”

    I honestly think there is good in everyone. Some takes longer to find, but it exists.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. reynaemorris says:

    I was so blessed by this blog. Thank you for being light to this world.I thank God for courageous people like you. I can relate to many things you spoke about on this blog. I pray the Lord blesses you abunduntaly and shines His face upon you every day. You’re making a difference in peoples lives.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Melanie says:

    Your friend Joe lives on through you. You have turned his pain and suffering into light and love. You are so brave and I admire your ability to turn your words into knowledge and hope for others. I offer you much love, respect, and gratitude for your effort.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. walkerkaty0 says:

    This world and society is so fucked up.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Very moving.

    My “Joe” left this world the same way 12 years ago this November, but the last two years of his life were without us as we’d moved abroad, but all our other friends were still around him. He too wanted rid of his pain.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. […] reblogged a post that really hit home. It reminded me of Luther, it reminded me of myself. It reminds me of so many […]

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This really got to me…You’re right, suicide is a touchy subject and not everyone can understand it, so not everyone knows how to deal with it…I never had a really close friend of mine commit suicide…But an old friend of mine did once…and my friends girlfriend..and my neighbor…and although I wasn’t as close with them, it still broke my heart..and i know how they felt…I was suicidal once and it’s the worst feeling to feel like death is your only option..

    Liked by 2 people

  27. After talking to people who were suicidal, I often wondered if anything that I said was the right thing. I wondered if I was saying the classic statements like you mentioned in your blog and if I was perhaps feeding into their wanting attention because the truth is, some people say that they want to kill theirselves and never have any intentions at all of doing so. One friend in particular was constantly saying that she was going to kill herself and to this day, she still says it if things don’t go her way but she’s never actually done it. She has lied and said that she took a bunch of pills and when she was taken to the hospital by a family member, they tested her and didn’t find a large amount of medicine in her system. So I guess the real question is, how do you know when someone actually is wanting to kill their self and when it’s nothing more than a ploy for attention?

    Liked by 2 people

    • If someone is saying this for attentoon, they must truly need attention poorly. YOU Can Never ever go wrong by giving someone love

      Liked by 2 people

    • colinandray says:

      Hi AR: How can you tell the difference? I would suggest that there is no difference (from a befriending perspective) in that both circumstances would infer a need for professional help. Err on the side of caution and assume the intent is legitimate until proved to the contrary. I cannot stress enough that while befriending is simply the caring and human(e) thing to do, your goal as a friend is simply to assure them that they are not alone; that you care; and that you will help them to get professional guidance.

      Liked by 2 people

  28. carolinecassidy84 says:

    Reblogged this on Silent D And Me and commented:
    A very profound and honest blog post on the subject of suicide.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. carolinecassidy84 says:

    Reblogged on Silent D And Me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for joining this fight and spreading awareness

      Liked by 1 person

      • carolinecassidy84 says:

        You’re welcome. Your friend’s story needs to be heard far and wide, I’m just happy to help in any way I can.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are, let him live on through this

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dpadrie says:

        Hi Again taking off the mask, if people are interested there are 2 very well known suicide prevention courses that are really good to have done that will give you the often needed neccessary skills that can make all the difference one is called ” ASIST” and the other is called “SAFE TALK” Both are very established and have been doing it for years here in Ireland . I would think they might be world wide, but if not I am sure you can contact them and maybe do the course online . Either way there will be good information and education on this very sensitive subject. Congrats on the response your getting and hopefully people will feel empowered from this. And for all the people who mentioned God that is also where my first helping hand came from.. He sent me an angel just at the right time..

        Remember to always reaffirm people love worth and dignity in your daily travels ..

        God bless you

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you this is great to hear there are good resources out there. THANK YOU FOR All You have added to the conversation that is much needed


  30. louisehasgbs says:

    A very difficult topic to discuss with anyone because it’s such an emotional subject. There are differences, though, between suicide due to emotional despair and – what I have dubbed – self-euthanasia.

    In my opinion, people who face a slow, agonising demise should be allowed to select euthanasia to prevent further unwarranted suffering.

    Emotional despair is different. How we see and treat each other has to change. We need to be more compassionate to ALL people regardless of creed, colour, class, politics. Empathy Skills classes at schools will be a good place to start.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Billy says:

    You’ve said it all. x

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Dazrahe says:

    I read your blog yesterday and it took me this long to post something – which I was very hesitant on doing without really understanding why. I hesitated liking this because I like how you wrote and it touched or moved me but hitting that like ‘button’ didn’t seem right. I’m not sure I could explain the range of emotions that went through me as I was reading and once I finished. Being speechless but wanting to say things isn’t something I’m overly used to, but it makes sense – what you wrote brought a few things to light. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am very glad you have commented and wrote this to me. Things like this make my day and tells me to keep doing it, keep fighting, keep speaking up. Yes, it’s hard to, like. I see what you mean., thank you for writing to me


  33. givingleaf says:

    When we see the word Suicide we should think Great Pain, and the thing is, pain is never self inflicted. Is the only way we can help individual people is to love them when they come to us?? How else can we affect a lot of people?

    Liked by 2 people

  34. luciddream85 says:

    You hit it on the head; we don’t want to die, we just want the pain to stop. Every second you’re breathing, it’s like you’re struggling to do it. It wears you out both mentally and physically.

    And it’s usually the ones that don’t say a word are the one’s that do it. And then everyone is stunned and wondering how they could suffer in such pain so quietly. I tried it when I was 15 and I failed. And then I was sent to a mental hospital, which was a safe haven compared to where I lived.
    They say that at the finality of your death (if taken by your own hand) there is a split moment of regret, and a wish that you could take it all back. But it’s too late. That’s what hurts me most of all. Except that I had a friend who killed herself a few years ago, and they actually found her dead with a smile on her face.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Javier Omar says:

    Reblogged this on The Untold Story Revealed.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Arwen says:

    Powerful, as usual. It’s tragic how the system perpetuates this problem and lends an advantage to those who are already born into advantage. That was me, as well, and I know I could have been a lot worse off than I am now had it not been so.

    Thanks for raising awareness with this blog. There really needs to be more dialogue about these kinds of issues to hopefully help prevent other tragedies. It can be so isolating to be in such pain, but to have it invalidated by the society around you.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. I agree. There is an unconscionable stigma around acknowledging the truth that we are all broken, sinful, and desperate sinners in need of God and the people whom He gives us to know throughout our lives. As I recall, additionally, one in every five Americans has one or more mental health concerns that could kill them if they are left alone to “deal with it.” Whether their deaths happen by way of drug abuse, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders, alcoholism, et cetera, people who are afflicted with mental illnesses are still dying as a result of unacknowledged and thereby untreated concerns. May God open our eyes to the truth that enough is enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very powerful stuff here. You’ve said it perfectly. We do this to each other, we can stop it

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amen. Had you asked me what I thought ten years ago, I would have denied often that I needed the support and advice to navigate hereditary clinical anxiety and OCD, as I began experiencing the symptoms of both conditions then. Fifteen-year-old me was thankful to be open with my loved ones and myself by the end of that year and so am I now as a twenty-five-year old. Thank God, He made me aware that I am not alone and I pray I can be an ambassador of Him to many others who struggle every day as I do. After all, He made us in His image, came to us as a fellow human, died, and rose again for us all so we could be forgiven of our sins and have relationships with Him. He also told us to love Him with all we are and have and to love our neighbors as ourselves. All told, combating the stigma around mental illness is one way to do that, is it not?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutley! !

        You are wise beyond your years

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. I thank God for you and people like you as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  38. rachelsempowerment says:

    Reblogged this on rachelsempowerment and commented:
    A must read. Society is so unjust. The world is so cruel, and I believe we need to take a stand.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. what an awesome tribute to Joe.. I hate the stigma that if you don’t have money you are worthless and not worthy of help. My husband and I aren’t rich but have sent my daughter to rehab several times. The last was for 11 months and she returned only to use within 11 days. She is bipolar and suffers with mental illness. It is very hard to get help. Psychiatrists only want to medicate her to the point she doesn’t function. What good is that? My heart goes out to Joes’s son, what a great loss for him because he seemed like such a great guy. Unfortunately the system failed him once again. If you don’t have money their isn’t much help out there which is horrible. I am so sorry for your friends death and very sorry our system failed.. I know the struggles of mental illness and addiction all to well and society needs to realize it isn’t the low life from the ditches anymore. It is upstanding citizens with good families and jobs who get caught up in this disease. Thanks for sharing with us.. Julie

    Liked by 2 people

  40. blkkat49 says:

    This post has come at a time where my daughter is under so much stress. She works with seniors with Dementia, and Alzheimer, she then comes home to a 13 year old with deep emotional issues and a 10 year old with Autism. She just called me as I was reading your post and she says she has never felt this stressed, ever, and I’ve seen her so stressed that it has scared me. She mentioned suicide, years ago, she also said, when her best friend had a stroke, at 32, that her friend was lucky and she wished it had been her. I am here 5 days a week, and some weekends to give my daughter help, but I never feel I’m doing enough. Thank you for this very important post.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. nacaroinc says:

    Reading this gave me chills. You brought something to light that is often swept under a rug and only talked about when it hits home. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Wow, that was really touching. I agree that society brushes off suicide and makes those suffering of depression feel even worse due to those being “tabou”. And you’re absolutely right that that makes it impossible to fix the problem. Mostly, I think that most individuals are too selfish to see that others suffer, and only see how their suffering affects them. When people die of cancer, we blame the disease: “So and so died of cancer”. Depression is also a disease, so why is it that when someone commits suicide we blame the victim and not the cause? It’s ridiculous. As a society we need to become more objective and see the problem from a new angle, as opposed to always relating it to ourselves, then maybe we’ll be able to help those in need.

    Liked by 2 people

  43. popagandi says:

    Eckhart Tolle states, “The secret of life is to die before you die, and find that there is no death.”

    Yup. And of course, validation that what you say is happening is happening; what you are feeling, you are feeling. It is in the void of feeling where people take the leap.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Joyful2bee says:

    It always saddens me to think of the life a person could have lived if they had gotten the help they needed. I have seen it with alcoholics too. A life that could have done so much taken because of such deep sadness, depression or pain. Thank you for sharing this painful experience that helps us understand how to understand. My oldest son was always a sensitive child, and as he grew was teased by other kids. So he learned to survive by hiding his kind heart from others. He acted out the part of the angry young man, but took “wounded” friends because he felt he could help them. But he was wounded too, because of his helplessness when his father was being emotionally abusive. I have since seen my son evolving and opening his heart to truly love a wonderful woman. Sometimes love can start the healing process but the person has to have time to heal and usually to have some help. Thank you for a very thought provoking blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. scottsymmonds says:

    Powerful my friend

    Liked by 2 people

  46. I am sad. My friend who has depression has spent many a night contemplating it. Last week two of her of her friends who she met through a program committed suicide. She was not allowed to go to funerals. Families were ashamed and did not one anyone to Rimini them of the society she kept company. My friend felt rejected and she had go for assistance in her sadness. People are cruel and do not want to be reminded of their inefficiencies.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. popagandi says:

    Hi- an acquaintance of mine- a rational, sensitive woman who was vision impaired- killed herself in a mysterious suicide( facts and even family are hard to find.) Her name was Rena Vettleson, and she had a degree in social work.

    She always said she was a victim of gang stalking- and to my knowledge, she was not schizophrenic, or any other disorder- here is her story- sadly, her last days.

    Oddly, around the same time she was killed/ suicided/ suicide, I was shot in the back with a taser one odd night( settled out of court) hand others I knew were waging private personal wars for survival.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is an interesting story. Any police involvement what did they say

      Liked by 1 person

      • popagandi says:

        Hi- sorry I didn’t respond earlier. I think my blog is routed through GHCQ….
        Well, the internet details are sparse. And no news stories come up, no obituaries with family!

        There is some scant evidence she became involved in a talk therapy group in California for people who were also being stalked by DIA or FBI etc.

        Then, involvement in a church, and that the leader of that church later killed himself too.

        Then, the trail ends, and her story becomes that internet list that gets circulated on those blogs- and her blog gets overwritten by Chinese ” characters”.

        I couldn’t find any of her relatives using basic search engines, although I did find same last name people in the vicinity where I knew her.

        What I suspect, and could prive is that tbe phenomenon is real; that the tactics are the same; that their is a disinformation campaign aimed at people who report it; that government and others are involved.

        But they are very well organized, and each targeted persons case is different.


  48. tomthesnail says:

    It sounds like on some level you feel guilty for failing Joe. As you say it is society that fails the people who need support. Focus on what you did for Joe and how that supported him to “stay” in the world as long as he did and build that relationship with his son. Such a great post, thank you. TTS

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do feel guilt. I do see this was a failure by inequality ans the system. His death is what launched me to do this

      Liked by 1 person

      • tomthesnail says:

        Obviously you can ignore this but I’m offering this idea for your consideration. We can never know what is in someone’s mind when we feel that everyone would be better off without us or that life is just too painful but it seems unlikely that he was thinking that you had failed him in any way. If we were able to see beyond the immediate perhaps more people would step back from the edge.

        Doing something positive is a good way to honour him though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • THANK you. This is very good advice and a great thought. I am trying to honor him and make sure his death doesn’t just go unnoticed and he didn’t die for nothing

        Liked by 1 person

      • tomthesnail says:

        Sending a virtual hug!
        You’re doing a great job – only have to check out your number of followers to see how many people you are making contact with 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  49. John says:

    While I do not claim any ability or skill in handing the depressed, I feel as though being self-conscious of such things around them will only end up hurting them. Acting normally, while obviously staying away from any trigger comments, is something anyone can do and should do to help someone who is hovering on the brink. A great read, one that really made me uncomfortable (in a good way).

    Liked by 2 people

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