Pushing through to tomorrow


“Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here.”
Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”

The original version of the song “Hurt” was released in 1994, and many speculated on what Trent Reznor was speaking about in the haunting lyrics, but in 2002 Johnny Cash covered the song, and his voice and the pacing he put behind the song gave it a completely different feel, so much so that Reznor said, “that song isn’t mine anymore.”

Today, many will line up at Campbell Park at 10 a.m. to participate in the “Out of the Darkness” walk.

The walk aims to raise suicide awareness. Over the last decade, Beadle County has averaged two suicides per year, however, the last year has seen multiple unconfirmed suicides in the county.

At a state level, the pace of suicides over the first three months of the year would put the state on pace for a record year of suicides.

The state has never seen 200 deaths by suicide in one year, but the annual pace was 230 through the first quarter of 2021.

Nationally, suicide numbers have been going up during the pandemic. A study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that two particular subgroups of the population have been particularly vulnerable — those aged 12-17, and specifically those in that age group who are female.

Emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls in the U.S. aged 12-17 increased by 51% in February and March of 2021 over the same period of 2019.

Feeling locked into home while the world passes by is a terrible feeling. Those working in elder care facilities with strong protection orders in place that limited visitors noted an increased death rate among the residents — not from COVID, but simply due to a lack of socialization.

Now, this is seen in two lights. One by those who want to remove all restrictions and get life “back to normal” as soon as possible.

The other view is that ending the pandemic as soon as possible would be the most advantageous to the mental health of all involved.

From someone who has been through depression and worked in mental health for a number of years, the mind of someone who takes his or her own life is not as black and white as those two views.

Self-loathing and a negative self image contribute heavily to the spiral that often leads to suicide. The overwhelming weight of not being able to correct and/or get out of an environment that is producing the suicidal ideations only leads to push someone further down.

Simply removing all restrictions would certainly lead to significantly more COVID-19 cases, as the Delta variant is currently raging in the state, which has seen more hospitalizations and deaths.

Someone in a state of self hate knowing that their “freedom” led to another’s death would only send that person further down the spiral.

On the flip side, forcing someone into further isolation when he or she is struggling in that mode currently is only going to lead to self-harm and suicide numbers continuing to skyrocket.

So what do we do?

Quite simply, “we” need to realize that the collective “we” is made up of a lot of individuals. Individuals who each have singular feelings and emotions that are all warranted, all valid.

Rather than address these numbers as numbers, address the concern by addressing the individual who expresses self harm ideation early on in the process when he or she is expressing feeling down, overwhelmed, or needing assistance finding a reason to hope for tomorrow. Provide a shoulder, an ear, judgement-free to those who truly need it.

We recently “celebrated” the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The world has never been the same since that day.

Expecting to return to the normal that existed on Sept. 10, 2001 would be foolhardy. Similarly, expecting to return to the exact same life experienced before the pandemic took the lives of more than 225 times the amount of people who lost their lives on 9/11 is also foolhardy.

If your neighbor is hurting, please reach out.

Listen to them, honor their feelings, and do what you can to connect your neighbor with the help needed.

If you’re not sure what to do, read up on various ways to assist someone who is hurting at BeThe1SD.com. The phone for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.

Feeling like the world is moving by while “I am still right here” can be horrific.

There is hope for tomorrow, though. If you are hurting, please reach out.

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