Recently there has been a big push by the current U.S. presidential administration to attack the abuse of opioids and the connected overdose deaths that have reached a record high. Drug abuse of all kinds have been connected to depression. The Pew Research Centers reported in December of 2016 based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that overdoses reached more than 33,000 in 2015. The Pew Research Centers also report that suicide accounts for 60% of firearm deaths and just over half of all suicides.
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We have all heard voices from bad experiences in our past that still eats away at us, but we realized that the past is something we cannot change and what we can do, is learn from our mistakes and move forward. There’s also another voice that comes to us that tells us the complete opposite; it tells us that we’re not alone, we are beautiful, don’t give up. And that’s the voice we need to listen to. That is the voice of truth. That is the voice that tells you, ‘I’m Worth Living.” All of us have to dig deep within ourselves and be reminded of the importance of life.
In a recent book called What Made Maddy Run about collegiate track star Madison Holleran who committed suicide, Kate Fagan wrote:
The best four years of her life. That’s what Madison expected. Four years just like high school, except better — because now she’d be living on her own.
Actually, not quite on her own, living with a roommate. At first, the room she shared with Emily in Hill — the Penn dormitory — seemed just fine, cozy even. For the first few days, they both kept the room meticulous, desperately preserving the image of college life they’d carried around for years: pictures of high school friends above desks, shampoo and conditioner tucked neatly into a plastic carrying case, roommates moving easily around the shared space with laughter and smiles, music blaring, preparing for a big party.
This image soon dissolved. In its place appeared something more real: the messiness and claustrophobia of two people who don’t really know each other sharing two hundred square feet, of wet towels left on beds, of books and clothes covering every surface, of neither roommate living up to the expectations of the other, because, well, how could they? This disappointment mattered, of course, but then again so many spaces existed outside that little room in Hill: classrooms, coffee shops, the city, frat parties, restaurants, the track.
… The track.
Instagram image of Madison Holleran running during a high school track meet.
Resilience is the solution to the problem of suicide. Friends and family should be equipped with the tools necessary to bounce back from adversity of all kinds. Life is filled with challenges of all kinds. One person might have financial difficulties. Another person might have health issues. Another person could have had family issues that haunt them to this day. Aristotle once wrote, “To run away from trouble is a a form of cowardice and, while it is true that the suicide braves death, he does it not for some noble object but to escape some ill”. Many people know someone who has not been able to get over a wall that was blocking their forward progress without some kind of help or support. In the fast-paced world of today it is even more important to be there and recognize the warning signs whenever possible.