Sunday I took part in something really important and special. At Old Westbury Gardens (also known as one of the most beautiful places ever, seen in the movies Cruel Intentions and Hitch), there was an Out Of The Darkness community walk. These are run by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and take place all over the United States. The walks are intended to honor loved ones lost to suicide, support the cause, and to raise awareness as well as educate and improve understanding of the subject. Suicide is often seen in movies, read about in novels, and even sung about. It can appear to be glamorous and maybe even as a way to "make your mark", but that's all wrong. I feel that like homosexuality and developmental disabilities, suicide is also too often joked about. It is a very serious subject, as well as an extremely sensitive one. I was glad to be able to participate. For those who've lost loved ones to suicide, I can see these walks serving a very therapeutic function, for you're surrounded by hundreds of people who have faced the same sad fate as you, but are coping and remembering and honoring their loved ones. I was very happy to be there in support of this. The gardens were beautiful and I made my team shirt really fun. Since I don't have a nickname, I commemorated one of the strongest fictional men I know.
The rest of Sunday was spent eating sandwiches and relaxing outside in the surprisingly warm October weather, and playing with babies.
If you or anyone you know are interested in the AFSP or these walks particularly, please visit their website at outofthedarkness.org. From there you can find an event near you, make a donation, help spread the word, and also just read up and gain a bit more understanding about suicide, warning signs, and prevention.
Also, if you or anyone you know is having thoughts of suicide, feelings of hopelessness and emotional distress, or is displaying any one of these behaviors:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
Additional information can be found on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.