I am posting the below with permission of the author, Billy Bromberg. As a result of this post my husband Jim and I have become aware of a suicide prevention group that is meeting in Crestline this evening at 5:30. The meeting is in the Mountain Brook City Hall building and will last until 7:00. More people in this country die by suicide than by homicide. It’s time to break the silence. It’s time to have honest and open conversations about depression and suicide. Only when the conversation is happening, only when it’s okay to talk about suicidal feelings can the part about asking for help come into the conversation. Now, here’s Billy’s post.
The Reunion It is the year of my 40th high school reunion . I am excited unlike I had been for the first three . A Facebook page has been created that I became aware of recently . There is a campaign working to collect emails and it grew daily on the page . Names I had not heard in 40 years , names I did not remember , names I forgot were classmates . A girl , girl of 58 , from the class posted asking for information about a picture in the yearbook .It was a name I had not heard in 40 years but I remembered her from a class or two . Not too many days later she posted again . She was having a book signing at a local shop . WOW ! That was newsworthy , great news . A regular girl like me had written a book , we went to high school together . This , was impressive ! I made a comment on the page with just those words and rhetorically asked how did you do that , get pubbed ? Later came an answer to my , not really a question , question . “ Billy , do you mean how did I do that because I’m blind ?” ………… .. no ….i didn’t …. mean that . I did not ….. know . Her response was a natural one made to answer how a sightless person could technically accomplish this . It had no sarcasm , it was not a retort , no ill intent , no pity me . As I read it , I felt her pride , sense of accomplishment and a contained excitement ! She fully explained how the computer reads to her and how she found a vehicle to have the book published . I thought I should go to the signing and buy her book , I worked till eight thirty , I did not go . Some weeks later I was scrolling Facebook and came across a friends post . In a glance I picked up that it was linked to my classmate’s book . I clicked and read . There were a few shocking paragraphs , I assumed the reason behind the book . I went back quickly to get the title again . OUT OF THE WHIRLPOOL a memoir of remorse and reconciliation. I was stunned . In the previous 40 years she had lived 3 lives , one so unhappy , she had attempted to take her own life . She is alive , this is why she is blind though . She has written about it and clearly is in a good place . SUE is exactly like me and you , navigating he way through life . But how did her life come to that , how is she alive , how was she able to reach this place she is in ? I don’t know the answers , but I want to compare what she says to the tragedy my family has experienced . Purposefully , I am writing this before reading her book . But I know , it’s an illness , make no mistake . It is not something you “think “ or decide on . Any plan is a necessity brought on by an overwhelming “feeling” , that this is not an option but an absolute . It doesn’t enter your mind because you choose to think about it , it enters on its own . Over time , it enters more frequently and at some point it becomes the only feeling you have . You are unable to feel anything else and there is no escape . At this point people cannot go on for long . At this moment of truth , if it comes , the only hope , is asking for help . Tragedy comes when they do not reach out , when they have no belief at all , that their life can be different . Its’ not a decision they want to make , suicide is not something they want to do . Think about it as an action , they can’t not take . Everything you believe they have to live for is not a consideration . The pain is too overwhelming , unbearable and continuous . They fight for a very long time because of the instinct to survive . But there is no thinking ultimately , just an all-consuming feeling that this is the way it is . You may never know they are feeling this way , they will not let you . I suspect her book may talk about all of this and more . I say , tell your loved ones , there are no circumstances that cannot be overcome . The feelings can be taken away and will be . KNOW THIS , there is always help , they must ask for it . If in the middle of a swirling mind unable to reason , they know there is help , they may reach out . Great things are in store , an absolute , ask Sue Wiygul Martin . I contacted Sue Martin before I posted this story . She said she is passionate about suicide prevention and that she was happy to be included in any way if it meant saving lives . I say , get a copy of her book , OUT OF THE WHIRLPOOL a memoir of remorse and reconciliation, at The Little Professor in Homewood . Thank you , Sue , class of 1974 MBHS.