Life after suicide

Imaged after you get a call saying your brother was found dead on the side of the road with a gun inflected wound to the head.  He had just committed suicide and he left you this note:

“I wanted to start by saying this is not anyone’s fault but mine.  This is my decision and I did not base this on anything anyone did, said, acted, or anything else.  I have had this on my mind for the past few years, probably since high school.  I made this decision because I am tired of being hurt and depressed.  I have been in pain of some sort everyday of my life.  The most hurtful is knowing and leading a good life and realizing that what I do does not matter.  I want to be remembered as a servant leader, thoughtful, generous, fun and intelligent  person.  About 2 years ago, I was diagnosed as a “high functioning” manic depressive (once known as bipolar). I tried my entire life to fill the glass of others with no regard to myself.  Despite what light you saw me in, that was the goal of my entire life- to empower others. Unfortunately, I chose not to continue this life and thus probably hurt a lot of people.  No one else should do the same selfish act that I have committed. I apologize.”

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When I read the news about comedian Robin Williams had committed suicide, I automatically thought of this letter MY brother left for ME.  My response was how dare he leave me, how dare he commit such a selfish act.  Then I turned and said where did I go wrong, what did I miss?  At age 27 he took his life and I couldn’t ask questions why.  But his letter said it all.  He was tired of being hurt and depressed.  He was tired of being everyone’s else motivation but he wasn’t getting the empowering and motivation he needed.  He made people smile, laugh and feel good about themselves.  People saw him as an individual who had no worries because he always smiled.  Is that how Robin Williams felt?  He made us laugh, he made us cry and most importantly he had a family that depended on him.  But where was his help, his laughter, his outlet?

We look at people and see their smile and think that everything is ok.  But the signs are visible, we just ignore them because we believe it’s part of society.  You know the drinking heavily, smoking more than usual, selling their belongings or buying guns more often than normal.  Perhaps sleeping more or taking pills to fall asleep because they are depressed.  They may just say they are just tired and we believe it. It’s time to really look at the signs and acknowledge it.  One statement my brother, Norman Paul Nolen II, left me personally was make sure I said thank you, don’t say I love you unless you mean it and SHOW others that you care and don’t just tell them.  That bothered me because I wasn’t for sure if he said it in generalization or perhaps I did him like that.  Was that one of his trigger points?

In the bible it talks about growing through discouragement.  Paul thought about taking his own life. He “despaired even of life” (2 Co 1:8).  Yes we all have our ups and downs but do we have someone we can really talk to without being judge? Discouragement to me is only a temporary set back that we can overcome, IF we have faith, talk to someone and really look at the heart of the issue.  I know for my brother his trigger point was love and support from others who he had supported.  Yes family was fine but he wanted that outside love returned back to him.  When he was discouraged in his relationship, that was his last trigger point.  He had set his heart on it and when it fell apart, to him that was his last straw.

So what do you think Robin Williams trigger point was?  What made him make that decision that he couldn’t take it anymore?  We will never know?  All we do know is he left us with amazing memories that will last forever.  Since my brother’s death, I have made some major life changes and choices to help me cope with this tragedy. It’s been hard, extremely hard but I read his letter for that one sentence he left me, “Shun, you are the strongest most given and selfless person I have even known.  Be strong.  I know that it will be hard, but you are stronger that I will ever be.”  If you lost a love one over depression, what have you done to help you get through it?

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