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SUICIDE - NOT A SOLUTION TO RELATIONSHIP
PROBLEMS
May 10, 2009


No matter what kind of relationship and/or financial issues you have - suicide is absolutely NOT a solution to be considered.

I am a middle manager in a large technology company, and one night this past week - one of my associates took his own life at a shooting range. He was apparently in the middle of his second divorce, and extremely despondent over the end of that relationship. He never mentioned to me nor any of the other leaders that he was having personal issues at all ... in fact, he always appeared to be a very strong individual with a lot of self confidence, and a drive to succeed at everything he was doing. He absolutely did not appear to be depressed ... nor did he exhibit any odd behavior whatsoever in the days and weeks leading up to this tragic event.

These days, the economy is in tatters - and all of our incomes at work have been cut ... with further cuts (or worse) on the way. I don't know how much my friend's financial situation influenced his very final decision - my gut tells me it was a factor, but probably not the primary factor.

Midlifebachelor.com is all about relationships at midlife, and how to deal with and adapt to the various changes that often happen to us in our late 30s through early 50s. I'm 44, have been divorced ... and have experienced a steady stream of both good and bad relationships over the years. I'm definitely not a counselor ... although people in my world often come to me to talk things over because I've "been around the block" more than most ... because I'm easy to talk to ... because I can empathize ... and because I usually have some positive advice. Now I'll never know why my friend who ended his life chose not to come talk to me about his issues. And I don't know exactly what I would have told him if he had - since I don't know his details. But in general I would tell anyone who is going through a bout of depression or anxiety about the loss of a relationship that while things may seem bad and unsolvable now ... that ultimately everyone rebounds and overcomes the challenges they face.

I work and live in the electrical engineering world - and if any type of science is your field, then the analogy would be that everything in our lives is a sine waveform ... it rises, it falls, it rises, it falls ... continuously throughout our lives (see the image on the right -->). Enjoy the highs, and get through the lows as best you can. Live today knowing that tomorrow will be better.

For the non-engineering folks, everything in our lives could be analogous to say, the stock market ... it rises, it falls, it rises again ... it is always moving and changing ... and when things are down we just have to do our best to persevere and get through those rough spots. [Maybe the stock market is not the best analogy to use at this point in time - but you get the idea.]

While suicide might seem like a solution to some who are in despair - it really is a very selfish thing to do ... because it affects the lives of so many. I'm still trying to process what happened this past week myself ... and I've spoken to many of my subordinates, my colleagues, and my own leadership about this. There is a lot of sadness out there ... and it manifests itself in a number of ways. Everyone is extremely upset ... some are angry that he didn't reach out to any of us ... others just can't seem to think it all through. Grief counselors were made available on-site - but a number of us (myself included) were traveling during all of this.

Now one might be tempted to chastise me for calling his suicide "selfish" - but think of how my friend's parents must feel ... what is his mother thinking and feeling right now (right before Mother's Day)? His father? His siblings? How about his near-ex wife (as he was in the process of divorcing) - how must she feel right now? I knew the man very well - and he never struck me as the type to do something to make someone else feel bad ... I think he probably did what he did out of his own private torment. But I think he did not consider all the collateral damage he was doing when he pulled that trigger.

Okay - so obviously there are two reasons for this article. One is to simply help me process everything I'm thinking about concerning my friend's suicide ... and secondly (much more importantly) is my message to any of you who are despondent and considering suicide as an option - DON'T DO IT ... it is not fair to yourself, and it is certainly not fair to those who love you. Instead, take one day at a time, know that you can only control the things which you have control over ... and do your best to maximize what you do have while you work your way through your situation. Know that tomorrow will be a better day ... and recognize that after some time passes, you'll look back at what troubles you now, and you'll know how much stronger a person going through that experience has made you. And definitely get some professional counseling.

If anyone has any comments, I'd love to hear them using the ADD COMMENT feature below. There is also our Midlife Forum

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