My heart goes out to the family and friends of NFL legend Jr. Seau. As most know by know Jr. is dead and suicide is suspected. Newsworthy because he is a former superstar professional athlete and celebrity. Newsworthy because the ravaging effects of head injuries in the NFL are front and center in the media and in a court of law. All too common however in the grand scheme of life. In 2007, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths. In Jr’s case, while maybe uncommon due to the head injury angle, all too common in that it appears no one suspected. All too common in the grieving and dumbfounded family and friends are left behind wondering how the hell someone who seemingly had a great life could see only hope in finality and did not cry out. Depression and suicide do not discriminate between a Lexus and a Pinto.
It was not all that long ago that that I looked into that abyss. I came all so close to Junior’s fate but for the intervention of people who cared. Not only cared but were on the ground able to actually see the changes in my behavior and react quickly.
This slide into darkness has its own unique components for different people. Some are luckier than others in the support they get or their ability to reach out for that support. I had family and friends that were in my life. That is what saved me. If I did not have that, I would be dead.
Medication works wonders. Talking to professionals helps. Having a family and friends who are active in your life is also important. I was very lucky. For whatever reasons which may or may not become clear, Jr. wasn’t. Many are not.
What’s my point? Very simple. Pay attention to the people in your life and NEVER be afraid to speak up when something seems off. That is what keeps us out of the abyss.