Futility

They found him today. Hanging from a tree.

I seek solace but not in my garden. It is far too small to contain my anguish, my howl against the utter futility. Such a waste of a young life.

I need wider spaces to vent my anger. Water to rest my eyes on, or the serenity of the bush.

I knew of this boy indirectly. I was not his parent but I have great empathy for them. Parents should never outlive their children. I imagine their grief, their guilt; could they have seen it coming, prevented it somehow?

Everyone who knew this young man – a boy really, he was only nineteen – will ask themselves the same searching question.

What could I have done to prevent this?

I know this to be true. It has happened before, too many times.

I ask only that you be aware. Take notice of those around you, especially the young men, and ask them if they are okay. It could make the difference of a lifetime.

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23 responses to “Futility

  1. What a terrible, terrible tragedy. My nephew’s young wife is currently in a mother/baby psychiatric unit. She is bipolar and her bouts of depression frequently lead to suicidal thoughts. She is ashamed of her condition . I think the ABCs “Mental As” week last week helped to make us more aware of the prevalence of mental ill health around us and has given us some tools to help recognise what many go to great lengths to deny and cover up. I hope you are able to find the solace you seek. Ann XO

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Ann. The Australian National Broadcaster has done much to raise awareness. I felt so helpless and thought the post may be a way to bring attention to a tragic issue. You’re right about people covering up. Young men in particular feel being unable to cope is somehow shameful. I feel for his family and workmates. Counselling is being arranged for them which I think is a very good idea.
      I hope your nephew’s wife is getting good care. It must be terrible for the him and her family, and more especially for her.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘What could I (should I) have done?’ is the question we all ask when someone near to us commits suicide, but the answer is not with us as individuals. Sadly, depression (which has been around forever, though under a variety of names) is still not recognised as a common, and potentially fatal, illness that can be diagnosed and treated in the way other illnesses are. For some people a bout of serious depression may be a one-off, like pneumonia; for others it can be a chronic condition that needs ongoing management, like diabetes. But until society gets over its bizarre distinction between “physical” and “mental” illness, and there’s no shame associated with the latter, I’m afraid many people with depression will not recognise its symptoms, seek help, or even be aware that they may need it. True, things are changing, but far too slowly.
    However, I’m encouraged by the number of people in the blogosphere who write about their experience of depression.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m was so sorry to hear about this case. He was so young too, only two years older than my eldest son. It isn’t always easy to know just how desperate people sometimes are. I had a colleague nearly a decade ago who took his own life. The department at the time had only about ten people in it, so we saw a lot of our colleagues and felt we knew each other pretty well.

    We all realized he felt a bit down about money and family issues, but no one suspected how deep his despair was, and when he took his own life not one of us saw it coming. Even today, those of us who remember him still talk about what happened and wonder if we’d just tried that bit more, listened that bit harder, maybe it would have been different. He left a wife and children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So unbelievably sad Bun. That’s the thing, they leave a trail of destruction behind them. And in the case of your friend, a family who would wonder what part they played. Then the rest of us wishing we’d done or said more. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

    • Yes you are right. We all need to be more aware. This is more difficult for our young men and society’s expectations of the male identity – that not being able to cope is somehow less manly. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Like

  4. Coming from a male (older) I would agree with your comment around society’s sometimes belief that not coping is a sign of weakness. It was certainly that way for me as a young man, but now with age and experiences on my side, I see the error in that way of thinking. In the past few years I’ve been encouraged by the creation of organisations such as Beyond Blue and the like. Sorry to read about your loss, Robyn.

    Liked by 2 people

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