A lackluster bedroom on the 2nd floor of a just-as-lackluster row home in South Philly. It was late morning and I was still young enough to somehow be able to just be starting my day around 10am. Groggy and probably still somewhat hungover I looked down at my phone. My parents were calling me and I picked up.
On the other end I heard the familiar tone of my mom’s voice. With a saddened tone she broke the news to me “Phil…Seth killed himself. I’m sorry.” Seth was my absolute best friend since birth who I probably spent just as much time with as my own brother. We were both adults now. I was the best man at his wedding. He had two small boys. We didn’t see each other as much, but we tried to stay in touch texting and calling every other week or so. In fact he had left a voicemail for me just 2 days prior to me receiving the news.
Like anyone I let out emotions, but a lot stayed with me. Anyone who has lost someone suddenly and especially to suicide knows the feeling. It’s like the wind is knocked out of you over and over again each time you think about their voice or a certain memory.
The emotions you struggle with are not just sadness. They are of immense guilt and frustration and helplessness. Thoughts and scenarios of what you could have done or should have done seem to never end. It is since that day that I learned that suicide is a cruel thief. Not only does it steal someone so dear to you. It steals any future memories. It steals the innocence of the memories you’ve already made because after every good recollection you will always come back to the present. A present without them.
I can’t say for sure that I’ll never lose another person again to suicide, but I can say I will proactively try to do everything in my power to positively affect others that are struggling with those thoughts. If you are reading this and are wrestling with anything like this please take these words to heart. If you are a reading this and know someone who just seems off lately don’t take “I’m fine” for an answer. Dig in. Ask if they just wanna get anything off their chest.
I honestly know that Man Up will create a drastic shift in our cultures stigma of men talking about their mental health and it is why I have been called to do this. But we are only strong together. We all have to do our part, shift our own paradigms on what men should feel or how they should act. We need to get out of our own comfort zones and check in with our friends for real…not just on social media. We at Man Up will continue to offer advice, information, and resources on this vital topic and many others as well. This is just the beginning of somethinggreat.