Is there anyone who isn't connected to one of these men? They have crossed my path with such frequency. This man has been my brother. He has been my co-worker. He has been the son of more than one of my neighbours. He has been my friend. He has been a story I've followed online. He has been my lover. He has been my neighbour. He has been the brother of my sister's school friend. He has been the brother of my lover. He has been the client of a therapist friend. Everywhere I go, this man is there.
In some of these men, the overwhelming urge to die became overwhelming to the point of death. Martin, the brother of my sister's school friend. Elliot, my co-worker when I worked front of house in a theatre. Joshua, whose disappearance I followed online for weeks.
Time and again, in the men I have known, in the men I know, and in the men I hear about from others, I see and hear a familiar story.
These men are sweet! Such sweet, sweet souls. They are beautiful human beings. They are thoughtful and they are kind. They are intensely sensitive and highly creative. They are musicians and painters and writers and makers and fixers of things. They are animal lovers and plant lovers. They are gentle. They are deeply reflective. And when I see their faces in my mind's eye I always see a sweet smile and alive, twinkling eyes.
Are these men sick? Mentally unwell? Perhaps. Or perhaps these are the men who sense most deeply the wrongness of the world - the madness of materialism and consumerism and the way we are slaves to corporations and ways of living that exhaust the soul.
Perhaps they are wise men, healers and visionaries who haven't had the opportunity or possibility of understanding their gifts in a world that does not value or comprehend them.
Perhaps the overwhelming urge to die is the only solution the mind can find to cope with their pain. Perhaps they do not want to die at all. Perhaps they are unknowingly desperate to live but have no idea how to do so in a world so deep in lies.
But what do I know? I am not a doctor. I am not one of these men. But I have sat with these men. I have listened to these men. I have laughed with these men. I have held these men. And when I have been with them I have never felt them to be sick or insane. I have seen beauty and tenderness. And I have seen the pain and struggle of not knowing how to be in this world.
What do we do for these men? How can we support these men? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. But whenever we have an opportunity to listen with ears of true acceptance and to quietly witness another's journey through this life without judgement, I think we should take hold of it with both hands. Sometimes, or perhaps oftentimes, or maybe even always, the most healing thing any of us can experience is a space where we are lovingly welcomed to be exactly as we are.
Love and courage,