I have invited a very special guest to write to you today about a subject that people want to avoid because of the confusion it causes, the unknown, and the taboo subject that most cannot understand. No one wants to deal with such a painful subject and neither did this mother and father. I wrote last week about the “demons” of Designer drugs and the effects it has on the mind and behaviors. I really would like for you to take the time to go over to my facebook wall and tell this mother that you read her story, then click the social media icons at the top and bottom of the page to spread the word about suicide. I know several families whom have had to live with the questions in their head “Why” and What could I have done”
Julie Barnes – thank you for sharing your story. I know that it will touch someone and help at least one family deal with their own grief by sharing yours. Chris we honor your life today in sharing this story.
It was on March 26th in 2008 that my life changed forever. It was a usual Wednesday. I did some work for my clients and my husband, Ron was off early that day from work. Ron stuck his head in my office to say someone was knocking at the front door and that he would grab it. It wasn’t but a minute and Ron was back saying that I needed to come to the door because there was two police officers that needed to speak to us. That’s when we were told that our 23 year old son Chris had taken his life. Ron and I stood there for what seemed like hours and just sobbed.
We knew what had led Chris down this awful path. Addiction. Chris had hurt his back the first time in the Army going through Basic training. After being discharged early for medical reasons Chris worked as a delivery driver and did construction work. Jobs that required a strong back and with a family to now support, Chris was doing what he had to do. It was during this time that Chris had went to a doctor for his back pain and was prescribed OxyContin. I had only heard of this drug being prescribed for pain after surgery.
According to Drug.com, OxyContin is a controlled-release form of the narcotic painkiller Oxycodone. Which is used to treat moderate to severe pain when continuous, around-the-clock relief is needed for an extended period of time.
While looking for current statistics on OxyContin addiction, I ran across Howard C. Samuals, PsyD, who is a leading drug and alcohol addiction expert at The Hills Treatment Center. It states on his website the following…
Because of its genetic make-up of opiate, it has similar characteristics of morphine and heroin, making it a highly addictive drug. It goes on the say that many patients of serious injuries are being prescribed OxyContin, while most of them are uneducated of the reality of addiction.
But Chris did know he was addicted and entered into an outpatient drug treatment center where he was given a daily dose of Methadone. Drug.com list Methadone as an opiate that is used to reduce withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the “high” associated with the drug addiction.
Although Chris was trying his hardest to break his addiction for his beautiful family, it seemed that the Methadone took him down to even more despair.
I remember spending hours researching on Methadone after Chris passed. I just couldn’t get why they would put him on another opiate that would require breaking another addiction. I remember hearing Chris say that he was so scared of going through the withdraw systems.
Chris’ death not only shed light on addiction, but also opened my eyes to suicide. It was while searching for support groups that I found out about the Suicide Walk coming up the following September. I remember thinking to myself that the more people that show up to walk or donate money the more awareness we could make happen. The event would even be covered by the local media.
Not knowing anyone who had experienced this, when I got to the park, I was blown away with the hundreds of people there that had suffered a loss of a loved one by suicide. It was sad and heartbreaking.
It also showed us, that you never know what can happen in your life.
It’s September 25th as I write this and National World Suicide Prevention Day was on September 11th. One very important lesson that the universe has showed me over and over, is to step through any fear, shame, or stigma that surrounds our life events and to share our stories, because they may change a life or save a life.
As I shared some of my favorite pictures of Chris on Facebook, it was important to me that I bring a face to suicide. And to bring a sense of dignity to Chris and for everyone else that had taken their life. After all, we are all human and Chris was a loving son, nephew, grandson and most importantly a loving father. And we miss him every day!
I also included the following statistics given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention…
Every 40 seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide.
If you’re feeling suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis worker.
Julie Barnes is a grief coach and empowerment ninja! After suffering through several devastating life events, including the death of her 23-year-old son Chris to suicide, Julie had aha moment. To look at these experiences as gifts to share with other women who are struggling to come out of the dark and into the light. Julie now helps women Claim Their Shine through one-on-one coaching and group coaching programs at www.claimyourshine.com.