This is important.
In addition to being a young adult author, I am also an occupational therapist and I work part-time in an outpatient psychiatric program. My life is made up of traveling to and from the world of writing/publishing to working with people who have behavioral health issues. But on Thursday, my two worlds collided.
A young adult author who I admire, Ned Vizzini, committed suicide. His book, IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, about a teen who was experiencing suicidal thoughts and was treated for depression on an inpatient psychiatric unit, and then comes out glad to be alive, is one of the most profound books I've read. It has a prominent place among my young adult book collection...waiting for the day when I might get to meet him and ask him to sign it.
To say I am so sad about his death is a lazy way out of this. So I will try to tell you how I feel and hope to do justice to this important author. It's like I was too busy shopping and missed an important detail. Like if I was just a little more focused on what's truly important maybe I could have done something to keep his light shining. This of course is crazy, because he lived in New York and I live in Chicago and we never met. But it's a reminder to attend to that radar signal inside that tells me someone in my vicinity is not okay.
This radar is always on high alert when I am at work, since so many of the people I work to help are experiencing depression. This time of year, the media is filling our eyes and minds with utter happiness, dreams coming true, high hopes of getting exactly what we want. But there are those among us who are struggling and sad.
Keep your eyes open. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please, please, please call 911 or go to your hospital Emergency Room.
The world needs your light!