A Very Sad Day

I just learned about the terrible tragedy involving the Kansas City Chiefs.  One of the players, Jovan Belcher, apparently shot and killed his girlfriend this morning.  He then drove to a training facility used by the Chiefs, thanked his GM and his head coach (Romeo Crennel, Browns fans may remember him) for all they’ve done for him, then shot himself.  No one seems to know why he did such a horrible thing.  The couple have a 3-month-old baby who is now an orphan and will never know her mom or dad.

Periodically I, like all physicians, have to try to help suicidal patients in my office (thank goodness I’ve never had a homicidal one) and it’s heart-wrenching.  How do you make someone want to continue living?  You can say all the right things, show them all the people who love them and all the things they have to give to the world, and unless they really understand and choose to believe it, all the words are useless.

One of my favorite patients (part of one of my favorite FAMILIES, I love family medicine!) has recently been struggling with depression and his wife and daughter began to worry he would do something drastic.  I’m relieved to say we were able to get him to agree to be hospitalized, which is awesome because it indicated he wasn’t REALLY hopeless that things could get better.  He is slowly improving and participating in a very tough intensive program.  I know that counseling and therapy are incredibly hard work and require serious courage to put yourself under the microscope and stir up some things you’d rather not think about.  Luckily he is blessed with a VERY stubborn wife 😉 who flatly refuses to give up on him.

The holidays can be a very sad time for many people.  There are those who have lost loved ones this year, who may struggle with overwhelming reminders of the person who died.  Holiday traditions which should be comforting can instead be cruel, as the absence is so obvious and heartbreaking.

If anyone reading this post is thinking that life isn’t worth living, please talk to a family member or friend that you trust.  Please call your doctor (or contact me, I’m here to help) and get a referral for a good counselor.  If you need to take medication, that’s OK, you need to do what you can to feel better.  Life can and will get better, but you need to stick around to see it and participate!

Take a moment to think about your friends and family.  If there’s someone you haven’t talked with in awhile, please make it a point to call and check in.  You never know what they’re thinking or feeling, and you just might remind them they have people who love them at a time when they’re feeling isolated.  Do it for Jovan, for Kasandra and their baby girl.

If you have another moment to spare, please pray for peace for Jovan and Kasandra, a long healthy happy life for their baby girl, and strength for their families as they struggle to make sense of it all.

God bless.

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4 thoughts on “A Very Sad Day

  1. Jen, your patients , family and friends are blessed by your huge heart for people. You have the ability to “get on their side of the fence” and to understand how devastating this season can be for many people who have recent losses or are separated from their families for some reason. I am going to be sure to be in contact with people in a bigger way over the next few weeks. I will keep your message in my mind. Letting people know that you value them and that you care is the best gift you can give . God bless you for your sharing your thoughts here.

  2. Dr. Jen, was holding back tears with this post, i feel so bad for that little baby who now has no family 🙁 I have a good friend who is struggling with severe depression and it made me think of her. At times she opens up to me and talks about it , but i never know what to say ? The only thing I say is that it is not her fault she feels this way and reassure her how much she is loved. Do you have any suggestions on anything else I can do or say to her I am always at a loss for words when we talk about it?

    • Amanda you’re such a good friend. My suggestion is to just let her talk without trying to fix anything. Having you listen is sure to help. Also ask questions about happy topics (like her family or other things) although sometimes it can be a bit like walking through a minefield. A good question is “What helps you with that?” or “What helps you when things like that happen?” Also expressing empathy helps: “I’m sure that’s really tough and I wish I could fix it for you. I’m here to help if you need anything.”

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