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Losing Joanne: If you are suicidal this holiday season, please reach out for help.

A friend's aunt just committed suicide a few days ago. Her name was Joanne, and she was a fan of my work. In addition, I was giving her some free help with marketing for a book she was writing on vets and PTSD.

I am beyond in shock; I've gone through all our messages and I don't see any warning signs; in fact, all I see are messages about how excited she was about her work and her book. She also never reached out for help, which I would have gladly given. 

Please, if you are overwhelmed or depressed this holiday season, reach out for help. People DO care. There are many excellent resources online which can be of help to you, one is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK. 

I know that there are bad things in this world. I know that there are burdens too heavy to carry sometimes. I know that there are pains so great that you feel you cannot carry on another moment. But please, pick up the phone or write an email, either to a suicide hotline or to someone who cares. Please. Your life is important. You are important. 

What you are feeling in this moment CAN change. Life CAN get better. Don't miss out on the beauty ahead of you because of the temporary ugliness right in front of you. 

And please, please know that you may feel like no one in the history of the world has ever been through what you are, or that no one could possibly understand the depths of your depression, but I promise you - ALL of us have dark, difficult days. ALL of us have been through sadness or pain or chaos that seems truly too much to bear. We DO understand. We may not have wanted to end it all, but we do understand sadness, pain, and feeling no hope. Please trust someone to listen and to help. Someone will, I promise.

Just take a chance and pick up the phone and ask for help. 

And, if you know someone who is alone or depressed this holiday season, check on them. Drop off cookies or pick up the phone for a call. Invite them to your holiday meal. Let people know that EVERYONE is important. Let people know you are thinking of them, and that you love them. Let them know that there is hope for brighter days ahead. 

You never know - that small action might be the thing that saves a life.