Fighting For Pilots' Mental Health

It has been far too long since I have posted anything on my blog. However, I do not look forward to writing this post today. This is not an easy post to write because I was impressed to do so after hearing about the passing of a young man who took his own life. I did not know this young man. I only noticed the news of his passing due to a Facebook friend of mine posted something on this young man’s wall, which showed up in my newsfeed.

Out of curiosity I looked at this young man’s Facebook account. His name was Jack-Jack Williams. I am guessing that Jack -Jack might be a nickname given to him by friends or family. Jack Jack and I shared a common interest. We both have a love for the sport of rodeo. He has some pretty good pictures of him riding bulls. That is something I did in my younger days as well.

I am not sure why I feel compelled to write about the passing of Jack Jack. Possibly because of a comment by a young lady who seems to be very close to him. She posted something blaming herself for his death. My heart went out to this young lady. I guess I just want her and others like her who might find themselves in a similar situation that it is never anyone’s fault in this type of situation.

Often times we never know why a person commits suicide. But it is never the fault of anyone close to that person. When a person gets to the point that they are willing to take their own life they feel there is no other way to escape what ever it is that is troubling them. Everyone has troubles in their lives. Some people just deal with problems better than others.

Sometimes people who are ready to take their own lives do show behaviors that could give suspicion that something is wrong. However, if you are not trained to know these signs you would not know what the person is planning.

Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. The people who truly suffer are the ones that are left behind after a loved one is gone. Many questions go through the minds of the loved ones. People will question if they had been there more for that person or paid more attention to that person when he or she needed attention. But if someone is in a deep enough state of depression that he or she is ready to end it all, there is nothing that anyone could have done unless they had direct knowledge of the upcoming event. The only way it could be stopped is to have that person committed to the hospital if you knew there was a plan in place.

Even if someone close to you is determined to commit suicide and you get them help, there is no saying that the plans will not be carried out at a later date. Sometimes too it is someone that you would never expect to take their own life. I knew someone I graduated high school with that was one of the most positive people I can remember during school who took his own life a few years ago. Kevin was active in sports. He went to the Iowa state finals wrestling tournament. He went on to college and graduated with honors. He had a family and was successful in his career. Kevin had all the things going in life that many people just dream of. But for some reason he took his own life.

I mourn for the people who knew Jack Jack. I am sad that they will spend time wondering what they could have done to save his life. I wish I could be there to comfort them. I wish I knew the exact words to tell them that it is NOT their fault.

The best thing I can tell those close to Jack Jack at this time is to remember his life and honor his memory with your love. Talk to each other of fun times you shared with him. Talk about fond memories that you cherish. Any attempt to blame yourselves will only make this time more difficult for you. But I also plead with you to not handle your pain alone. Reach out and get professional help. I know in the rodeo world we use terms like “cowboy up” or “be tough.” But sometimes to follow those old cowboy adages also means knowing when to get help.

My thoughts and prayers are with those who loved Jack Jack Williams. I hope you can find peace in your hearts soon after this tragic event. Remember him. Honor him. And keep him in your heart always. My faith teaches me that you will have the opportunity to see him again in the next life. But please just do not try to rush that reunion.

Keep an eye on the sky!
Collin Hughes
The Prozac Pilot

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