I know many people have their lives touched to some degree by the heartache of suicide. Whether it be from a family member, a significant other, a friend, or maybe even someone known indirectly, many people have witnessed the devastation left behind. Personally, I’ve seen suicide prevention campaigns that I’ve felt were never aimed at the right goals.
These people hurt. Giving them guilt on top of hurt, well, I don’t know if that’s the best way to achieve the goal of preventing suicide, you know?
Personally, I’ve had to endure three suicides in my lifetime. Two of them were ex-boyfriends and both had massive demons to deal with and trauma through their lives, which ultimately broke our relationships — but I always stood by. I knew what they were dealing with. I sometimes look back on what they were shouldering and wonder how I could’ve coped differently — how I could have handled all of the struggle, and if I could’ve come out on top. I don’t begrudge them, because I can’t honestly say I’ve walked a mile in their specific pair of shoes.
But, goddamn, it hurts to be left behind.
Suicide Prevention: Forging Creation from Destruction
I was talking with Josh Petersdorf, a good friend and voice-over actor who had recently done some VO work for a project, and he was quick to tell me that he wanted me to be in on it. Now this was a far cry from how I had met Josh so many, many years ago, and it has been pretty amazing to watch him grow up over the years. Always the silly guy, he has struggled with his personal demons, as well. So when he showed me this project called The Forge, I was absolutely on board. If ever there is someone to be your outreach project spokesperson for something so delicate and yet richly intense, it should be Josh. The amount of love he had for it is stunning, and when he showed me some footage, I was left in awe. Just in awe.
Eric Lim’s sister, Tanya Lim, committed suicide, and the money that was left behind went into the production costs of this beautifully moving and creative anti-suicide message. What is truly stunning, however, is the community that helped put together a film of this magnitude because of the strength of the message involved. (Yes, I included the behind-the-scenes footage below to truly illustrate how these amazing men and women came together to make sure this message was told.)
What truly, truly moved me to tears is that this message isn’t being relayed in order to showcase guilt or even point out the flaws in someone who is contemplating suicide as a way out, but it conveys a message of empowerment. It’s difficult to feel like anyone is on your side when you’re backed up against a wall with the darkness closing in, and it’s at this point that the You Are Not Alone concept needs to be driven home.
It is about taking every single hit against you as a way to sharpen yourself and forge a stronger, better weapon for fighting against the ache.
Through the video, you hear narration by Lim in his soft-spoken and emotion-filled tones while he reads a letter he wrote to Tanya and explains that he wished he could’ve helped her. He explains the guilt and how he had such difficulty in getting past the idea that he didn’t help her when she was feeling at her worst. However, you watch as he battles his demon (quite literally a monster) and uses his strengths to become a weapon through the sadness, forged out of the heat and brutality of life to fight the oppressive depressions and hardships that might try to strike him down.
Tell me that isn’t empowering. I dare you.
Suicide Prevention Isn’t About Surrender — It’s About the Fight
For a six-minute video, it boasts some of the most beautiful and boldly colored Pitch Black-esque visuals and sounds, including a score (which you can get here for free) by Austin Wintory from the video games Journey and Monaco, that fit a stunning message of not just talking about your problems, but fighting them — actually becoming proactive and fighting back against the depression that leads some people down this road. I couldn’t believe I was seeing it and I definitely wondered why I hadn’t seen it.
So kudos to Stephen Reedy for directing it and for everyone who put together this video, which shows an absolute passion to get this message out there. Every single human being involved put a lot of personal man hours into getting this beautiful piece of social outreach into the public eye and it moves me. Kudos to SoulPancake for featuring this video on its site and doing a bang-up job promoting it on its social media networks because there isn’t enough outreach for messages like this; the folks there have gone all in, which is inspiring — to say the least.
But, most of all, kudos to Eric Lim and his family for taking this tragedy and forging it into something that can be felt by all who touch it. I can’t speak personally for her, but I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is something that Tanya Lim would’ve been proud of.
This is truly for anybody hurting.