I don’t know if you’ve ever lost a friend to suicide. I’ve lost several; off the top of my head I can count four in the last seven years. And in at least one of those cases, I feel as though there’s something I could’ve done to save them, or something that I did do that I shouldn’t have done that ended up pushing them into a deeper spiral.
When I first heard “How To Save a Life”, it resonated with me because of my own history with depression and suicidal ideation. I’ve never actually attempted to kill myself, but I’ve certainly considered it and have gone as far as writing notes. Once I began to lose friends, though, it took on a new meaning. I think everyone that’s close to someone who’s died by suicide goes through a similar thought process; recounting every conversation that took place, wondering if you could have been more emotionally or physically available. I don’t know that those feelings ever completely leave you. Of course, they will also never be answered.
Of course, “How To Save a Life” became a huge hit not only because of its poignant lyrical content, but also because it was seemingly used as the backdrop for every tense moment in a televised show set in a hospital for a couple of years. The only one I remember-and the one that still breaks me down to this day-is this scene from “Scrubs”. Perfect placement of a song, but also fantastic acting by John C. McGinley, Judy Reyes and Zach Braff.