Out of the Darkness

I did not know Dr. Sophia Yin. To be perfectly honest I never heard of her until the announcement of her suicide which occurred on Sunday, September 28th, 2014. This event could just as quickly passed right by me except that I had attended a Suicide Prevention march in Washington DC the week before.

No one close to me has ever killed themselves.  I’ve probably known people who have; fellow soldiers, coworkers, the guy who lived in my building that jumped in front of a train. I was sad about Robin Williams and that event more than any other got me thinking about suicide. When I had heard that Robin Williams committed suicide, it instantly took me to a scene in The Watchmen (you can listen to the “joke” in the video below).

Robin was my Pagliacci. I just cannot fathom how anyone could be so down that reasoned suicide as a plausible alternative to life. I could understand if someone was mentally psychotic or facing a painful/terminal/debilitating disease why a quick death is desired.  But people who seem to have everything going for them just decide to die. And then, like a light bulb turning on in a dark room, I knew that how I was processing people who commit suicide may be part of the problem to why the rates are going up. There was/is no need for me to relate to why someone is hurting. I don’t know if I could have done anything to prevent that guy in my apartment complex from jumping in front of that train. I could have said hello when we passed each other at the mailbox or have been more cordial while at one of the apartment parties, or I could have remembered his name. The truth of it is I didn’t try; I didn’t care.

I don’t know if Dr. Yin’s colleagues or family/friends knew she was in that much pain. They, not unlike all have to ask ourselves how present we are for people around us. It’s too easy just to say “it’s not my business” and that might be a valid statement. Also what may be accurate is that we don't want to extend ourselves or make ourselves vulnerable, so we ignore the signs, or we dismiss it as being weak or lazy or straightforward to solve.  Consider you might have to make an active choice to want to make it your business; are your brothers/sisters’, keeper? The answer might be yeah, I am.

If you are contemplating suicide right now and this is an emergency, call 911.

If you have thought about suicide and need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hot line at 1-800-273 8255.

If you are young, gay and need help, contact The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.  You can also text the word "Trevor" to 1-202-304-1200

If you are a current or former soldier/airmen/sailor/marine and are in need of help, contact Military Friends at 1-617 733-7994. They will put you in touch with resources in your area.

I can also suggest that you can contact your local military or veterans’ hospital they will and can help you, but being someone who once had to talk with active duty personnel and now navigating the VA system, I completely understand if you don’t want to go that route which is why I’m putting forth Military Friends.


  1. At this point it may be suicide,but family members have indicated that it is being investigated and we will not find out until the end of the week at the earliest . She will be missed greatly.

    1. Thank you for relaying that information. The accolades for her work are tremendous. We hope the family finds peace and healing knowing how much the community appreciated Dr. Yin.

  2. I don't know anything about her personally, and of course you never really know what's going on with someone, but I feel so mystified by the idea of her death being from suicide. She looks so happy in all the pictures with dogs. I hope her family finds answers and closure. Such a sad loss.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...