You may know me from telling jokes and sharing my unique thoughts on Twitter and the rest of the Internet. Many of you, however, do not know that I lost my best friend, my brother Andrew, when he decided to take his own life on July 17, 2013. That was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with in my 26 years of existence.
My mother is a funeral director so I've witnessed people dealing with loss my entire life. This did not prepare me at all for what I was about to and am still dealing with to this day. The reason for this article is not to gain sympathy from anyone; this article is intended to hopefully help someone that is in need.
Drew was a unique individual. He was the smartest person I've ever had to pleasure of knowing and I'll always be envious of his ability to seek and retain knowledge. I am truly honored to have had him in my life for as long as I did. The truth is that he was in a massive amount of pain. He had medical issues from an early age, including a kidney transplant, that left him weak and unable to enjoy a normal happy life. I won't go into specifics, but this also led to a reliance on prescription medication that never left him the same.
My brother also had Asperger syndrome; which is defined as a highly functioning form of autism. This condition leads to an inability to form and maintain friendships, a lack of empathy, and also poor motor skills. He overcame these perceived setbacks to form wonderful relationships throughout his life and was even able to provide our family the greatest gift anyone could ever ask for; my niece Natalie.
Unfortunately, Drew's demons proved to be too strong and he was unable to face another day in pain.
I wish I could have talked to him one last time. I wish he could have focused his immense brain power on doing something incredible. I wish I could have told him how much he was loved. I wish I could have explained how losing him would hurt everyone so badly. I wish I could give him one last hug. I just wish I could have said goodbye.
Suicide takes the lives of roughly 30,000 Americans each year and almost 1 million people worldwide. Most people that attempt suicide have never even sought professional help. I understand depression, as I have been diagnosed and treated for it in the past. You may not have many friends, you may not have family, but help does exist for everyone. Life is a gift and every day is a blessing. I am far from religious, but at this stage in my life, I am genuinely excited to wake up and see what the new day has to offer.
If you ever have thoughts of suicide, I'm begging you to reach out to someone. Please think long and hard of the impact your decision will have on other people. There is so much to live for, but even I realize some people need help finding those reasons. That help exists. At the bottom of this article, I will attach contact information for suicide prevention hotlines and prevention centers.
I truly am glad my brother is not in pain anymore. I consider myself the luckiest person in the world and view this as the next chapter in my life. I am surrounded by the best family and friends that anyone could ask for. My girlfriend is amazing and has helped me so much I honestly don't know where I would be without her. I get paid to make people laugh and smile and that's all I've ever wanted to do. I'm living the dream and that gives me peace because I know that he's proud of me and that he'll always be with me.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
This post originally appeared here.