Dangerous Silence, Saving Talk: Part 4

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More than a decade ago, Steven Lomelino was a husband and father on the corporate fast-track.

“I was working for a public utility company for 14 years … had great success,” Steven said. “Joined them right after high school and pretty much shot up the ladder.”

But in the early 2000s, a merger cost Steven his job. He sought work at another company, but found himself overwhelmed by the work and what he remembers as an unsupportive workplace. Meanwhile, Steven and his family began tapping into their savings.

“I saw it as a no-win situation. If I leave the job, we’re in financial distress as it is. Then my home life falls apart and we’re living on the streets. That’s extreme thinking, but that’s the way you get to thinking when your mind’s not working properly,” Steven said. “It got into the cycle of thinking ‘I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to be here’ … It eventually turned into ‘I don’t want to be.’”

On November third, after a Wednesday prayer meeting at his church, Steven snuck away to a small room. He had decided to kill himself and began planning an attempt the next day.

“All of a sudden, the door opens, shocks me, shocks the guy that’s there … He says ‘Hey, how are you doing? I’m looking for my kids.’ And to my surprise I said ‘I’m not doing good. I’m not doing good at all,’” Steven remembered. “His response was ‘Hang in there. It’ll get better.’”

The next day, Steven left work and began driving.

“The only word that was going through my head was ‘remote,’ find someplace remote,” Steven said. “I finally get out onto this country road. I’m between two cornfields, and there’s this arc of gravel, and I’m like ‘There it is.’”

Steven began the process of killing himself. Soon, though, a car pulled into the arc. Then another.

“It gave me time to think,” Steven said. “I started thinking about people, people other than myself. And as much as I wanted to do it, I was like ‘I can’t do this.’”

Steven drove to Springfield, to a behavioral health clinic.

“I parked my car, and that walk from the car to the front desk was the longest walk I’ve ever taken in my life,” Steven said. “I get up to the desk and they’re like ‘May we help you?’ And the words wouldn’t come out. It was like ‘I … I tr … tried … to kill myself today.’”

Steven was hospitalized.  While there, he met with the representative of a mental health support group. Later, he worked joined the support group and met with her.

“So began the very long process of putting things back together and finding … she called it the elusive third option. We finally found that, and that was to involve other people,” Steven said.

Along the way, Steven leaned on his faith. After trying another job, he found work at a non-profit organization. He says although his work is not as prestigious or lucrative as his former career, it is joyful and comes with support from co-workers.

“When I lost my job, I basically lost my identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore,” Steven said. “I think that’s a big mistake a lot of men make: they equate their self-worth with what they do for a living, not who they are.”

Now, Steven is working with a publisher to share his story in a book he plans to call Success Redefined: Abundant Life after Loss.  

He offered to share his story in hopes others may learn from it. He also offered thoughts for those in crisis considering suicide.

“You have to let other people be involved,” Steven said. “Will it be embarrassing? Yeah, probably. But if you don’t, you’ve got two options: your life is still going to be in shambles or you’re going to be dead, and neither one of those is good. So you’ve got to let other people in.”

If you are in suicidal crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

To view Part 1 of this series, click here:

For Part 2, click here.

For Part 3, click here.

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