Chicken Friars is a blog about the San Diego Padres, as well as a blog about baseball stories, but I feel that some stories transcend sports. The other night I was saddened to hear about the death of former Reds utilityman Ryan Freel. The reports seem to indicate that the 36-year-old committed suicide. He left behind a wife and two children.
Anytime someone decides to take their own life, it raises a plethora of questions: Why did they take their own life? What were the events that led to this unthinkable situation? Could this tragedy have been avoided?
In the case of Freel, he had the reputation of being a fun-loving goofball. A guy that seemed genuinely happy. Our friends at A Call To The Pen wrote about Freel’s concussion issues being a potential reason for his suicidal actions. I cannot comment on why Freel took his own life, however I can give you the insight of someone who contemplated suicide. I have been there.
There was a time in my life where I felt like leaving this world would be best for me. I did not want to live and I figured that no one would really care if I died. Perhaps it was teenage angst or a deeper issue. Killing myself was all I could think about.
Ultimately, things got better for me. They always do. As an adult, I have battled depression and anxiety. Those two demons have led to the demise of many great people. Those monsters will never defeat me.
I found the beauty in life. Watching and writing about baseball. Enjoying the company of friends and family. This life can be horrible sometimes, but for all its horror, there are moments of beauty that supersede all of the pain we experience.
That first kiss with your significant other, the magic of sharing laughter with your friends. The moment your team wins a championship. As much as I have struggled with my inner demons, I know that many people care about me. I am loved. You are too.
If you are reading this and you feel like ending your life — don’t take the easy way out. Talk to someone. Talk to your parents, siblings, friends, or a counselor. Admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness: it is a sign of tremendous strength. Putting your pride aside to admit you need a helping hand will only benefit you.
Ryan Freel could have been saved. All he needed was to confide in his friends and family. He could have faced his demons with the same passion and tenacity he took to the diamond with. He could have won. He chose to end his life. His kids will grow up without a father, his wife lost her husband.
Please, make sure that you tell those around you how special they are. Tell them you love them. Who knows, you might save their life. Never give up and never stop fighting. You are worth it.