Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Paul Tilley: Thinking of the Family

I have never heard of Paul Tilley before last month. From what I have read, he was an exceptional man and a great advertiser.

Sadly I learned of Tilley only after his apparent recent suicide. The creative chief for DDB Chicago fell to his death from the 27th floor of a hotel.

Reading about Tilley in Advertising Age reminded me of friends and acquaintances who died too early by their own hands.

I cannot imagine what goes through the mind of a person that leads in the decision to take ones own life. I hope that I never even glimpse a shadow of that mind.

But I do know the pain and suffering that is left behind. And it's a cruel pain wrapped with thoughts of responsibility. Lives are shattered never again to be the same. Little girls -- much like my own -- will grow up never knowing a parent.

As with many mental illnesses, the problems that lead to suicide and draped in untruths and stigma. Many people think that the will to live is tied to the neurotransmitter serotonin; when serotonin levels drop too low, suicide is an all-too-real risk.

I hope that those of you reading this will never think of taking your own life. But if you do, think first of Paul Tilley's family. Think of your family. Think of Tilley's two young daughters who will never have a father at their soccer games, graduation, or wedding. Think of your daughter, son, mother, or father.

Think of every one you know who would spend the rest of their lives wondering what they could have done. I know I feel this way about my former college friend. I knew he was having a rough time, and I will forever wish that I would have found another way to reach out.

Most of all, talk to someone. Anyone. Pick up the phone. Call someone you love. Call someone you trust. Life can be cruel. Life can seem hopeless. But there is always some hope. Please allow someone to help you find that hope.

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