Today ESPN Around The Horn panelist and DENVER POST columnist Woody Paige addressed the recent self-inflicted death of Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley by relating his own, serious contemplation of suicide.
Paige reported in the piece that in 2002, a friend and a local doctor secretly pushed him into rehab for the treatment of his addiction to myriad narcotics prescribed by a “prominent Denver psychiatrist” to combat clinical depression.
The heavy medication had earlier caused Paige to plan out a scenario in which he would kill himself by swimming, “out in the Pacific Ocean far enough that I couldn’t make it back to the beach. .. My death would be termed an ‘accidental drowning,’ and my family and few friends would be horrified, but spared the humiliation.“
But before Paige could fly from Denver to the west coast to carry out his plot, his friend and the doctor interceded, checking the longtime columnist “into a private room on the secured maternity floor at a Denver hospital.”
After having his medications embargoed, along with “my belt, my razor and my fingernail clippers,” it was discovered over time that part of Paige’s suicidal thoughts were traced to not only depression, but diabetes. Paige:
I had diabetes, which causes low serotonin levels in the brain — and depression.
Of the two men who facilitated that revelation, Paige wrote today, “They saved my life. I am not depressed. I never want to die.”
The eventual proper diagnosis of Paige’s condition saved his life. Sadly, McKinley wasn’t afforded a similar fate.
Paige notes in today’s column, “Break your leg, and you can tell. Break your brain, and it’s not so evident.”
The key word in that sentence is “so“.
Suicide warning signs, however subtle, can often be detected before the deed is done. But all of us have to be aware and unafraid to turn that attention into intervention.
Paige is living proof.