Reflection – Kelly Wilson

Originally posted on Facebook by Kelly and shared here with his kind permission.

Last week my ACT seminar focused on our response to suicidality, including a slow potent meditation on its proximity. The students got quiet.

This conversation typically leads to the requisite professional duties. But I am not training robots. I want the humanity of those dark moments to inform us at every step.

After our break we sat out back in the sunshine. I spoke of my brother Randy, since seminar fell near the anniversary of his suicide. I spoke also of how callous I was towards him when I saw him last.

Student reflections revealed again the ubiquitous silence around something that lies near to us all.

Just because you don’t hear it or see it, does not erase it from the universe.

Serious suicidal thoughts are common as air. It is simply impossible that anyone reading this has not experienced these thoughts directly or in someone they know and love. But the most likely outcome is that not one word is spoken. This is about you and I and the ones we love and the ones we walk by without notice.

I started a blog on the anniversary of Randy’s death, April 11, 1987, but did not finish. Perhaps I will. It is tentatively called “If you are thinking of killing yourself…”

Perhaps if you are pissed off at someone today, you might consider that this person, earning your contempt, might be suffering in just this way, today. Or, perhaps someone dear to them.

And perhaps in that pause you can find a bit of forgiveness or at least hesitate a moment before giving them your contempt.

Not that you or I would do that….asking for a friend.


Kelly Wilson is on the faculty of the Psychology Department at the University of Mississippi. He is has written and co-written many books, including Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong; Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: The Process and Practice of Mindful Change; Mindfulness for Two: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Approach to Mindfulness in Psychotherapy, as well as over 90 articles and chapters on related basic and applied issues. His work includes the investigation of acceptance, mindfulness, and values-oriented strategies in the treatment of a variety of problems in living as well as in the basic behavioral science underlying therapeutic change. Find out more about Kelly and his training and speaking calendar on his consulting page OneLife Education and Training. You can also follow him on twitter @KellyGWilson and FaceBook Kelly Wilson.


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