our side of suicide

This week marks an unbelievable three years since my dad’s death. As I was developing this post, I almost included the word “anniversary” in my title. However, I realized that term usually has a happy connotation – like with a wedding – and I didn’t feel like using it this time around. Some days, it feels like he left us only yesterday, but on other occasions, it feels like so much longer. I’ve had new jobs, a new house, a new car and a new baby on the way all in this timeframe. One question that will continue to permeate me is how long he had been considering suicide as an option. To me, it all seemed to happen so quickly. I found this picture from a fundraising event we attended together at my high […]

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our side of suicide

Among the flood of commentary surrounding highly-publicized suicides, I always grimace at the naïve and ignorant statements made by those who haven’t been touched by mental illness or a loss of this nature. Reading or hearing things like, “what a selfish act,” are extremely hurtful and perpetuate the unfortunate stigma facing survivors. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding of the impact of mental illness on those who are struggling. It’s so easy for people to make snap judgments or statements and continue to move on in their day without realizing how wrong they are. I am certainly not a researched expert on the topic, but I can speak emotionally as a survivor on 5 myths about suicide I’ve observed since losing my dad. Myth #1 – People who complete suicide acted “cowardly.” Elizabeth Hawksworth summarized […]

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Our Side of Suicide

Together, we’re facing another dreaded “morning after” today. In the wake of the untimely death of Robin Williams to suicide, we opened groggy eyes realizing that this nightmare actually happened, and that suicide happens. Days shy of the three-year anniversary of my dad’s own suicide, I am reminded of how I felt that next day. After a night of fitful (or no) sleep, I saw that our once charming grandfather clock was still set on the time I pulled its plug the night before (because I didn’t want to hear one more happy chime) and that my dad wasn’t manning his usual spot at the breakfast table. The house took on a creepy silence and the dreary weather outside seemed to match our moods. No one knew quite what to do or say, let alone […]

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ted talk.

I was introduced to this TED talk, JD Schramm: Break the Silence for Suicide Attempt Survivors (click underlined portion to watch), a few months ago, and wanted to pass it along to you all.  The speaker happens to be a man who attempted suicide, and was fortunate enough to be blessed with a second chance at life.  I know that our readers, myself included, were not this lucky as our loved ones were successful in their attempt. After the loss of my father, I established an overwhelming urge to talk about suicide as I believe that more resources are needed for the suicidal. JD Schramm does a great job of discussing how one’s perception is not always another person’s reality.  I have often heard survivors question their loved one’s decision to take their life noting the blessings in […]

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our side of suicide

Something I’ve heard many survivors talk about is how they refer to a loved one in conversation after they’ve passed. This most commonly comes up among parents who are asked how many children they have, or siblings who have lost a brother or sister. Many feel inclined to say the true number of kids or siblings they have, which includes the person who died. Just because they aren’t here anymore doesn’t mean they should be left out. Others wrestle with whether or not to count that person out when telling someone the number, because they died [by suicide]. Technically, they are gone, so will it open a can of worms to mention one is no longer alive? It seems like such a trivial issue, but I know it’s one many survivors take to heart. Along those […]

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Our Side of Suicide

One feeling that has resurfaced since my Dad’s death is anger towards him. As I said in my last post, my husband and I recently bought a house. After selling my Dad’s house the year after he died, my husband and I stored all of the family heirlooms that used to be in my parents’ basement (family pictures, family China, my Mom’s Snow Babies and other knick knacks she collected, as well as a few boxes of stuff from my Grandparents). The boxes added up, and that is not stuff you just throw away. For the past two years, it had been in a storage unit so it was “out of sight out of mind” for me. Since we moved into the house, we got rid of the storage unit and brought all the stuff […]

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PTSD after a suicide

What do you think about when you hear the term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?” The first thing I think about is the military. We so often hear about our veterans returning home from war with symptoms of PTSD. We are also all aware that this untreated PTSD often leads to suicide. But, what we do not often think about is PTSD experienced by survivors in the aftermath of a suicide. In fact, I believe that PTSD after a suicide is more prevalent than we think. The National Institute of Mental Health states that, “PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful […]

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