Opening up about suicide is such a difficult thing to do.
I have a friend, who many years ago, lost a teenage family member to suicide. For the family, I’m sure the years have felt like an eternity of grieving, and just seconds since they last thought about the pain.
I recently asked this friend to write a story about the experience for my blog, knowing how difficult it would be to write, but also knowing that this friend wholeheartedly believes, as I do, that suicide should not be hushed up.
My friend was asked by other family members not to write the story.
I sincerely hate to think about those I know, including myself, who are still suffering from the loss of a loved one to suicide. It’s such an intrinsically personal loss, a tragic experience wrought with a variety of emotions; guilt, anger, fear, sadness, loneliness, desperation, embarrassment, confusion, disbelief. The list goes on.
I also completely understand a family not wanting to “advertise” their grief, guilt or other very personal emotions. And I in no way blame them for not wanting their story told.
But as I’ve mentioned, my personal belief is that suicide should never be hushed up. For the vast majority of suicides, some form of mental or physical illness (or both) existed. The person who takes his or her life, in my opinion “has lost a battle with mental illness” just as a cancer patient may lose their battle to cancer.
This is no one’s fault.
For me, I feel there are a few reasons not to keep silent.
1. To educate others about the warning signs of suicide.
2. To raise awareness about how common it is and how often suicide happens, so we will become hyper-aware when our loved ones show signs.
3. To encourage parents, family members and friends to speak up (and attempt to get help) if these signs exist in someone they love.
4. To help others dealing with their own tragic loss, not to feel so alone.
5. To give us license to be brave and intrude when we’ve heard a suicide threat from anyone.
I think in general, because suicide is not often talked about, most of us mistakingly believe it could never happen to someone we care about. If you’ve never been in the depths of suicidal despair, its unfathomable that anyone would take their own life.
But it does happen and will continue to happen if suicide remains a taboo topic.
If you have lost a loved one to suicide, I would be more than honored and very proud to have your personal experiences on My 3rd Baby Blog. Your words will help others, I promise you. I also encourage you to read “My Inheritance” and “A Teen Daughter’s Perspective on Medication, Mental Illness & Suicide,” two incredibly powerful and courageous stories of suicide I’ve had the honor of posting on this blog.
Please contact me via comments or send a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share your story.
Please be vigilant. Suicide can and will effect anyone.