Survivors of suicides: don't live in guilt

 by K. Aleisha Fetters
Survivors of suicides: don't live in guilt

When I was a child, my father came up with a new way to commit suicide, just as my shoe size had to be increased as often. My penny loafers, his pills; my plastic sandals, his carbon monoxide; my Martin boots, his razor. The suicide attempt at my 4, 10 and 28 years old is the most dangerous of the three.

We found him on the side of the road, found him by the bed, in the grandmother's garage, saw the huge gray-blue Osmobil he tried to call us "Orca". The car became his grave.

When he doesn't try to commit suicide, I will think of myself as a hero. I remember the thoughts of my childhood: he is alive today, one day, one day. My love for him is enough to keep him alive.

It is my responsibility to let him live – this feeling is a very bad burden. I try to keep myself quiet. If my sister and I laughed, he would be angry and then he would feel sad. Is it that I want to laugh more than I want my father to survive? I try to keep myself from asking for anything, no matter what, like the money to eat pizza with friends after school. If he doesn't have extra money on his hand, he will be embarrassed, which will make him depressed. Do I want a pizza to be more than wanting my father to survive?

This is a simple reasoning, but also self-deception.

Now I understand that half of his suicide attempts failed to be accidental, half of which was regret, and what followed him was medication and treatment, as well as hospitalization that required closer care.

After all these attempts to commit suicide, my father died in July last year. In the heavy fog in the morning, he and a friend walked by the road and were killed by two cars. The police investigation confirmed that this was an accident.

When I woke up on Friday and heard Anthony Bourdain's news of Kate Spade committing suicide, I felt a huge sorrow. Both because they have passed away, and because they have experienced too much pain.

But I cried for their loved ones and friends, I think, they may be remembering their last visit with the deceased, trying to find signs that they have not found, finding the opportunity they should have seized, finding the timeline they could have The moment he saved him, the moment he could have saved her.

Sorrow and sympathy have been overflowing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It is a beautiful thing to see how much love people can pay. It is also very encouraging to hear people blew the horn that advocates not stigmatizing mental illness. See strangers sharing their phone numbers online: call me! Call me! If you get to this point, call me!

But the information that urges people to lend a helping hand to help their loved ones and strangers carries a hidden and unintentional dark side: if a person successfully ends his life, it is that the people around him are not paying enough attention to him or doing it. Not enough effort.

What I am worried about is that this information has an impact on those who have lost someone because of suicide - adding another layer of guilt and aggravating their sorrow.

"Rather than thinking, 'I hope I can solve this problem', we should use this moment to ring the alarm, think 'I hope to be more around, more conscious, more communication, more empathy ', - This will be more effective," said Dr. Gregory Dillon, associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. “And if all of us do this – and communication, understanding, and empathy are generally improved – this situation is less likely to develop into a crisis.”

In the same week that Sped and Boden’s death came out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report saying that the suicide rate increased by 25% from 1999 to 2016 and nearly 4.5 in 2016. Ten thousand Americans have ended their lives. This means that many Americans may be being devastated by the idea of ​​“doing not enough”.

But even if I saved him from the swallowed tablets, the waving razor and the carbon monoxide he inhaled, I could do nothing when the tons of heavy metal slammed into him.

But this is not to say that we should not be around, to love, to participate. This is not to say that we should not share opinions, resources and empathy. We have to try and try everything possible.

“It’s cruel to blame something that we are not in control of ourselves or others,” says New York-based psychologist Lakeasha Sullivan. "But we can share part of the burden. We can start with a real conversation - a national conversation - to talk about the quiet voice of all of us, the voice sometimes questioning the meaning of life, letting despair and no Help start to look up."

What we don't need to do is to help people find a way to end the pain without death, but we need to realize that if their attempts are successful, it is not the failure of our love.


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