Surviving and talking about suicide

People we are defined by many things and we all are identified by the many roles we play in our lives. As for myself; I am a daughter, a friend, an artist, and a counselor. I have also known someone who committed suicide and know the impact suicide has on a family.
Many of you can be given the identity of survivor and so can I. Whether you truly believe it or not; if you know someone or if you yourself has attempted or thought of suicide and are still here because you are giving life a chance, you my friend, are a survivor.
My whole life was impacted by the loss of my aunt. Seeing that many years later, the loss doesn’t go away. The pain of the lost loved one is never really gone.
Many people truly believe that suicide is the only way out of their own pain and will spare the lives of those closest to them. I cannot express enough how much it is exactly the opposite. Death; but especially suicide, creates a ripple effect that no one can predict or truly understand until you are the one living threw the loss. One death by suicide divided my family and it is still being repaired slowly to this day. Everyone played the blame game and no one won, everyone lost. Not only my aunt was lost, but now family was split in two and stopped talking. Loved ones, in my experience after a suicide, have an instant sense of blame and they run through the million possible outcomes that may have happened, “if I had just…”. It’s like living in a constant state of self-doubt and self- blame.
So why talk about this? Because I bet you there was a time in your life that you may have thought about suicide, even passively, and you’re still here. There is a reason you decided to make that choice to live. It doesn’t matter how small that reason may be. The fact that you chose one more day makes you a survivor and I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone.
It’s a passion of mine to help those who struggle with suicidal thoughts and to help those who have lost someone to suicide because it’s not an easy path to walk, especially alone. Everyone no matter how strong needs a helping hand now and again. It just takes one step towards help. One call to a crisis hotline, telling a close friend or family member that you’re struggling, one call for an appointment with a counselor, or coming to one meeting of the “On the inside group”  that project Seth began and I help facilitate. One step, even a baby step towards help, could mean all the difference.
To those of you who know someone struggling, don’t be afraid to use the word suicide. If someone is considering suicide, saying the word won’t push them over the edge or be hurtful. It’s good to know right away if someone is suicidal so then you can help as soon as possible. It also shows that you care and sometimes that is really what a person needs in that moment.
Remember, the suicide lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 in a crisis situation. You can also text GO to 741-741.
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