Speaking Up About Suicide

I posted about suicide on Facebook a few minutes ago. I was hesitant to hit “Post” because not only does the word “suicide” come with its own trail of stigma and judgments, I also have new friends on my Facebook (most of them my co-workers at the Math Assistance Center – a place where I often look very rational, cheerful and can sometimes even come across as ‘happy’).

I was afraid. I think I’ve talked about this before on my blog somewhere. I’m afraid of the judgments of people that I don’t often interact with – sure we all chat when we’re at work but never in depth – and I was afraid that because of the lack of background knowledge, that I would be judged as “crazy”.

Then as I thought about it more, I realized that suicide is a topic that needs to be addressed. As a self-proclaimed mental health advocate, I knew that if I didn’t say something, then who will? Will people continue to suffer in silence? Will I continue to suffer alone?

So after I thought that, I wrote this post while attaching an article from The Mighty:

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Speaking Up

Here’s a link to the article in case anyone’s interested to see what the author had to say about the topic of speaking up about suicide: No Shame In Suicide

I don’t feel particularly strong for doing what I did but I think it’s precisely because I’m not strong that I did it. I’ve been ashamed of my suicidal thoughts and feelings for long enough. Though I’ve never actively hidden my self-harm scars, whenever I see them, I do feel a twinge of shame and I do wonder what people think of the faded lines on my arm when they see them.

Anyway, I hope that despite my emotional burdens and struggles, that I can go back to being a mental health advocate again. I’ve given that a rest since my suicidal thoughts have amped up but maybe I need to quit feeling sorry for myself and start to work hard at learning coping mechanisms again.

S reminded me of a mindfulness exercise that he had taught me a long time ago but had forgotten – it was to visually put all my troubles and the troubling things that we’ve talked about into a container which can be something as simple as a box or a treasure chest or a crate, anything really, and then locking the contents away in his office until next week when we can open the container back up and resume our work. I tried to do that this morning while the “teenager” was lashing out in anger but failed to do so while S was staring at me. So I’m going to have to try that again.

I also need to stop blaming S for how I feel because I know despite how much I love him and admire him, that a little part of me dislikes being pushed out of my comfort zone to try learn new ways of coping that’s not self-harming. I need to stop blaming him for how horrible I feel because he’s not only the person who’s always on my side but also the person who is very actively helping me process my thoughts, emotions and struggles. How I feel is a result of the therapy work – a result of exposing shame and vulnerabilities and just because he’s the one who’s helping me peel back the layers of pain that I’ve hid myself in, doesn’t mean that it’s his fault that I feel the way I do. I recognize that but it’s so much easier to blame others than it is to recognize and own up to my own failings.

This morning, during our session, I owned up to the fact that when I say that the “teen” is making me angry, the “mother” is being critical, and the “child” is being afraid, it really means that I am angry. I am critical. I am afraid. S asked me what it felt like to own up to that. I told him that it sucks. I think that was why the “teen” lashed out – that’s why I think I lashed out. I was angry for being so exposed. I was so angry that I wanted to hurt myself because I felt so ashamed for being so vulnerable.

I realize that now. I hope S will forgive me for my belligerence and stubbornness.

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