About: Painful Issues That Never Vanish:
There is a constant streaming of painful topics flowing from the suicide survivor groups. Various participants express their feelings of loss, wondering how and why the suicide happened. They typically move on to ruminate with thoughts of how things could have been different.
“What if?” . . . is a common thought living deep in the heart of every suicide survivor. If all the “what ifs?” were put into words, it would be a run-on sentence that never includes a period. Even if the list exhausted every possibility, none of its elements could ever be validated. This is probably the reason these thoughts are seldom spoken.
They live on as possibilities that can never come to fruition.
These statements are contrary to what we want to believe. Our thoughts on suicide issues are one side of a potential discussion that is never started.
There is little doubt that suppressing discussions on suicide is at least, in part, due to guilt. Surely we all have a sense of guilt from time to time, but rarely has anyone ended their life. Suicide remains a topic with too much stigma.
In rebuilding a new life after suicide you will encounter emotional show stoppers from time to time. Anxiety levels start to escalate when any serious issue is brought up. It is human nature to shy away from things we are uncomfortable with; so suicide issues that are voiced are typically passed over. Worse yet, if your statements are not well thought out more misunderstanding will result. When this occurs, generally attempting further dialogues will result in isolation. In select situations we will expend our efforts, while the level of understanding we hope for will remain just beyond our grasp.
To find PEACE in this storm it is imperative to develop coping skills. It is a requirement to learn to live with unchangeable things. Adopting memorized pat responses to sensitive inquiries will relieve a lot of stress. Mastering this approach will allow you to begin to live moment by moment. We do live in the moment, not the past or the future, but the present.
I have personally formulated memorized pat responses to delay topics of folks that I am uncomfortable with. So I say things like “I am just not ready (or up) to talking about that right now . . . maybe some other time.” Some other time might mean tomorrow. Yet for others it could mean never.
Delays provide time to prepare and be more effective. Also, it allows you time to develop mental lists of folks (friends and relatives) you want to have dialogue with and those you don’t. Keep in mind there are some folks you will want to dialogue with. There will be others (typically family members) you will be obliged to.
To attempt to blow past this point is to etch in stone a permanent barrier to peace. It may take months or years to work your way through these encounters, but it is well worth the effort. Remember life does not go into idle, new folks will appear on these list and others will drop off.
There is never the complete satisfaction that we are done with these encounters. The key point is to leave the door open. You don’t control any other person . . . you can certainly influence them . . . but, what they choose to do is up to them. As time rolls along you will work through your list, and new additions will be limited.
Surviving is a lot of work, but it does not mean that life after a suicide cannot be meaningful, fun and purpose-driven. You might think of it as repositioning yourself in your new world.
As you rebuild your life, there is one topic that can never be overlooked on the path to peace. That topic is forgiveness. If you don’t come to terms with forgiveness, your chance of finding lasting peace is small.
Forgiveness must be issued to the individual that has willfully ended their life. It also must be given to whoever or whatever you hold blame. That one took me years to come to terms with, along with forgiving myself. Forgiving myself was a concept that was near impossible for me to believe in. Blame mingles with the early idea of “how things could have been different.”
Blame is made on assumptions that maybe 100% correct. Again, these assumptions can never be validated no matter how strongly you believe in them. Even if everyone you know holds the same factor as the cause . . . you can never really know what other things played a role in the whole thing. So if you hold on to blame, you are the one that will suffer the most, not the target of your blame. Here is one area that counsel is almost mandatory. Under these stressful conditions, it is nearly impossible to think in any objective way. Friends and family are reticent to challenge you and we are all reluctant to changing our thinking. Good counsel can help work you out of this corner.
In the end you are required to replace a lot of dreamy visions about your future. Whatever they were, no matter the intricate outline you may have developed, those details will have to be modified and in some cases abandoned.