This week’s post is by Craig A. Miller, who contributed a strong post earlier about the difference between not wanting to die and wanting to live. Here, he talks about moving forward. Visit Craig’s website at Thisishowitfeels.com.
“Why?” As a suicide attempt survivor I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with people and tried to give them an answer to that question. When doctors would ask I would become frustrated, because they should be the ones with the answers. When family would ask I would feel guilty, because anything I said was misinterpreted as blame. And when friends would ask I would just become quiet, because no one could ever really understand what I was going through.
This week’s post is by Karen Neumair, a literary agent and mom who describes herself as “a lover of God and a lover of words, especially when those two things come together.”
“You need to recognize that depression comes as the result of a failure in self-control and self-discipline. … Depression comes when we fail to handle the blues, the disappointment, the perplexity, the guilt, or the physical affliction God’s way.”
I read the ancient 1970s pamphlet over and over as I sat across from a lay Christian counselor I had met just a few minutes earlier. I was speechless.
Welcome to a new group of readers who found this blog after The Associated Press published a long story over the weekend on attempt survivors and the trend in speaking out. “We’re not that fragile,” one woman told the reporter. “We have to figure out how to talk about it, rather than avoiding it.”
The story has gone all over. It showed up on the sites of The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and elsewhere. Responses so far have been wonderful and strong. “One myth that needs to be laid to rest: People do not attempt or commit suicide because they are cowards. They do it because they are hurting,” one woman commented on the AP’s Facebook page.
A note to the media: Interested in pursuing your own story on this, or including those with thoughts or actions of suicide when reporting on suicide? Let us know. We can talk about what is, as the AP story notes, a serious public health issue _ and we want to.
Before handing off this week’s post to Sabrina Strong, the outspoken founder of the Waking Up Alive crisis respite house in New Mexico, two quick notes.
First, PsychCentral blogger Sandra Kiume kindly posted last week about this site, saying, “If you want to keep up with the cutting edge of suicide prevention, this is truly it.” And for those of you who are interested in pursuing support groups for attempt survivors in your areas, the National Empowerment Center is organizing an online presentation this month by a peer-run group in Massachusetts. Space is limited, but they can fit 500 people. You can sign up here. And now, here’s Sabrina:
I don’t remember the exact date I tried to kill myself, but I know it happened right around this time of year. Spring was on its way, and I was determined not to make it to my 27th birthday. That was eight years ago.
I asked Jack Gorman to consider writing a post after I noticed a comment he left a few weeks ago identifying himself as a former psychiatrist who had treated many suicidal patients. “One of the many things I learned is that I never knew what it was like to be suicidal until it happened to me,” he wrote. “No clinician can possibly know exactly what that depth of hopelessness is like.”
Gorman came across this site while doing volunteer work with a suicide prevention organization in New York, where he lives. “I decided to share my story because my recovery involves trying to make amends for the many errors I made, and this includes being open to telling what I did, if it can be helpful to another person,” he wrote in an e-mail. “It is not, of course, easy for me and I am wary of the consequences of being public, but I think it is the right thing to do.”