This week’s post is by Cory Cobern, who just received his degree in social work and for the past four years has worked for a suicide prevention crisis line. He also runs one of the dozen or so support groups for suicide attempt survivors in the U.S. _ a role that came about because of his own experience and the trust that earned him from others in the field. He is married, with two sons.
I was 31 when I first started having serious suicidal ideation. My mother had died the previous October, and only a few days past the one-year anniversary of her death, my father passed away. I was in a state of denial. I quickly sank into a deep depression that I could not find my way out of.
That’s when I really started listening to the voices in my head.
This week’s post is by Sue Martin, whose story illustrates two ideas we ought to run with. First, there’s no need to confine our stories to the world of mental health or suicide prevention. Sue’s an author and an emerging public speaker, and so far her audiences have been blind rehabilitation professionals who see her attempt as just one part of her life experience. The response, she says, has been wonderful.
Second, dismissing someone’s story of recovery just because they mention how they tried to kill themself really risks missing the point. As you’ll see, Sue mentions up front what she did because it’s crucial to everything that follows.
This week’s post comes to you from prison.
I recently met Manny Bermudez in the visiting room of Great Meadow Correctional Facility in upstate New York, a few hours’ drive from New York City. It’s a stark place. Prisoners and visitors are separated by a low metal counter. Around us, inmates and family members handed little children back and forth while catching up on their lives. Outside, a massive white wall blocked the view of the nearby Adirondack Mountains.
Manny is slight, with glasses and dark hair cut so short that the scars on his scalp are visible. As we talked, he pulled back the long sleeves of his dark-green cotton shirt and showed off extensive tattoos.
A closer look showed the scars across his wrists.
Before moving on to this week’s guest post, here’s some good news: The Huffington Post has published our blog post from last week on its site as part of a special feature on suicide attempt survivors.
Separately, also worth a look are these video interviews with three pioneering attempt survivors who talked openly about their experience back in the day, not long ago, when no one dared to mention it.