From time to time, we’ll be posting on research related to suicide attempts. There is so much about suicidal thinking that the learned experts don’t yet understand, and one purpose of this blog is to bring together their voices with the voices of the lived-experience experts _ those of us who’ve been through it. This is where your thoughts and contributions are needed. Our “Contact us” page now lists several topics that are meant to nudge you into writing.
Stephen O’Connor is a founding contributor of this blog and a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. In a field where many researchers might feel more comfortable keeping their subjects at a distance, and where many clinicians refuse to treat suicidal patients because of concerns about lawsuits and other issues, Stephen has kindly agreed to write a half-dozen posts on research this year.
As he writes here, he wants to hear from attempt survivors on where research findings “may seem accurate or somehow miss the mark.”
Welcome to our new look! We’re able to accept and moderate comments now, and they’re already coming in.
This week’s post is by a young Canadian named Alicia Raimundo, one of a very small number of people who regularly get on stage and speak openly about their experiences with attempted suicide and suicidal thinking. She’s just one of two people we know who’ve done TED-related talks about it. Hers is worth watching, and so is JD Schramm’s. While Schramm’s story is more personal, Alicia takes a broader approach.
Before handing today’s post over to contributor Judy James, we’d like to mention two changes that you should see this week, as well as an outside word of encouragement. First, the blog will have a new appearance for easier reading. And that will make it possible for you to post comments and for us to moderate them.
That call for comments is part of the feedback we’ve heard so far, and here’s another: “After 10+ years working in this field, and in particular calling for greater recognition of the survivor voice, this blog from AAS represents for me the most significant development in Suicidology that I’ve witnessed,” suicidologist and attempt survivor David Webb wrote last week on the Mad in America site. “The AAS is very influential globally, so if we can make a success of this blog, it is likely that other organisations around the world might follow.”
The author of this post, GC, is a founding member of this blog and maintains a separate blog about his life experiences, called Midnight Demon. He’ll be writing about suicidal thinking from the point of view of someone who keeps it a secret, though he openly describes his pain and struggle with suicidality in his writings. He also has collaborated with the AAS on research papers.
My name is GC. This is not my real name. It is my alias for my suicidal writings because I feel I have to “protect” my family and friends from my true self. They do not know the dark side of my thoughts and feelings. The depression and suicidal thinking has been a part of my life since a young age.
I recently wrote a rant about mental illness and how it feels inside when you have troubling thoughts that won’t go away, like suicidal thoughts. It takes a lot of energy to deal with it. But the biggest thing that I have learned over the years is to keep it a secret.
I’m a suicide attempt survivor, and I’m glad the American Association of Suicidology is launching this blog to give a public voice to people like me. Because, frankly, where are we? Why do we have to hide?
To me, it’s been a relief to come across other people who’ve been through this and see that it’s possible to move on in life without a dark trail of stigma. But it’s very hard to come across these people when no one dares to say anything openly. It’s not enough to have a few brave attempt survivors speaking publicly for the many thousands of us. For one thing, each of our experiences is unique, and piecing together the “why” and “what to do now” can take more resources and insight than each of us alone can provide.
We are such a crowd of isolated people, not knowing who else out there would understand, and too scared to ask. Wasn’t homosexuality once this way?