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08/04/2017

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Noreen

Having survived two attempts and the sometimes hourly struggle of trying to keep the will to stay alive, I was heartened by your compassion, and sorrow for your loss. All I can offer in solace to you is sharing my experience in the hopes that it can bring you and others some peace.

Having survived, I will have to live with the shame and stigma my attempts cost me. From the medical and mental health professionals -- who treat those who attempt like criminals-- to family and friends who show more anger and blame for putting them through the worry and grief, surviving is a heavy burden. Those of us who fail in our attempts to alleviate crushing emotional, and in my case, physical pain from a traumatic accident, WE are the survivors. What I've tried to share with people in my life who know of my attempts is the anger and humiliation towards MYSELF for not having succeeded is my cross to bear. That, and the fact that I continue to suffer from the physical and emotional pain that drove me in that direction makes surviving that much harder.

What most people fail to understand is that, at least in my case, my self love and wanting to protect myself from this ongoing misery was my motivation: not to hurt anyone else, although I knew that was inevitable. I wasn't lashing out or trying to punish anyone, nor was I acting on any kind of self-hate. The opposite. I was trying to put myself out of my own misery, the way I would humanely treat my beloved dog if I knew she was suffering so. And so the concept that is thrust on me is that I "tried to hurt myself", is so wrong in my eyes. I loved life until my tragedies hit me, and there were many. Only my psychiatrist, when looking at the totality of my suffering understood when I told him my attempts seemed out of love for myself, that I would never expect anyone I loved to keep pushing through agony they were just so tired of dealing with.

Emotional pain is not as easily explained. Im a trained clinical social worker and though I understood the diagnoses and clinical aspects to depression, nothing in my 54 years or my training could have prepared me for living with the crushing pain of depression that came as a result of years of physical pain and what else I lost because of it: my job, my marriage, friendships and the ability to do most things that gave me joy, because my physical pain prevented it.

But I now know that the emotional pain alone could have driven me to take my life, to close the door, finally, on all that anguish. So my only consoling thoughts for loved ones who have lost someone to suicide is that your loved one is no longer suffering. You may never understand the depths of their suffering. And you can only ease yours by trying to comprehend that perspective, because you may never have answers as to the "why".

Dew

This is so true - I did not know what my brother was going through and said all the wrong things and I lost him. I should have shown him more compassion and that is so hard to live with. Your words are very wise.xx

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