Unfortunately suicide has become much too prevalent in Ireland. We have seen an increase in people taking their lives spanning all age groups.
Now this blog isn’t going to be about trying to understand why someone takes their life, that’s a topic for another day. What I am going to write about is what happens after, what happens with the family and friend that are left. I have seen plenty of blogs, articles and papers about anxiety, depression and mental health and I have great understanding and empathy around it. We need these writings to raise awareness around suicide. We also need people to know that someone that takes their life isn’t being selfish or self-centred. They are at a really low point in their life and for reasons of their own are unable to see a way out and ask for support.
With the devastation after a suicide no amount of writing can be put into words to fully capture what happens. The depth of shock felt by family, friends and community lingers a life time. Families despair trying to understand why and the really sad thing is that there is no one to answer that question. No-one to give a concrete reason, it was because of X or Y.
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The What Ifs?
Then follows the ‘what if’ questions. What if I had asked was he ok more, what if she tried to tell me and I didn’t hear, what if I called earlier, what if I didn’t leave her alone that day maybe she/he would still be alive.
The sad truth is that you can’t be with someone 24/7, it’s just not possible. This is the thing that families often struggle to come to terms with afterwards, the fact that they couldn’t prevent it. Added to this, the trauma of finding someone who has taken their life leaves a scar so deep it will never fully heal. The pain might become more bearable in time, but there will also be a deep hurt and sorrow for the family which will ricochet through to the whole community.
Suicide is a topic that needs to be talked about more and we are heading in the right direction in raising awareness. Unfortunately, it is often after the fact which is too late. It’s when people are affected by someone’s suicide they get involved in events and organisations. Should we not also raise awareness around surviving suicide, the fact that people do survive, get well and go about the business of living their life? I certainly would love to hear more of those stories.
Taking Care of You.
Writing this blog was not easy for me and put me thinking about our mental health, how fragile the mind can be and that we really need to take care of our wellbeing. The question I want to leave you with is ‘What can you do to take better care of your mental health?’