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The Importance that International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day Should Have on the World

November 22, 2014 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, a day that much of society most likely does not know anything about. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in recognition of a resolution that Senator Harry Reid introduced to the senate, pronounced the Saturday before Thanksgiving to be “Survivors of Suicide Loss Day”. AFSP observes November 22 as being “International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day” to encompass the global population. 

Suicide is a topic that many are not willing to talk about. It understandably is a very personal subject for those who are affected by it. As a society we are not taught to deal with suicide or mental illness. Suicide does not happen in a day, a person must go through a torturous process that both dehumanizes the individual and eventually builds an argument of why life is not worth our while. I was suicidal for almost nine years then reached college and attempted twice. 

I have had amazing friends and family, and I have never taken for granted their love and support, but despite that my brain took that love that I knew I had from them, and made me think that the confusion, emotions and experiences that I had been experiencing throughout were too much to bring into the ones that I loved lives. It made me think suicide was the answer to my happiness and theirs. The things that I had been doing to cope with what has turned out to be symptoms of bipolar disorder were things that made me feel good. These coping skills were preventing uncontrolled depression and suicidal thoughts to come into my life but were also somewhat illegal and that is what put me over the edge. I was doing things that I knew no one in my family nor my friends would ever believe or expect me to do. This idea that we should have it all together is dangerous. It prevented me from finding help when I needed it. 

I am sharing my story to show the sad but profound truth that people can torturously hurt underneath the self that everyone around them sees on a daily basis. It is unbelievably easy to hide hurt that we believe will affect others that love us. I thought taking my life was the answer to happiness for the ones I loved as well as mine but I was wrong. Many family and friends think endlessly about what they had missed or could have done to save someone who has committed suicide and the truth is, is that many could have done nothing. Family and friends do what they did in response to what they saw or how they perceived the life of an individual as being. A person often does not want to bring others into their problems or want to face them themselves. 

For me, things that I had started to do and think had been going on for so long I couldn’t describe to myself or anyone else why I was thinking certain things. All I knew was that it made sense to me, and to me that was all that needed to be understood. As humans we like to fit a certain image of ourselves and to mostly conform to the majority of societies beliefs of what sanity should be defined by. Insanity to me is part of a sane person, and we should all welcome the thought that no one chooses to be psychologically impaired. We are loosing loving, gifted, creative and beautiful minds simply because we are scared to have people in our lives that are truly suffering from natural disorders and emotions amplified because of stigma. There is something so wrong that someone is able to arrive at a point in their life where they are too scared to go to a person that they love and seek solace in.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is a day that people who have been affected by suicide in any way shape or form ban together to remember and support each other worldwide. It is a day that society should be aware of because we need to create networks of individuals that are able to not just be able to listen to one that is looking for help but a person that is able to listen to thoughts and experiences that are unimaginable to a sane mind. We have family and friends that have always been there for an individual that has died, and are left with feeling more than just loss, but defeat and at fault. Suicide is something that should not just be thought about once a person is affected by it, but it should be something that society talks more about. 

Comments

My Son, Adam,was 18 when took his own life on September 1st of this year. He suffered from Bipolar and although he hadn't be diagnosed, I believe he was paranoid schizophrenic. I never thought I'd be writing this, Adam was very personal and didn't want anyone to know who he was... I miss him every minute of every day. I love you, Adam!

Thank you for this welcome essay. It is important wisdom that needs to be shared.

Natalie, I am so very sorry for your huge and profound loss. Our world's loss.

So sorry. He might have been private but this is you so you continue to tell his story. It's important and he mattered. Hugs.

Natalie
I express my empathy to you for your loss. This is a difficult journey for you with many unanswered questions. Be strong and healthy for yourself and other members of your family. Take care.

I have bipolar,adhd,ptsd & anxiety disorder. I definitely have days that in my mind I can justify ending everything. It's so frustrating trying to explain to people what's going on & the feeling of rejection or extreme sadness when they either don't get it or they just don't believe you because they can't see it. It's very tough!

We lost my dad Mar 14 of this year, two weeks after my first son was born. He'd been suffering from bi polar and a lot of differnt feelings since coming out as gay in '96. We tried to get him help, but he was so afraid of the stigma and died of an overdose of caffine and sr. John's wart. I still wonder if it was a suicide attempt or him trying to self medicate. Due to his history it was deemed a suicide. I miss him every day and am saddened by the fact that my son will never get to meet him.

I have attempted suicide in the past. My children found me. I never knew I had bipolar. I still have thoughts every once in a while when I have no support and always lonely. My divorce caused the suicide attempt and still having a hard time it's been 1 year.

I lost my partner 4 years ago.
I tried so hard to help him but in the end he did not want to live.
Mental health needs so many more resources here in austealia.

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