It has been 23 months since my dad died by suicide. When this journey of suicide grief began (and still now) I thought I wanted to use my experience to lessen the stigma around mental illness, suicide, and suicide loss. I still feel it is important to talk about suicide and breaking the taboo – but anytime the subject comes up my anxiety skyrockets. It just hits too close to home. It is too personal. It is too raw. My life and my heart are profoundly affected by suicide.
I am sure this has everything to do with anxiety after a traumatic event. I wonder if this is how others feel after losing a loved one in another way. Many people do not realize the impact their conversations have on grieving hearts.
I get so offended by people’s insensitive comments and ignorance about suicide. I want to be able to shed a light on the subject, to educate people. Yet I cannot help in the way I want to. Even with the knowledge and experience I have gained, I cannot shine a light on the subject in a composed way because of how much I am affected and how raw and damaged I am.
I know this will always be personal for me and wonder if I ever will be able to talk about suicide without becoming emotional. When I hear others discussing the death of someone who died by suicide, will I ever be able to shed a light on the subject or even be in the conversation? Will I ever not have a major setback just when the subject comes up?
I am trying not to be too hard on myself, to allow myself time to grieve and to be raw. I am trying to acknowledge my feelings when they come to the surface. For now, I will hold close my knowledge and experience, knowing that one day it may blossom into something helpful against the taboo and stigma.
Perhaps helping starts on a smaller scale. We do not have to force ourselves to speak up in every conversation. Just planting little seeds of help along the way makes a difference.