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Strength For Survivors

Strength For Survivors

(Part 1)

Ecclesiastes 7:17b, “…why shouldest thou die before thy time?”

When one of our loved ones completes suicide, we recognize this as they “died before their time”, so to speak.

Their life with us currently has ended.  The biggest comfort, if they were SAVED, is knowing they are out of their pain.  They are at home with Jesus, and do not hurt any longer.  Their struggles, pains, and difficulties have all now past.

However, for the survivors, our pain has just begun.  Our struggles and troubles with thoughts of how we could have helped more.  What could we have said?  What could we have done different?  There is a lot to work through.

My goal in this writing, is to give some solid ground of dealing with the trauma and grief of suicide completion.

Death will affect every one of us, and we will grieve in many different ways; from the textures of emotions, to length of time in mourning, to even the kinds of rituals and remembrances that help heal the irreplaceable loss.  It is never, ever easy to grieve the death of a loved one.

Suicide has been described as a “death like no other”.  Death by suicide stuns with soul-devastating surprise, leaving friends and family not only grieving the unexpected demise, but confused and lost by this haunting loss.

It is unfortunate that suicide is shrouded by stigma.  We do not fully understand all the components and circumstances that would attribute to someone completing suicide.  As a result, the much of the general public believes that death by suicide is shameful and sinful.  Others consider it a “choice that was made” or blame family members for the outcome.  And then there are people who are unsure how to reach out and support those who have lost a loved one to suicide, and simply avoid the situation out of ignorance.  Whatever the reason, it is important to note that the underlying structure of grief for survivors of suicide loss in complicated.

Another issue that must be recognized is mental illness.  Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.  No one would seriously deny that our physical bodies can become ill.  Why do some not want to admit that our physical mind can become ill?

Research shows that at least 6 people are intimately traumatized when someone completes a suicide.  This includes immediate family members, relatives, neighbors, fellow students, friends and/or co-workers.

Let us try to understand.  Based on accounts of people who have attempted suicide and lived to tell about it, we know that the primary goal of a suicide is not to end life…it is to end the pain.  Most people who die by suicide have a significant depression narrowing their problem and possible skills that could be used to solve their problem(s).  People in the grips of a suicidal depression are battling an emotional agony where living becomes objectionable.  Corrosive thinking reduces optimism.  The hope of their problems or themselves ever becoming an Overcomer and coming out victorious can quickly become small and range to complete hopelessness.  This increases feelings of helplessness.  Thoughts that captivate the mind make it virtually impossible to hold onto any semblance of pain going away.  The argument that a person who dies by suicide has done so by their own choice, I contend that serious mental illness, in fact, limits choice.  Studies conclude that those who have survived their suicide attempt and healed from their depression report being astonished that they ever considered suicide.

Part 2, the conclusion, will be posted very soon.  My prayers are with you.  If I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to phone or email me:  Steven Blankenship or 850-995-7006