When you confide in your loved ones that you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, they will hopefully respond by asking what they can do to help you. This can seem like a simple question but in reality, it’s difficult to say what you need from loved ones. Here are a few ways your family members can support you as you recover from suicidal thoughts.
One of the most challenging aspects of depression for many sufferers is the tendency to neglect self-care. Things like remembering your medication, getting out of the house, avoiding any addictive substances, and maintaining your physical health become daily hardships. However if you involve friends and family to keep you on track, it becomes much harder to slack off on personal care and recovery processes.
Having a nonreactive person to listen to you when you need to talk can be a huge help in the recovery process. Simply instructing your family members to be available when you need to talk is a simple yet beneficial task for them to do their part.
It is also helpful to let them know it is okay to be open about suicide. The less it is treated like a taboo, the better off you will be.
Depression causes feelings of worthlessness, leaving sufferers believing that others don’t want to spend time with them or that they’re bringing the people around them down. These thoughts can be the cause of social isolation, exacerbating symptoms of depression and increasing the risk of suicide. Tell your loved ones that even if you seem down, simply taking the time to invite you to activities and spend time with you means a lot and can help prevent the negative effects of isolation.
Some quality time with a loving animal can greatly improve mood. Even if you volunteer to babysit the animal while your family member goes away for the weekend, you will notice diminished anxiety, stress, and depression as a result of spending time with pets.
Dogs, in particular, can provide a nurturing presence for people suffering from severe depression, as they can sense human emotion and will work to make you feel better. Dogs also prompt you to get out of the house for walks and trips to the park. Keeping active is key, and dogs are willing to help.
When you are suffering from depression, things that were once manageable can seem impossible. Keeping your house clean, for example, is something most people need to feel good. A cluttered home can cause stress or further symptoms of depression. If your family members are willing to come by and help you pick up once in a while, they can greatly reduce your stress and prevent your depression from overwhelming you.
This might also be a good time to get your family’s help in sweeping the home for potential weapons. Ask your loved ones to remove anything you might use to harm yourself. The process of removing dangerous items from the home can be a very difficult task for your loved ones to face, but keep in mind they would rather be a little upset facing the reality of the situation in this manner than to have you taken away in an ambulance.
Your family wants to help. You depression might tell you that you’re nothing but a burden but somewhere in your rational mind, you know that all your loved ones want is to see you happy again. They would be willing to do just about anything to get you there. Let them help.
Image via Pixabay by skeeze
Book review by: Bonnie Swade
It is no surprise that we grieve differently, have individual time tables for getting into the “new normal” and choose ways to handle grieving. For me, reading has been a big help and a book I would like to recommend is Chicken Soup for the Soul. The book contains Inspirational and Comforting Stories about Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. Losing a loved one as stated on the cover is a “shared human experience.” The many stories that make up this book deal with recovery and finding acceptance.
The book contains 101 stories from many contributing authors. One of those authors is Sami Aaron from Leawood, KS. Although, we both have experienced a loss of a son to suicide, each one of us has our own unique experience. Sami’s son Kevin faced a ten-year battle with debilitating headaches that left him powerless to reach his humanitarian goals. He, like many other suicide victims felt helpless, and hopeless.
Sami’s story is called the “Gift of Compassion”. She describes her feelings of senses as a weight shrouded by a lead veil. As she moves into the passage of time, the reader feels the lifting of heavy grief and hope for the future.
The book is a must read for those dealing with a loss and looking to regain strength and appreciate life, and joy once again. From the experience of a devastating loss, the book offers readers hope and comfort from those whom have walked the same path.
When we love someone and experience the separation that death brings to the relationship grief is a normal natural outcome of that process. As Queen Elizabeth II once said, “grief is the price tag we pay for love.” It is interesting though to hear the comments some people make regarding their loss: “I just don’t have time to deal with this now.” I’ll have to grieve later, I have too much to do now.” “I can’t change what happened so why feel bad about it.” “Our family doesn’t believe in grief.” To think that grief is a switch that affords us the option of turning it on and off whenever it is convenient is a huge mistake. When we are in relationship with others that we care about, their death sends a signal to our internal hard drive to grieve. Grief includes all the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that tell us something does not feel right. These may include sadness, confusion, hopelessness, despair, longing, anxiety,depression,fatigue,loss of appetite, decreased libido, and loss of faith to name a few.
Grief speaks to our bodies and our bodies listen even if we want to deny it. It is not uncommon for people who have experienced a profound loss in their life to show up at their Primary Physicians office with symptoms ranging from insomnia, digestive problems, irregular heart beats, bowel issues, headaches, and other pains. Several Johnson County physicians specializing in internal medicine have said that as many as 50% of their patients may in fact have unresolved grief as the core issue related to their symptoms. Grief is going to be heard, it speaks to our bodies even if we think we are hitting the grief “off switch.” The time to acknowledge and own our grief is now, while it is occurring. Do not take lightly the old saying of “died of a broken heart.” Hearts that never grieve, but run from the pain are prone to break. It is never a convenient time to feel pain, it’s just that if we want to find healing from this loss it requires feeling the pain associated with it. Our friends in A.A. have it right, “You have to feel it to heal it.”
If you write a check for more than the amount you have in your checking account the bank charges you and overdraft fee and there may be additional penalties tagged on by the merchants. A notice is mailed out to you to correct the problem. At this point you have a choice to make. You can make sufficient deposits to correct the overdraft or ignore the problem and assume it will go away. Far from going away the second choice can result in serious legal problems. Grief is a notice that has been sent to you that there are insufficient funds in your love bank. Death has created an overdraft in your account. Reconciling this account is not nearly as simple as making a quick bank deposit. Take a careful inventory of your loss. Who was this person, what did they mean to you? What role did they play in your life, family, faith community? What unique features did they bring to your life that made your life better because of them? How has your life changed with their absence? What did not happened in the relationship that you wished had? What would you undo if you could? Have you forgiven them for leaving you? Have you forgiven God for not answering your prayer the way you thought it should have been answered? How will you remember them? How will you go about being OK for them to be where they are and it being OK for you to be where you are? These questions pondered daily, weekly, monthly, and even longer are key components to grieving and reconciling the overdraft on your love account. When we make room for appropriate grieving ultimately we are making room for living. Since grief is going to be heard take time to listen to it today, you will soon learn that it speaks not just of pain, but of love and love never dies.
Book review by: Tracy Peter
This book offers a look at the different stages of grief for those left behind. If the one who ended their life was a parent, a child, a spouse or a sibling, the survivor or survivors deal with the grief in different manners. The authors take a look at these different ways to handle grief depending on who the survivor/survivors are.
This book also offers advice on how to heal by taking care of oneself and how to move ahead through the pain. It also talks about how a survivor should try to go to a group to help guide them through the healing process.
Book review by: Jessica Caswell
I would recommend this book for several reasons. I found it to be very encouraging for survivors in all phases of grieving as to the ability to resume a normal life unlike some I have read that seem to dwell on the infinite sorrow that consumes some survivor’s lives. It addresses all relationships to the victim and the guilt, shame, blame, and anger that often results from this tragedy and helps with dealing with the turbulence of emotions that consumes a survivor often detaching them from reality and the ability to function in many ways. This book does not attempt to psychoanalyze the reasons behind why one would commit suicide because it is a determined act with varying but multiple causes. It delves in to the resulting effects on spouses, children, parents and the branches of lost support that can occur as a result of blame and determining reason, it specifies that it is not meant to take the place of a support group but to give courage to those hesitant to seek out such support if they feel ostracized and possibly judged by others due to the stigma attached to suicide. One of the most important points I found particularly for new survivors is not to blame themselves for an argument, disagreement or negative action they may feel was the cause, aside from grief that can often be the strongest emotion and the most crippling in terms of seeking support and healing. The book is well written, expansive in it’s coverage to include all relationships, effects on the family, feelings of the survivor, encouragement for each individual to deal with their own grief on their own time line, not an arbitrary time line set aside by someone else and most of all to never be ashamed and feel to be deserving of treatment by others with just as much respect of a mourner of any other cause of death.
Life Must Go On If Only For The Sake Of Those Who Are Left, And What Is More It Is Our Duty To Learn To Enjoy It Again.
Suicide, The Explosion Within-Kathryn Carrington
A Parent’s Guide for Suicidal and Depressed Teens- Kate Williams
A Time to Grieve-Carol Staudacher
After Suicide-John Hewett
After Suicide: A Ray of Hope-Eleanora “Betsy” Ross
After Suicide Loss: Coping With Your Grief-Bob Baugher and Jack Jordan
After the Darkest Hour the Sun Will Shine Again: Elizabeth Mehren
An Unquiet Mind- A Memoir of Moods and Madness-Kaye Redfield Jamison
Andrew, You Died Too Soon- Corinne Chilstrom
Bart Speaks Out About Suicide-Linda and Jonathan Goldman
Before Their Time:-Mary Simming
Borne on Eagle’s Wings-Mariette Hartley
Choosing to Live: How to Defeat Suicide Through Cognitive Therapy-Thomas Ellis
Dead Reckoning: A Therapist Confronts His Own Grief-David Treadway
Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven?-Michelle Linn Gust
Don’t Take My Grief Away From Me-Doug Manning
Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve-Lewis Smedes
Grieving A Suicide- A Loved One’s Search for Comfort, Answers & Hope-Albert Hsu
Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One-Ann Smolin & John Guinan
Helping Children-Cope With Grief- Alan Wolfelt
His Bright Light-Danielle Steel
How Do We Tell The Children-Christine Lyons & Dana Schaefer
How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies-Therese A. Rando
How To Survive The Loss Of A Love-Colgrove, Bloomfield, McWilliams
In The Wake Of Suicide: Stories of the People Left Behind-Victoria Alexander
Living Through Mourning-Harriet Sarnoff Schiff
Light Beyond The Darkness-Dore Deverell
Men & Grief: A Guide For Men Surviving The Death Of A Loved One-Carol Staudacher
Mourning After Suicide-Lois Bloom
My Son, My Son-Iris Bolton
Night Falls Fast-Kay Redfield Jamison
No Time To Say Goodbye, Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One-Carla Fine
Overcoming Depression-Demitri & Janice Papolos
Questions & Answers About Depression & Its Treatment- Ivan Goldberg
Roses In December-Marilyn Willett Heavilin
Safe Passage-Molly Fumia
Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength-Judy Collins
The Empty Chair: The Journey of Grief After Suicide-Beryl Glover
A Special Scar: The Experience of People Bereaved by suicide-Alison Wertheimer
Understanding Depression: What We Know and What You Can Do About It-J. Raymond DePaulo Jr.
Suicide in America-Herbert Hendlin
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression-Andrew Solomon
Darkness Visible-William Styron
Someone I Love Died By Suicide: A Story for Child Survivors and Those Who Care for Them-Doreen Cammarata
But I Didn’t Say Goodbye: For Parents and Professionals Helping Child Suicide Survivors-Barbara Rubel
After a Suicide: Young People Speak Up- Susan Kuklin
No One Saw My Pain: Why Teens Kill Thelselves- Andrew Slaby and Lilli Frank Garfinkle
Bookstores, web sites such as amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com and libraries are all good sources.
Mental Health Resources (845-247-0116 or [email protected]
Centering Corporation (402-553-1200 or [email protected]
Compassionate books- www.compassionatebooks.com
Suicide Reference Library- www.suicidereferencelibrary.com