As a mom I struggle with that moment when Charles took the steps to end his life. I know he knew we loved him. But it’s so painful to think my love was not enough to prevent his death. Or that he thought we didn’t love him at that moment and we were all better off without him.
That’s where those of us who’ve lost someone to suicide struggle the most.
Not too long ago, I got a message from a young man who lives in Chicago. He was doing some research and found this blog and reached out to me. He admitted he was depressed and had suffered from suicidal thoughts and is in the process of getting help.
Despite the fact he’s suffering and not surrounded by people who currently have a good understanding of depression or mental illness, I am impressed he is fighting for himself and trying to figure all this out–which is complex even for those of us who’ve been advocates for mental health for years.
Something he said stuck with me and helped me understand that irrational moment when someone is in such despair, they can’t see past their pain. I thought this was very honest and showed such amazing self understanding.
“I see suicide as bad but I’m starting to see why it’s like at some point I won’t be able to care anymore about how it would make my family feel.”
He’s not being selfish. He’s simply understanding that that moment is irrational. I’ve never heard anyone say it that way. And it’s now so much clearer to me the state of mind Charles must have been in. I feel like it would have been impossible for him to know how much we loved him in that moment. You can’t make well-informed decisions when you’re mind is in acute emotional distress.
It was that one statement that made me realize that not only was Charles experiencing irrational thinking and unable to make a decision to help himself, emotion and confusion rendered me decision-impaired as well. And that’s why I didn’t react like a normal mother.
Funny how one statement sticks with you for days and then becomes an Aha! moment that unlocks a secret you did not previously comprehend. I get it now. As much as anyone can that has never had those thoughts.
The key to healing, the key to preventing suicide is understanding it. I don’t think I can have this realization without also recognizing what it means. And that is if you have had thoughts of suicide, even if you are taking care of your mental health, you need to have a plan.
You plan for all sorts of other things like a jack and spare in case you get a flat tire. It only makes sense to have a plan to keep yourself safe.
So take a second and program this number into your phone. For you, for a loved one, for someone you might save that you have yet to meet.
USA Crisis Text 741-741
USA Crisis Line for LGBTQ Youth 1-866-488-7386
USA Crisis Text for LGBTQ Youth 678-678
USA TransLifeline 1-833-456-4566
USA Suicide Prevention Lifeline & Chat for the Deaf or Hearing impaired. Or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255
United Kingdom Samaritans 116 123
Australia Crisis Line 13 11 14
Canada Crisis Line 1-833-456-4566
Canada TransLifeline 877-330-6366
International suicide hotlines
4 thoughts on “A statement that helped me understand that suicidal moment”
I too am a survivor of a suicide attempt, by all means I shouldn’t be here. It’s been five and a half years and it’s a struggle even when you are getting the right help. It is irrational thinking and I have so many tools in place and it still scares me. I absolutely can never drink again because I have no rational. I thought that would solve my problem but recently I struggled again with thoughts but my doctors were able to help pull me out of that funk. I know for me it was about anyone else it was about me and the pain I couldn’t get rid of it was unbearable. I love reading your blog it really helps keep me in check.
Thank you so much for that Lisa. We are so glad you are still with us and you persevere as you have. You are an inspiration. I cannot imagine being plagued with those thoughts. If you ever want to write something for this blog, I would love to publish it.
This is a profound post for sure. That moment does exist as does the moment when you realize it exists perhaps in the future if not in the now. It becomes almost rational to think of it as existing. I suspect many suicides occur in the spur of a dreadful moment but equally many must occur after many long and agonizing moments of pained introspection and perhaps irrational rationalization.
I’m so thankful that your blog is being seen by those who need help, encouragement, an anchor, and in return you are being encouraged and gifted with Aha! moments. Keep fighting the good fight, friend. ❤