Start by believing you will survive it

In the first few days and weeks following any tragedy, you are in shock. Grief covers you like a lead blanket and you can’t see how you will ever be able to function again.

Your first step? Believe you will survive this. Keep telling yourself you will.

The way I got through each day at first was to tell myself that as bad as it was, it could never be as bad as getting the news my son killed himself. I’ve already gotten that call. The best thing people could do for me is to be there and ask, “How are you today?” And when no one asked, I asked myself. When I would get angry that the world kept spinning while my world had fallen apart, I reminded myself that others were holding it up because I could not.

When I blamed myself, I remembered I couldn’t control another human being. Even one I created. We blame ourselves at first but most of us learn we have to forgive ourselves to be able to live. I had to realize that my child didn’t take his life because I didn’t love him enough. And losing myself in coulda, woulda, shouldas was not going to bring him back or make my life easier.

The feelings you have immediately following any tragedy are not permanent. You adapt because human beings are amazingly resilient. There are many of us out here who have survived tragedy.

We are living proof that ordinary human beings can do this. And we are here to support you because we’ve been there. Use us.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

2 thoughts on “Start by believing you will survive it”

  1. Dear AnneMoss,
    I needed to hear every last bit of this right now. My body feels covered in lead, as if spikes have been driven through my head and heart. The weight and pain are almost unbearable, just as the blame and guilt of not being the mom that could have prevented my son’s suicide.
    I will come back to read this over and over to give me hope that, perhaps, I can make it through. Thank you from my shredded, torn heart.

    1. Oh Julie, we have all felt that way in our grief journey. We torture ourselves at first. Have faith you will not always feel this bad. We are all with you. Many on this site have lost a child to suicide, overdose, other drug related illness and other causes.

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