I was stunned to say the least when my friend called me to share this news. I gather it’s a known fact that Robin Williams had been battling depression. One factor that may have contributed to his decision to finalize his life was the conclusion of his latest show. Not to say that anyone is to blame, but you never know what straw is the final straw for someone. Suicide is so grievous as you can imagine. The one thing that I struggled with when my uncle committed suicide was the conflict of feeling that he was coward and understanding the plight of his life at that time. Needless to say the process was so hard to get through because, it is believed that signs exist and therefore the loved ones feel tremendous grief and guilt because they think-the signs were not noticed or they believed that they could have done something.
The harsh reality about suicide is that people weigh out the pros and cons and conclude that they are better off not living. Depression is a mental illness–suicide is not. It is one of the ultimate expressions of life being too unlivable and the person can’t see how things will balance out to offer any type of reprieve. Recognizing the signs provides time for intervention– but the reality is people have walked out of the hospital from a 72-hour-hold; a 14-day hold or perhaps even 30 days and still commit suicide. However, there are people who are placed and released from the same types of holds that find a semblance of hope that gives them that push to keep living.
So, how can you tell which person is presenting before you? You can’t, if you are not certain about the emotional/mental status of a loved one then have them evaluated. The Team that is responding must consider the information you hold, but please do not go through this alone. Seek help, cry out, scream out whatever it takes–get some help.
Read the article Suicide is a T.O.U.G.H. issue by LaQuita Suggs, LCSW to learn ways to approach this sensitive topic.
A picture of suicide, by LaQuita Suggs Ricks, LCSW
It is really hard to fathom the concept of living through a traumatic death. The grief process is far more complex when the loss is sudden, abrupt and without warning. The difference between normal grief and traumatic grief is the type of loss, the intensity of the loss and the lack of forewarning. Some of the things that I have experienced with the traumatic murder of my mother are:
- loss of control
- Struggles with being happy and merely existing
- Desperation and yearning
- Agony and despair
One of my greatest struggles has been with people and their need to box my grief in because of their inability to respond to me. Moreover I learned that when people are uncomfortable with your experience that they will either (1) reduce your experience or (2) they will pathologize you and your entire grief process. This may be done in love, but tends to be viewed as insensitive by the ones who are grieivng. Death is a normal part of life and living, but learning how to be okay with the transition can be rather taxing on the spirit.
What are some tools that may assist someone with transitioning through the process without stroking out, committing suicide or just giving up? And more importantly is it possible for this to occur?
- Recognize that understanding how to deal with a traumatic loss will be difficult and will vary across the board due to the type of relationship that you had with the deceased.
- Try to link with someone who understands what you are going through and delegate tasks to them.
- You may feel an overwhelming sense of loss of control–more so because you have loss control. However give yourself permission to be out-of-control.
- Make every effort not to commit to things that you have not thought through and do not feel pressured to make any major decisions.
- Whatever you are thinking–bounce those thoughts off someone you trust to act in your best interest.
- Do not make assumptions about what happened, wait for the facts because they are bound to stagger in.
- Allow someone to guide you through the process of grief and be okay with saying how you feel.
- Seek spiritual support if possible because soul wrenching experiencing are most severe at the gut or at the core of your existence–your spirit.
- It is naturally to lack motivation and to not want to do anything, but push your self if possible without over exerting.
- Do not apologize for crying, being emotional or letting your vulnerability show.
- Give yourself permission to not be okay and once again do not apologize for not being yourself.
- Allow your feelings to be whatever they are and expect them to vacillate. This doesn’t make you suddenly mentally ill.
- Try not to fill in the blanks about what happened. No matter how much information you have there will be a tendency to make up things that you can’t prove.
- Place restrictions on people and don’t feel bad or “some type of way” because you do not want to be bothered.
- Ask a person you trust to pray with you and focus on what you know about the scriptures.
- Journal, blog, draw or write whatever comes to mind .