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I am both a professional working in the area of bereavement and a person bereaved by suicide. I have worked for the past 16 years with children and parents who have experienced a suicide death. My husband died of suicide 14 years ago. I appreciate the open discussion of this highly stigmatized topic and thank the participants for their willingness to share their stories.
After my husband's death I was faced with the question WHY? I have done much reading, studying and talking to others who have experienced a suicide death as well. What I now understand is that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. The brain, an organ of the body, is not working properly. Rather than looking at this as a "mental illness" I prefer to call it a "brain illness or disease" The person who dies by suicide is not in their right mind because the brain is not functioning correctly. Edwin Shneidman who has written about suicide for many years including 2 books The Suicidal Mind and Suicide as Psychache, talks about the intense pain a suicidal person is in. He writes that a person who dies by suicide is trying to stop the pain in the only way they know how, to die. It is not really a choice, but rather the only percieved path available to the person at that moment, having the intolerable pain, the ability to act on the thought, and a lethal means.
By talking openly about suicide, we can hopefully get rid of the stigma that impacts all of us who have had someone die of suicide. I have more than once chosen not to share how my husband died because of concern for what the reaction would be. As several of you have stated, being able to talk about the suicide death with other who understand or have also experienced a death is helpful. I find that the support that people share is invaluable. There are also many organizations that work to prevent suicide or educate people about suicide. For some getting involved is one way to help with the healing.
posted 4 years, 3 months ago
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