This week was especially filled with work-related trauma. A potential client left two messages on my voice mail, politely requesting an appointment. I returned both of his calls, but he did not answer his phone and so I left messages. In his voice mail to me, he did not say he was in crisis; he did not request an immediate appointment; he did not share that he needed to talk to me as soon as possible. He simply identified himself and kindly asked for me to call him back and I did. The second time I returned his call, I intuitively left a message offering him an appointment time; something I rarely do before I have personally connected with a new, perspective client. Later that evening I found out from the referring professional that he had committed suicide.
I do not know this person. I have never met him. I do not know his circumstances. All I know of him is his is simple voice mail and his subsequent suicide. First I went through my own selfish mad ramblings: “I could have saved his life”; “I did not get back to him in enough time”, “It must be my fault that this happened”. After a few minutes of this harsh self-centered talk, I realized I was in the trauma reaction called Miracle-Worker Reverie as a result of this tragic event. But that’s about me and will probably be addressed in another Mad Ramblings Blog.
Right now, I want to speak to the client who never was and everyone he represents. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please remember that suicidal thinking is the result of being in an extreme shame attack. The suffering person is usually grappling with challenging life-issues or events that provide a context of seeing oneself as unlovable and worthless. The suicidal person believes that everyone he/she knows, including themselves, would be better off if they were dead. The struggle with this tidal wave of shame becomes crushing, as it overtakes its victim and ultimately ebbs into a silently-deafening rage turned on oneself. While I know basically nothing about this man, I do know that he lost his struggle to shame.
No one should ever have to feel that bad.
What’s tragic about all this is that shame can be healed. We need to remember that at times “it is darkest right before the dawn”. No matter what level of despair we may feel at certain low points in our lives, we still have options and choices for healing. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in circumstances that bring us to our knees in suffering, so that we may rise to a level of higher thinking and mental health. It is our responsibility to take the time we need to explore and discover that there are many healing paths out of our emotional pain. Please see below for some suicide resources. Please pass them along. Thank you.
Suicide: Read This First
|Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255|
|National Suicide Prevention Lifeline|
when I have been idealising the thought of suicide it hasn’t been because of shame, it has been because of isolation and pain, it has been because life is so difficult and I have found so little help, it has been because I have given up hope I can ever live a normal life again and breathe and not fear the system any more, that declares people fit for work when they are not and put people with stress related illness through such stress it makes their mental, emotional and physical problems more difficult to cope with. It was not shame that caused me to break down it was pain and had I had the energy one night I would have tried and failed because the very next time I was well enough to drive my car the exhaust fell off! Which made me laugh…those dark nights are not just shame. I am not ashamed that I am struggling. I am proud that I have not only kept my life through times where health could take it but I haven’t taken it when it all gets to much….and the thing that helps me keep going is my humour and my dog, what would happen to him if I died.
Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and thank you for demonstrating the courage to speak to it. I appreciate your perspective and I have gained some insight as a result. You are not the only reader to remind me that some people who are challenged with disabling health issues have to move past suicidal ideation and for them, it really isn’t a matter of shame. I am sure others will appreciate your post. Thanks again.
A beautiful post that sadly hits very close to home. Indeed, “No one should ever have to feel that bad.”