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I Lost Loved Ones to Suicide, Here’s What I Learned.

In their wake suicides leave a lot of pain, confusion and sometimes mystery. No matter how devastating suicides are there is something that can be learned from them. That is what I discovered in the last four years when I lost my two friends and a cousin to suicide.

Quality of life.

One of the things I noticed about my loved ones who committed suicide is that they lived better lives than they could have been ,taking into consideration their situation. They were making progress, and had an overall improved quality of life, but for some reason they had convinced themselves it was too little, that they were stagnating or it didn’t matter. Poor mental health has the ability to do that, to make us overlook our victories and measure ourselves against some unsatisfiable yardstick.

Lesson: All this has made me learn to appreciate every little accomplishment I make, never overlook them or belittle them, because they honestly matter.

Dangerous optimism.

When they were optimistic they overestimated their potential, luck or skill. This created a lot of unnecessary pressure, akin to perfectionism, that was stifling and too demanding. Those pressures coupled with, in some cases, depression created a state of paralysis – there was so much to do yet no energy, skill or time to do it. It is the disillusionment of those high expectations that created crushing disappointments and waning self-esteem.

Lesson: You have to have realistic, measurable and adjusted goals and expectations, something that suits your situation optimally and appropriately.

Metrics of Happiness

The biggest shock,often with loved ones who commit suicide, is how they had seemed very happy or accomplished. Everyday we look at people and we tick off a list of things we think constitute or make for a happy life. That might be money, education, a job, a flashy car, an attractive romantic partner etc. too often these metrics of happiness are challenged every time a successful person commits suicide. This forces us to consider what makes for a happy fulfilled life. While it is a difficult question to answer for everyone, clearly it is one we have to know for ourselves.

Lesson: We have to know what makes us happy, and what we want out of life rather than what society prescribes as a route to happiness. Pay attention to, nurture and never neglect what makes you happy, gives you a sense of purpose or meaning.

I certainly didn’t have to lose any of my loved ones to learn these lessons, but it is their deaths that constantly remind me of these important lessons. The hope is they work for you as they have for me. May their deaths not be in vain.

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29 thoughts on “I Lost Loved Ones to Suicide, Here’s What I Learned.

        1. Indeed. I didn’t even feel like writing this. It was supposed be a long piece, so my friend pushed me to write it. I was in such a state that I couldn’t. But having written anything at all is cathartic and I feel like it honors them.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. One of my friend always talks about killing herself. I have tried convincing her. I did everything possible She hasn’t but she tells me of all her failed attempts. I feel so helpless. I gave her my best yet I can’t change her mind. I have talked 2 friends out of it. They were thankful, they still bring it sometimes. But this girl, she is stubborn. She lives a quality life. She seems to have everything. I just don’t understand.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think she’d talk/listen to anybody, Thank you. I appreciate your offer. That is so kind of you. I’ll talk to her about this matter. I’m also pretty sure she will not appreciate me doing this for her. I’ll write you soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel that some people who commit suicide are selfish.
        Look at the pain they leave behind and how dumb they can be not to appreciate life.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. First, I don’t believe suicide is a choice but it is an act. People who commit suicide aren’t able to, they have a literal inability, to appreciate life or want to live it in the same way people who are healthier can. They lack perspective, and it is not as a result of something they are doing wrong or their fault. You need to understand that to them, life doesn’t have the kind of value it has for us, so it’s not worth living(that’s completely logical in that context). That is one way out of many that suicide is concieved.
          Secondly, the selfish part is a bit unfair. If someone is in tremendous pain and death can end it, is it not selfish for the family of that person to keep him/her alive and disregard his suffering just because they want him alive? You see what I mean, it is just as selfish to expect a person who is suffering terribly(so much that it diminishshes their quality of life) not to act to alleviate or end their pain just because we want them alive. They have the right to their own life and in a sense suicide is not a crime against anyone, no matter how terrible and devastating it is for people who are left behind. I’m in no way encouraging suicide, but I think there comes a point where we have to respect that it is a decision about their own lives like any decision. They should at least get some compassion.
          Of course, many people who want to kill themselves and end up in suicide watch or survive an attenpt live to tell us how they never wanted to do it and that their mental health was clouding their judgement. However, this does not rule out the small chance that some suicides may have been conscious decisions from an educated mind about what they wanted and why they wanted it, or why it is best for them.
          Personally, the mind that is suicidal and then isn’t anymore mystifies me. The puzzle I struggle with is whether what we want is actually ever what we want since our mental states can influence what we desire so much. Because the person who once attemped suicide wanted to die as much as they want to live now, and if their mental state changes surely they will want to die as much as they wanted to live then; so what is their truest desire? I wonder. I’m trying to understand it.

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  2. I concur that they aren’t selfish…not in that way. They are self…ish only in that all their pain is directed inwards. The thought of their loved ones etc is furthest from their minds. It’s the only doorway open to a clouded mind….unless an elective decision in the midst of a debilitating illness. These people have to prove to the courts and their loved ones that they have thought long and hard about this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with that too. There is also that, the fact that they are deprived of the thought. In another way they think it’s in the best interest of their loved ones, no matter how misguided that might be. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. I agree so much with this. I think material possessions are also what brought emptiness in people. There’s a period of my life where I have a desire to appear a certain way and to get certain things, but now when I think back on it, when I die I will not take anything. So I turn my ambition down a notch for a freer self.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

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