So much of the time, we start by celebrating. We celebrate the birth of a child. We celebrate the beginning of the day. We celebrate the first day of school, the beginning of a relationship, the start of something new. And then things move forward. There is a middle. And then they come to a close.
Today is the last day of September. This month has been National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. I've been waiting to write about this topic for some time on this blog. It has taken so many futures away from people that I know. It has robbed my patients from beginnings, celebrations, and going. It has taken away people from my friends and their family members that have never felt a hole in their soul as greatly as they do after suicide enters their lives.
What I keep coming back to, are the eyes that I look into after our world has lost someone to suicide. And the loved ones that sit, in silence, in shock, in quiet. The left behind. The ones who start the painful journey of living without.
Do you know the number one concern of licensed clinical psychologists is losing a patient to suicide during their career? Do you know what that means? That the people who are turned to for help, are absolutely just as human as the person who is touched by suicide. They are just as afraid that this person will leave our world. Because in this profession, we are taught crisis intervention, warning signs, risk factors, screening questions, and we still don’t have enough.
Suicide is sensitive. It’s a dance that convinces those it takes that it will always win in the mind. That this person isn’t deserving, will never be happy, will never be okay, will never be “normal”, will never, ever just be. It takes the mind's of beautiful humans captive. It’s a secretive, seductive, stranger that will always try to win.
Walking the journey of grief hand in hand with close friends, family members, and the families of a few patients I have had in the past, I always go back to this:
Would suicide win if everyone truly knew and felt love? What could we have done as a support network, a family system, a culture to rise up together, and beat suicide? How could love win?
And how could we all teach one another to believe: You are enough.
Day after day, hour after hour, I sit with people who have stories just like yours. And they are in pain. They have perhaps been touched by the seductive stranger that suicide presents itself to be.
I call you today, to recognize that we are at the end of the month that raises awareness of suicide in our culture. But this is just the start.
If you are hurting and you have secrets, please, entrust this information with someone that loves you. Someone that finds you enough. There are people out in the world that are made to build you up and to love you. Find them. Know them. Be one of them.
If you are hurting because you have seen the devastation first hand of this destruction: Stand up. Love yourself. And watch for those around you who may be feeling this seductive stranger dance near them.
There is no “cure” for suicide. There is no answer. There is no one reason that supersedes all reasons on why or how come or what made someone fall to the lies that suicide gives out.
I believe that if we lived in a world where being yourself was truly enough, if everyone, every single one of us, celebrated in the beginning, the middle, the mundane, and the end of each part of every human we come in contact with, we would have the opportunity to fight off the sensitive dance that suicide does in the mind’s of those it captures.
To be enough. To know you are enough. Would that be enough? I don’t know. But we can at least continue trying.
“Love is an infinite victory.”
It is. And it always wins.
You are enough.
Please note these resources for suicide awareness and suicide prevention. Suicide is the third leading cause of death of young people. If you are in need of immediate clinical emergency services, please go to your nearest Emergency Room or call 911. If you are in need of services, please use these resources:
National Suicide Hotline: 1(800)273-TALK (8255) for help and crisis information
NAMI Helpline: 1(800)950-NAMI (6264) for referrals and other information
National Alliance of Mental Illnesses www.nami.org/suicideawarenessmonth
Dr. Kate Cummins is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based out of Los Angeles, California. I am now accepting new patients in my private practice and through Skype (telehealth). Please look at my website, www.drkatecummins.com and contact me with any questions you may have (424)488-9973 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This information is meant for education and knowledge expansion. This blog post is not a form of mental health treatment or individual clinical work.