I often think about how my son was the one who kept me alive during the years of on and off suicidal struggles, and then I think, I really need to stop saying that.
I worry one day that my son will see these words that I’ve written or I will find myself telling him “When things were at my worst I stayed alive because of you.”
What a horrible amount of pressure to put on a child. One day if it comes to be that I don’t survive the suicidal tendencies (let this not happen) that have become a part of my non-healthy periods of life, my son will think “Did I not do enough?’ or worse “Was I no longer enough?’
What a horrible thing to leave a child with.
When people live with cancer and are able to not die, they’re called survivors. Of course this happens for other diseases too. Not for suicide though. For suicide, survivors are the people that were left behind.
I use to see postings for Survivors of Suicide group. I sincerely thought “Wow, this is really great.” I can sit in a room full of people who want to kill themselves and we can talk about how we haven’t. We would share stories of almost dying and how we overcame what seemed inevitable.
But these suicide survivor groups are not for people who managed not to kill themselves. They are for the family they left behind. They need these groups because being left behind by someone who died from suicide, is a tragedy that leaves a guilt like no other. I have often written about the guilt I feel living with depression because it seems that depression is something you should be able to overcome and that you’re a selfish and weak person for not overcoming it. (Though this is of course not true.)
The guilt suicide survivors feel is equal if not greater than the guilt I feel. They plague themselves with statements like “There must have been something I could have done differently.” and “I should have seen how close to the edge this person was.”
Of course suicide related to depression is nobody’s fault. I want to scream this over and over to the people who deal with this loss. Of course, for them to hear me, I need to be alive. If I reach the suicidal lowness again, maybe this is what I need to remind myself of to keep me going. It is not about my son and what I make his role out to be. It is about me being here, so he never has to be a survivor of suicide.