Updated: Nov 11, 2021
There is nothing more uncomfortable than talking about suicide. It is awkward, unnerving, & raw. However, it does affect so many people throughout our nation & desperately needs to be addressed. This week I talked about overcoming obstacles when grieving a loss from suicide, a story that is my own. Today, my friend Shelby will be sharing her heart-wrenching story of survival, & the obstacles she overcame while grieving her brother’s loss from suicide. How she was a suicide survivor that made a choice.
If you haven’t read How to Overcome Questions, Guilt, & Judging When Grieving a Loss From Suicide yet, this is my story. A story about my beautiful younger brother & how our life changed so incredibly fast, literally a blink of an eye. In my story I share ways to over come the obstacles listed above. If you know anyone who is struggling or has lost a loved one to suicide, please share this with them, as it may help them with their grieving process.
Grieving through suicide is different, & it is its own beast. Having tools to make getting through it a little easier is a must! I will be sharing more tools with you next week on how to deal with suicide & how to deal with suicide survivors!
If you or someone you know are in this situation, there are so many options to help you in your healing. Please follow The Giggling Life for upcoming posts that will share more tools to overcome all obstacles in life, especially when dealing with loss & grieving.
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Now, I want to share with you an important story from a friend of mine. She too, lost her brother to suicide, & she is brave enough to share here story of grieving & loss with us here. It is heart-wrenching & inspiring to see how she has been able to overcome her grief through writing & taking one day at a time!
She has been journaling ever since his passing & has now turned those raw notes into a book. I can’t wait to read about her journey, her growth, & the lessons learned in her book!I will keep you posted when it will be available!
I am so grateful that she reached out to me a couple of months ago. All suicide survivors need to have that community to where they can share their feeling & feel safe & protected while doing so! That is what we are creating here at the Giggling Life so please feel free to contact me through our Fb page, Intsagram, or Twitter.
Thank you all for taking the time to read our stories! I appreciate you all so much & am grateful for each & every day that I get to be part of the giggling Life.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Shelby! I know how hard this is, you are amazing & we are grateful for you!
A Suicide Survivor That Made A Choice.
(By Shelby Spencer)
Shelby’s amazing story of survival after her brother’s suicide.
A night I will never forget is the night my brother committed suicide 7 years ago. I thought my 38-year-old brother, Scott, would always be there. I took knowing that for granted.
I didn’t understand how he chose to take his own life when he had so much. We have a very loving and supportive family, he had great friends, and he had my two kids. He was smart, talented, strong, loving, compassionate, good with computers that he taught himself, fun and supportive and so much more.
I knew he battled his own demons constantly, as he suffered from being Bipolar type 2, Manic Depressive and had Acute Anxiety Disorder. Until I read his journals, I didn’t know how hard that struggle really was for him. My brother Scott, was also gay, which left him feeling alienated and alone. His inner voice told him he wasn’t good enough, wasn’t enough, wasn’t worth it, wasn’t heard, wasn’t normal and even wasn’t loved very much.
I sympathize with his depression, because I too, suffer from depression. Mine is nowhere as debilitating as my brothers was. I have not ever gotten to the point of wanting to commit suicide, but I understand firsthand how thoughts can be stripping of your mental status. How they can further your mental status in either a good or bad way. I too, have felt not worthy & not good enough. That is also why I chose to forgive him.
“That is also why I chose to forgive him.”
These thoughts can sometimes take over your entire existence. Sometimes fighting those thoughts leave you weak, & tired. Sometimes they make you feel like you have nowhere to turn or no other options. I forgave myself also for not being able to fight more for him, nor help, someone who was unable or past the point of being able to help himself.
My brother’s death and my depression are something I still struggle with. Unfortunately, I had my own battle’s before my brother took his life, but I’m trying to break through that cycle of feeling “less than”. I am in the process of continuing to think positively. I continue to tell myself “I can do this, look what I’ve been through already and I’m still here.”
“I can do this, look what I’ve been through already and I’m still here.”
Daily, I remind myself of things I’ve done in the past. Not only things I’ve gone through, but things I was strong enough, good enough & capable enough of doing. Even the small things, which on some days are the big things, like: I got out of bed today, got dressed, paid my bills, did a load of laundry, and so on.
Other days, I can say: I started school again, I gave my daughter a graduation party with mostly handmade decorations, hand sewn graduation bottle caps, gowns and handmade photo boards. Or even; I challenged a bully back in 6th grade to a swimming race when I had everything stacked against me, and won. I am now writing a book about my brother’s suicide and how it affected me for the entire world to see. They will view my rawness, nakedness and vulnerability, or simply I cleaned most of the house today.
“Whatever it is, big or small, whether it’s something you did or something you got through, it is a part of you.”
Whatever it is, big or small, whether it’s something you did or something you got through, it is a part of you. It’s something that makes you unique, something that makes you stronger in the long run. Thoughts can suspend you in bed for months, or they also can get you out of bed, dressed and able to face the day! This is your choice.
I started writing a journal about my brothers’ suicide and later decided to turn my raw thoughts into a book. I called it ‘I Forgive You’. My purpose of writing this book is to help others be able to cope with their pain from seeing the pain I was going through. I have yet to finish my book, but am still pushing to finish it and get it published.
“Writing for me, became and continues to be, my therapy.”
Writing for me, became and continues to be, my therapy. As I wrote in my book “(writing my book)…It was my therapy, my teddy bear, my best friend and my bartender all in one.” I had it all in one place at any given time that I needed it. It helped me grieve, cope, deal, de-stress, cry out, remember and be grateful for what I still had. I needed to find forgiveness towards my brother, his actions, and for myself for not doing more before that night. I found forgiveness through my writing. I wrote about him, to him and the absence of him.
Through writing in my book, I realized we need to stick together as a family. Whatever we were feeling, it was okay. It left myself and my entire family motionless, speechless, heartbroken and lost, to say the least. For a long time, I found myself dying too.
“For a long time, I found myself dying too.”
“It grips at my emotions and makes me feel like I’m a puppet held up with strings, dancing in someone else’s show. I am no longer the puppeteer in charge of my own actions and reactions. My emotions feed on the moment at hand and the slightest hint that reminds me of you, pulls those strings a little harder and there again I dance, I feel, I cry, I die inside all over again.”
I was going through the pain, the loss, the emptiness, the turmoil, the confusion, the questions, the anger. One day, when I was mad, not sure if it was only towards my brother, God, or even myself, I realized something. I was a victim to Scott’s choice. At that moment (honestly, a year later is when it really sank in), I needed to make my own choice; whether I was going to stay the victim and let it claim my life as well, or whether I was going to choose to live.
“Writing this book has taught me about me.”
“Writing this book has taught me about me and has taught me more about my will. I am not who I am because I had a brother (or because he committed suicide). I am who I am, because my brother was a huge part of my life, yes, but I am my own person.”
His decision to end his life obviously affected my life, but should not decide how my life goes. Therefore, I am not dying because he drank the poison from life, nor is he here because I didn’t drink it. We are not one in the same. His choices were not mine; therefore, my actions are not his and should not be controlled by his actions. I must live my life for me and my kids. I have the say, my brother doesn’t.
Quoting lines from my book, “In this moment, I give myself permission to live, to inhale, to feel, to be! I don’t exactly give myself permission to be healed, because I’m not there yet, I may not reach that point. I do however, give myself permission to heal along the way, and to try to learn from the lessons that are laid before me. I’m getting stronger. I’m getting through.”
I will always love and miss my brother. I don’t have all the answers, but I look forward to the chance to figure out more of them. My brother was my best friend, my older brother and my balance beam. I lost that when I lost him. I also lost all the attempts at suicide my brother had made, the walking on egg shells and his rage. I decided to take back my life because dying wasn’t bringing him back.
Things I do daily to help me out; I write, I dream, I say and believe I am blessed, I talk to those I know I matter to (maybe not every day, but often enough), I laugh, I love, I feel, I remind myself and reflect on things in my past when I didn’t exactly know the outcome, but I made it or am still making it through, and I hug at least one person a day.
Those days that seem to swallow me up, I try to accept what I cannot change. I pray. I challenge myself to just do one more thing. I forgive myself when I just couldn’t do all that was asked or expected of me. I get up and try to do it the next time or the next day. I also try to remember I’m not anyone else, I am me.
“Even in your parting, I am blessed. I have the choice to live and to be here. I have the freedom to live on in your absence.”
I found gratitude through writing. “Even in your parting, I am blessed. I have the choice to live and to be here. I have the freedom to live on in your absence.” I am blessed because I have a voice, because I can express the inner most turmoil and the inner most beauty. I am blessed because I am breathing, I’m loved, I’m gifted with family and friends who care about me and lift me up. I’m truly blessed to know that my life is my own.
Your life is also your own. Your thoughts are your own as well. Know, you’re not alone in grieving, in thoughts of suicide, in healing or in life. Someone is where you are or where you’ve been. Many people have come through to the other side. It’s not always easy and some days are downright hard as hell, but you can do this! You are enough! And you are capable!
“You are enough!”
Please, for so many, for yourself, family and friends, clients, teachers, anyone you have on your side, even ones you don’t know you have, please reach out if you need help. Please give yourself a fighting chance. Please remember you have a choice, even if you feel like you have no options, you do. Please remember you are worth it!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story,