How do YOU stay alive?

1 Sep 2017

Weird question right?
Consider this – today is the first day of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
THEN go past the S-word and focus on the P-word.

With other maladies such as cancer, MS, diabetes, etc.. we focus on how to stay alive. We manage stress, eat well, rest, stay hydrated, participate in faith communities, walk, listen to music, swim, garden, limit exposure to stressful people/situations. All of these activities also work to reduce or eliminate suicidal thinking!

We have to stop thinking of suicidal thinking as aberrant because that perspective just causes shame. How aberrant can it be when 1/4 (25%) of us experience it every year and 4/5 (80%) of us in our lifetime?

Imagine a world where we acknowledge that suicidal thinking can come from the flu, thyroid imbalance, urinary tract infection, arthritis, and many other illnesses. Imagine a world where suicidal thinking is a considered a heads up such as a 104F fever, which is exactly what it is! Clearly, there are more survivors of suicidal thinking than there are people who attempt and survive or die.

We have to move past our focus on suicide death and move to suicide attempt. Imagine where cancer research would be if people just focused on cancer death and not on what keeps cancer survivors alive. The words “when that happened to me” are an effective lead into healing of any kind.

We are told over and over that 45,000 many people die of suicide in America each year. Here’s something ~~~ of child deaths, 25 children attempt for each death. Of adult deaths, 12 adults attempt for each death. And the 25/1 or 12/1 are attempt survivors who are treated in the hospital! This doesn’t account for people who attempt and wake up alone and alive, or people attempt but don’t tell anyone it was a deliberate attempt.

Let’s focus on how we stay alive. Forget about the psychological autopsies for a while. Start asking long-term survivors how they’re doing it?! Start asking survivors all the same questions that cancer survivors are asked during treatment. There is where the cure will be found! So, again – HOW do YOU stay alive each day?

Some days I feel like I'm screaming to the rooftops and nobody hears me. Is this such a radical idea to study the life habits of recovered attempt survivors? It seems like the most glaringly obvious thing to me. Today I'm in an Airbnb on the front range. Everyone else is asleep. We are having a fun family vacation and I'm writing early in the morning so my topic doesn't upset anyone. I don't blame anyone for being tired of my grief and research.  People justifiably move on to the next phase and this is mine. Last night, as I was going to sleep, I wondered for the millionth time if this project was worthwhile. Then I remembered that Kaylan started me on this path. I love her - present tense. I love her now just as much as the day she was born. 

Erica KitzmanComment