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Grief & Suicide

Day 43: Grief and Suicidality, in honor of National Suicide Prevention Week

In deep grief, it is normal to have thoughts about not wanting for this to be your life, to want to disappear, and even passive suicidality such as “I wouldn’t care if that bus hit me.” These thoughts are more common than most people might expect. And many I’ve encountered initially speak of these as secret admissions, feeling a sense of shame and stigma around their experiences.

Let’s just name that any version of these thoughts is frightening—to the griever, and often to the person who hears about them. My clients find it useful to know they are not alone in these thoughts—that some version of these exist in the course of grief for a majority of people. AND that there is a distinction between a thought of not wanting this to be your life, and an active thought about killing yourself.

While it is always my role to further assess suicidality when any of these thoughts arise, I do believe that most people deep in grief are experiencing a reckoning involving some of the following questions—“what does it mean to exist in a world that is now upside down? Is this something I want to do? Is this something I can do? What actually matters to me, if anything? What keeps me here, day to day?”

Being present to listen when someone is in this existential void is an essential part of showing up for someone who grieves. To feel heard and seen in our struggles can make an enormous difference.

Who sees you in yours?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a fabulous resource for support.

Welcome to my #100dayproject. I am providing a daily offering on #grief, in honor of each person who has trusted me with their story and wisdom during their #griefjourney. I hope that others may benefit from simple and straightforward talk about a topic that can be difficult. Thanks for following and/or sharing.

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