Left to Pick Up the Pieces

There can only be one thing more nightmarish than hell itself, and that is to lose a child to  suicide. Gut-wrenchingly sad and tragic that a young life is lost. Gut-wrenchingly sad and tragic that the person has felt such emptiness and despair. Gut-wrenchingly sad and tragic that someone could feel so lacking in hope, so consumed with mental pain and anguish that this was even considered an option. And yet for their own family, who are left somehow to pick up the pieces, the consequences of this act can be so viscerally devastating, it is akin to a nightmare without end. Is it a selfish/revengeful act? An aberrant impulse? A distorted  or dysfunctional thought?

Family 2013 268While the tortured soul focuses completely on their inner world, of thoughts and feelings, they fail to realise the contagion of misery and desperation will afterwards infect the rest of their closest allies, their own family or friends. How does one face the world and continue with life, after the loss of a close family member or child?

Many lives have ended here

Many lives have ended here

The strength humans display in the face of this kind of tragedy, is nothing short of awe-inspiring. To bury one’s own child is heart-breaking, but to experience a child who deliberately ends their lives is completely unfathomable. How do people get over such an act? How do they lift themselves out of the depths of  misery?

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And now, this week we have a man appear to conceal a mental illness and commit suicide on a German aircraft, taking 150 innocent lives with him. Not only that, but he has also taken his own family’s normal life and that of the victim’s families, on the path to a living hell, that is only just commencing. These people have to pick up the pieces of their own lives, and continue on, somehow.

Last week, a young boy from Australia drove a car filled with explosives into an army base, intending to cause maximum death and destruction and in the process, killing himself. A selfish act? A nutter? A kid with nothing to live for? A criminal? A sociopath?

Family 2013 272

I don’t have an answer. I don’t have a magic solution. Perhaps there isn’t one.  Each case of suicide is different, and each individual is different. Every socio-economic group, every ethnicity can be affected – no one is immune. But it is cowardly and selfish. The most selfish act imaginable. Australia, the egalitarian vanguard, has the highest rates of youth suicide in the world.

And so Life cis a roller-coaster. It is unpredictable, full of hard times and challenges, and if you are so blessed, many good times too. For some of us, success doesn’t happen and when life becomes too overwhelming, we feel like quitting, or we might feel like ending the pain, yet there is always Hope, waiting, watching, willing us to believe that things will improve. There is always Hope.

Can we stop suicide?  What can  we do:

We can be there to comfort and support our loved ones and our fellow man and woman.

We can make an effort if others appear stressed or unhappy.

We can appreciate every moment we have with each other, no matter how bored, tired, hungry, frustrated we may be feeling.

We can encourage others to seek help and reassure them of our support.

We can speak up, without shame, to others, when need dictates. Secrets kill….

And We Can  Listen to each other!

Reach out to one another – There is always hope!

Take a break – and relax!

Every person is a child of the Universe and has every right to be here.

Remember, “Everything, like the weather, passes.”

A final word from Marc: Whatever you believe to be true about yourself and life in the long-term becomes your reality.  Your beliefs are ingrained patterns of thinking that you build up over a lifetime.  They are habitual ways of processing the world around you.  If those beliefs don’t work in your favor, you can change them.  How?  In the very same way the negative beliefs formed in the first place – via repetitive thoughts that you accepted to be the truth.  Ingrain new beliefs by consciously choosing and repeating messages that lift you up.

Something sobering to ponder about.

If you need help or wish to talk to someone:

beyondblue.org.au

kidshelp

Lifeline

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About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, depression, Mental Health, Motivational, Self-Help, social anxiety, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Left to Pick Up the Pieces

  1. A dreadful event, hundred and fifty people all dead. I can well imagine the pain of all the people who lost someone in that dreadful accident . One never gets over it but it does get easier as time goes by. The good things and memories of loved ones are finally the ones we live by and it does give the strenght to keep going.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cowardly and selfish are the two words that are used to define the individual that takes their own life. Sadly, all to often a person struggling with a mental illness are literally unable to understand the impact their death will bring to those who love them. While there are the murderous and vile individuals who blow themselves up in a crowded arena for beliefs none of us can understand, there is also the very sick that cannot, in any way understand anything of sense when they become increasingly distraught.

    I am a survivor of a suicide attempt. After the birth of my firstborn I suffered Postpartum psychosis, with audible and visual hallucinations. (I’d given birth naturally, no medications.). What I would like for people to know: there are times when no matter what we do, or how we talk to ourselves, the thought of suicide is feels like our only option.

    If we want to help those who are sick and deranged we need to begin at square one. We MUST break the shame and stigma that defines mental illness. There are thousands of people that are so ashamed to admit that they are unfit, mentally. They struggle to hold on, all the while knowing that they cannot seek help. They will be ostracized, shunned and sadly, rejected, making their torment all the more inclusive.

    Thank you so much for writing about this horrendously tragic event. I have no way of understanding the co-pilots actions. Was he psychotic? We will most likely never know. Was he a sociopath, choosing to take out as many lives as possible? Again, we may never know.

    My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy. I simply cannot fathom all that it encompasses. Not only have family members lost their dearly loved and cherished family members, but the rescue and first responders lives have been forever changed. My heart breaks for everyone.

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    • You thank me for writing about this but I am the one that should thank you for your extensive, informative and constructive comment. I will not elucidate my experiences in this regard, but can say I know the stigma you speak of is widespread even amongst medical persons. I also well understand certain mental illnesses prevent the sufferer from comprehending their actions. But some do… In both cases. It is tragic and my heart goes out to all. I commend you for your strength in not just overcoming what sounds like a very difficult time for you, but also your courage in speaking up. We must all speak more about these issues and hopefully reduce the stigma surrounding them and help all involved to know there is always another option than suicide, even if that is not clear at the time. Thank you once again. I really appreciate your comment and adding to the discussion.

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    • It is difficult to write about, excruciatingly painful to endure, yet so necessary that neither side hold out on their understandings.

      You did a great service by writing openly about this case. As heinous as his attack was, and it was an attack upon the innocent, we will never be able to answer, “why?” But we can go forward knowing that an open dialog is a first step for all of us.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful words. My greatest hope is that no one is ostracized when they do come forward. To me, that is the most grievous act of bullying. I fear that is the number one reason people withdraw, cornering themselves away from resources that CAN and DO work. Evidently this co-pilot had been working with a doctor, or doctors. It was evident to at least one other person that he was too ill to work.

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    • It is of absolute importance that these matters are not secret, and spoken about in whispers. I do appreciate patient confidentiality is important but if this comes at the expense of many others’ lives, should we not re-visit that and the circumstances when it might be broken legitimately? Because if the population can think of mental illness in terms of a physical ailment ( and one’s physical health contributes greatly to mental illnesses), we might prevent circumstances where our fellow man might be feared, shunned, ostracized and considered unfit. And I agree, it might be easier to speak up and obtain help. There are so many good and caring people in the world, but when it comes down to it, they cannot or don’t want to help those who they fear. Breaking down the stigma is an important first step towards countering that fear. Thanks again for your eloquent and intelligent comment.

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  3. DailyMusings says:

    powerful and important

    Liked by 1 person

  4. scrapydotwo says:

    coffegroundes said: ” My greatest hope is that no one is ostracized when they do come forward. To me, that is the most grievous act of bullying. I fear that is the number one reason people withdraw, cornering themselves away from resources that CAN and DO work.”
    The stigma that goes with asking and looking for help is the main cause of getting depressed. I have been helped by a view specialists and it is worth it to talk. I tried to help my husband but at the end life was too much for him. He took his life because he could not live with himself anymore. How can one say that the act is “cowardly and selfish”? You don’t know how desperate these people are. Without help they give up.

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    • Oh Ineke! This is indeed tragic and I am sorry for any offense caused by this post. I qualify my comments by saying that every individual is different in the reasons they have for taking this action. I am merely reflecting on my own experiences with this subject. I do know how desperate those close to me were and are, but I do not know your husband nor his reasons for giving up. I do believe that a person may be too focused on their own inner world to see what effect this action has on others. There have been times when I contemplated this same thing, in moments of complete despair and desperation, but I could not let go of the thought that there was still some glimmer of hope things might, just might, improve. I did think it a cowardly and selfish thought to abandon my family, if I carried it through. I also understand that it is thought some people, do this as a revengeful act, and to me that is cowardly and selfish. Again this does not apply to everyone who ends their life. However, having said all that, I can imagine it is a monumental struggle for some to continue living, and their spirit becomes totally and utterly exhausted, especially if they are without the help they need. I do also recognize the feeling of giving up or surrender that comes from constantly trying to maintain a facade of strength in the face of mental anguish. I don’t believe that these same people would deliberately hurt those who care about them if they focused on the consequences of their actions but their mental pain prevents this rational cognitive processing. I may be off the mark but again, I can only speak for my circumstances. Let me emphasize that I do not think that asking for help is selfish and I do know that asking for help incredibly difficult or impossible for some. For some there is NO help to ask for. I have experienced the stigma and the loss of friendship/the disbelief or frightened looks/ social withdrawal when I tell someone about the illness of someone close. I have felt that NOBODY really understands or even tries to understand. I have also experienced many instances of Open mouthed horror from friends, and then there are others that express trite words of sorrow and empathy, and laugh moments later From others: hollow offers to “help”, This is all that they feel they CAN do, to avoid an awkward situation. To be fair, some people don’t know how they can help, or find it is too difficult a situation for them, and then change the subject or walk away. Because of this, it is most important that the person is given every opportunity to get help and support from their community, and from those in their wider circle. Unfortunately in tough economic times, mental health services are often the first to suffer monetary cutbacks. It is then important to discuss this as much as we can, in any forum so that the conversation continues openly, and thereby in some small way, reduce the stigma. A few days ago, a teenager from my daughter’s school took her own life and the siblings and family must find a way to continue on and again, are left to pick up the pieces, as you did after your husband passed away. It is a great tribute to your strength and resilient spirit that you were able to overcome this and find a way to continue on. What an amazing person you are! I doubt that I could be so strong. I do hope my comments are not seen as too judgemental, but merely based on my experiences and thoughts, meant to stimulate conversation.

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    • scrapydotwo says:

      Thanks for explaining more. I agree with the way you handle and talk about the “subject”. It is important to talk about it. I also worked with teenagers trying to commit suicide and also cut themselves to get attention. All calls for help. I had to help my son out of his despair after his fathers death because the teacher told the class just before it happened that people committing suicide go to “hell” it is the biggest sin you could do she said! He was only 12 and those words hurt him so much that after a year he broke down and talked about it. People really need more openness and listen to each other. It still is a very hurting subject to talk about.(after 22 years) No offence to you too please. I understand exactly what you mean and agree with most of it. Thanks for coming back to me again. Some days I have to open up again.

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    • You are so wise, Ineke! Your words have helped me to understand more. At first, I was horrified to read the comment the teacher made about suicide being the worst sin, and no wonder your dear son had a hard time dealing with conflicted feelings and emotions for his father and this supposed “sin.” And yet, here am I thinking suicide can be a selfish and cowardly act. After reading your above comment, I suddenly realized that these words of mine could have a similar effect to that of the narrow-minded teacher’s comment, in that they were lacking empathy, and possibly compounded the grief and sorrow surviving family may feel. Although I still believe in some cases, suicide is seen as a way “out” and the person who attempts this, might truly believe that others would be better off without them, I can now see I am compounding the hurt and confusion by labelling it cowardly and I have no desire to do this in any way, shape or measure. I do feel for the family of the teenager aforementioned by me, as they may be dealing with the repercussions of grief and loss, along with gut wrenching emotions that their relatives have committed the “worst” sin possible. Together, this would be too much for the children to manage and pass through the grief process with out outside intervention and assistance. Thank you for showing me another perspective to this issue. Please note the school (This was also a religious school), has so far been extremely supportive and empathetic. No mention of “sin” thank goodness, only openness and constructive, positive emotional support for all the girls and family. Thank goodness times have moved on from the guilt ridden ‘sinful’ days that once permeated some sectors of mainstream religions in schools and society. I hope your son has been able to process and move on from his father’s death. My heart goes out to you both.

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    • scrapydotwo says:

      Glad I could give you another perspective on the subject. Lucky for me I had a friend who helped my son during the first days because my husband was still alive for 3 days(on life support) and I was not with my son but with him in hospital. I broke down after about 5 weeks and had to be institutionalize. That was also very hard for me to leave him on his own again.

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    • That sounds like it was incredibly hard, for you, Ineke. Torn between the two people you love most would be absolute torture. Again, to me this demonstrates your strength and tenacity in the face of immense emotional stress. Your son also soundsto be a resilient nature. In my own circumstances, which are different to yours, things that helped me through, was a sense of routine, (which made me feel I had some control in an out of control situation), taking one day at a time and not thinking too far ahead, and also trying to eliminate any expectations from others. This helped me to sort of reach a point of acceptance in my own head, which has given me some measure of peace. Was there anything you would pinpoint that helped you in your recovery? Thanks again for your courage in discussing this.

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    • scrapydotwo says:

      Listening and communication is very important. As soon as you start talking about the feeling it helps. I never really had time to grief that is why it still hits me over and over again as soon as I discuss it with someone. After explaining to you I again could not sleep and everything was still going around and around in my head. I have decided to write everything down now and hope I can leave it in the past because I know I can’t change anything. I also kept myself occupied after everything happened. I made rag dolls just to keep my hands busy at night. Thanks for reading and listening, I appreciate it very much. LOL

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    • I think distraction is definitely a big help. I can relate to the feeling of not sleeping, when there is some conflict or emotions running high. It is when everything is quiet that one’s mind has full control of which direction it and one’s imaginations takes. Things always seem worse at nighttime. I am sorry if revisiting this subject again is upsetting, but you said “as you start talking… it helps.” I hope so, and I also hope that it might help others too and de-stigmatize the subject of suicide. Do you still have any of the rag dolls you made? That sounds like a great activity to keep your hands busy. And a great photographic subject. I appreciate your honesty and conversation too. It is often easier to write than speak about this.

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    • scrapydotwo says:

      I was always better with writing down the things than talking about them. That was also one of the things my husband did not like. At the end we could not talk to each other anymore. I kept on writing to him . At the end he did not want to read it and said if I can’t talk about it he doesn’t want to hear it. Anyway, I sold the dolls to many friends and also their friends. I have taken two photos but they are still on negatives. I have them in one of my photo albums . Bertus(my son) is holding some of them.

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    • I am glad that some of the doll photographs will be there for your own family history. Good on you for trying your best to keep the communication going. Communication is a two way activity. If one side doesn’t want to communicate, it doesn’t happen and it becomes awkward. Communication is interesting because it can take many forms. I work with some clients that communicate in ways other than speech.

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