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Happy May, my friends, and welcome to Mental Health Monday!
Today you’ll read a story by Charlotte, who survived a suicide attempt after her father’s death. It’s a really amazing story that goes to show that you can come back from almost anything, even a suicide attempt. Before we start though, let me remind you of what we do here.
If it’s the first time you’re visiting, Uninspired is a blog to help twenty-somethings be better adults, and a huge part of that is learning to take care of yourself. That’s Mental Health Monday comes in. Twenty-somethings do a million things at once- school, internships, jobs, businesses, families, boyfriends and girlfriends like HOLY CRAP! With all the giving you do, you have to remember to fill your cup. These stories help you do that.
Mental Health Monday is full of stories like Charlotte’s that instill hope that the life you want is coming. Whether you’re struggling with mental illness or just big life adjustments that come with transitioning to adulthood, there’s an MHM story to show you you’ll get through it. Today’s story is about coming back from a suicide attempt and losing a loved one. In the past, we’ve had stories about anxiety, depression, college stress, and way more. Some stories are educational and some are more emotional, but every post was written by someone with personal experience. Someone who knows what they’re talking about because they’ve been through it.
Before I let Charlotte talk…
…let me remind you about BetterHelp. I partnered with this online therapy service to give you all an affordable, flexible therapy option. Whether you’re grieving or getting past a suicide attempt like Charlotte, or something else entirely, the licensed therapists at BetterHelp can talk you through it. Here’s a link for a 7-day free-trial. You can also download my free mental health resource list below, which includes BetterHelp as well as hotlines that can be used in many different mental health emergencies.
A month later he was found as a suicide victim. It was my worst nightmare come to life. My father was my life and the only one in my family who really understood me. I suppose when he left, I lost my family altogether and it left me in a massive state of shock. Life can change overnight and very little can be done to prepare you for it, I know that now. I also know that some things in life can’t be changed, but we can change how we respond and react.
It was a unique experience as I never considered that anyone I knew, let alone my father would ever die by suicide.
I believe that we all tend to think our loved ones will live to old age and die peacefully. As comforting as this thought is, it is not always realistic and we need to remember that.
I remember so vividly how I felt; I was so numb and it was like I couldn’t breathe. It was like nothing was real anymore; I was not living as I died with my father. My days felt like I was a backseat passenger in my mind; I could see everything but I was not in control. And at night, it was full of terror and fear.
I did not allow myself to grieve at the start; I was too busy helping everyone else and trying to keep the strings of my family together. That included walking miles a week to buy groceries, planning my father’s funeral and planning a house move. Being only 18 at the time, I took on more than I should have. I felt responsible in a wa
y and I wish I knew that by repressing the grief, I was doing myself more harm than good.
We need to cry and let out emotions. It is not a sign of weakness, it just makes us human. Being kind is in my nature; like my father, I am an empath. However sometimes we need to be selfish and put ourselves first. It is one of the things that left my father ill and it certainly pushed me toward a demise like his. I now live by the motto that we need to be selfish while being kind, it turns mental illness into mental wellness.
My inability to allow myself to grieve and focus on my own mental health led me to falling back into old habits.
As a 14-year-old I was an alcoholic which I did recover from, but after my father’s death, I spent most of my inheritance on alcohol. I spent hundreds of pounds a week alone on my fix, just so I could not think or feel the pain building inside me. Drinking at this level was not only harmful to my physical and mental health, it has also led me to financial regret. he money I spent on refusing to grieve could have bought me a deposit on my house today – I just wasn’t thinking straight.
By April, after my father’s death, I ended up in hospital following my own suicide attempt. My
father’s funeral, though months after he was missing, hit me like a truck. I did not cry before this day but as soon as I saw my father’s coffin, I cracked. I couldn’t unsee it. And I had horrible images of his body in my head that made me physically sick. It hurt me so bad to imagine my father lifeless.
My suicide attempt was due to the memory of the words said at the funeral.
They said that one day I would see my father again. I wasn’t willing to wait for my death because I wanted to be with him now. I had such a hard life already, and my father was the reason I kept going. He helped me through so much and I couldn’t see a life without him in it. Honestly, I didn’t want to.
I do not think I would have resorted to a suicide attempt if I had allowed myself to grieve and had someone to talk to. I did not have any support so I ended up in a very bad place. Talking to someone is so
hard, but opening up and letting those feelings out allows you to be honest and find comfort as well as support.
Life has not been easy these last few years.
I had to walk down the aisle without my father. My future children will never know the man they would have called Grandpa. However, I am at a place now where though my past is a part of me, I don’t resent it. I cannot change it, but I can choose to not let it define me. I allow myself to cry about my dad, I allow myself to miss him, but most importantly, I don’t bottle anything up, which I like to think would make my father proud.
In grief we will all make mistakes because our minds are not at their best, but it’s ok. It is important though, when you lose a loved one, to stop comparing yourself to others. Grieve in your own time and way but don’t bottle it up. If you talk about those feelings and let them out, there is less of a chance you’ll have regrets in the future. Talking really makes a mile of a difference.
I am in a good place now. I do not abuse substances or self-harm and I have not had another suicide attempt. Plus, I am happily married in a little house with my fur babies. Though I do wish my father could see me now, I achieved so much and am content with my life simply because I accepted the idea that moving on just means learning to live this new life. I allow myself to feel happiness and do all the things I wanted to because even though I still miss him, I learned I do not have to die with my father. In fact, through all of the work I do today, I allow my father to live on and tell his story and help people. It’s like a therapy for me.
So, to recap:
Try not to be so hard on yourself and do not bottle up emotions. You do not always need to be strong because grieving is not a weakness, and neither is needing time for yourself. If you can allow yourself to be “selfish” and talk about the pain you feel, you can avoid falling into bad habits and choices from which it’s much harder to recover, like a suicide attempt or alcoholism.
No matter how you grieve though, life will start to get easier and you will feel happy again, I promise you that. So please do not give up.”