Suicide - Lessons from my Mother
I'm no expert, but I do know that suicide can strike anywhere, and we don't always get a warning.
Not long ago, our family was deeply affected by suicide. Although I had only met the person who died a few times, I was thrown into a very dark place.
For two weeks I battled with a powerful drive to end my own life.
Imagine no matter where you are, what you're doing or who is present - the idea of killing yourself just keeps pushing itself onto you. It didn't feel like it was mine, but it had to be - I was the one feeling it after all?
It made no sense to me. Yes, I was terribly sad for the young man who had passed and for the people I love who are hurting because of it, but to feel suicidal myself in response was way over the top - I knew it had nothing to do with him.
Recognizing the Clues
I seemed to be constantly driving during that long two weeks, between hospital visits to my partner, looking after our dogs, rooster and pet pigs at one house, and our cats a forty-five-minute drive away at another house.
One afternoon as I drove towards the cats, I was confronted by the car of a man who assaulted me when I was young (one of my mother's old boyfriends). His work car has his name painted all over it - so he's hard to miss! It shook me momentarily, then I felt good. I congratulated myself for the work I've done over the years to release from my mind and body the pain he had caused me, as I didn't feel a strong emotional response to seeing him.
An hour later, finally sitting down for a moment, I remembered the first time my mother attempted suicide.
Seeing Mum's old boyfriend (from more than thirty years ago) had triggered a shocking memory. I was in my early teens, and my siblings and I had told Mum she had to choose - she could keep him, the boyfriend who had been physically, emotionally and sexually abusing us - or she could keep us.
That relationship breakup was the catalyst for Mum's first suicide attempt (the first that I am aware of). As memories of Mum talking about suicide surfaced, I realised that suicide was her fallback.
Mum's response to emotional shocks and heartache was to think about, and sometimes attempt, suicide.
And yet, looking back to a later attempt that left her bruised and sore, she laughed at herself on the day of that failed attempt. Was she really suicidal, or had she learned from someone else that suicide was a reasonable response to emotional pain? Mum passed away from a rare brain disease in her mid-sixties, but not without putting up one hell of a fight.
Working with clients in my role as an intuitive therapist, I already understood that a lot of human behaviour is passed down through our cellular memory, DNA and epigenetics.
What if I had learned the suicidal response from my mother?
The revelation hit hard. I can't even imagine how Mum kept going and raised three children with that powerful drive overtaking her when emotions ran high.
I'm one of the lucky ones. Having worked in the spiritual healing world for a while now, I have friends who don't laugh when I say, "Hey, what do you think about..."
I messaged a highly talented intuitive healer I've only known a few months but have formed a strong friendship with. Right away, she sensed I was on track with what I was feeling and worked with me to clear both the learned response and the energetic presence of suicide as a response to emotional pain.
Why do I Believe it Worked?
When I first messaged her that day, the drive to kill myself was so strong I could barely bring myself to contact her.
I told her I was fighting for my life, that I believed I was experiencing a learned response, and why. "I don't feel like this is mine," I told her, "but it's so strong." She listened, she let me know she understood and that I wasn't going mad, and then we got to work.
I also believe having a witness who understands and supports you as you shift major energies like this plays a vital role.
Not long after we finished that session, I drove for forty-five minutes. Unlike every other drive during the two-week period, I drove the entire way without experiencing a single moment of suicidal urges. I was back to my usual observant self - looking out for injured wildlife on the roadside, admiring the plants springing to life as Spring approaches, and feeling hopeful.
A few days later, I attended the memorial service for the young family friend who had died. It was so hard, wondering if what I had learned thanks to him could have helped him. I thank him from the depths of my soul for triggering the suicide response, right at the moment in life that I was ready to deal with it rather than enact it.
I cried that day as I wondered how many people learn the suicide response, as I did, but don't realise it isn't theirs and end their life? How many people die because suicide has been handed down from an ancestor and they don't even know it? Don't get me wrong, I understand that mental illness often plays a big role in suicide, and I'm certainly not an expert in the field.
What I experienced isn't a great big band-aid to 'fix' everyone.
I share my understanding of my own experience in the hope that if you are like me, positive, not depressed, but suddenly find yourself triggered and fighting for your life against suicidal urges - you'll find a practitioner who can work with you to clear the behaviours you've been taught or inherited (or both).
I only realised this year - at 50 years old! It's a bit of a leap to write this, never mind publish it. A friend just read it prior to me hitting the 'publish' button, and she asked what I hoped to achieve by sharing this.
I hope that if you have even the faintest idea that the suicide urge that haunts you isn't yours, you'll find someone to help you work with it.
If you're calling bullshit, and you think it's not possible, I ask you this - what have you got to lose?
* If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please, please seek help. In Australia, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, 24/7.