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sarah boardman-miller

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How do you move beyond why, when someone takes their own life? How do we get beyond the shame?

I wrote an open letter to my dad, my dear friends, those that have also been left to move forward. http://sparkignitefire.me/2012/02/14/open-letter-to-those-that-chose-that-moment/
It has had 1000's of reads in just over 2 months. This is a conversation that is desperate to happen.

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Closing Statement from sarah boardman-miller

The gratitude I feel is almost overwhelming.
Thank you for being raw, able to be loved and sharing your hearts.
Let's continue the conversation.
I adore you.

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    Apr 20 2012: Dealing with the loss of loved ones to suicide is one of the most confusing and difficult issues I have seen in 36 years of counseling. Your question, Sarah, is very helpful one. The key to recovery and integration, in my experience, is in moving beyond questions, fear, and shame.

    It is helpful to understand that a person who commits suicide is blind. As pain and fear increase our field of vision, the frame through which view and interpret our world, becomes smaller as it focuses more and more on the pain. At some point , the pain fills the whole picture. One may be blinded by physical or emotional pain, by hopelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, or other issues, but the bottom line is that all one sees is pain, and the only end to the pain they see is death. At that moment, they were blind to the love of those around them and could not see or feel any sense of hope or help. (Helping a person move away from suicide, in my experience, is most easily done by helping them to recognize that they are blind, accept the pain as a natural part of the human condition to some degree and to see a slightly larger picture.)

    The question “why do they do it” can be answered truthfully in all cases with a simple response “because they were blind.” It is not much different than a blind person unknowingly stepping off a cliff. They simply did not fully understand their situation and the options available to them.

    Every time questions regarding how or why it happened come into our minds, it is helpful to develop the habit of answering each one with a statement, “because they were blind at the moment.”
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      Apr 21 2012: Bob, I just love this.
      Blindness, how incredible.
      The ever narrowing field of vision. Pain does that. People with chronic pain, must have it as well.

      Thank you, how amazing.
      With your permission, may I use this as a reason?
      All my best
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        Apr 21 2012: Thank you Sarah, Yes please use it anytime it may be appropriate. I have found it extremely helpful in dealing with post and threatened suicide situations. It is a natural response to narrow our field of vision when there is a perceived threat (I use a story about a deer spotting me through our living room window and then intensifying her focus when I moved. My dog came trotting around the side of the house and got closer to a deer than he ever had in his life because she was focused on me. I have found that a build up of tension has the same effect. I have made a number of videos for a class I teach and have posted them to my website www.bobvanoosterhout.com You are welcome to view them and share them with anyone who may benefit from them. There are 4 videos on what I refer to as "balance techniques" as well as video on understanding emotion, dealing with loss and chronic pain. These videos explain how and why this approach works.

        The key in managing chronic pain is not to resist it. When we resist or fight pain, we build tension which actually makes the pain worse while narrowing our focus on the pain. Narrowing one's focus on the pain increases tension further which in turn makes it worse and narrows the focus still more setting up an ever escalating cycle that leads to what I call emotional blindness.
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          Apr 21 2012: Wow bob! you are a major resource.i think many of us will spend a great deal of time reading through your site,awesome!

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