Today’s topic of course is an extremely sensitive one. Not that any of the other things you read aren’t but this one is especially sensitive. So, let me begin by saying that if you are struggling in any way to please go to your nearest emergency room or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
I recently hosted the Healing After Suicide summit in July of this year and was amazed at all the incredible speakers that said yes to joining me this go round. A very special thank you to all of them. If you are interested in watching the interviews and learning about the variety of topics that we spoke on, such as grief massage, thriving with mental illness, or any of the other wonderful topics that we discussed, please click the button in this episode’s show notes where it says, “summit” and you can find out more about the interviews.
I bring the summit up because one of the speakers spoke on her battles with mental illness. She talked about her own suicide attempt. I was deeply touched and moved by her story. As she spoke, I could visually picture myself there with her in the hospital. Coming home afterward, to having to rediscover herself again and setting up boundaries, creating systems, and establishing new ground rules to help her cope with the day-to-day. I wanted to repeat her own words: “I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the noise to stop.”
I don’t know anyone who can’t relate to her when she said that she wanted the noise to stop? We live in a time when it seems like there is noise everywhere! Not just hearing it but, visually. We are constantly being bombarded with messages on social media. All of it, and everything in between, is coming at us 24/7. Friend, If we are not noticing all these distractions and what Mequell talks about, “noise” It will be all-consuming and we end up frazzled and feel like we are on a never-ending treadmill.
I know this because this is a daily struggle with me right now. For example, school is starting just around the corner and if we aren’t careful, we can easily get sucked into the day to day and lose sight of the little things. Especially as mothers, dad’s too, but we tend to put everyone else’s needs first before our own. This is normal. Funny story, but my husband is the best! He lovingly said when Ava goes to 1st grade, a huge accomplishment for me and my husband by the way, he will “shut off the wifi so that I can’t work on the computer if he has to so that I can take a break.”
Because I openly and very vulnerably shared with him that “I don’t know how to pause?” I don’t know how to “slow down”? Tapping the brakes, even for just a moment, doesn’t seem like an option for me at this moment. But you know what? If I’m completely honest, It is 100% necessary!
Not just for my mental wellbeing. But physically as well. I want to circle back to what Mequell mentioned during our conversation together that I touched on in the beginning. She spoke about setting up boundaries, creating systems, and establishing new ground rules to help her cope with the day-to-day. For her, boundaries meant that she had to remove 95% of what was on her plate in order to as she says “survive”. This meant, using her own examples: Her children would pack their own lunches, begin doing their laundry, etc.
These were both examples that she said became chores that they had to start doing so that she no longer had to and could focus on getting well again. Creating systems was another way that would alleviate any added stress. For myself, I could create a system for daily chores around the house or just about anything really? Everything from doing small loads of laundry verses “laundry mountain” to even podcast episodes and blog posts. I use the word “system” loosely because it really is a new routine is how I like to approach it.
Also, how Mequell had to “rediscover” herself again(My words) I can absolutely relate and maybe you can too? I use the word “rediscover” because that is what I feel is necessary in my own life as a mom to 2 children now. What are some of the ways that you can rediscover yourself? For me, I would like to pick up photography again. And relearn how to play piano and the violin. Once again, I want to ask you, How do you want to rediscover yourself?Maybe it is finally saying “yes” to the painting class that is held downtown every Tuesday? Perhaps a book that you’ve been meaning to read but have never had the time to pick up? Or, Maybe it is learning to meditate and take “me” time like me? Whatever the ways you decide are fabulous! Remember, these are moments of exploration, NOT judgment or something to be ashamed of. These moments are necessary!
Establishing New Ground Rules
Mequell talked about how she had to work at what I call “ground rules” when it came to things in the day-to-day when she came home from the hospital. This meant, that they would no longer do the majority of the things that they were used to doing. Such as social commitments like church callings, invites to social gatherings, and other things of this nature.
Healing After Spouse Attempts Suicide
Her husband said that he needed to reassess what was going on in his life so that he could support her and get her the help that she needed. Her husband, Adam, talked about it being “all hands on deck,” after Mequell came home from the hospital. Things needed to change dramatically and for good reason, to keep Mequell safe.
A few of these changes were:
- Responsibilities needed to be reevaluated.
- mentioned chores and household things needed to be reassigned and reevaluated.
Her children were little at that time. She remembered them being in elementary school. So this meant that her second grader could pack their own lunch so she didn’t have to. In her words, “anything to take it off her plate was necessary.”
Taking Things Off Our Plate
You beginning to feel well and whole again, starts with you learning to love yourself again. This naturally includes and involves slowing down. Taking things easy messy house with clothes and toys everywhere…who cares? Takeout again? Yep!
As a side note, really I’m speaking out loud to myself here, but when you take things off your plate, don’t add stuff back on just because you now have “wiggle room.” This defeats the purpose of having margin in your life!
Remember, we want to strive for our version of balance and stop the internal dialogue that keeps us spinning. So often I find myself throughout the day beating myself up over the 10 things that I “didn’t” get done but I spend little time acknowledging the most important things that I did accomplish: Taking care of tiny humans! Being a loving wife! A friend who shows up and deeply cares about them. A sister, a daughter, and as I like to put it, all the many “hats” that I wear in my life. AKA roles.
Remember That There is Always Hope
I want to say again what Mequell mentioned during our interview together: “I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the noise to stop.” So let’s stop the noise by speaking up and saying that we are struggling and need help.
Love letter: Cheesy as this may sound) of highlights of each episode.
- By creating systems,
- Establishing boundaries,
- Taking things off our plates and not putting them back.
- Rediscovering ourselves and our life.
- And remembering what Mequell said, “I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the noise to stop.”
Let’s stop the noise happening in our life every day. When we do these things we are able to remember that there is always hope and you deserve to find peace and quiet instead of noise.
For more information about suicide prevention be sure to check www.owlandthistle.com and if you want to find helpful tips, information, and tools if you lost a loved one to suicide or had a suicide attempt please visit www.scatteringhope.com.