-Written by Sherry Genga, author of The Shattered Oak
With suicide you never know what thoughts are racing through the saddened mind. Sometimes we can’t fathom that our friend, sibling, mother or father committed suicide. People around them felt like they were so happy, always laughing and smiling, never revealing signs that they were so depressed. Look at Robert Williams the famous comedian, who was always passing a joke. Suicidal people wear a mask and rarely share their true self or feelings. Whether they are ashamed of their depression or feel alone where they cannot trust anyone, they keep their thoughts a secret. Suicidal people want their privacy and don’t have the courage to ask for help when their mental state manifests the thoughts of choosing death. They may feel like they are in a vacuum, with darkness slowly seeping in and their breathing trending towards hyperventilation. Suicidal minds can feel blurred and even upside down, bringing them to the brink of insanity. In successful attempts, their demise is silent and not very forgiving. I know first-hand as a family member experienced several suicide attempts.
As I described in the book, The Shattered Oak, the victim was a recipient of domestic abuse from her husband. She took solace under the strong oak tree in her front yard. As she sunk further into mental illness, the oak too became distress and ill. In Barbara’s case she was lucky by surviving three suicide attempts. As we know some aren’t so lucky. I think most of us do occasionally struggle with depression but most filter it back out and let it go. Sometimes struggling makes us a stronger and gives us perspective to let go of our past and absorb our mistakes along the way. Most of us struggle with self-worth issues, but normally we rise to the occasion and succeeded. Depression can intervene in that thought process and cause us to focus on the negative. Psychologists continually try to understand why a person’s negative view of their situation outweighs their desire to live. Clinical studies have shown that stressful situations can actually bring on a form of mental illness where the person is not totally in control of their decisions. For the families of those victims many questions go unanswered.
Surviving suicide attempts and addressing mental illness can alter our viewpoint. Life is meant to present choices from our experiences that can change us for the positive. Barbara recovered after living through heartaches and burdens that transformed her future. Even those of us who live relatively normal lives, can learn that we have the sole capability to make beneficial choices in life. It’s how we elect to see, digest and live our lives that matters. The survival of the victim and her family in The Shattered Oak inspires us and reminds us that if we are struggling from thoughts of suicide from domestic abuse there are resources available. Family members should watch for the warning signs and not let the victim distance themselves from everyone. Suicide is on the rise and it is time we looked more closely at the link to stress from a variety of conditions including domestic abuse, as a primary trigger.
-More information on the book, The Shattered Oak can be found on the website: