JD Schramm: Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors

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That is a statistic we do not hear often. 19 of 20 people survive the first suicide attempt. 37% who fail that first attempt will succeed a second time. A very high-risk group.

Without question, people are uncomfortable with suicide. So surviving it you will find a lot of people do not want to have a serious conversation with you about it. And it can lead to a sense of isolation and shame.

People with a chronic illness and/or chronic pain are at a higher risk for suicide or suicidal ideation. Just physical pain from chronic pain alone is a risk factor for suicide that is very much ignored.

No one thinks about the resources a person need after surviving a suicide attempt as we flounder to survive. We have to choose to survive first. I mean there was a reason we tried to commit suicide in the first place. So we have to find some reason to choose not to. Even if that reason is not ourselves at first. And the suicide attempt is a traumatic experience that we have to deal with and plagues us for a long time after. And seduces us for a long time after. For the most part, this battle to overcome it all is done in silence. I know in my case my doctor thought it was almost expected… he said it was a strong reaction to pain. Yeah. That. And while that was very true it was also a lot more. And while I saw a therapist for a short duration she did not help at all. I was in a lot of physical pain which caused a lot of suffering. And I needed some help with that. Because it did not make a lot of reasonable sense to want to survive like that and to Also tormenting myself further by aggravating the pain with full-time work, which I was doing at the time. She had said I simply should not work. Yes, well, that does not work well for the whole needing money thing and I cannot put myself on leave I need others to do that. As I said, she was of no real value for me. Not even in helping with methods to manage the pain.

So if someone does survive a suicide attempt and you know the reason for it, it seems logical to me that something should be done about that. A lot of something. Not saying in my case some things have not changed and the direction of my treatment has not improved slightly but that had nothing to do with that incident and a lot to do with my finding a new doctor.

I think there should be mandatory resources for that person. Instead, there is just a lot of indifference which astonishes me, to be honest. I think of all the lives lost to chronic pain due to suicide and perhaps those numbers make sense. Indifference to pain treatment, indifference to suicide attempts. Just indifference.

Not with family and friends of course. Loved ones are anything but indifferent. In my case, it was seeing the impact of that event that has caused me not to have another attempt. Not everyone was comfortable talking about it but some were. And I was able to think a great deal about it and work it out as to what needed to be done to change the situation. But family has a difficult time coping as well and not everyone will know what to say. Or say anything. It can be a very difficult topic to discuss. Especially when you do not know all the details and the person themselves has no willingness to open up, but if they do all you can sometimes do is listen and be there for them.

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