Daring to be vulnerable: Sharing My Story

Dave and I have been doing better.  Dave’s been working on finishing a post for my blog. I asked him about authoring a post when I first set my blog up.  I let him know, no pressure, only if he felt ready.

Making public disclosures, is hard, even for myself, it’s hard to self-identify as the partner of a person who made a suicide attempt, hence the “private pain,” as the key words in my blog’s name.  In my posts I don’t use my real name, or Dave’s partly to protect Dave’s identity, but also to protect my own.

I was on Facebook’s, American Association of Suicidology page, and found a link to this NY Times post

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/us/suicide-prevention-sheds-a-longstanding-taboo-talking-about-attempts.html?hp

about the hidden population of attempt survivors.  The article reported that one factor  in the “invisible” nature of this population was the stigma and shame in self-identifying as an attempt survivor. Another factor was the concern by mental health professionals of the stressors involved in sharing one’s story–that the negative reaction of the audience (or perceived negative receptivity of the audience), for example could trigger an attempt.

Another hidden population not identified in the article, are the people whom are are  the primary audience for this blog–the partners of the individuals that attempt suicide.

I myself believe in the
import in telling my story, and would someday like my husband, Dave, to join me in sharing our story publicly.  We’ve both been waiting to feel strong enough, safe enough to speak in public of our experience.  For myself, I don’t think it will ever be shared without tears, and I realize, I’m okay with that.  In Brene Brown’s Ted Talk: The Power of Vulnerability–

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

(around the 19:01 mark in the transcript) she says, “to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee.”  That statement describes the heart of this blog, my sharing of my story.

I got comfortable with, and realized that it’s okay to cry when I tell my story.  That people can connect with that.  That though as a kid I was taught to hide my tears, that crying was weak, I’ve since learned that tears are my truth. Of course tears would come up when I tell of my experience of  living with someone who struggles with suicidal ideation as his initial go-to coping strategy.

The tears speaks to the pain, the hopelessness, the fears, that would be reexperienced by me in the retelling of my story.  And I feel it every time I retell my story.

Of course my voice would break as I describe just how hard it is to be Dave, in the “valley of death” where there seems to be no way out of the despair–as the person struggling with suicidal ideation; but also as me, the partner–where I can feel so despairing, hopeless, and scared to my core that I am going to lose this person that I care so deeply about, and that I feel so powerless to change his mind.  Of course there’d be tears.

But there’s the flip side too.  Tears come up, as I tell of the hope that increased through our ongoing therapy sessions, and in acknowledging the individual growth we’ve seen in each other and our growth as a couple, and family.

The NY Times article contained a link to this site

http://livethroughthis.org/

where suicide attempt survivors share their story, that may impart hope  to suicide attempt survivors and their partners that people do go on and have fruitful lives.

Dave and I have been doing much better (and I can’t reiterate the import of having a therapist’s help).  Hence less time on this blog, sharing my heart, my pain, my hope.

Thanks for your support and honoring my story.

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