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
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Fears Triggered

Looking back a couple weeks ago, at my previous post, I thought that I had most of my fears about Dave attempting again, beat. Now I realize that my fears were merely compartmentalized, tucked away, ready to spring into action when some trigger, some reminder set them off.

The day after I wrote the previous post–I was in my therapy session tearfully explaining Continue reading

The stigma of suicidal ideation

I recently attended an art therapy training. I expected a sterile presentation on therapeutic sentence stems for client’s to project on.

Instead an artist–in the deepest, profoundest definition of that word–stood before me. Art is Esther Wilhelm’s medium to express her life story, her life story penetrating every line, color, selected item, and word of her pieces.

(Here’s a link to Esther Wilhelm’s story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WljH6-gBFEg)

Esther’s story was both vulnerable and powerful.  Esther  apologized for her tears explaining Continue reading

Aftermath part 3: The first visit.

As soon as I sit beside him, Dave says, “Kate, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be here.”  Tears roll down his cheeks.  He looks depleted.  Defenseless. Defeated. Hopeless.  Tears roll down my cheeks, “I know, I know.”

He needs more time.  He hasn’t Continue reading

“Maybe I should be dead”

Last night:  It’s late.  I towel dry my hair.  I walk toward Dave, he shuts the TV off and  says, “Shall we go to bed?”

I lie next to him. He props his  head up with his arm and looks at me.  He fills me in about what happened between him and Beth earlier in the evening.  I’m sleepy, but I try to pay attention.  I perk up when he says, Continue reading