When in the throes of suicidal ideation, you don’t and often can’t understand suicide’s negative effects on those left behind. When I was eighteen, I thought my loved ones would be better off without me. My suicidal ideation was so intrenched that it was ego-syntonic — it was in agreement with my sense of self, my way of perceiving myself in relation to the world. Not until I was a thirty-year-old psychotherapist did I realize how devastating and harmful the act of suicide, specifically my own suicide, would be on others. I knew that at the very least I would have harmed my clients. How could I help depressed, abused or abandoned adolescent clients by succumbing to depression and taking my own life? I understood that taking my life would devastate my clients and from that I could reason that my death would also devastate those who knew and loved me. By then my rational self knew that I was loved and that my actions affected those I loved. My suicidal ideation had finally become ego-dystonic, in conflict with my sense of self, with a more rational thought process, and with my better understanding of human feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Helping others enabled me to take a step back and see myself as I saw my clients, to have more compassion for myself.
Aftermath of Suicide
About the Author: Kitt O'Malley
Bipolar Writer & Mental Health Advocate
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