I still remember where I was and what I was doing at the time I received a phone call that was to signify the end of my life as I had known it. My life that had previously been filled with a sense of contentment had now been replaced with an overwhelming sense of despair. My brother had ended his own life. I had endless questions that I will never have the answers too, and an immense feeling of guilt and shame, that not only kept me feeling physically sick all day, every day, but unable to sleep night after night.
Meeting with funeral directors and hearing Mum say she wanted my brother cremated was torture. In his short 36 years of life he had obviously endured more than he could cope with and in my mind, we were going to prolong his suffering just a bit longer.
As time went by, the constant sadness lingered and the feeling of disconnect became more evident. I knew my family and friends loved me but didn’t, or couldn’t understand the impact this tragic event was having on my life (and to be fair to them I couldn’t really expect them too and wouldn’t wish what I was going through on my worst enemy) but I felt so alone.
This then lead to feelings of anger and abandonment, how could my brother do this to me, my children deserved a better functioning mother and my husband a better wife.
Joining a support group bought a short term reprieve from my feelings of isolation but witnessing so many other people grieving for friends and family like I was, made me even more fearful for my own future. I didn’t want a new normal; I wanted my old life back. So then came along the bargaining!
I was relieved at this point to pick up a book about grieving. One of the first lines read “you may even feel like you are going mad and this is completely normal”. Not that I had the energy or commitment to do much about my mental health, I still did not want to lose my mind completely (although a short stint in a psych ward taking whatever medications were on offer to dull my mental anguish and escape my reality had seemed like an attractive alternative a few times).
It took approximately 5 years and a few sessions with a grief counsellor for me to accept that my brother could not stay with us any longer. I have now created a new normal and will continue to love and honor my brother daily in not only my chosen career path but in my deepened appreciation and gratitude for my friends, family and the life I have created.
Many Australians each day, are suffering from the effects of suicide.
If you are feeling the effects of a loved one's suicidal behaviour, or know of someone who is , contact Mentis Assist for recovery solutions.
For more information about mental health and the services Mentis Assist can provide or call 1300 MENTIS (1300 636 847).
Read a professionals reflection on the warning signs and triggers of suicide everyone should be aware of.
'Suicide –The signs' is an informative piece that helps break down that importance of suicide prevention.
Click the link below to read the full blog.