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Friday, February 19, 2016

Silence Really is Deadly

Suicide's Best Friend

Suicide has a friend and it's called silence. When you remain silent, when you don't speak up, share your stories; suicide is winning. The only way to erase stigma is by talking. Talk to each other. Help each other. You are responsible for making those around you aware of how suicide has impacted your life and those you care most about.

In my life I have know  more people lost to suicide than I care to think about. I can tell you from personal experience that not talking about what happens just bolsters the courage of the next person to follow through with taking their own life.
My mother hanged herself in our bathroom when I was 14 years old. We
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didn't talk about it. We rarely spoke of her. The little that was talked about was in anger. It left everyone in the family asking questions. But, no one was asking those questions out loud. There was so much shame surrounding my mother taking her life (and I can tell you with certain family members there still is) that not a word was spoken. We didn't go to therapy. We certainly weren't raising any awareness around suicide, the loss of a parent and loved one. My mother was not just my mother. She was a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a friend and so much more. She has been reduced to the woman who hung herself in our bathroom.
The year following my mother's death, her father (my grandfather) sat a chair in the doorway of the shed that was attached to our old Maine house. He called my grandmother on the phone (she was across the street at her brother's house) and asked her to come over. (They were separated at the time) She started out the door and walked partway down the drive before turning around and heading back into house.
The fog was so thick that August morning, you couldn't see from one house to the other. They were maybe 100 yards apart.
She heard a gunshot. My grandfather had shot himself in the heart. I was thankful when I got up that morning I couldn't see into that doorway. I've always felt him shooting himself in the heart was significant. His daughter, (my mother) hanged herself the year before. But, no one spoke of this. What questions did he have that were unanswered. The same as the rest of us. But no one spoke. 

I have a responsibility to raise awareness. The road has been long and it's not over. But, what good can come of keeping silent? Suicide wins. Through the years, since that time, I have lost friends. Many friends. We have also lost so many with the Postpartum Community. You are not alone. You are never alone and there is always someone willing to talk to you. I am always willing to talk to you. There are communities of women (and men) who are more than willing to stay up, take your call. Chat with you or just be there on the other end of the computer. I've stayed up many nights, I've gotten countless emails, I've stayed on the phone for hours talking. Just being. Sometimes, just sometimes that's all it takes. People do not want to be alone and you are not alone in this. Suicide cannot win. Don't let it.
If suicide has impacted your life, talk about it. Ask questions, reach out to those around you who have also been affected. They want to talk as well. Someone always has to go first. Anyone who's ever visited this site, knows that's one of mine I rely on.
Be the first. Go first. Someone always has to and it can be you. Suicide's best friend is silence and silence really is deadly. 

Natachia Barlow Ramsey; Postpartum Psychosis Survivor and Loser

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~Be Loud, Be Purposeful, Be Strong, Be Courageous, Be Creative, Be Something~

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