I had the opportunity to apply to speak at a grief summit. The organizer likes my work however she wanted a talk specific to suicide loss survivors. I have done other talks but did not have that specific one. I knew I could do it since I am a suicide loss survivor because of my son, Connor. It would include the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health tools that I used to get to the point I am today. I am living my best life possible without the physical presence of my son.
I sprung into action and spent 5 days focused on writing, editing, rewriting, recording, and rerecording. I was like a racehorse with blinders on. Nothing else mattered. This talk would show my passion for helping others, demonstrate my vulnerability and be inspirational for others experiencing child suicide.
During those 5 days, I probably wrote or said the word suicide 500 times. I forgot to take care of myself. I binged on junk food, forgot to drink water, stayed up late, missed my sleep and did not exercise. I was oblivious to what was going on around me. I missed my mom and sister’s angelversaries. My usual anticipation of Connor’s upcoming birthday has not had its normal buildup of emotions. Planning for my youngest daughter’s birthday has been placed on the back burner while I concentrated on this big project. However, I knew in my heart something was not right, yet I kept pushing myself.
With a big sigh of relief and high expectations I submitted my completed video for consideration. I just launched myself into the unknown, waiting and wondering what would happen. Late in the afternoon the next day, I received her reply. I opened her email to find these comments “This is amazing. This is what I was looking for”. My talk, specific to suicide would fill the content gap in her grief summit.
The feelings and emotions that I stuffed and missed while writing, editing, and videoing came crashing out and upon me into a huge bucket. I cried. I sobbed. I did not understand why I was feeling this way. I questioned where this was coming from.
I took a pause and used the box breathing technique I teach others to use when things like this happen. Breath in for 5. Breath out for 5. Breath in for 5. Breath out for 5. I made a box with those breaths and repeated my box 5 times.
Once I calmed myself, I realized my bucket was filled with grief for my mom, sister and son, joy for my family and happiness for the good news. It is true that you can experience opposite feelings at the same time. No doubt that is what I was feeling. I pushed myself to my limit with the word suicide and lack of self-care.
Although I poured my heart and soul into that project, it took its toll on me. Anytime something like that happens, I ask myself, what did I learn? This is my answer: I can help others, but it is important to not lose sight of taking care of myself. I need to focus on eating, sleep, exercise, and positive emotions. Doing that will keep me going.
I know the focus and determination to submit my video was good. It gave me something positive to work for knowing it would help other people. I realize my message will make a difference and that makes me feel good.
In our grief, it sometimes can be difficult to think of doing anything, let alone something good for someone else. It does not have to be a talk on suicide loss survivors. It can be simple as hello to a stranger, opening the door, picking up litter or letting a car go ahead of you. Try doing it for a week, at least once a day. Give your body the opportunity to produce happy hormones which can help improve your mood.
I would love to see how it works for you. Let me know what you did and how you feel after one week.
If you are ready to understand your grief, schedule an appointment with me today.