The following is an excerpt from the book, “Wake Me from the NIGHTMARE: Hope, Healing, and Empowerment After Suicide Loss,” by R. Jade McAuliffe.
It’s time to start trusting yourself.
You’ve been through the wringer, and there’s no one in the world who knows what you need right now more than you do. (Even if you think you don’t know, you always know.) Proceed gently and set an intention to grieve authentically.
Your body will guide you. Protect your heart and avoid attention-hungry people, or anyone who makes you feel guilty or ashamed for taking care of yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will.
The world will try to rush you, but this is your time and your experience. Respect your limits. Respect your feelings. Respect yourself.
I’m not sure when tears became so offensive or why grief and sadness are considered burdensome and “negative.” Emotions are cleansing and merely energy in motion. They’re not right or wrong. They simply are. I’ve noticed when I don’t judge them, I don’t tend to get stuck in them. If I can let them be what they need to be, without labeling them as negative or bad, they can move through me faster. If feelings weren’t needed, we wouldn’t have them. If people are offended by your grief, it’s on them, not you. You have a right to take up space and to be authentic.
Not being honest about your emotions will only hijack your process.
Denying your feelings (whatever they may be) guarantees keeping you tied to them. The object here is to feel, admit, and release. Momentum is good and naming your emotions as they come up is an excellent practice. By naming them, you’ll diffuse their intensity and validate yourself. This is both important and necessary. Now is not the time to pretend or hold back. This is your life we’re talking about, and there’s no time left to lose.
Don’t get sucked into anyone else’s rules, limitations, or timelines. Always guard your heart and stay true to you. Honor yourself and your feelings. It’s the fastest way to the other side. The only way to get out of pain is to actively grieve. This is much easier to do when surrounded by people who aren’t spooked by your truth. Once you’ve given yourself permission to do this, go ahead and mourn like a superhero.
Don’t worry about doing this wrong. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and no one can tell you how long your process will take. Each grief journey is different, and each has its own unique story. Rest assured your body already knows exactly what it needs to do to heal. If you listen closely, it will lead the way. It will tell you when to rage and when to cry. It will tell you when to rest and when to talk. It knows when it needs connection and when it would be better served in silence and solitude. It knows. Don’t be afraid of your Inner Healer. It will help you.
Society has done a huge disservice by teaching us to minimize and stuff our pain. It’s been proven that physical illness is a direct result of unresolved stress in the body. I believe, for the most part, it’s the same for mental health conditions. Still, our knee-jerk response to anything uncomfortable is to hide from it or numb it. Our pain doesn’t need to be ignored or numbed, though. It needs to be felt, acknowledged, and honored. Disease (like grief) is designed to slow us down and steer us back to ourselves, but that’s not what we’re taught, so many feel scared and alienated.
I’d like you to take a huge leap of faith today and look at grief as your friend, your confidant, and the All-Knowing Love Light which will eventually restore you to peace and happiness. I know it might seem counterintuitive, but I also know the more you resist reality, the longer you’ll suffer.
Above all else, go easy. Treat yourself and your body with tender loving kindness. It’ll take all the strength you can muster to surf the unpredictable tides of suicide grief, and it will be exhausting. The more tuned in you are to yourself, the easier it will be to follow the ebb and flow of your personal process. Go mindfully and purposefully, but always, always go gently.
You have a right and a responsibility to care for yourself now.
Nobody else in the world knows what you need like you do. For a long time, I believed others would know what I needed and offer it without my having to ask. Not only was this unfair, it was also unreasonable. I didn’t tell them what I needed, so how in the world could they possibly know? Through osmosis? Maybe. I remember thinking, “It’s common sense! Why doesn’t he/she…?” Yet, I never opened my mouth. Consequently, I often didn’t get what I needed and felt resentful.
Eventually, I learned we all have different experiences and varied ways of dealing with things, so my needs wouldn’t automatically jive with someone else’s and vice versa. I decided to stop wishing and waiting for someone to come to my rescue, and I rescued myself. I simply asked for what I needed.
Take charge of your experience, because it’s all yours. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and if you don’t get it, ask again or ask someone else. There are people out there who are ready to support you. They don’t always end up being the people you started with, and they also might not be who you expected. Sometimes you need to search high and low for people who “get” you, but trust me when I tell you, they exist and they’re waiting for you. The more you connect to yourself, the more easily you’ll attract what you need.