Losing a loved one to suicide can feel like an earthquake shook your entire inner being. Some clients report, “It feels as though my stomach had been ripped out and the void presents a suppressed appetite” for at least two weeks. Witnessing Robin Williams story in the media brought up a lot of emotions for a few of my clients. A man that was a stranger to many touched a lot of hearts, while bringing up a lot of grief.
JM, a client, reports that she feels a connection to all those that were close to Robin Williams and feels humbled by the fact that wealthy & famous people experience deep pain too. She said, “The world is a mysterious place. I thought my family member took his life because he did not think he could prosper in this life. I understand in my heart, that he did not feel all of the prosperity he has: His loving family, safety, and an intangible presence waiting to support him. I don’t know why some people gain access to feeling safe in this world and some do not. It breaks my heart that Robin Williams felt there was no way out and hope that he is without pain. What if the possibility remains that our family members are still with us, taking care of us in a different form? What if their act of suicide was actually self-care? What if they are actually more present with us because in their bodies, they experienced too much pain?" It is comforting to think these thoughts because the theme that comes up for most clients is rejection. My clients report that they tend to ruminate on “what if I did x?” scenarios. Let's reframe those thoughts into a new perspective.
The next time you ruminate in negative thinking, reframe your thoughts to: I did not experience what “name of family member” felt day-to-day, night-to-night, and thought-to-thought. I am okay with my family member’s decision. I respect and trust their judgment.
Next, follow the ESLOR approach to process your emotions.
STEP ONE: Emotional Reaction
Recognize that you are having an emotional reaction to something because you feel escalated quickly.
STEP TWO: Silence
When escalated, our bodies go into flight or fight and this means we are not using as much blood in our brains because it is rushing to our larger muscles. It is a wise decision to remain in silence and take deep breaths that reach our diaphragms. As a default, try taking 10 deep breaths and focusing on the sound of the breath; thank your body for communicating with your brain; gratitude.
STEP THREE: Locate
Pay attention to what part of your body is responding with the emotional reaction. This will put you into the present, which will prepare you for the next step.
STEP FOUR: Observe
Thoughts This is a great opportunity to understand what is going on for you internally; your body has already emotionally reacted and it is important to understand what thoughts are attached to this response. This step may be hard for a while and that is okay; practice.
STEP FIVE: Repeat
If you or someone you love is experiencing pain from losing someone to suicide, please message me for more details about how we can co-create a space to explore those feelings. Please email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org to setup a consultation. #MarilynManzi #RobinWilliams #Mindfulness #MindWarrior #Eslor