I let her talk and talk. She had a lot to say, and I said very little. I simply got on her side, saw and felt things the way she did, allowed her to experience what she was experiencing, and allowed her experience to become mine, intimately so. It was easy, since I have known well that place of total exhaustion, that place where “I’ve been trying so hard to save others and have received nothing back”, that desperation to die (or at least to end the burden of living), and also the sense of guilt and terrible sadness that arises from imagining loved ones trying to go on without me. I stayed close. I did not try to play ‘spiritual teacher’, ‘expert on suicide prevention’ or even ‘therapist’.
Most people who feel suicidal need to talk about it. Approaching people with love and openness means NOT being terrified of that persons dark places. And not reacting in a knee-jerk and controlling manner. That has never allowed anyone to feel safe to open up about the painful vulnerability they are most assuredly experiencing when feeling suicidal. I don’t really know why it’s considered helpful to react to people who feel suicidal with terror and control which often manifests by violently committing them to a psychiatric ward all while traumatizing them further than they already are. Really, we need to rethink how we’re taught to “help” those who are suffering in this manner!
Sylvia Plath was a human being. She lived and breathed, she feared, she loved, she picked daffodils. Skipping around in her unabridged journals this morning, I had that revelation. Why should it be a revelation? Because the mental health field has made her an ICON; something entirely separate from humanity. According to them, she IS... Continue Reading →