Friday, 24 October 2014

Bereavement, Befuddlement and Bafflement Pt2

This post tackles the topic I intended to cover last week regarding coping with the suicide of my father.

Something I didn't expect from my fathers suicide was how it would make me view the people around me. Before my father took his own life, I always assumed that the people who were close to me would be there for me. That everyone would grow old before they died. That the desire to live usurped everything else. Now I'm not so sure. Now I'm constantly concerned.

I used to expect that people would be there when I woke up or came home. Not just expect it, but I knew without a doubt that people would always be there. Doing regular boring everyday people things. In the mornings you expect to wake up to people in bathrobes, making hot drinks and toast. After work you expect people to be cooking, cleaning, lounging on the couch. Boring everyday things. Now I expect the opposite.

I used to assume suicide was more by accident than design. That desperation made you act, but that undeniable will to live kept you from doing it properly. That the knowledge that while you're alive things can still get better would intrude just in time. I assumed those who commit suicide had succeeded by mistake. A lot of the methods are fallible and (it seemed to me) a lot of people act rashly, without plan or design.

My father did not commit suicide accidentally.

I used to expect to come home to busy people full of life. If I came home to a quiet house, I used to assume people were sleeping. Now I wonder if they are dead.

This doesn't mean I'm constantly worried that people are going to commit suicide. But losing someone so close to me has made death seem, possible. Not just possible, but I have become hyper-aware, to a point where it seems probable. The other day I woke to find my partner wasn't in bed with me. Despite being told me the night before that he was getting up early to do some work and not to worry when I woke up alone, I did. The house was still and quiet, and my brain supplied me with a detailed image of him having tripped down the stairs. The crawling feeling in my stomach didn't fade until I said good morning and even then I still felt uneasy.

I have lost family members before, mostly to old age. I lost my uncle to suicide when I was too young to grasp the concept and I've had friends of friends take their own lives. But having someone so close to me decide that death was easier has destroyed that childish part of me that assumed life went on despite all odds.

Posts about mental health should have a 'positive lesson' wrap up. It seems like the responsible thing to do. But this doesn't have a positive wrap up. A really shit thing happened, and had a really shit effect on my world view. My faith in people to stick around has been shaken. My trust is gone. My father and I loved each other and he knew that no matter what else he was thinking, and now my belief in the strength of love is pretty weak. I find myself constantly worried about other peoples mental state and in a perpetual state of helplessness, I am neither tactful nor empathetic. The best I can take from this is that I am now aware.

Too aware.

Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636
Lifeline - 13 11 14

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