How do people survive?

Excerpt from the book “Night Falls Fast” by Kay Redfield Jamison

How do people survive such impassable grief and rage? How do they keep from being so destroyed by guilt and sorrow that they sacrifice the remainder of their own lives for the one lost earlier to suicide? There are many ways: the support of family and friends, religious faith, the passage of time, psychotherapy, or counselling, but one of the most effective has been through the establishment of self-help groups for those who have survived another’s suicide.

These groups allow those who have been through the suicide of a friend or family member to get together and exchange support, information, and encouragement about carving out a meaningful future. Listening to others who have survived kindred straits and eventually helping newer members to do the same is invaluable in learning to survive and do well with life.

Many of the suicide survivors go on to become actively involved in school and church education programs, hoping to raise awareness about suicide and the psychiatric illnesses that can lead to it. Others work at the state and national level to change legislation or to increase funding for suicide prevention programs and related research. All try to redeem some good from the awfulness they have known; and most succeed.


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