Suicide Prevention/Coping

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Question
In February two of my daughters Samantha (19) and Olivia (14), were in a car accident. It wasn't Samantha's fault entirely, but she feels the whole accident was her fault. Olivia immediately died the moment they were hit, and Samantha was in the hospital for weeks. Ever since Olivia's death we have been coping and trying to get through each day. It's gotten so much better for everyone, except Samantha. She has PTSD, and she's tried to commit suicide many times. She goes to a counselor every other week, and it's slowly, slowly helping. But I'm petrified that she's going to kill herself. We've hid all the knives, belts, medicine, basically our entire home. Our whole family is trying to keep her safe and somewhat happy. She's on medication for PTSD and depression but it only helps a little. She turned 20 last week and she didn't really care. She didn't want a party, cake, presents, or anything. She didn't use to be this way at all. How can my family and I help her so she stops trying to kill herself? How can we help her cope a little better?

Answer
Hi Lydia!

I'm so very sorry for your loss.  I'm not sure I can help but I will share what is in my heart and maybe it will help a little.  I am encouraged that Samantha is seeing a counselor and that it is helping albeit it very slowly.  That underlying fear that we have as a parent of losing our children is a horrible thing to live with and for you it is amplified by the fact that you have already lost one daughter.  I might suggest that the entire family seeks professional help through grief counseling to help bring you all together in your pain and help with the healing process.  

It seems that right now the burden of guilt that Samantha feels is uncontrollably heavy.  I'm sure you don't hold her responsible; you don't have to, she is doing that all on her own.  In her mind I'm sure, she feels that way because she was not able to keep her sister from dying while she was "in her care" so to speak.  What a huge load for anyone to carry.  

You asked how you can help her so she stops trying to kill herself.  Whew!  That's a good question.  I can only share my beliefs and thoughts with you on this subject.  And this comes from personal experience as well as spiritual beliefs.  It is my belief that though we lose the physical self of those we love (we can no longer physically touch them, hug them or kiss them) the spiritual self never goes away and sits at the right hand of God watching over us, acting as His agent to keep us safe.  We know they are with us because we will hear someone say something that only that person said, or we hear a laugh that reminds us of them or a smell that is familiar to them and we know right then that our loved one is with us.  In some cases, such as mine, it becomes crystal clear that my dad came through from the other side to let me know that he is with me and the peace that washed over me at that moment was indescribable.  I will pray that Samantha will find that peace and that your sweet Olivia will find a way to reach out and let all of you know that she is with God and is watching over you.  

Otherwise, be with her and tell her that none of us know why those we love get taken away from us.  It was just simply Olivia's time.  But there can be a positive that comes from this negative.  When Samantha has healed her broken heart and feels the love of God coursing through her then perhaps she will be strong enough to help others who are in pain.  Tell her that God is not ready for her yet; He has lots for her to do still on this earth.  And when her time here is done (in God's time not hers) then she will see Olivia again.  He has promised a glad reunion on the other side with those who have gone on before.  And also tell her that God loves her and so do I.

I hope this has helped even a little.  Feel free to contact me again if I can help any further.

Sincerely,

Lynne

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Lynne Luckett

Expertise

I can answer questions about surviving suicide, about losing a family member to suicide and how to heal the hole that is left behind by a loved one committing suicide.

Experience

My father committed suicide when I was 8 years old. It took me 13 years to even start dealing with his death but once the healing started it was truly an educational experience. I know now that he is with me all the time and though his physical self is no longer here, his spirtual self lives on in me and my son. I'm now 49 and have talked to several people about losing a loved one to suicide and have received some positive feedback about my advice. I am a medical transcripitionist and have been in the medical field for 20+ years. I feel I survived my dad's death to have the understanding to be able to help others. I love to help others.

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