Survivor Support Success Stories
The Survivor Support Program gave me a safe space to grieve.
The one-on-one program allowed me dedicated time to express my thoughts and feelings in a truly judgment-free space. Although I have a strong support network, sometimes there were "things" that I could not say without potentially hurting someone else. The one-on-one sessions gave me an opportunity to vent these things in a caring and bias-free environment. Being able to express these thoughts aloud meant that I was able to reflect upon and work through my grief.
The group sessions gave me a community of people in which I did not have to internally anticipate their reactions to things I said because most of them were thinking the same thing. Suicide is unlike any other cause of death. For a survivor, at times the emotions surrounding it are indescribable; my group experience meant that I never had to explain or justify my emotions because they were already understood.
The first step in this program, for me, was admitting that I needed it. After my father completed suicide, I was lost in my mind and felt like there was no way I was ever going to see through to the other side. It was all I could think about. It seemed like there would never be a moment when I would find some sort of comfort or happiness.
One of the greatest things that happened was a co-worker (who had lost his brother to suicide) told me about this amazing program that his family attended. I decided to call the group right away. The first step was a one-on-one meeting. That initial meeting was hard. At that point, I hadn’t retold the events of my father’s death. For me, telling the story was the hardest part of each phase of the program. Each time, I made it through.
Meeting with the other survivors was easily the worst and best part of the entire experience. The worst part was that I had to tell all these strangers about what had happened, and in turn hear what had happened to them. But the best part was knowing I was not alone. The group meetings were emotionally draining, but it was something that I needed. Most importantly, I learned how to talk about it. I learned that it is okay to ask for help. That it’s okay to cry. At the end of the day, the group didn’t change the pain or magically take it away. I still had a hole in my heart when it was over, and I still didn’t feel like myself. What I did have were the tools to help deal with it. Nothing will ever change what happened to my father, but I am thankful that I had the Survivor Support Program to turn to in my time of distress.