Lived Experience Insights | Family & Friends

Honest and real responses to a range of personal questions about suicide from people that have lived the experience, with the aim of helping those that may be living a shared experience.

Family & Friends

  • Scary, sometimes I don’t want to hear the answer. But I am also relieved when they talk to me.
  • It used to feel like I was probing. I have discovered it’s okay to just ask someone – it’s actually a caring thing to do, but it’s the way you ask that’s important – always ask from a caring loving space, not from an annoyed judgemental way.
  • Honestly? A bit scary because I’d prefer that they were not feeling at risk. However it’s a relief to have it out in the open so you can talk and plan with them about keeping safe. Often for them too!
  • It is scary and concerning however it takes the guess work out of the situation. The question itself is not the issue it’s what happens next that takes the courage, compassion, empathy and kindness. How do I tap in and let this person know that i am there for them and will reach out to them and keep them safe whilst they are unable to. That is being 100% authentic and in the moment and the greatest gift a human can gift to another when they are in great distress and duress.
  • Find the right outlet, make sure you will be emotionally safe and not judged.
  • I work as a peer worker as it gives me a sense of purpose.
  • I recommend attending a Roses in the Ocean workshop for starters – both Our Voices in Action and Our Voices of In-Sight are excellent!
  • There are not too many places and safe spaces to talk. I will journal. I work within suicide prevention so I am able to talk about my story in bits and pieces. I am very much aware of the need to be able to talk as it is a process of understanding and healing that takes place.
  • Arafmi or other carer groups like that.
  • Grow Australia.
  • The first – friends, being with my dog, exercise, meditation, diversion like reading and piano. People in the same situation – I bet Roses would help, eg. the Peer Companion Warmline.
  • I am very big on meditation in what ever form that comes in. When I was younger it was running now it is sitting or being in nature walking. I have not found spaces outside of my work area that allows for conversation around suicide. People often become uncomfortable with the use of the word suicide and I pick up on that quite quickly. This happens even within families. Journalling is a good space which can be a great way to “brain dump”. I don’t need to deal with others discomfort or unthinking comments. I can be real genuine and honest and go to my shadows and dark places – safely and with no filter required.
  • I let them know about my lived experience and then listen, they are usually more open to talking about their lived experience when they know you understand.
  • I share I have been through a similar type of experience also, but clarifying that everyone’s experience is very different of course, so as not to discount their experience or upstage them with my story. Less is more.
  • Use My intentional peer support training and suicide prevention training experience to prioritise the person’s life.
  • I am hoping to work in the field of suicide prevention and use it that way. I find wearing my Rose awarded after attending Roses in the Ocean workshops an excellent conversation starter to broach the topic with anyone! Which can give them the opening to disclose their own experience. I emphasise that feeling suicidal doesn’t mean having to act on it, and that finding alternatives that will deal with the problems causing the suffering may help to alleviate the suffering differently.
  • My lived experience comes from having two ears to listen. Everyones pain comes from different sources however there is a need for connection, belonging and safe relationships. When people can be genuine with themselves, with another, they feel seen heard and understood. This is what I hope to bring to the connection between myself and another.
  • Just listen and be there, offer ideas for support, ask them what they need and be conscious of the support I can provide.
  • Asking them directly about it, talking further with them about connecting them with help. Checking out if they have a plan, if so, working with them to protect them from means. Staying with them or organising someone else to be with them when necessary for safety. Exploring alternatives with them.
  • I provide them a safe space in which they can talk if they choose, show emotion if they choose or just sit and be there. Knowing someone is there that will not judge, criticise or blame allows their emotions and feelings to be validated as authentic to them at that given moment. Being gentle kind compassionate and caring is what is needed.
  • It feels terrible. Sad. Lonely. Helpless. You feel like you have failed – that you can’t help them, that you haven’t been enough to be able to ‘save’ them from these painful feelings. You can also feel angry, all sorts of strange feelings can erupt, then you feel even worse for having those feelings when you should feel compassionate. It’s shock and grief, we can’t predict how we will feel when we are in such a hard place with someone we love.
  • I love to show them through my experience that there is hope. I like to use my personal experience to support the person with referrals to services. Communicate with clinical staff.
  • It is very scary, unpredictable, consuming, confronting that a person I care for and love is in so much pain and all I can do is be there with them. I cannot take it away, remove it or obliterate it. I can just sit and be with them wholly and unconditionally whilst keeping them safe.
  • It’s tiring and worrying. I often feel alone.
  • In moments of crisis? On edge. Your body can feel like it’s preparing for battle, ready to move or act at a moment’s notice. That hyper-vigilance can feel exhausting over enough time. In general, it can feel worrying, sometimes you can struggle with the feeling of not being able to do enough or knowing what’s needed. But ultimately, it feels good to be there for someone. To be present with them, and to demonstrate your love and care in such a real way.
  • It feels crushing when it happens a lot, you feel you can’t help them and are constantly watching them suffer. It’s terrible. It’s hard because you love them. I’ve found its ok and quite a loving thing to let them know you are hurting too, worrying – so you are connected – rather than be stoic and pretend you are okay.
  • Challenging due to the longevity and unpredictability. It impacts on all areas of your life as you are unsure of what and how they will interpret events, comments or situations. It is living on tender hooks. It is the build up to a crescendo or a slowly dissipation. It’s a daily unknowingness that can be emotionally exhausting, time consuming but ALWAYS worth it. Keeping my special person alive surmounts any of the challenging moments that I may feel or experience.
Date Published
September 28, 2022
carer , family and friends , lived experience , lived experience insights
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