A suicide survivor uses her personal story to help others heal

By Sheri Falk - bio | email | Twitter

Hattiesburg, MS (WDAM) - The effects of being bullied are so severe that it has caused many to take their own life. At what point do people feel they no longer can handle the pressures of life? By completing suicide, the pain is gone for the individual but it  continues to haunt those left behind. Suicide survivors are always left with unanswered questions of why? What happened? What was the reason?

"What we find is, most of the people that complete suicide have some type of mental illness, depression, sometimes there is alcohol and drugs involved."

Licensed Social Worker, Mitzi Spears said, "that a suicide is completed every 16 minutes in the U.S. and for every one completed suicide, a minimum of six people are impacted."

"According to statistics, women attempt suicide more than men and men actually complete suicide more often than women."

It's the inability for someone to cope with the continuing pressures of life, which Spears said can lead to irreversible decisions.

"I like to use the analogy of a glass of water. You have a glass that is full of water and you add one more drop in and the water overflows. It wasn't actually that one drop that caused the overflow, it was all the of the water that led up to that. So, with suicide there is very rarely one instance that caused it."

It's those instances that are often tough for family members and loved ones to recognize. It's not until after the fact when warning sings become apparent.  Isolation, depression, talk of death or unusual behavior.

"You have the shock first, then a suicide survivor will often turn the blame on themselves and that's one of the things they really struggle with.."

Spears knows from personal experience, her mother completed suicide at 52. Her personal grief has helped her help others. She leads a support group once a month at the Shafer Center in Hattiesburg.

"This January will be 20 years. On January 16,  1991 my mother shot and killed herself. I was in the home with her when it happened. I was told very early on and I tell other survivors that if you are willing to look hard enough there is a gift that you can find.  A lot of us didn't want to hear that in the beginning, but one of the gifts is that I can relate, that I know what it is like to go through a trauma, I know what it is like to lose someone you love and be totally shocked."

Although you can never bring them back, you can hold on to the memories and some day move beyond the pain.

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