Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Life After Suicide - Part III - Changing

Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.

I'm not 100% yet, I think I have a long ways to go before I become "Lealah" again - whatever that means, whoever that is. Mentally, things are still difficult. Thinking about my brother still brings a sharp pain to my very essence, but now at least I can appreciate and be thankful for all the good memories I have.





Writing this blog series has been painful, but I think it's something I needed to do. I needed to confront the terror from the past many months. Some days I get home from work and I'm just done, I have no energy left to do or think about anything. Other days I get my workouts in, try to do something creative or productive, eat a healthy meal... Some days I let the minor annoyances of life get to me and I'm so ready to give up, other days I work on looking for things that calm me and bring me positive energy. I'm about 40 pounds up now, where I was only 20-25 pounds up before October 12. Truthfully though, I've found that being skinny is not nearly as important as it used to be. I would really just like to be healthy and feel good now. I've only really started working out, eating healthier and tackling other health issues in the past couple months; already the difference in my physical and mental well-being is palpable. The main activities that have helped turn me around are Yoga and attempted meditation (surprisingly difficult activity to engage in!). Something I've discovered in the past months is that I do not really know myself, not completely and honestly. I think that true happiness is something only achieved once you know and are confident in yourself.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that I'm some newly enlightened, transformed individual that seems to have the answers. Some things have been impressed upon me though. I've come to realize that despite how over the years I've tried to "be a good person", I was still a judgmental hypocrite. I am trying to be different now, to really see people and to really give them the benefit of the doubt and to not pass judgement based on my perceptions. I have more desire to understand people. We never know if someone is treating us terribly because they'd been treated terribly, or because they are undergoing some hardship or trauma. That jack ass on the highway cutting everybody off and whipping in between cars may be rushing to see his dying son. Maybe the annoying lady at the office that won't shut up about herself really has something more serious going on in her personal life that she just doesn't know how to talk about. (That doesn't necessarily make her any less annoying though.) We never know when someone is struggling just to get through their day. There is a lot we don't know. I'm not sure if I was fully capable of real compassion and empathy before now. I find myself hurting for people, some I know, some I don't, in ways I was not able to before. I have begun to see things on a much larger scale, the "first-world" issues no longer bother me like they used to; it's the issues that really impact our ability to live happy and free that have drawn my attention now. These things I may blog about later. I'm still human, I'm not immune to the annoyances and gripes of everyday life; I'm just finding that I care less and less about these things.

I would be remiss to leave out the things for which I am grateful despite the tragedy we've endured. I am grateful for my family that recognized that I was struggling and taking things rather hard and checked on me almost on a daily basis. I am grateful for my best friend that dropped everything to be there for me. I am grateful for my friends who have reached out, without pushing, just to let me know they care. I am grateful for my work family and the support they showed during the most difficult time of my life. During the following months people who had suffered the loss of someone close due to suicide reached out and that helped too - being able to connect with people that really do understand. One person lost her little brother to suicide as well and I cannot put into words how much her support and her actions of kindness mean to me. I am grateful for those that recognized that I lost not only my little brother, but a child that I raised and loved as my own and never tried to minimize my suffering. I am grateful for the last words written to me by my brother, which cut me to my core, but are words that will comfort me for the remainder of my life. I'm grateful for the lives saved by my brother's death. I'm grateful I was able to see my brother alive and smiling in July 2015.

I believe that this gratefulness is a sign of growth and strength. Do I still wish that his death was a terrible nightmare? Absolutely. Would I still trade places with him if I could? In a heartbeat. My brother and I had a rough childhood, we both had to grow up fast and since his death I've often wondered and been smothered by guilt with the question of "Why him? Why not me instead?" Ultimately I know I won't be able to grow to my full potential until I've come to terms with my guilt and am able to stop punishing myself. I don't know if and when this may happen, or if I will ever be able to have peace on the subject of Amir's death, but I know now that I have things to do and a life to live.   I have a long road ahead of me. I cannot believe that my brother would want me to punish myself so harshly for the rest of my days, and I don't believe that he would have done what he did if he knew how much pain it brought us. When I feel weak, angry, depressed and guilty, I try to remember two messages my brother left me, sayings he had tattooed on his body and had always clung to: "Smile now, cry later." and "Hope".

I need to re-evaluate my life, my goals, my views, my values, my perceptions... I've learned that I can make a difference in the world. If I can touch even a handful of people's lives and make them better, in the slightest way, then those people will be able to help their own handful of people, and so on. The tree will grow, the branches will reach, and the world will be a better place. And less people will end up like Amir.

1 comment:

  1. If I haven't told you lately, friend, I stand in awe of the person you are and the strength you have.

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