Fiction Fridays: An Unnatural Silence

Fiction Fridays on www.bettysbattleground.com

It’s Friday!

Which means it’s time for some fiction on Betty’s Battleground. A nice break from the important, but heavy, suicide issue posts that I have gone up the past week.

Last week participation was suuuuper low for the writing prompt feature “contest.”

I don’t know if that’s because y’all LIARS! Saying you love writing and just need some motivation…*incoherent grumbling*

OR maybe I didn’t give enough time to enter. 300 words is short, but it can be hard to produce even that in under two days when you’re already working on negative time. So I’m going to do an experiment. I am going to give the prompt, with the same incentive (front page feature here on Betty’s Battleground) but this time you shall have until 9am PST next Thursday the 30th! That’s almost a full week! And still just 300 words minimum, 1,000 words max. So scroll on to read my story and find out the prompt and full submission instructions!

Fiction Fridays on www.bettysbattleground.com

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The Suicide Survivor’s Guide: 3 Ways to Recognize Suicidal Behavior, and How You Can Help

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It has been a heavy week on Betty’s Battleground.

Last Wednesday I posted the letter I didn’t write when I attempted suicide on my birthday last year.

On Monday, I kicked off my guest post series “Tales From the Other Side” with a beautiful and heartbreaking letter written to the sister Connie Hulsart, from the blog Essentially Broken, lost to suicide.

I know, this blog has not been the easiest to read this past week. Nor the easiest to publish, believe me. But it is important to understand suicide. The mentality behind it, which I showcased in my letter; the complex effects and aftermath, which Connie demonstrated with grace and raw honesty in hers, and also how to recognize suicidal behaviors in others and what to do about it.

Suicide is very serious. It is the 10th leading cause of the death in the United States, and, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are twenty-five more attempts for every single completed suicide. And that’s just what’s reported. We have no way of quantifying the attempts, completed suicides, and ideations that occur unreported or unrecognized. According to the World Health Organization, over 800,000 people die from suicide each year. It is approximated that someone, somewhere on the planet, completes a suicide every 40 seconds.

Let that sink in.

Every 40 seconds.  That means that in the time you have been reading this, at least one person has died by his own hand.

Suicide merits understanding.

I am not a psychological expert. I cannot replace the advice of professionals. But I have been there. Many, many times. My most serious attempt was in 2016, but it was not my first. Besides my other attempts, I have considered suicide on numerous occasions. I have spent years in a suicidal state, mostly due to my PTSD.  I am going to wrap up what has become “Suicide Week” on Betty’s Battleground with a Suicide Survivor’s Guide to Recognizing Suicidal Behavior, and some suggestions on how to help. Some of these are research based; many are based on my experiences with being suicidal.  As I said, I cannot replace the advice and opinion of a psychological expert. If you believe that you or someone you know is suicidal, it is a good idea to talk to a professional. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. In my opinion, it is always beneficial to combine the knowledge of experts with the knowledge of experience, so here is what I have learned from being suicidal:

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Tales From the Other Side: “My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide”

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.com

“My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide” is the first installation of my Guest Post Series: Tales From the Other Side

If you have been following my blog, you know that I write about my experiences as a mother who lives with mental illness, specifically; PTSD and (recovering) co-morbid substance addiction as the result of surviving severe, prolonged domestic abuse. There is a lot of stigma around mental illness, addiction, and abuse. I think it is important that those of us who have lived or are living with these conditions speak out so that the world can see what we go through, and also that we are human. Relatable, real, maybe even (gasp) likable humans.

We are not the only ones affected by our conditions, however. The people who live with us, love us, work with us, and know us are also affected, often deeply. Last week I wrote about my recent(ish) suicide attempt.  I shared the letter I didn’t write, but would have written if I had been able to communicate my thoughts and feelings at the time.  This week, I want to share with you the letter written by one woman to her sister whose suicide attempt was successful.

This letter is raw, heartwrenching, and even funny at times. It is, ultimately, honest. I am so honored to be able to share it here.

Another issue that the letter briefly mentions is possible witnessed PTSD; sometimes the people who come in contact with our conditions inherit similar conditions themselves. Witnessed PTSD is less understood than experienced PTSD, but it is the same disorder as mine except that it arises from witnessing a traumatic event, rather than directly experiencing it.

One last thing I would like to say before I share the letter and some details about its author: I have been suicidal. I know that feeling worthless and unloved comes hand-in-hand with wanting to die. And now, having lived through it, I also know that the feeling is a delusion. You don’t have to be popular and constantly surrounded by people to be loved. If you are feeling suicidal, please just know, just believe that there is someone out there who will write a letter like this to you if you leave them. Chances are, you even know who that person is. Chances are, you love them too. Please think, truly think, about the real consequences of your decision before you make it.
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