Surviving Suicide - Can Our Stories Help Others?

The worst part of being suicidal isn't that it can kill you. The worst part is that you likely suffer alone.

You don't talk about it with friends and loved ones because it hurts them. And they respond by saying hurtful things.

You don't talk about it with a professional because you fear being subjected to the trauma of forced treatment.

No, that's not right, not always right anyway. Sometimes loved ones know how to listen. Sometimes professionals know how to help.

But still. These skills seem to be rare. And it's all so scary.

Even after you're better, it's scary. Scary for you, scary for them. Especially scary if it got to the point of self-harm, a suicidal act. Upon release from the hospital, you are treated to silence. People want to "protect your privacy." They also want to protect their own peace of mind. NOBODY wants you to mention it again.

Live Through This

So an archive of 157 stories of people who tried to die at their own hand, and yet they survived, a place where you can find people who are willing to tell their stories, how they got to that scary place and how they moved beyond it, or how they didn't (the scary lingers), that place is -- transgressive.

It is especially transgressive because these stories do not follow the "good survivor" script. You know it. You read it every September in Suicide Prevention Month. It goes: I felt terrible; I asked for help; I got help; I'm all better now; you can be, too; ask for help.

These stories are different. They are messy. They are in process. They are true.

And that's what makes them so helpful. They are a testament, in their very messiness, to a proposition that seems quite dubious - that you are not alone. That I am not alone. That we can find one another. And we can speak our truth. is the project of Dese'Rae L. Stage, a photographer, mom, suicidologist, activist, and MSW student with lived experience of suicide. Its intent is to make suicide a human issue, more than a puzzle, a statistic, a secret.

Did you know that 1.4 million people in the United States attempted suicide in 2017? You don't really need to know that. What you need to know is that Cathy did. Raul did. Shawn did. Summer did. Fatima did. Terrence did. Maybe you did.

Live Through This celebrates the survival of each and every one. And grieves the ones who did not survive. It lets us celebrate and grieve together. Even if for now we do it in the privacy of our own browsers.

Batshit Crazy Support Group

Back in the days when I didn't have a therapist I trusted, I heard people at church praying for April. She was in the hospital again and having a hard time. A couple times a year it seemed, this prayer got repeated.

I didn't know April. But I knew Rachel, our common friend. I asked Rachel to ask April if she would be willing to talk with me.

And God bless her, she was. We met for coffee and I asked all my questions and confessed to all my fears. Eventually we asked two others to join us.

And we were no longer alone.

The name of our support group, by the way, was inspired by Jared Poore whose line of t-shirts, totes, mugs, and more can be purchased. at


Candles, shirts, mugs, pins, bracelets, that sort of stuff - you can support the work of the Live Through This project and wear the words of encouragement that you or a friend may need to hear through the merchandise department.

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my bracelet. Good golly - it's made by a company that calls itself Pura Vida, the motto of Costa Rica meaning "pure life." That's the title of a chapter in Prozac Monologues, the book, and the philosophy that keeps me going. Clearly has my name on it. I ordered two, one for me and one for the next raffle for subscribers to my newsletter.

Suicide is not a choice

Suicide is not a choice. It happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.

The isolation of suicidal ideation is pain. Other people who know what you are experiencing and care for you are resources for coping with that pain.

Live Through This is suicide prevention. Thank you, Dese'Rae. Stay.

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