I love my weekly writers’ workshop…I really do. Only this week…this week, I’m filled with doubts. I’m doubting my writing ability, I’m doubting my voice, I’m doubting my direction, I’m doubting my lack of experience in the small room filled with extremely talented, accomplished and lifelong writers.
Doubt. It can really mess with your head.
I mean, the other writers couldn’t have been any more kind, considerate and helpful with their responses to my writing or more accepting of the feedback I gave to them on their pieces.
Why, then, am I filled with such uncertainty?
After the workshop and while I made the 20-minute drive home, my mind ran through the laundry list of changes I need to make to my most recent assignment, what I need to focus on for next week’s homework, and my writing in general. The task is daunting and, as I thought about “the list”, I felt butterflies in the pit of my stomach and my pulse quickened. As if someone knew exactly what I needed, one of my favorite songs, “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam started playing. I turned up the volume and decided to try to take Eddie Vedder’s advice:
Stay with me… Let’s just breathe…
I need to take a deep breath and calm down my mind. I think part of my apprehension may be that while I am willing to start the grueling process of writing about my experiences of coping with the suicides of my brother, step-father and nephew, I am still keeping up a wall around myself (and I thought all the walls were down!).
In addition, I keep questioning why I feel so compelled to write about all of this in the first place. When I think about it…reeeaaally think about it, I think I know why…
I have noticed lately that while there is an increasing amount of information out there about suicide – warning signs and risk factors, statistics and treatment options – there is very little information about the ones who are left behind. While doing a preliminary search last night, I found this:
Each suicide intimately affects at least six other people.” (excerpted from dosomething.org)
According to the AFSP’s website, 42,773 Americans die by suicide each year. If we take that number and multiply it by those who are “intimately” impacted by a loved one’s suicide, that means that there are 256,638 people walking around suffering the pain of this type of loss each year. And remember, that’s “intimately” affected, which doesn’t even cover all the other people who may have felt some connection to the person who died.
After thinking about those numbers, I felt a little less doubtful of some of my efforts, however, I am still trying to figure out my purpose, my direction.
Again, as if the universe knew exactly what I needed, I received a message shortly after I returned home last night. A dear friend is struggling with a family member’s depression and suicidal ideation. She wrote,
…Thank you for bringing suicide awareness to the forefront of your life. It is quite comforting to not feel alone.”
How could she know that her words during her time of need, would make such an impact on me?
How can I still have doubts?
For more information on suicide awareness and prevention efforts, please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention|AFSP’s website: http://www.afsp.org