My dad took his life four years ago today, I thought it was yesterday but I realized it came into my consciousness to start the emotional unwrapping I need to process for this year. . This year I feel sad but I don’t feel the other emotions tied to his suicide I have felt in years past. Like anger. I have been angry at him for not meeting my granddaughter, committing suicide in the hell year 2014 my family was in. There is so much underneath anger. In my experience with anger, it felt like a protective emotion. I felt pretty ruled by the feelings of anger and hopelessness. I talked to my dad all the time, I told him my woes which was a lot in 2014, he was helpful when he wasn’t depressed. The day before his suicide I spoke to him. Of course that conversion echoes in my mind. He told me he was depressed and that he didn’t understand his purpose for living. That was really normal for him to say that. He struggled big time with depression, he was on meds and institutionalized off and on in the V.A. my entire life. He had several attempted suicides too. He was going back on meds because he was so depressed, he had an appointment the day after his suicide. In my mind having our last conversation, I knew his circular patterns and I thought he would start his meds and start to feel better. Not this time.
Last year in March, I started EMDR trauma therapy. That was the most healing eight months I have had around his suicide and other trauma I experienced with him in my life. It helped me understand our relationship. It helped me understand some of the emotions I struggled with around his suicide.
My dad was my savior and abuser. He taught me so many amazing, valid, helpful ways to navigate through life. He gave me opportunities with nature and the love of the outdoors. We biked, hiked, backpacked, canoed, ran, downhill skied, cross country skied all over the Rocky Mountains. He was there for me, my number one support system. He also taught me codependency in his need to control because he was a lieutenant. If I didn’t do what he said, something bad would happen like his soldiers. It was his unresolved issues with Vietnam I came to understand. He also was my example as a man, which lead to the men and friendships I choose . I am so grateful for EMDR therapy. It changed my life! By understanding the messages I received through the trauma, I was able to navigate through the emotions that were stumbling blocks and change those messages.
EMDR trauma therapy is developed to help the mind reprocess trauma. We have information coming at us all day, our subconscious is able to process unneeded information in the moment. When we experience trauma it is too much overload on the subconscious and we experience trauma in our bodies and do not process the trauma, we get locked in the negative messages we receive in trauma. This therapy is done holding sensors that are vibrating communicating with both sides of the brain to go back to the trauma and reprocess it without the body responding or holding on to the negative emotion. It helps us to see the messages we received in those traumas, giving the negative emotions names and meanings. Then you go back in and tell yourself your new truths and their meanings. It also helps with ptsd. When I met my guy if he came near me sleeping I would punch him. Thankfully we worked through that. My nerve system was reactive and sensitive due to this trauma of suicide but also other trauma I went through in 2014.
Loosing a support system you have had your whole life is difficult, especially in suicide which is instant. There is no time to prepare or think about their loss, it’s just over. It has been my catalyst for being my own support system. It helped me learn to meditate and go inside to hear because I am able, not because dad said so, not because I’m angry, I can trust myself. I don’t need to be controlled by anyone but me. When you are raised very controlled it instills a message, I am not able, I need to be controlled, I need someone’s else’s opinion. Being able to hear myself, seek my higher self and hear my intuition through meditation, yoga, intentions and to be able to trust me, it is the most freeing, empowering experience I have ever had.
It’s really beautiful to feel at peace today even in my sadness. Today I am grateful for the birds I hear singing, the running water from my pool. I miss my dad, I miss the good times, his interaction with my kids, his silliness, his generosity. I do not miss the explosive, angry, terrifying human he could be. I had to accept the reality of the duality of him. I don’t have to interact with my dad’s violence, depression, anger and all the consequences he had because of those unresolved emotions in him. It is so much easier to remember the good things in him because I am not interacting with the negative. And now I know it’s okay to feel that way. It’s the road to acceptance in suicide for me.