What the 'S' Word Means to Me as a Suicide Loss Survivor


If you have never lost someone to suicide, the word will have a different meaning to you. You may think it is just another way people die. You may think they are selfish, but they are not. They may have been in such pain they felt the only option was to take their own life. They may have felt it was the only way out of their pain. You may think it’s something that will never happen to you — but that’s what I thought too.

When I hear the “S” word, it feels as if I have been punched in the gut. It feels as if I have been knocked down, and I can’t get back up, because I know the power of the word. I know the pain of losing someone that way. I lost my friend Chaney Corley to suicide on September 23, 2015. I never saw it coming. I had no idea she was in that much pain. When I found out she was gone, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. The “S” word rings in my ears and sends shivers down my spine. It stabs my heart, because I know what it really means. But her parents know its power even more than I do.

The “S” word — suicide. We all know what it means, but do not all quite understand its power. Suicide is a form of death, but it is different. It is preventable, but it can also be unexpected. There are warning signs, but not everybody shows them. People think everybody will show clear warning signs and tell other people their intentions to die. But the thing is, they don’t always.

You also can’t control whether or not you develop a mental illness — but there is help. There are solutions and hope. In my experience, suicide hurts so much because you know the person who took their life was in such a great amount of pain. They were in so much pain, they were willing to take their life. But, you also know it could have been prevented.

There are treatment options for people struggling with mental illness. You can always try to help your loved one. After my friend died, I couldn’t help but feel I didn’t do enough.

What does the “S” word mean to you?

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via balticboy.


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