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Breakups and Suicide

I feel compelled to write about a subject deemed taboo or emasculating for some men to talk about. I say that primarily because I too have been to the brink of suicide and debated whether to end my own life rather than suffer the humiliation and feelings of emasculation brought on in part by a skewed sense of what masculinity represents.
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I feel compelled to write about a subject deemed taboo or emasculating for some men to talk about. I say that primarily because I too have been to the brink of suicide and debated whether to end my own life rather than suffer the humiliation and feelings of emasculation brought on in part by a skewed sense of what masculinity represents. The actual divorce turns out to be the easy part, as it's the emotional turmoil that is severely debilitating. Suicide seemed easier than enduring the emotional roller coaster of rejection, fear and anger. For me, what had been perceived as a secure and co-dependent relationship quickly turned into a living nightmare. There does not seem to be much data available regarding "breakup suicide" but just one suicide is too many in my opinion.

I know the pain of any breakup can be a heart wrenching experience, regardless of the partners involved. We can't avoid the unpredictability of life. However, there are incremental steps we can try, to manage the debilitating experience. Although I'm talking from the experience of enduring a Gay breakup, I can't imagine the pain being any less severe after the ending of any loving partnership. I should note that gays are now having their relationships validated in many parts of the country and world. It may take some time to discover if breakups affects them any differently. In either case, fractured lives and hearts lay strewn in the aftermath of a breakup or divorce.

Here's the thing. You never know or realize how much emotional currency you have locked up in any relationship until it comes to an abrupt end. It's normal to expend a great amount of energy trying to salvage what you're losing or have lost. In my case, I could not avoid the constant pondering of suicide. The fear of detachment, being alone and starting over was dreadful enough. On top of that, add the shame and embarrassment one feels when close friends and even family members opt to side with your soon-to-be ex.

Let's be honest and not sugarcoat the feeling of hurt and worthlessness one feels when ostracized by an ex-lover. It feels personal because it is personal to each and everyone of us! No amount of telling someone "it's not personal" will change that. While you're in the throes of a painful breakup and particularly if you're contemplating suicide, it's near impossible to see what positives may come out of a separation. But they exist, and the challenge is to live another day in hope some of the fog will clear.

In keeping the discussion real, none of my suggestions, or anyone else's for that matter are easy at the onset of a breakup, and "time" is both your enemy and your friend. So let's begin there. It's said that time is nature's way of preventing everything from happening at once. That would aptly apply here. Things take time and so will getting past a breakup. Time is the enemy in that it wants it all to be over now! Time is also your friend or your body's T-cells that are there to handle the crisis and insulate you from further deterioration. Each moment you survive strengthens your awareness that things are changing and won't stay the same. Your time T-cell is what lands an all out assault to protect your well being.

So let me tell you how I handled this time dilemma. While your well being is in crisis mode, it is futile to speculate about what's in the distant future because if you don't survive this moment, the future won't matter anyway. So don't waste time wondering where the road leads and fully concentrate on surviving the moment. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day and so forth. Using time as my T cell, I was able to survive a potentially fatal crisis. I realize now that when I focused on the future and how things had to turn out, my mind, body and soul grew weary, pessimistic and exacerbated the shame and humiliation I was feeling.

By focusing on a moment at a time, I was able to reward myself with small senses of accomplishment, having survived another hour, another day, another night. I allowed myself to feel accomplishment each and every time I was able to get dressed in the morning, make it through the breakfast hour, the lunch hour and so forth. Although sleep became a serious problem for me, each morning I'd wake up refreshed, knowing that I survived the suicide fight.

When I look back at my own suicide thoughts, I realize that "time" was the one thing that I feared most, and simultaneously revered the most. So, I am not going to load this article with lots of suggestions from many others more qualified than me on the subject. What I want those of you going through a breakup and any other horrific event in your life to remember is Time = T cells. I think this is a most important concept to embrace. Otherwise, almost none of the other steps and suggestions to get over my breakup would have worked for me.

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If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.