The following excerpt is from the book The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide. This passage discusses one aspect of self-care after a suicide.
It’s Okay to Say “No.”
We often feel we need to commit to all things and all people because, if we don’t, we will feel rude or unsupportive. Sometimes we say yes to things because people ‘expect’ us to. The truth is nobody can say yes all the time, and we need to be okay with it. Sometimes the best way we can take care of ourselves is by saying no to commitments, obligations, and responsibilities. If a friend or family member invites you over to their home for a holiday because you always spend that holiday with them but it feels overwhelming this year to even think about going, much less prepare the feast you typically do, it is okay to say, “I’m not feeling up to it this year. I think I will stay home instead.” If you typically run the PTA at your child’s school but the responsibility is too much to bear, it is okay to step down for a season (or permanently). If you and your friends always go on a huge summer vacation with all of your families and pets and this year it seems like too much to even consider, it is okay to say no. Sometimes the best self-care we can possibly do is to say no and lighten our loads. In the aftermath of a suicide, we typically need less on our plates, not more. If we fill every minute of every day, avoidance, not grieving, is actually taking place. Self-care involves grieving and giving ourselves what we need during the grieving process. People will not always understand or agree with you saying “no” and that is okay. It is called ‘self-care’ not ‘care for everyone else first.’
For a season it is perfectly fine to say no to people, things, and commitments. If, however, you are saying no all of the time and find yourself completely isolated and removed from friends and family, it is likely depression instead of self-care. At that point, it is necessary to talk with your doctor. Self-care is intended to promote better health and is a preventative step to feeling overwhelmed. If you are simply removing yourself from the world, you may need to evaluate a deeper cause.
You can read more from The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide by grabbing a copy of the book on Amazon now. You are not alone. You can watch the Book Trailer Here to get a sneak peek into the book.