Surviving suicide: The realities faced by suicide survivors
Jegathesan, A.J. & Sean, T.S.
Suicide survivors are oftentimes overlooked within the scope of suicide studies, however, it is just as crucial to gain a better understanding of the transition from suicide ideation, to long-term recovery, and in that vein, this study will attempt to examine these transitional thought processes utilizing IPA. In-depth interviews of 19 Malaysian survivors of suicide, from the age of 21 to 53 were conducted, in order to establish and develop a feasible framework of the transition from suicide ideation to long-term recovery. Three factors were found to drive suicide ideation into action: internal negative states, one-off crisis states, and what the researcher has coined, anticipatory hopelessness, a unique finding within this study, whereby positive states, in conjunction with an achievement of ‘contentment’ or ‘fulfilment’ led to suicide attempts as a way of ‘maintaining’ said positive states. Survival of suicide was linked to external interventions and failed methodologies, leading to another coined term, suicide fatigue, whereby one is exhausted from their failed suicide attempts, thus reducing chances of re-attempts. Enhanced connections with loved ones, alongside shifts in internal perceptions attributed decreased motivation for re-attempts. Long-term recovery and decrease in suicide ideation were associated with enhanced support systems, shifts in perception, mental health support and enhanced personal power. The impact of suicide failures, and in particular, suicide fatigue, warrants further investigation, while the fear of loss of contentment via anticipatory hopelessness, should also be addressed as part of intervention methodologies.