• Jamillon Centre

I Want To Die – Shamini’s Suicide Story

Updated: Aug 13

People who attempt suicide or who want to die had little or no love and nurture from at least one parent when they were growing up. That causes trauma and excoriating emotional pain in the child’s developing system, but they have little or no awareness of this.

If you had early unmet needs when you were a child your ability to repress emotional pain and trauma from conscious awareness is underdeveloped or lacking. You often think “I want to die” or “I want to kill myself” and might attempt suicide at some point.

This feeling will stay with you on and off throughout your life unless you allow yourself to feel the unresolved emotional pain safely.

Shamini’s Story:  

Shamini didn’t use the word suicide that often. Instead, this intelligent 42-year-old Sri Lankan woman said she’d always lived knowing and believing that the ending of her life was in her hands. Even at the happiest times of her life, the desire to die was ever present and constant in every breath she took.

Shamini had made three suicide attempts before she came to the Jamillon Centre in late 2012 for her initial appointment. As much as she wanted to end it all, she believed that the lack of success in her suicide attempts was telling her something: that there was a way out of the pain and madness that consumed her.

This motivated Shamini to find a way to eradicate her intense feelings of wanting to die.

Shamini said that she’d struggled to live with a constant sense of abandonment, grief, loss hopelessness, shame, guilt, loneliness and a belief that she was never good enough. She had a persistent fear that she had done the wrong thing, was doing something wrong or going to do a bad thing. She regularly choked from a feeling of pressure around the top part of her chest.

Mostly, Shamini just wanted to run away and hide from life and the world; waiting to die. She felt utterly alone in her pain and the isolation that this produced was beyond unbearable.

Wanting to feel better: to feel normal

Since the age of 20, Shamini said she had been to see many counsellors in an attempt to help herself feel better. But nothing in those therapies made her believe there was a way to understand or comprehend and heal the damage that had happened.

Shamini used numerous ways to cope with her trauma. She tried medication a couple of times, smoked, shopped, addictively read, mindlessly watched television, and alternated between serial boyfriends and isolation. She also visited a swag of tarot and psychic readers, spiritual healers, tried Reiki and acupuncture before she came to somatic or emotion focused trauma therapy.

Discovering the source of her unhappiness

This is what Shamini told me at that initial meeting:

“I was the eldest of four daughters, and I was sexually molested by thirteen different individuals, both family members and friends starting at age 4 ½ (12 male and one female).

My mother, who was emotionally and physically very abusive, critical and jealous of me, did not protect me the first time my uncle sexually molested me when I was 4 and half years old. Although she saw what was happening, she turned and walked away.

Later, on the same day of my first sexual molestation, my mother dragged me up by my ear from where I was playing, spanked me and told me that I had been a bad girl. My mother said that if I told my father, he would beat me to death. I was 4 and half years old…”

Shamini believes and knows that the way her mother had treated her on that day (punishing her and telling her that she’d been a bad girl) drastically and dramatically changed the very core of her being and the course of her life.

Why didn’t my mother protect me?

She believed her mother regularly beat her in the name of discipline and to make her a good respectable girl.

Her constant struggle has been to understand why her mother never protected or comforted her when she was first sexually abused at four and half years old. Shamini also struggled with her inability to change that moment in her life.

“If only my mother had defended, protected and comforted me… maybe I would have been worthy and would feel worthy of living” she continued.

When Shamini was a teenager, her family immigrated to Australia. Even though her father never sexually abused her, she became the victim of many violent beatings from him, throughout her teen years.

At 17 she ran away from home twice and both times her father found her and brought her back. The second time Shamini said “he tied me up with the electric cord of the kettle and took me to the railway tracks. He laid my head on the tracks, put his foot on my head and told me that he’d tie me to the tracks and let the train run over me and make it look like an accident if I ever ran away from home again”.

That day I promised myself that the next time I left home, it would be forever.

Was I a bad person?

Shamini said that while she was being beaten by her father, she could not understand why her mother and sisters were not. She could figure out why once again her mother did not defend her, protect her or comfort her, or why at times her mother caused and created situations that led to her father beating her. Shamini believed that this was her mother’s way of showing her that she was a bad person.

Although we cannot talk about the personal history of Shamini’s mother and her experience as a child her constant ignoring of what was happening to her daughter led Shamini to believe that she wasn’t important – in fact, she was worthless.

Alone and without hope

Shamini spoke of a time when she was 32 years old, “I called my father to tell him that I felt so lost and I wanted to kill myself” she said. My father stated that it was the best thing that I could do and to go ahead. “I felt so hurt and lost by this statement that I thought it was better to die and call it a day. That was my third suicide attempt” Shamini said sadly with tears welling up in her dark brown eyes.

She felt completely alone in and with her struggles and her fears and inability to cope with life.

Shamini didn’t know if this would ever change or if she would ever come to terms with what happened to her as a child and in her life.

When Shamini entered therapy at the age of 39 she had a string of broken relationships and friendships. She felt sad and angry at the way her parents had treated her as a child, as a person and as a human being.

Finding a way to move on

In February of 2013, Shamini started therapy with us at Jamillon. She entered treatment with one goal and purpose… To stop feeling the intense emotional pain that was causing her to want to die.

After two years of regular therapy sessions which included two live-in intensives, two individual sessions per week and finally being able to go into her feelings at home under supervision, Shamini said this in a recent session:

“What’s changed is that I’m no longer in that intense, constant, unbearable pain. It’s there, but it’s not like when you first cut yourself, and for the first few days the pain is excruciating. Then it subsides. The pain is still there, but the intensity is gone. And so that’s what is different I think – no not I think – definitely I know one hundred percent it’s because of all the work I’ve done here – it’s taken the intensity away. There is no way I could have done this on my own.

I’ve thought about killing myself since I was 7 or 8 years old. I always knew that the end of my life was in my hands; that one day I would take my life.

Before now not a single moment or a day went by that I didn’t yearn to die – even when I was happy, on the brightest day or in the most brilliant moment, there was this constant yearning just to want to die. Now I haven’t felt or thought about it in the last six months. I never thought this was possible.

In all the times I tried to kill myself there was a large part of me that always thought it would be such a waste. I know there’s something in me that wants to live. But the intensity of the pain kept me in a place where I couldn’t do anything about it. And I didn’t know what to do about it.

So where I am today is, I don’t feel the intensity, desire, need or want to kill myself and/or die. But please understand that 34-35 years of wanting to die is not going to vanish completely overnight. Now once in a blue moon, I do catch myself noticing the occasional fleeting moments of wanting to die. That only happens at times of not knowing how to take steps to live.

I had spent my whole life wanting to die. Not for a moment did I think of planning a future. I understood wanting to die, but that is no longer desire or a solution for my intense pain. Now I am embarking on the process in my therapy taking steps towards figuring out how and why to live, what to do with my life and where to from here.”

Crossing over to begin living

Nothing can change what happened to you in your childhood. But with commitment and willingness to do the feeling work you can heal the tender wounds of childhood by processing the emotional pain, hurt and devastation that you still carry.

However, please be aware that this process can take time as Shamini said:

“It’s like I was on one side of the river wanting to kill myself and somehow I found a vehicle {somatic truama therapy} to help me cross to other side of the river and now I’m standing in the middle of the river, and I don’t know how to go forward. But when I turn around and look back I can’t go back there either.”

And this is an accurate description of someone who is part way through their journey towards healing. Although Shamini had not extensively felt the deep and painful feelings surrounding her mother or her birth and she still had a way to go in her therapy, she did achieve what she set out to do. She lessened and to a great extent eliminated the intensity of her suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Shamini is more than happy to talk with you, with or without the presence of a therapist at Jamillon to answer questions about doing a emotion focused somatic truama therapy process. Alternatively, feel free to leave a question in the comments section below and Shamini will respond.

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Individuals in our trauma therapy gave permission to share their work. Social accounts are private as they may contain potentially offensive and violent content.  ⚠️ CAUTION 

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© 2015  Jamillon Centre - updated August 2020