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230: Surviving Suicide of a Beloved with Sarah Neustadter, PhD

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Hi, I’m Alex!

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As we return to the show after a refreshing summer break, I have a special guest and a new book to share with you about a tough topic that’s close to my heart. September is Suicide Prevention Month, and this week is Suicide Prevention Week. It’s super appropriate that we discuss what life is like for the survivors left behind after the suicide of a loved one. This is something that’s been prevalent in my family, and some of my earliest memories are of the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide. Let’s dive into this topic together!

Sarah Neustadter, Ph.D., is the author of Love You Like the Sky: Surviving the Suicide of a Beloved. The book is heart-wrenching and useful, written from the perspective of a suicide survivor and psychologist. The healing process is an unfolding of growing and learning, but the important thing to know is that there IS help. Sarah wrote this book because all the books she found didn’t touch the raw emotions she felt at the death of her beloved several years ago. She was confronted with hard questions, so the book is designed as a map for navigating complicated grief and understanding grief as a way toward deeper transformation from despair 

Music Credit: My good friend Lindsay Katt – https://lindsaykatt.bandcamp.com/track/stick-by-me

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Show Highlights:

  • Why Sarah felt the need to write her book, which came out in June 2019
  • How Sarah was completely devastated, and even felt suicidal herself after the suicide of her partner, with no role models, no books, and no support
  • Why Sarah says all millennial young women should read this book
  • The hard facts: since 2000, the suicide rate in the US is up by 35%
  • Tools and resources that are needed for the younger generation today
  • The common feeling of “not wanting to go on,” and the ripple effect on family and friends
  • Why a survivor becomes more at risk for suicide
  • The phenomenon of “copycat suicide”
  • The process of going from deep pain to making sense of it all for Sarah
  • How and why Sarah wrote emails to her partner, even after his death
  • How the sections of Sarah’s book provide a healing pathway for others
  • Staying in the despair vs. shifting to a new state of awareness
  • Community, touch, and a feeling of belonging as parts of the map to healing
  • The forms of therapy that help most, like EMDR and somatic experiencing
  • How the shifting took place for Sarah
  • The guilt and regret of “not having done enough” to save your person
  • The risk factors for suicide
  • Why Sarah points the finger at antidepressants
  • Listener questions and answers about this topic: the right thing to say to someone who has lost someone to suicide and how to support someone who is suicidal while maintaining your self-care
  • Why people might get angry when you try to help them



Sarah’s website: www.sarahneustadter.com

Find Sarah on Instagram:  @sarahneustadterPhD

Love You Like the Sky: Surviving the Suicide of a Beloved by Sarah Neustadter, Ph.D.

Other resources if you or a loved one needs help:

Suicide Crisis Hotline:  1-800-273-TALK

Crisis Text Line:  Text “Talk” to 741-741

Veterans Crisis Text Line:  83-82-55

RAINN (National Sexual Assault Hotline): 1-800-656-HOPE