A New Normal—2009, Colour, HD, approx. 8 min 55 seconds.
Two women with differing experiences relating to suicide explore distinct meanings of the terms “Suicide Survivor” and “recovery”. Once highly suicidal, Renea is now an award-winning peer support worker. Bonny lost her son to suicide, but has since become one of the most influential suicide prevention advocates in Canada today.
Two women with differing experiences relating to suicide explore what it took to come through their crises, and what recovery means to them. The interviews and expert commentary are blended with imagery illustrating how these women have found a reason to keep dancing through the dark, bringing the light wherever they go.
We begin with Bonny Ball, who tells of losing her son Reed to suicide at the age of 21. Along with the pain of this tragedy, she discusses the stigma she experienced, most significantly the question “Oh, how can you live?” She reveals that through comforting Reed’s friends and striving to pick up the pieces with her family, she realized that she was not alone, and that through suicide prevention work it is possible to make a difference.
Renea Mohammed was highly suicidal after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in her mid-twenties, ending up in the hospital several times. She tells of how these attempts were meant not as calls for help but as genuine attempts to die. Indeed, she says, “I didn’t think anyone could help me”. But with the loving support of her husband Chris, she pulled through and is now an award-winning peer support worker in the Vancouver mental health system.
These people have found that even amidst tragedy, it is possible to find what Bonny calls “a new normal”.
These women didn't pull through alone. If you are feeling suicidal, or seeking help for someone you are concerned about, please reach out to a friend or someone you love, or call 1-800-SUICIDE.