It’s one thing for a family to heal together in family therapy – but it’s a new level of vulnerability when they do it publicly! Singer/songwriter Nicole Unser just released her mini-documentary “Bittersweet Sixteen” – inviting us into the day her mother unsuccessfully attempted suicide on Nicole’s 16th birthday.
Along with her mum, dad and brother, they sit down 16 years later to talk about the individual trauma they each experienced that day. Incredibly, we see them talk out their experience with honesty and vulnerability, and they begin to heal in front of our eyes.
We would love you to watch the mini-documentary (which features some of Nicole’s music), but thought it would be great to highlight what each member of her family offers us in light of our experiences. Because whether we are the person going through mental illness, or a family member who observes or tries to help someone through it, we are all connected.
Here’s what we can learn from
Nicole’s mum (Denise): You are never too far-gone to ask for help, and every day is a chance for healing. For Denise, this involved getting professional help and medication. Her family – particularly her husband, made room for her to receive this help.
Nicole’s dad (Charlie): It’s okay to put up boundaries when a loved one is going through crisis in order to protect your family. Charlie never stopped supporting Denise, but made it clear that she needed to receive professional help in order to keep the family unit healthy.
Nicole’s brother (Brandon): We all process trauma differently – and some people won’t think about an event after it has happened. Yet its repercussions and how it affects family relationships affected how Brandon related to Nicole for years. By talking about the day, they realised they had both battled their own insecurities.
Nicole: When we are brave enough to talk about our past and our deepest hurts, we can heal. And as we heal, we give the people in our lives permission to do the same. Nicole’s bravery made way for her family to come together and share their story so other families and suicide survivors could find hope.
Watch Bittersweet Sixteen here: