Suicide Prevention

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Gᴏᴏᴅ Mᴏʀɴɪɴɢ ᴍᴇᴍʙᴇʀs #ThankYou #welcome #MightyTogether #SuicidePrevention

Fʀɪᴅᴀʏs ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ; ʜᴇᴀʟ ʏᴏᴜʀ sᴇʟғ-ᴇsᴛᴇᴇᴍ, ɪᴍᴍᴇʀsᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀsᴇʟғ ᴛᴀᴋɪɴɢ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴄʜᴀʀɢᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇᴊᴜᴠɪɴᴀᴛᴇ ʏᴏᴜʀ sᴇʟғ-ᴄᴀʀᴇ.

Eɴᴇʀɢʏ Gɪᴠᴇʀs ᴛᴏ ᴛʀʏ

#Nature
#Music
#Sleep
#WholeFoods
#Journaling
#Yoga
#movement
#FreshAir
Nᴀᴍᴀsᴛᴇ 🗣️🪷💥

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Some thoughts on #SuicidePrevention

First off, I wrote the following e-mail to the program running the "BE THERE" certificate program for young adults, ages 18-25, which is the age group of focus. This is the entire e-mail that was sent.

"I read the full information page for the Be There certificate, and I thought something that I found was distressing.

I understand that suicides are on the rise amongst the younger generation. I also understand that the about need to keep social interactions to a minimum during the beginning of Covid-19. I understand that this isolation has changed the way we, as a society, interact now that Covid-19 is more "mainstream". I further understand that the younger generations were and are the most affected by the isolation. I got all that. I truly do. I think what you are doing is wonderful, kind, NEEDED, and UNDERVALUED by so many.

If you will notice, I highlighted NEEDED and UNDERVALUED. This is because suicide is NOT just a younger generation problem.

It is both needed and undervalued because people still do not believe in changing how we treat mental illness. (Yes, I know that not everyone who commits suicide has a history of mental illness.) We certainly do not change how we treat each other or ourselves. Imagine, just for a second, if everyone takes the class. I mean everyone in the world. They take it and it actually means something to them. Why? It's because suicide touches us all. It's not just the person who died who is in pain, they leave pain behind, as any death does, yes , but this is different. There's always that thought or someone says it, "I wish they'd reached out for help." Or, "I didn't even know that s/he was so down. They always were so happy".

SUICIDE IS A COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE DEATH, in at least 90% of cases.

No, no, no this is a WORLD problem. Suicide is a mental health situation that anyone, everywhere in the world can think of at any moment in time. There's no age limit. No country boundaries can stop it. No amount of anything can prevent it from creeping into someone's mind at any time.

As you know, the Be There certificate was developed in Australia and centered on using kids and young adults from all over their country. I'm distressed by this fact.

((Given, the age range chosen is prime for teaching the warning signs and how to help. Their minds are still in the learning stages of life and stress is just starting to make itself known on how to be an adult and all the responsibilities it comes with. (Let's face it, Millennials are not the brightest in real world situations after learning nothing, except how to prepare and take a test, in school and keeping their noses in their screens their whole life) ).

This program should include everyone else on Earth, too. A representation of all the age groups, the races, the cultural differences, different religions, and any other way to let a person see that there is someone like them, someone else facing their demons, as well.

I only suggest this because as we age, A: we forget things we don't use every day, B: there are different situations to be addressed in each (even if the overall goal is the same) and, C: people who are older have more options for help (or less depending on their situation, i.e. no insurance, homelessness, unable to attend the appointments due to another problem). Older folks who are facing suicidal thoughts, ideations, intentions, attempts are often not taken seriously, as well, if they have a reputation for mental health illnesses. Furthermore, there are more single people commiting suicide than married. Probably because there's no one there to notice that they are different. No parents or friends coming over like when they were in school. Now it's work all day and there nobody really cares.
More often than not, younger people are taken more seriously, watched carefully by friends and family who noticed the differences in behavior, food consumption, or something that feels off. They see the person every day. They might even live with them, like their parents, if they're still in school.

The differences that stand between us as a society are great. We can all agree that suicide is a heart-wrenching, breathtaking, horrible way to die; and not just for the person who died. But, the thoughts that lead to suicide, the hurt inside, is often not just hard to discuss for emotional reasons, but also because it is not allowed in the culture or religion, or even a relationship with someone. Those types of situations are even harder to breach the wall of hurt and get some help in to the heart and mind. Some of the people around the world do not believe in mental illness. They don't believe that there are invisible scars on ALL of us and their delusion only hurts them and the others in their life more. That type of situation is more prevalent in older generations. Personally, I have found that the younger generation gets much more attention than any other section.

The options for the older generations are much different than for young people. Older folks have to be able to A: afford insurance, B: get an appointment they can afford (good luck), and C: have to find their own way to get to the appointment. That adds stress and more problems to someone who has already hit their limit (given the situation we are talking about, I think that's fair enough to say). Between work, children, and other obligations that they feel they HAVE to attend to just so someone won't become suspicious and ruin their plans, getting help just doesn't fit into their schedules. And, that's another reason. Adults have more life experience and if they are serious, they will know how to hide their intentions. If they have the strong belief themselves that mental illness doesn't exist and nobody can help them, they WILL keep it to themselves in every way. There will be no chinks in their armour. Also, those facing homelessness or drug addiction cannot exactly be easily reached or even noticed by society. Does that make them less than the average Joe, who desperately needs rescuing?

The youngins still often have parental insurance and involvement, the government offers programs to kids and young adults (18-25 is available) to prevent suicide. There are homeless youngins yes, however, there are guaranteed options for young people who are homeless, for getting the government help, and not just with mental health. (Often they will offer them immediately and try to get them off the streets as soon as possible. They'll also be more willing to help a kid who still has a future than an older person who has seen their good days. How is that fair?

There is free counseling available, true, for all via #988 if you have access to a phone, however, they are unreliable at best.
See link at the end for the 2nd reason I feel that way. The first reason is that it also happened to me.

My point, yes, indeed I have one, is that while I appreciate and absolutely applaud your attempt at suicide prevention (which is working in a LIMITED AGE GROUP) needs to be expanded. Do some consulting. Do some real research. Really look at situations that real people have been through, the really hard ones. Try and understand what the real OVERALL reason is that leads to suicide in each one. Pain. (Looky, I was nice and gave you the answer.) It could be disguised as guilt or anger or some other feeling nowhere close to revealing pain. How do you really help pain? Think about that, please.

(Given that everyone is entitled to their emotions and you cannot compare lives to another because everyone goes through their own things that effect them differently than others.) But still, pain, is what needs to be addressed. Furthermore, how not to inflict so much pain on one another throughout our life interactions. Human beings are the very cause of all that pain. We need to be nicer to each other. Respect one another. That needs to be taught in with a suicide preven...

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I'm tired of living up to what a "man" is

I’m tired of not being “man enough”

I’m tired of trying to “man up”

I’m tired of trying to live up to society's expectations of what a “man” or a “real man” is

I am tired of trying to mask my feelings, pretending to be ok, only being able to show aggression, not being able to express my feelings, always being on edge, frustrated, and just tired.

I’m tired of hiding in my apartment, bedroom, house, car, restroom stall, bathroom, etc. because I do not want to be exposed as being less of a “man”

The whole you’re not “man enough” and “man up” just makes me feel less than an unworthy

The social norms of what a “man is” makes me feel like giving up or ending it all because the competition on proving how “man” I’m is physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually debilitating.

I want to end it all because the pain is too great, it's hard. I do not want to fight and compete no more.

I don’t know

So, I’m done

I’m done being “man enough”

I’m done trying to “man up”

I’m done trying to live up to society's expectations of what a “man” or a “real man” is

I’m done hiding

I will freely express myself

Just because you express emotions or feelings does

not make you less of a man. It is ok to cry and there is no shame in it.

You do not need to prove how “man” you are to anyone, focus on being you and doing things that make you happy.

#MentalHealth #MensMentalHealth #SuicidePrevention

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Friends Forever - a true story

Best Friends Forever - a true story

Today, like many days, mental health is really on my mind. I’d like to tell you the story of a friend I had a few years ago. (It’s long, but it would mean the world to me if you read it.)

You can skip directly to the TL:DR (too long:didn’t read) at the very end if you want.

TRIGGER WARNING
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I met “Sarah” when we both joined an online mental health support group. From her profile picture, I could tell she’d been through a lot for a 36 year old. Sarah was bald, very overweight and she used oxygen. She also now had a bipolar disorder diagnosis and so did I (I was diagnosed in 1999).

I didn’t expect that Sarah would feel up to posting much, but she did, and she was wickedly funny. We hit it off right away. It wasn’t long before we exchanged phone numbers and soon we were chatting nearly every day. Often we’d FaceTime so we could see each other’s faces and share our lives.

We became so close so fast that I felt like I had known Sarah all my life. I learned that she had diabetes, an underactive thyroid, scarred lungs and she had beaten a battle with breast cancer. I was amazed by her and her strength. I began confiding in her and it wasn’t long before I was planning a trip to her city.

One day Sarah didn’t show up to post in our support group, like she had every day. I left her several messages there and later tried her phone but got no answer. I figured she’d contact me when she had a moment.

Two days went by with no word from her. I got worried, but since we’d met online and she lived about 1000 miles away from me, I hadn’t had a chance to visit. I had no one from her family to contact or any other friends who knew her.

I never heard from Sarah again. I missed her terribly and couldn’t quite believe she had ghosted me, but eventually of course I went on with my life.

Three months later, I got a call from a strange number. I don’t usually answer those, but this time something (God?) told me to answer. It was a woman who asked my name and then asked me if I knew her daughter Sarah.

I told her absolutely I did and that I was so glad she’d called because Sarah and I had lost touch. I asked her how she had gotten my number and she told me from Sarah. She then started crying and my heart fell to the floor.

“Sarah’s cancer has come back, hasn’t it.” I was so upset that I started shaking.

“No. Sarah died by suicide a month ago,” her mom finally choked out.

I was stunned. I couldn’t form words. Sure, Sarah and I were both bipolar, and had talked about her other illnesses too, but she was so strong and funny and friendly!

I said, “I thought you told me Sarah had given you my number.” She said, “she did, in a roundabout way. I found it in her phone when I got it back from Verizon and got access to it. I read through your messages and realized you were a close friend.” I confirmed I was and gave her a brief rundown of our friendship.

She then said, “Please tell me about my daughter.”

I spent the next hour and a half telling her everything her daughter and I had shared. We both cried. There were a lot of things she didn’t know about her life in recent years (after all, Sarah was 36 and living on her own).

As Sarah’s mental health apparently declined, she had withdrawn from her family. I was completely surprised because Sarah told me she was close to her family. Plus she was always smiling and funny and upbeat when we spoke or FaceTimed. Her mother explained to me that Sarah had always hidden the worst parts of her mental and physical illnesses and she had even died quietly by overdosing on her insulin.

Sarah’s mom told me, “we do have reason to believe she tried to change her mind at the last minute. She was found with an unlit cigarette in her mouth just steps from the outside door to her apartment building. We think she was going to ask someone for help by getting a light from them outside and asking for them to call 911. But her blood sugar bottomed out and she collapsed.”

When I hung up the phone, I was so heartbroken. I couldn’t believe that such a vibrant soul was gone from the world. I looked back at our messages, still in shock. I couldn’t believe that my life had been touched again by suicide when I myself was bipolar and also a crisis counselor. This was the third suicide among my friends, which is part of the reason I am a crisis counselor and certified in Psychological First Aid.

I decided I needed to do something, anything to remember her by. At that time I ran a Facebook page called the Empathetrix on which I posted my inspirational collage art for my 16,000 followers. I decided to do one for Sarah. It is attached.

The picture shows a little girl headed towards a white light. She’s carrying a backpack and on it is “I am in pain.” There is an angel crying, and she is carrying a teddy bear. Sarah slept with one every night. The quote by CS Lewis reads, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

I miss you, Sarah. I’m sorry that I didn’t know you were in such pain. I’m sorry you didn’t feel like you could tell anyone. I won’t forget you.

[TL:DR: I had a friend I met online in a mental health support group who ghosted me after several months and I didn’t know why until her mother called me and told me she died by suicide by overdosing on insulin. I made the attached collage for her.]

#MentalHealth #SuicidePrevention #BipolarDisorder #Friendship #MightyTogether #mightywriters #MightyStories #ChronicIllness #CheckInWithMe #BipolarDepression #Depression

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Reaching above the waves

I don't post a lot here, more of a lurker. I find a lot of solace in just reading and knowing I am not alone in my struggles. I find peace and hope in the inspiring posts from those who are fighting alongside me. We all come from different places, different stories but we all continue to fight.

But for some reason I've found myself in a place of almost constant suicidal ideation. I think about it almost daily now. I'm currently in trauma therapy and I brought it up to my therapist 2 weeks ago. We spent the entire hour going over a detailed safety plan. I did have access to very lethal means; however I do not live alone. In fact, I'm rarely alone these days. That is probably one of the reasons I haven't been able to act on it. I don't want to leave my family. I once had a rewarding career that helped people. I was once a compassionate, loving woman who would give you her last dollar if it meant you got to eat today. Now I sit home terrified to move because my abuser still knows how to find me, how to contact me and how to hurt me all over again. I still hear his voice in my head every single day. I still see his face when I close my eyes at night. I wish everyday this nightmare would just end.

When I finally broke the silence in my therapist's office, I felt like a weight had been lifted. Like some had reached beneath the waves and grabbed my outstretched hand. I can't do this alone. I am safe. While my brain tells me not being here is the best solution, I don't have access to any means in which to do it. I know that is the best. I do have things to live for even if things feel hopeless. I have reached out for more help. It hurt like hell to do it. I had to relive my trauma all over again as I told my story to more people. But before the rainbow happens, there has to be a storm. As I cry and type this I know there will be brighter days ahead. I don't know when. I don't know what I will have to do to get there. But I deserve it. My family deserves it. My life can be beautiful in spite of all this ugliness. Tomorrow I may not believe that statement but for today I do. I share this so that maybe the next struggling person may see hope. We can do this together ❤️ #Depression #SuicidePrevention #SuicidalThoughts #PTSD #Anxiety #Trauma

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