Michele Harbour

@adamsmom
Community Voices

Mufasa knows...

<p>Mufasa knows...</p>
10 people are talking about this
Community Voices

How to Get Yourself Out of the House When Dealing With Depression

One of my strategies for managing chronic depression is getting out of the house every day. When I’m having an episode, most days I open my eyes, sigh with frustration and then begin the battle of my inner dialogue. Oh, another day. Time to get out o… Close your eyes and stay in bed. Just 10 more minutes. Feel how tired you are! 10 minutes later… OK, now I really have to get out of be… …Staying in bed won’t hurt anyone. You’ve had a busy few days. Besides, nothing bad can happen if you stay here in your comfortable, warm bed. But, but I don’t want to waste the day… And it continues. I am so glad after years of unhealthily late sleep-ins and ridiculously late nights, I’ve learned: Getting out of bed, despite my feelings, is beneficial to my mental health. I can put strategies in place to make getting out of bed and out of the house every day possible. Here are a few of my strategies: 1. I acknowledge I am blessed to have a part-time job I love. So three days a week, I am obliged to get out of the house. It has made a massive difference to my mental health. Don’t have a job or can’t be employed? Try volunteering. It’s commitment without the pressure. Before I was well enough to have paid employment, I volunteered at a local kids club, at church and for a mutual-help support group. 2. Organize to have a tea or coffee at a cute cafe at least once a week with a “no pressure” friend. 3. Spread out doctors, specialist and support appointments so they are on different days. 4. Access your local community center or mental health support service. There are plenty of organizations funded by the government who organize activities (such as choirs, art lessons, computer tutorials, community gardens and tours) and mutual support groups for people with mental or physical illnesses. 5. Don’t do a massive grocery shop. Instead, I get what I need for a day or two. 6. Make bookings! I love going to the theater and the cinema. Booking tickets in advance can force you out of the house, lest you waste good money on something fun. 7. Make a list of all the things you enjoy doing when your mental health is good. Give a copy to those in your support network. It can often be obsolete to say, “Do something you enjoy,” to a depressed person. A common symptom of depression is you can’t think of something you enjoy. This is where my list comes in handy. It reminds me (and others) of the activities that can get me out of the house/bed and will improve my mood. Even if it’s for a short time, it’s worth it. 8. Give yourself credit where credit is due. Don’t be hard on yourself when you do stay in bed or the house all day. Learning to manage mental illness is a long learning process. Write off a bad day and have an early night because tomorrow is a new day. I’ll be the first to admit that balancing mental health strategies with physical illnesses can make this harder. For example, I’ve had non-stop dizziness for five days and can’t drive, leave the house or operate machinery (in this case some appliances/hot stove top). For these sick or flare-up days, my goal is to get out of bed, brush my teeth and eat my meals or watch Netflix while sitting in the sun. If I can add a shower, play with some pastels, paint, read, welcome a visitor or walk to the mailbox, it’s a productive day. Then when I get better or my flare up ends, I’ll start leaving the house again. What helps you get out of bed and the house on bad days? Image via Thinkstock.

Maria Dillon

Grieving Suicide Loss 6 Years Later

It is no secret that my son Harry died by suicide six years ago. I fought really hard to have suppression lifted — to be able to tell his story. Way too often, it appears families are too overwhelmed by death by suicide and the stories of their loved ones remain behind locked doors. Also, the assumed stigma associated with a death by suicide imposes a life sentence of silent endurance. I like to believe I am not someone who suffers such a massive loss in silence. I write about Harry, I speak about him at public events and I try hard to own my mental health and the feelings that are associated with that. Do I though? Do I ever really acknowledge how much Harry’s life and death have impacted my own existence in this mortal coil? The mantra I live by is, “Love never dies.” In fact, I had that phrase tattooed on my arm on Harry’s fifth anniversary as a permanent reminder. Love never dies, sunshine boy; love never dies. But oh, how it hurts sometimes. The love I feel for my son today is as real and as overwhelming as it was on that first day I held him. Harrys’ birth wasn’t an easy one and he needed some intervention before he pinked up enough to be placed in my arms. His death wasn’t easy either and intervention was required again for him to survive for three days in ICU before he died in my arms when life support was removed. And in between the first and last time I held my beautiful boy in my arms, there was a lot of life. It wasn’t always pretty. It was definitely not perfect and it was very, very human. There were many days when life overwhelmed me and I cried late into the night because I felt I had failed my children. I struggled so much to make ends meet — I struggled to have time to spend with them because I had to work. I struggled to provide more than the basics in life (they always had food, shelter and security). And they had the love — the massive I-would-die-for-you love of a mother for her children. The love I had for Harry — have for him — didn’t die with him. It still exists inside of me. It cocoons itself around every memory I have of my beautiful boy — every hope, every prayer, every wish. It doesn’t grow though — it stopped growing when Harry stopped breathing. And now I feel as though the layers of grief that come from a lost future threaten to overwhelm the life that existed for 18 years and 9 months. All of the major events over the past six years we have celebrated as a family and all of the events to come — major world events Harry would have taken an interest in. The changing shape of his life that I will never witness. What would Harry be doing now as a 24 year old? Where would he be living? Would he have found the love of his life? Would he have helped others with what he learned through his depression? Would he still come over and raid my fridge and crash on my couch? Would he still be a skinny wee thing? And what about me?  What would my life look like without that massive weight of grief?  Would I have so many silver sparkles in my hair? Would my arthritis be as bad without all of that stress? Would I still be dancing? Would I have met my husband, got married and sold my home? There are no guarantees in life, I know that. I also know I am living my best life, right now. And if that includes nights where I don’t sleep because my anxious mind fixates on what I’m going to wear at a wedding to stop me from focusing on Harrys impending anniversary, then so be it. I do still manage to work, to live and to laugh, as well as still have those moments when a lost life leaks out of my eyes and drips down my face. And I do still believe that love never dies; not only my love for Harry but also his love for me. I will love you forever sunshine boy and I will miss you always.

Maria Dillon

Grieving Suicide Loss 6 Years Later

It is no secret that my son Harry died by suicide six years ago. I fought really hard to have suppression lifted — to be able to tell his story. Way too often, it appears families are too overwhelmed by death by suicide and the stories of their loved ones remain behind locked doors. Also, the assumed stigma associated with a death by suicide imposes a life sentence of silent endurance. I like to believe I am not someone who suffers such a massive loss in silence. I write about Harry, I speak about him at public events and I try hard to own my mental health and the feelings that are associated with that. Do I though? Do I ever really acknowledge how much Harry’s life and death have impacted my own existence in this mortal coil? The mantra I live by is, “Love never dies.” In fact, I had that phrase tattooed on my arm on Harry’s fifth anniversary as a permanent reminder. Love never dies, sunshine boy; love never dies. But oh, how it hurts sometimes. The love I feel for my son today is as real and as overwhelming as it was on that first day I held him. Harrys’ birth wasn’t an easy one and he needed some intervention before he pinked up enough to be placed in my arms. His death wasn’t easy either and intervention was required again for him to survive for three days in ICU before he died in my arms when life support was removed. And in between the first and last time I held my beautiful boy in my arms, there was a lot of life. It wasn’t always pretty. It was definitely not perfect and it was very, very human. There were many days when life overwhelmed me and I cried late into the night because I felt I had failed my children. I struggled so much to make ends meet — I struggled to have time to spend with them because I had to work. I struggled to provide more than the basics in life (they always had food, shelter and security). And they had the love — the massive I-would-die-for-you love of a mother for her children. The love I had for Harry — have for him — didn’t die with him. It still exists inside of me. It cocoons itself around every memory I have of my beautiful boy — every hope, every prayer, every wish. It doesn’t grow though — it stopped growing when Harry stopped breathing. And now I feel as though the layers of grief that come from a lost future threaten to overwhelm the life that existed for 18 years and 9 months. All of the major events over the past six years we have celebrated as a family and all of the events to come — major world events Harry would have taken an interest in. The changing shape of his life that I will never witness. What would Harry be doing now as a 24 year old? Where would he be living? Would he have found the love of his life? Would he have helped others with what he learned through his depression? Would he still come over and raid my fridge and crash on my couch? Would he still be a skinny wee thing? And what about me?  What would my life look like without that massive weight of grief?  Would I have so many silver sparkles in my hair? Would my arthritis be as bad without all of that stress? Would I still be dancing? Would I have met my husband, got married and sold my home? There are no guarantees in life, I know that. I also know I am living my best life, right now. And if that includes nights where I don’t sleep because my anxious mind fixates on what I’m going to wear at a wedding to stop me from focusing on Harrys impending anniversary, then so be it. I do still manage to work, to live and to laugh, as well as still have those moments when a lost life leaks out of my eyes and drips down my face. And I do still believe that love never dies; not only my love for Harry but also his love for me. I will love you forever sunshine boy and I will miss you always.

Community Voices

I'm better at home

I have taken 2 weeks off work for my mental health. Keeping my emotions in check is very exhausting. I'm still learning about what triggers me. I feel better at home. Easier to control those triggers. However, the guilt is pushing me to go back to work. And the shame when my doctor calls tomorrow and I have to explain, again, why I'm still so very broken. The 19th of this month is going to be 3 years since my only child died by suicide. I still feel empty and soulless without my son. Any advice?

3 people are talking about this
Community Voices

I'm better at home

I have taken 2 weeks off work for my mental health. Keeping my emotions in check is very exhausting. I'm still learning about what triggers me. I feel better at home. Easier to control those triggers. However, the guilt is pushing me to go back to work. And the shame when my doctor calls tomorrow and I have to explain, again, why I'm still so very broken. The 19th of this month is going to be 3 years since my only child died by suicide. I still feel empty and soulless without my son. Any advice?

3 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Tell us one thing making you angry today and one thing bringing you joy.

<p>Tell us one thing making you angry today and one thing bringing you joy.</p>
235 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Has anyone lost compassion? What stage is this? It seems my closest family members and friends are on the receiving end of this.

<p>Has anyone lost compassion? What stage is this? It seems my closest family members and friends are on the receiving end of this.</p>
Community Voices

Not how I wanted to introduce myself

#Suicide I’m new here and did do a general introduction when I signed up on the app. But I feel so #alone and #suicidal . I’m at a really low point and could really use some #Support .

5 people are talking about this