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@bugg | contributor
Hi. I’m 63, married 40 years, 1 son, 1 grandson, and 1 granddaughter. I live in the USA in central Illinois, we are in the country on 5 acres, and have a 2 year old Golden Shepherd. I’m retired from a career revolving around special needs children and my husband is an engineer for a pharmaceutical plant. Although I struggle to find a hobby that I’m passionate about I do enjoy bird watching, flowers, walking, music, love playing with my 5 year old grandson, and love to travel!! We have traveled and visited 43 states, Italy, and Canada and have a trip booked to go to Australia and New Zealand. With the pandemic it is likely this trip will be delayed for a year. We have a sprint car and have raced for 30 years all around the country. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a little girl. I’m also being treated for fibromyalgia, daily migraines, low blood pressure, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. My mother and grandmother had Alzheimer’s too. I took care of my mom during her last 2 years with the disease. I strive to find a healthy mindset on my life and future. ????
Community Voices

I could use a break from...

<p>I could use a break from...</p>
88 people are talking about this
B.L. Acker

What It's Like to Lose a Neighbor to Suicide

The other day, my husband and I planned to walk to the store to pick up a few things for dinner. It seemed like an average, ordinary, uneventful day by all accounts. However, as we left our house, we were greeted by two of our neighbors standing in the street. One was recounting to the other about the hazmat team that was at another one of our neighbors’ houses earlier that day. Surprised that something like this could have occurred in our otherwise quiet and boring neighborhood, I inquired in passing whether there was anything we should be worried about. My neighbor responded that — from what he had heard — our other neighbor across the street had killed himself. I immediately felt horrible for even asking. I felt even more horrible because on more than one occasion, my husband and I had noticed this neighbor’s property and wondered if there was something we could do, should do. His lawn and bushes always seemed unruly and overgrown. In the three years we’ve lived here, we’ve only actually seen him once. His house often seemed quiet, if not outright abandoned or devoid of life. My husband and I had talked amongst ourselves about whether we should pop by and see if he needed help with anything, but the truth of the matter is that we had never even met the man. We didn’t want to intrude. We didn’t feel it was our place. But at the same time, we admittedly recognized the signs of a person struggling with their mental and/or physical health because we have both been there ourselves. We both have had our mental health decline to the point where even the simplest of tasks felt like too large a hurdle to overcome. We’ve both been at the point where things have felt so bad that we retreat from the world. And sadly, this isn’t the first time suicide has hit close to home. When we were kids, a teenager in our town only a year or two older than both my brother and my husband took his own life. My older brother played football with him. Our fathers were friends. Though everyone knew of him and knew what had happened, nobody ever really talked about it. In his 20s, my husband lost a close friend to suicide. In my 30s, a childhood friend of mine took his own life. Again and again over the years, suicide has hit close to home, sometimes landing on our own doorsteps. My mother made multiple attempts on her own life when I was a child. Her cause of death many years later is still under question for me, because it seems unlikely the way she died was an accident. Not that it was really talked about after the fact. My husband and I have also both been suicidal in the past. We’ve both struggled with our mental health throughout our lives and both have made multiple attempts. My husband is only here today because his brother happened to find him. I was 16 the first time I tried. As I was fading out of consciousness, I vaguely remember hearing my brother’s voice cussing me out, but to this day I’m not sure whether it was a memory or a dream. I just know my memories stop that day and begin again two days later. It’s something we’ve never talked about afterwards. That’s often the case when it comes to suicide. We don’t talk about it, even when it hits close to home. While none of us is ultimately responsible for anyone else’s actions, that doesn’t mean we cannot still be kind. Reach out. If we notice a decline in someone’s mental health, why shouldn’t we check in with each other? We could ultimately be the lifeline that pulls someone else back off the edge. Speaking from personal experience, I probably would not have tried if I had not felt so lost and all alone in this world. That’s what depression does. It isolates and cuts its victims off from the world. A 2018 National Survey of Drug Use and Mental Health estimated that 0.6 percent of adults aged 18 or older, roughly 1.4 million people, have made at least one suicide attempt. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, as recently as 2019, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, with almost twice as many people dying from suicide as homicide each year. The World Health Organization states roughly 703,000 people die by suicide worldwide each year, and many, many more attempt to take their own lives. With staggering numbers like that, I have no doubt that suicide is hitting close to home for many of us. So why aren’t we reaching out, knocking on doors, making phone calls and checking in? Why are we so uncomfortable having these conversations? I really don’t have an answer to those questions. I know everyone is quick to blame the stigma surrounding mental illness — it has, after all, become the catch-all scapegoat that we all point to whenever the hard questions arise. But pointing fingers doesn’t do any more to resolve a problem than thoughts and prayers do. If we want things to change, we have to take action. We need to all do better, myself included. We need to speak up and speak out. We need to put aside our reservations and our discomfort, so that we can reach out and check in. We need to talk to each other and we need to care. Whether we realize it or not, suicide is already hitting close to home for us all.

Community Voices

Justified Anger

Even if someone never directly abused you-but you told them and they did nothing, is it okay to be angry with them? I think so. I am trying to process this at the moment. #anger #PTSD #Abuse

5 people are talking about this
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B B @bugg
contributor

Living Your Best Life With an Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis

My mom and grandma had Alzheimer’s disease. I knew it was a possibility that I could have Alzheimer’s disease too — but then again, maybe I wouldn’t. I started having memory loss symptoms in my 40s, but I chalked them up to the small strokes I had previously had. My other symptoms from the strokes improved, so there was no reason to suspect my memory wouldn’t improve too. In my mid-50s, though, my memory loss continued getting more severe. I didn’t have time to worry about myself, though, because I was busy taking care of my mom. A few years after Mom died, I was buying a new refrigerator when I went to fill out a check — but couldn’t figure out how to. I felt so embarrassed as the salesman watched me struggle. He helped me by telling me what to write, but I still had a hard time. I told him to fill it out, and I would initial it to give my approval. That’s when I decided it was time to see a doctor about my memory. A few weeks after a long test, I received my diagnosis: Alzheimer’s disease. I originally told my husband not to go with me to the doctor’s appointment because I thought my challenges would just be because of something else. I went calmly to the doctor, but she told me my symptoms were more than likely Alzheimer’s disease. As I sat stunned, she proceeded to tell me to get my affairs in order. I was only 60 years old. It has been four years since then, and I still live my best life. My “best” is a little different than it was four years ago, but I’m still enjoying life. My husband helps me with things like paying bills, taking medications, cooking, and watching the grandchildren. Yes, I may have declined in the last few years, but I have also picked up new activities and new friends even though I’ve lost friends too. I go to lunch with friends, to the gym, play pickleball, go to drum circles with my djembe drum, mow our five acres of land, take care of the house, and help get the grandchildren up, dressed, fed, and out the door every morning. My memory doctor’s office has a strong support team and activities too. I participate in an art class, a music program, and a support group. I also wear a medicine patch that helps bring clarity to my life. My Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis may have been devastating, but it’s not the end. To help support others with a dementia diagnosis, I have started a Mighty group called Living With Alzheimer’s. If you’re living with dementia, remember that we can all support one another!

Community Voices
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How to Recover After Being Stalked

I was 18 years old when the stalking began. It did not stop until 10 years later. I had three stalkers and what they did has impacted me significantly. My stalkers were my childhood abusers and their son — my biological family. I was abused and neglected from a young age and spent 14 years of my life in foster care prior to being adopted by my forever family. Once I turned 18, my world came crashing down. The stalking started with my abuser’s son stopping by my home, uninvited, with letters from my childhood abusers. I had already been diagnosed with  post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression . Stalking made all of these conditions worse. I was scared and confused. To this day, I am still trying to reestablish a sense of both physical and mental safety. Stalking impacted my ability to feel safe in my own home, university and work settings. The experience impacted my soul and my faith. Each letter I read flooded my mind with all the trauma I had endured. I remember, early on, my attempts to stop the stalking ended with a verbal fight over the phone and with me in tears, shouting and screaming. There were many attempts and scenes similar to this. During one of my last physical encounters with my stalker — it rattled me to my core and I froze because that is all my body knew what to do — I felt as small as the little child who had been abused all those years earlier. The nightmares occurred almost every night. I took legal action to get the stalking to stop, and thankfully it finally has stopped. Not everyone can afford an attorney and I know the legal system can be complicated and intimidating, but it is not impossible. Restraining orders are not that easy to get; I know, I tried. During the whole ordeal, I felt super isolated. I did not know that, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, 3.3 million adults are battling with stalkers. What I want to say is this: If you are being stalked, please know there is help out there and people will eventually listen. For me, sadly, it took 10 years for people to see what was happening. After my stalking, recovery was pretty significant and long. I went to psychotherapy for two years and worked really hard to get to where I am today. I reached out to friends and family and leaned on them for support. My depression, anxiety and PTSD caused me to have a lot of fear and to be hypervigilant. I changed my phone number, name and blocked my stalkers on social media. These are the measures I took to protect myself and my family. I work on my recovery each and every day. Each day, I am closer to feeling safer. Each day, I am closer to healing. Each day, I am stronger. Stalking is one of those subjects that do not get talked about enough. This was my experience. Today, I still have symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression , but I am thriving. I am giving back. I am raising my voice as a survivor and in support of others who have been stalked. I am healing. My hope is that you will see there is life after being stalked and that you can overcome anything. You are, after all, a member of The Mighty and that means you are a fighter and can face your battles.

Community Voices

TRUE or FALSE: I am comfortable in my own skin.

<p>TRUE or FALSE: I am comfortable in my own skin.</p>
116 people are talking about this
Community Voices
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Survive Together: Suicide Loss Survivor Study

Why Are We Conducting This Study? In 2016, nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in the Unites States alone. For each suicide, somewhere between six and 20 family and friends are affected. Every year around one to three quarter million people are touched by suicide. Despite this growing need, there remains much to be learned about how people bereaved by suicide can grow and recover in the wake of a loss. During the acute stages of grief (i.e. less than six-months post loss) habits and tendencies relating to how a person thinks and feels about the loss develop. These mental habits can set the course for the rest of the grieving process. As a result, this represents a critical time period in which to develop a potential intervention. For this reason, the Survive Together research study at the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University Department of Psychiatry seeks to understand the thoughts, feelings and brain-responses that occur during acute grieving which promote long-term growth and wellness. This knowledge will serve as the basis for a treatment strategy aimed at helping people grow and thrive in the wake of their loss. What Can You Do? The Survive Together study presents an opportunity for suicide loss survivors to contribute to our mission of helping people grieving suicide. We are looking for people who have lost a loved one to suicide within the past five months. You can participate even if you do not live near NYC. If interested, please contact schneck@nyspi.columbia.edu for further details. How Does This Work? The human brain is equipped with resilience tools that help a person grow and thrive after painful events. However, not all people are able to respond to painful events in this way, and sometimes the pain is too overwhelming. Survive Together aims to identify the resilience tools that help people adapt and grow in the wake of a suicide loss, using a brain imaging technique called functional magnetic resonance brain imaging (fMRI). By identifying the brain’s resilience tools for dealing with suicide-loss, we will be able to develop treatment techniques to help people use their brain more effectively to find wellness, meaning and growth after losing a loved one to suicide. Please note: This study is recruiting until 2023, however participation is only possible within five months after loss.

Community Voices
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