There are days that go by that you get to just enjoy everything that goes on.

In comparison there are days that it seems like you are making choices that feel like they shouldn’t be yours to make.

As a parent there are times where you find out things about you children that takes your breath away.

Maybe its an anxiety diagnosis to a young child who has stopped sleeping and eatting like they had been. The realization that this will be a long term fight that your adorable little child will face. Hours of research on your behalf to find ways to handle the behavoirs and prevent anything from worsening, all while having medication pushed on you that you are just not sure if they are safe for your baby.

Maybe its your elementary aged child coming home talking about how they have been being bullied at school for the color of their hair or the glasses they have to wear. Obviously there is nothing off the table when it comes to bullying, so the reasons will always be different. It’s impossible to fully prepare them for how this will feel, and how to handle it. Their tears will rip you apart and make your soul growl with the urge to protect your baby cub.

Maybe it’s finding something in your teenagers bedroom that reminds you that no matter how close you think you are with them, they are still a teenager. The fears of the unknown comes on strong when you think of how the future will go as you stare at those cigarettes or drugs. Maybe its condoms, or money that they shouldnt have. One way or another it is something that serves as a smack in the face that could be the wake up call you needed to start helping you and your child figure out where to go from there.

Maybe its taking your adult children with you on a weeklong vacation to a relaxing place to reconnect, and they bring their girlfrind who cant handle her liquor that she insists on drinking everyday. The idea of listening to your child trying to keep them in check in front of the family or kids that are there. How do you discuss domestic decisions your child has made that you dont agree with? What do you do if your child has chosen someone that is horrible for them or for there children? At what point can you intervene or chose to stand back and see where they plant their feet?

Or maybe no matter what age you are when it happens, you find yourself burying you parent or parents. The devastation is the same whether you are 10 or 60 when this happens. Obviously there are more complications the younger you are, however the void in your heart is the same. How does ones heart handle the hole thats just been punched thru it? How do you make the decisions you need to make in the middle of those feelings?

I watch another side of this in the hospital I work for when the conversation of when to allow them to give up the fight happens quite often. As a worker bee in these situation my heart is not on the line, but watching others break during this process never gets easier.

How do you handle having a day that this type of decision looms over you?

I have seen everything from relief that the persons pain will finally be gone, to refusal to understand that the basics of the situation.

Old, young, sick, healthy, planned or sudden.

I’ve watched selfishness as people can’t face living their life without them, and I have seen selflessness when people realize that the other persons pain is more important then their feelings.

I’ve watched elderly family member peacefully check out after a full life, and I have seen a young child fight for every breath after a car accident, just to lose the battle.

I’ve seen everything from heart attacks to suicide, and the families that have to react and make decisions they never saw themselves making.

Those days, and heart-renching feelings, make the days that I dont have to make, or see, any decisions being made even better.

Sometimes you just need to breathe.

**All stories here are things that I myself have seen or dealt with this week. Respect your medical feild people that you find yourself dealing with. From the CNA that shows compassion, to the nurse that seems to be always running. From the person that answered your emergency call to the person that shows up with flashing lights. The social worker that helps the decisions being made to the secretary sitting behind the desk at the station of the hospital or nursing home. They see you and understand you better then you think. Yes they are busy, sometimes TOO busy. Most have your best interest at heart, even if they can’t take the moment to tell or show you because there is so much else on their plate.

Blew my mind

I was watching a youtube video the other day of Jason Segal and Bryan Cranston when they stumbled upon an interesting topic. 

Not many actors find themselves qualified to talk about suicide in front of a camera. These men are no different, however they were speaking on behalf of an author/director that they both knew. 

 David Foster Wallace. 

To be honest, i know none of this mans work. I know very little of his story. 

What i do know is that in September of 2008 he committed suicide after a lengthy, likely life long, battle of depression. There are plenty more specifics that I will chose not to add in here, but that information helpes me understand who would be able to blow my mind with just a few sentances in book. 

As Jason Segal says it, there is a woman who had attempted to hurt herself. She finds herself at the therapists office afterwards and this conversation happens. 

Therapist: Why did you want to hurt yourself? 

Survivor: Laughs and says “Youll never be able to help me if you think I was trying to HURT myself. I was trying to STOP the pain.” 

I’m not going to lie, this blew my mind. Please understand as a person deeply affected by suicide in my life, i felt as if i understood the mindset of someone leaning towards this decision. While I am sure this knowledge is out there, I suppose I have never heard it said in my language until then. 

I have always felt that they were running from demons that were bigger then them. Some maybe are unable to keep up with lifes demands, or find themself heavily relying on a substance. 

I watched the battle in my best friends eyes but NEVER understood it. I couldn’t see the signs, I couldn’t understand the feelings, and I flat out missed the pain behind the walls. 

I vowed to never again miss the signs, but it continued to happen to other people around us and we were startled and devastated every time. 

The masks they wore changed. 

The pain ate away at them. 

Until they only could focus on the relief. 

What are you to do, when the thing that hurts you the most is invisible? When your own body attacks you. When your mind never takes that break, and gives you that ability to regroup before the next big thing hits. 

At what point does it become socially acceptable to seek help? 

At what point do people understand that this is the same thing as any other medical diseases or disorders that you could have been born with? 

At what point is it socially acceptable to admit defeat? 

Every day you see people quit their diet, their relationships, their jobs and their schools. 

How do you quit your mental illness that you didn’t ask to be born with? 

Teaching your younger self

Have you ever wanted to go back and give yourself advice? I sure have.

If you could go back and give myself advice at different ages growing up, what would it be?

I would love to go back and tell an extremely self-conscious twelve-year-old that she was beautiful. To stand firm for what she believed and not to let bull-headed teenagers, including herself, get in her way. She had so many plans! She knew what she wanted to do when she was older, had found her first love in a boy who treated her pretty good and other than fighting with her parents every once in a while her life was going pretty smooth. I would teach her to believe in herself, and to realize that everyone has their own body type that they were born with. You just have to learn to love yourself a little more so you can accept and appreciate what you were given.

**You are Beautiful**

I would go back and tell a heartbroken 16-year-old girl who was learning first hand about losing some one she loved that the world will keep turning. Her world was rocked to its absolute core, but she will stand back up and put her pieces back together. I would tell her to be stronger than she had ever been. I would tell her that just because one boy could not wrap his head around staying around to live his life until it got better, that it was absolutely not a reflection of her. I would hold her tight and tell her that despite the miscarriage, despite the loss of the person she thought would be the love of her life, she will survive.

**You are stronger than you will ever realize**

I would go back and tell my 19-year-old self that being a single mom at 19 would not define me. This hiccup would turn out to be the best turning point of her life, and that jackass that chose to walk away from his son would never be able to emotionally or physically harm them again.  I would try to steady her world a bit and help her get her footing settled back into the right direction if I could. However all the times I started in a direction and had to back pedal to try a different path just made me focus a little harder.

**Mistakes are the worlds way of teaching you humility**

I would go back and tell the 22-year-old woman that adoption didn’t have to mean goodbye.  I would help her understand that sometimes the hardest choices are the safest. I would remind her that heartbreak is an old friend by now. And my advice that I would give her would be to give herself a break. Life happens in mysterious ways and it is ok to admit defeat and take some me time. You can’t be a great mom to the one you already have if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

**Forgiveness IS an option.  You are only human.**

I would go back and tell my 25-year-old cynical self that good things can happen. It is easy to become calloused and bitter. Putting up walls to shield your heart is healthy, as long as you have a way to break it down safely. If your wall has become a way to hide from reality in such a way that you can no longer recognize good things when they come your way, you may need rethink some things.  I would tell her to go on that date with the boy she worked with. Let her neighbor bring her flowers. Let that smile happen.

**You ARE worth it. Good things CAN happen to you.**

 

What did life chose for you?

We all like to think that every single thing about ourselves could be a choice. Doesn’t it make you feel a little helpless to realize that some things, no matter how much that we try to say otherwise, are just not our choice?

Is cancer a choice?

Is being born with a birth defect a choice? Yes I understand that a number of those come from a choice of a parent, some are also NOT.  Some are genetic. Some are just a rare thing that happens for unknown reasons.

Is naturally having red hair a choice?

Dyslexia?

Thyroid disease?

Brain disorders?

So how can we accept those to be problems that we are born with, but depression is something that we must have chosen? When did mental illness become so shameful?

Why has it ever been frowned upon like it was a choice? I guess I don’t understand the reasons that it was ever looked at like it was not just another disease that you need to fight with regular medication and therapy, just as one would need to do with diabetes or a medical disorder that affects the muscular system.

Who gets to make these decisions? Who gets to decide who is better than who because of the way that their genetics made them?  Who gets to decide who lives their lives in hiding and who gets to be loud and proud of the lifestyle their DNA setup for them? What about the judgmental people who later in life has life events that change circumstances? Like a woman dealing with postpartum, or a man trying to deal the loss of his parent. Now is it suddenly acceptable?

Were you chosen to be the lucky one who lives their whole childhood healthy, watching others have asthma attacks or seizures? Did you ever have to go back and ask your parent what childhood diabetes meant and why some people needed to check their blood sugars?

Only to grow older and get told that you have cancer and will have to fight for your life while they inject more and more poisons into your body to fight the poison that is already there?

I hope for you judgmental folks to have healthy babies who have healthy babies. I hope for all of you that life doesn’t sneak up on you and teach you the reality of most people in the world. I hope that you never have to be proven wrong.

However I know you will be.

Because that’s what life is all about.

Being born into a life where most of our health conditions are not a choice.

Here is to hoping that the health conditions that life choses for you is on the “ACCEPTABLE” list.

I was chosen to be a Suicide Survivor

November 18 is National Suicide Survivor Day.

I never even knew that. I walked in a Suicide Awareness walk recently and I spent the majority of the time being quite alarmed at how many people just in my area had been directly affected by the loss of a loved one or friend.

This is one of those events that unless you go through it, you can not really explain it well. Everybody says that about everything don’t they? It is true. It’s this strange out-of-body experience that is simply unexplainable.

I was 16. He was my first love. At 16 you are more innocent than you are ever willing to admit. You don’t have a grasp on how long life really can be. You have no ability to realize that things will change. You don’t realize that the pain goes away. You don’t realize how a change in scenery can make everything different.

A mother lost her firstborn. A father lost who he thought would be the leader of the pact. A grandmother lost her grandson. Siblings lost a brother. I lost a best friend. A boyfriend. My first love. And it changes us all. Rocked our world into being unrecognizable.

It has been 15 years and while it has changed, has been ignored and seemingly has been forgotten by everyone around me, I still remember. I still cry for the soul that was lost. I still miss who he could have been. I miss what my life could have been. I have spent more time imagining the what if’s then I was ever able to actually spend with him.

I have no idea who he would be today. I have no idea if our love would have survived. I have no idea if we even would have kept in touch.

I will never have the ability to know.

I have read thousands of people’s stories online. I have volunteered at suicide hotlines. I have answered phone calls at 2 in the morning and run out just to be the shoulder that someone needed at that moment. I have made it known to anybody  who has access to my social media that I am ALWAYS available when you think you are alone. My number is always there for you to call.

It isn’t enough I feel. I can’t bring him back.

And so here I was, standing in a crowd of people who all have their own stories. And I was moved to tears to see how COMMON this problem has become. How in the hell has this become SO NORMAL??

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2017. 

Each year 44,193 AMERICANS die by suicide.

Suicide costs the United stated $51 Billion annually. 

Men die of suicide 3.5 times more than women. 

The average age of suicide victims? MIDDLE AGED WHITE MEN

Never Stop trying to help. Keep your eyes and hearts open. Mental illness is not a CHOICE. It should not be a stigma. It should not have to be hidden. It should not be something that they have to be ashamed of.

Some days I miss you

I am a suicide loss survivor. 

That sentence still gets me. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been. It is a stark sentence that immediately joins you into a society you want no part of.  

The look of shock and pity that used to come my way has faded since I stopped telling people. 

I am not ashamed. As the years continue to go by, life changes. You aren’t forced to explain where someone’s dad is, or having to explain where a missing family member may be. 

Instead it was my high school best friend. My first love. My first person of the opposite sex that I connected so well with, it was like it was meant to be. 

And then it was gone. 

And I was left to pick up the pieces and rebuild. 

Most days I’m fine. It’s been a long time. I have an amazing husband and family, new best friends and old memories that I’m left to question and doubt. 

But some days I miss you. 

Moment in time

Some days I hear a song, and I am immediately thrown back in time. 

Some days, I’m going about my daily life, and I catch a scent, and I instantly have tears in my eyes. 

Some days, I see someone from youre family, and I feel my heart skip a few beats, fighting the emotions. 

Some days, I come across a picture and I realize I forgot what your face looks like.

 I can’t remember your voice anymore. 

I don’t remember what your hugs feel like anymore. 

I don’t remember if you loved me or not.