Which side wins?

The walls are closing in for no reason again. The couch keeps calling my name. The fight to go outside seems to getting harder and harder. I cancel appointments, avoid social outings, and generically find ways to be home, alone.

There isnt a reason. There isnt even an explanation. It just seems to keep happening.

I keep saying I need someone to show up at my door and force me to get back into life, but really I just need me to force myself to do it all.

No one else put me here, so why would I need them to pull me out?

I need to be my own warrior.

Some stay.

Watching someone close to me go thru the gut wrenching realization that they now will always be considered suicide survivor is horrifying.

You are numb as you get told.

You go thru the motions for a while. Checking the correct boxes for things that need to be done. Sure you have moments that you breakdown. But the long term reality of it doesnt come for some time.

And then it does.

People have all left. They all stepped away thinking that you will be fine since you have been such a rock thru it all this far. They tell you to call if you need them, but you wont.

They wouldnt be able to handle the questions that you need answered.

People all want to say that they can help, but unless they are there in the pits and shallows with you, they don’t get it.

They can’t.

All I want to do is help them. I’ve been there. I want to share the secrets that I have learned along the way.

It wont work however.

Everyones story is different.

Everyones guilt is different.

The process is different.

So until you can talk to me about your process, I will just keep showing up. Sometimes with coffee, sometimes for movie dates, other times to help you clean your house when you’re that low.

Because I cant walk away like so many did to me.

I can’t.

So I will stay.

When the words take away your air

So there is a tv show that I keep seeing on television that has caught my attention. I first saw the preview as I was sitting with my husband watching a tv show. It hit me like a ton of bricks, where he was able to sit and not even notice that my world had tilted on its axis.

The first few lines in this preview was a man saying something like “You’re not going to believe this, but John (or Jeff or whatever his name is) committed suicide”. I have seen this preview multiple times but I am not able to remember any of the rest of the preview. Each time I see it I get stuck on this sentence that starts the commercial off. I imagine that this man is talking to a buddy, and this is the normal way that they talk to each other so the offhand delivery itself doesn’t catch my attention.

What catches my attention is the idea that I have to spend the rest of my life being affected by lines like these. Its been over a decade since I had to hear those words said in a much softer way to me. A decade since the whispers would stop as I walked into the room, or down the hall, just to have them start again after I passed by. A decade since I had to try to find new pieces to start rebuilding myself since he didn’t think about how it would be affecting anyone else.

Who am I kidding it has almost been TWO decades.

So that’s where this kicker just seems to keep kicking.

18 years later, a whole different life later, and yet it still has the ability to kind the wind out of my lungs better than almost else.

September is Suicide prevention month

September is Suicide prevention month. After being very personally affected by suicide during crucial growing years I feel as if I will always dedicate whatever I can to help prevent anyone from having to go through the loss.

Mental illness is still considered to be a thing people think that we chose.

Who in their right mind decides to spin the wheel and have it land on an invisible -illness?

From a chronic pain patient to a schizophrenic with bipolar tendencies and all things in between the reactions of disbelief are the same. No one believes that either could be a real thing. As if a person sees a tv show where someone acts a certain way so they are going to attempt to mirror their life around them. Don’t get me wrong, there are assholes out there that must do something like that. But the few that do should not be considered the normal.

Normalizing mental health awareness is something that has been long coming and should be held at the utmost importance.

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Reach out. Find someone that is willing to listen. Make sure they understand how important it is to you. You don’t have to fight alone.

Learn the cues. Find out how to see the signs. Let them teach you how to help.

Find a support group on social media. Find a group in your community. Make the call. Send the text.

1-800-273-8255

24 hours a day.

 

Going thru the battle to learn your value

I have lived a life that most people react to with shock.]

I didn’t ask for it, but I wouldn’t change it either. Any change in how things have gone in these complicated 34 years and I wouldn’t be where I am today, surrounded by the amazing people around me.
I have been thru things that some will never go thru in their entire life. I have spent a lot of years having to explain choices as to how or why I did things the way that I did. I spent just as much time questioning how or why I was chosen to be the one to be blessed with these events as well.
I have also spent a lot of times hiding. It took three years for my current coworkers to find out about the death of my ex-boyfriend to suicide. It took closer to five for them to learn about the adoption. There are still other events that they have yet to learn.
Why?
I can’t always explain it, even to myself.

At first it was that I was sick of dealing with people’s opinions. It always came at times that I didn’t want it. Some were positive, some negative. It never mattered which way people felt, I wasn’t wanting any of them. I never wanted to appear as rude, it’s only that it was the most personal events that had happened in my life and the opinions were coming from people that were not there. They have no idea the situations that surrounded the decisions made. So why would the opinions make any difference to me now?
However these days we are not allowed to not care about anyone and everyone’s opinions.
You see, the only feelings and opinions that should affect me should be the ones directly involved with the decision. In everyone’s heart, they know that. However that does not stop them from trying to validate the scenario by either agreeing with me or having to tell my why they don’t.
It isn’t that I don’t respect the opinions being given, nor is it that I don’t appreciate the reason that most people are trying to give it in the first place. In most cases they are trying to find a way to make me feel better.
It is just that I respect myself more.
I started this battle as a young teenager that had no grasp on who I was, or who I could become. Wave after wave has taken me down every time, but I have gotten back up. Each time, I have had to find the strength from deep within to convince myself to keep fighting. You can’t go through that many battles without learning your value.

Her story sounds like millions

Her story is personal, but it echoes all around the world.

Everyone has stories they don’t tell. For some, those are the stories that need to be told more then any other conversation that they have in life.

Today I listened to a woman tell me the story of how she learned to believe she deserved the fists that pummeled her on a weekly basis. She talked about how she would much rather take the abuse then allow those said fists to harm any of the beautiful creations of love that had been born to this relationship.

Now just a few short months ago I lived in this ignorant bubble of peace that allowed me to beleive that these things were not common life around the area I live. Maybe I focus more on them because of that alarming moment in my life. Then again maybe the weather has kept people inside more this year then normal, and these are some of the consequences.

I find myself staring at this woman and questioning who she was before. Was she always this weak? Was she a people pleaser that went along with the crowd? Had she ever had a backbone?

She spoke of the good times before the anger. Explaining a wild love that swept her off her feet. She told of laughter, joy and love. She spoke of the exact moment that the car they were in got blasted by a another car that blew a stop sign and sent them tumbling.

The batlle of addiction started there. The pain pills while fighting for full usage of his body. The depression when they realized he would permentantly be disabled, unable to hold down any physically demanding jobs. The behavoiral change that came from the jobs he attempted and failed over the next few years. The pregnancies that started happy only to be a quick reminder of why he needed to make more money. Pain pills seemed to work less the longer he was on them, so alcohol was his next solution.

Everyone can see the writting on the wall as to how we get to this woman in my care today. I cant help but wonder if computers hadn’t taken over our record system, would I even be able to lift her chart?

So I ask the question that is rolling around in my head. I am positive that she has been asked before.

“Are you ready to leave yet? Are you ready to show your kids that you love their father, but you love them more?”

She stares at me for a full minute, unblinking.

“I cant leave him. I love him.”

My soul aches for her. So I do the only thing that I can. I help fix the problem she came in for today. I look her in the eyes and I tell her that I am here. Even when I am not physically in this building, I will give them permission to call me in if she needs me.

Then I watch her grab her things and leave.

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.**