Why I Took Part in the AFSP Virtual Overnight Event
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Why I Took Part in the AFSP Virtual Overnight Event

It was the stories. It was all of those people doing this in memory of someone they lost. Or, like me, in memory of the fact that we are still here instead of leaving others to tell our stories. In our day to day lives, it’s too easy to forget how many people are impacted by suicide each and every year across the country, and the world. The further in time I get away from that time in my own life, the easier it can be to put it behind me and forget about it. But, that is something I never want to do. As painful as it is, I want to remember what it was like to no longer want to be alive. When someone is in that place, I want to be able to say, “I’ve been where you are”, to recall all of the details, and be able to sit and understand. Because that is how we save people. Not by talking in hushed tones about depression, or mental illness, but by sharing the stories of people who survived and healed, and of those we’ve lost.

Let’s face it, if you spend much time considering those losses, and listening to those stories, it is impossible to walk away without realizing that we have lost a devastating number of people to this disease. Many more than some of the diseases we all gladly talk openly about every day. Yet somehow, maybe because we don’t understand it, or are afraid of it, we keep silent. After all, it might make someone uncomfortable. Even I have, at times, kept the details to myself in fear of making other people uncomfortable, or risk having them worry about me. The more I read and heard these stories though, the more I realized that I needed to share my story, if only so that anyone who reads it would know, and maybe even understand a little bit, what it’s like to be so far down into the darkness of depression, that you don’t want to live any longer. So, with that said, let me share my experience with you, now that it’s been some 25 years, and maybe now people won’t worry so much about me. (Warning, this is about to get dark, and we will talk a bit about suicide, though I will keep those exact details out)

Quick Thought #18 – Sports as an Example of The Lens We See Life Through

Quick Thought #18 – Sports as an Example of The Lens We See Life Through

Just like in sports though, sometimes it’s not about how the world works, or what mistakes we made, it’s about the other team. In our case, it’s the abuser. They did this. Healing is understanding that, and coming to grips with the fact that our lens is wrong. We’re looking at someone else’s actions and choices through a lens that only sees ourselves. We were abused, maybe when we told someone, we weren’t believed, or maybe even as adults, when we share our experiences we make others uncomfortable. But it’s not us. Other people get to make their own choices, have their own reactions, and choose who, and what, to believe.

What we need to do, is start untying other people actions and reactions, from ourselves. The abuser chose to abuse. The people who refused to help, made that choice, and the people who still don’t believe us, have their own reasons for doing that. None of it has anything to do with us, those are other people making their own choices, playing their own game. We can do everything right, live our life to the best of our abilities and still “lose” in these interactions. It happens. It doesn’t lessen us, it shows us who these other people are, and tells us about their agendas.

We learn from that, and move on. We do not blame ourselves for their agendas.

It does take developing a more mature lens to view life through, and that takes time, and work. Are you up for it? Or maybe the better question, are you tired of blaming yourself?

Want to Lower LGBTQ Youth Suicide Risks? Just Accept Who They Are

Want to Lower LGBTQ Youth Suicide Risks? Just Accept Who They Are

Since it’s Pride Month, I’ve seen a few references on social media to the higher rates of suicide of LGBTQ youth. I’ve also seen a number of explanations for it, and things that you could do to help, but I wanted to share this quote from the Inside Mental Health podcast, where the host, Gabe Howard, was interviewing Dr. Amy Green, from the Trevor Project, because it really cuts to the chase with data, and facts.

When we look at that, the data is striking. One of our data findings found LGBTQ youth who have at least one accepting adult are 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. When I say risk factors, rejection is one of the biggest ones on the other side for protective factors, it’s acceptance, its affirmation, its support. It’s so crucial during the adolescence and young adult period.

If you go listen to the whole podcast below, you’ll see that the things that increase the risks for suicide among LGBTQ youth are very much socially based. It’s not that LGBTQ youth have some sort of genetic quirk that makes them more likely to deal with mental health issues, it’s because they are so much more likely to be rejected, and unable to live their authentic lives. That one thing, is something that has an oversized impact on suicide rates for everyone, and happens to LGBTQ kids more often.

So, here’s something you can do that will have a huge affect on the likelihood a LGBTQ kid in your life will be lost to suicide, just accept them. Just allow them to be who they are, and live their life accordingly. That’s it.

Want to Save the Children? Listen to the Experts, Who Say the Truth Matters

Want to Save the Children? Listen to the Experts, Who Say the Truth Matters

Somehow, I had missed the statement put out prior to the elections by almost every organization out there doing the real work of battling human trafficking. They minced no words, and I wanted to share them here, so that readers all know where I stand as well.

Deaths by Suicide Went Down in 2020, Maybe Actually Talking and Paying Attention to Mental Health Matters?

Deaths by Suicide Went Down in 2020, Maybe Actually Talking and Paying Attention to Mental Health Matters?

So is it possible that simply making some sort of care easily accessible to more people, and looking out for each other, including in the workplace, helped lower the number of deaths by suicide? I’m willing to continue trying to do both of those things going forward to find out. It certainly seems like as good a place to start as any, and maybe lowering that number isn’t as complicated as we thought. It just takes the willingness to get these things done.

Why Should I “Earn” The Things That Are a Required Part of Life?

Why Should I “Earn” The Things That Are a Required Part of Life?

If you want to eat, eat. Your body needs food.

If you want to sleep, sleep. Your body needs sleep.

If you need to do something for your mental health? Do it, your mind needs care.

If you want to workout, workout. It’s good for you.

If you want to work hard on a project, work hard. The sense of accomplishment you get from hard work is great.

Do any of these things, it’s your choice. But don’t let your view of the things you need be altered by things you might want to do, and don’t let anyone else tell you how to earn those things. You don’t have to earn food and rest, they are a required part of being a human. You’re allowed to be human, no matter how hard you workout.