September: Lets Talk About Suicide

It’s September finally! Which means it’s getting cooler, the trees are going to start getting all sexy, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING (I actually I am not on the pumpkin spice train..I’m more of a hazelnut to be honest), Halloween is right around the corner and it’s HOODIE weather!

So yeah, September I’m ready for you and all your glorious-ness!

This month has something else to offer though….

Something more important than cool breezes and warm jackets. You may or may not be aware that September is national suicide prevention awareness month.

Yes. We’re going to talk about suicide prevention today. We’re going to talk about it because more people NEED to.


Let me start by saying that I am not a professional or a counselor or a volunteer or an analyst. I don’t have any credibility other than the fact that I am a compassionate and empathetic human being. I’m not going to throw a bunch of facts in your direction (although I will include resources) Mostly because I only have a vague idea of facts/data surrounding suicide and while I know that the research on the topic is very important, it is not what I want to focus on in this post because I want to just get straight to the heart of the matter and I don’t want this message to get lost in that data. The message I want to get out first and foremost is this:

People (a LOT of people) are struggling with thoughts of wanting to end their lives…and YOU can help them.

YOU. The person sitting here reading this post…YOU have the opportunity to save someone’s life. How incredible is that?

Think about it…What would you do, if you were walking on a busy street and the person next to you was about to step out in front of a car coming around the corner? Would you pull them back? Would you yell for them to stop? I hope that your answer is that you would do SOMETHING to get their attention…or more importantly, give them YOUR attention.

That’s what this month is all about. Prevention. Awareness. Attention. Empathy. Compassion. Understanding.

I recently attended a screening for a film called “The Listeners” directed and produced by Bob Hurst. The film documents the process of a select group of volunteers who are being trained to work in crisis call centers. Here is a link to the trailer and I would highly recommend you to watch the film in it’s entirety!

http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi4136416281

What I found to be most moving about the film was that these “listeners” were just regular people. They did not have previous training, they were not chosen because of their academics/recommendations/credentials etc…they were chosen because of their innate ability to show compassion and patience for others…and they literally had no motive other than just wanting to show up every day to make a difference in people’s lives. How AMAZING! I was also blown away by how much effort and time goes into this particular training and it is incredible that there are people in this world who are willing to take time out of their day and make sure that the quality of their work is outstanding.

It is inspiring to see people motivated every day by helping others, strangers even. Volunteering is a great way to get involved but there are plenty of other ways you can reach out and join the fight to prevent suicide that don’t require much effort but rather a small amount of courage. Instead of listing all of those things here I’m going to save the space and compound it into a nice little link here that you can click to give you all kinds of information on how you can get involved with this cause.

This is the link for the national suicide prevention lifeline website. You can find out ways to get involved in your community, how to talk to someone who is struggling with suicide and just learn more in general about what you can do to help someone (or yourself) today.

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Sometimes, it’s as simple as messaging someone who seems to be having a rough day and telling them you understand. Validate people’s feelings instead of ignoring them. It can be uncomfortable but put your own discomfort aside and be vulnerable to someone else’s emotions and pain.

Share your own story with them. We connect best with people who have had the same struggles we have. If you’ve ever had an awful day, or felt completely alone…then chances are you are more than qualified to help someone else work through those issues as well. Make sure to LISTEN though. It is great to tell other people that we have been in their shoes but it is important to remember that they are there NOW…so let them be there and allow them to fully express what they’re going through and just be that safe place they can take comfort.

Another great wait to get involved is a campaign that has been gaining attention since it was created in 2015 by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

#Bethe1to “is designed to illustrate ways people are keeping themselves and others safe from suicide, while informing the public as to how we can all act to prevent suicide.”

This is right up your alley if you are more “social media” inclined and it’s SO easy to spread awareness by doing the things you’re already doing; getting on facebook/twitter/instagram. Here is the link to learn more about the hashtag and how it can bring awareness and save lives!

http://www.mhaofnyc.org/2016/08/16/you-can-bethe1to-prevent-suicide-a-national-call-to-action/

No matter which way you look at it, the idea is very simple in discussing the issue of suicide. We don’t want any more lives lost. We have to do everything we can to make sure we are paying attention and being active in this cause to end suicide. We are all brothers and sisters on this planet and we have to hold on to eachother.

I hope you can take something away from this post and PLEASE SHARE so that we can get the word out about Suicide Awareness.

For those of you dealing with mental illness/suicide/depression/anxiety…reach out and please know that you are loved and cared about. For those of you who have been affected by any of these illnesses whether personal or otherwise…help.

Thanks for reading! Love you all!

What You SEE is What You Get: Visualizing Your Dreams

Seeing is believing….and believing is seeing. When it comes to achieving your goals, big or small, you have to open your eyes and look around!

In this post I want to show you how simple it is to start turning your life around by making a few subtle changes in your day-to-day routine. It won’t cost you any money. It really won’t even cost you any time. This is a very simple exercise you can literally use wherever you are!

Let me start by having you Continue reading What You SEE is What You Get: Visualizing Your Dreams

5 Ways to be Happier Today!

“Life is SUPER easy. I don’t even have to try, I have it all completely figured out and it’s just going fantastic!” Continue reading 5 Ways to be Happier Today!

You CAN do this: How to Kick Depression and Anxiety In the Teeth!

YOU are the boss of your life. YOU have the power within you to change the composition of your mind and YOU fight to do it every day. I know you. I am you. I want to help you by sharing some of my “moves” that have made it possible for me to type this to you now. You’re a fighter and that bell is about to ring…..stay in the match.

Maybe you don’t think you’re a fighter. I KNOW you are. You wouldn’t still be reading this if you weren’t. That’s all you have to do right now….just keep reading. I know you have “moves” of your own for getting through depression and anxiety but maybe you need some fresh ones? Am I right? That’s why I’m going to give you mine! Yep, you don’t even have to give them back, they’re all yours! The best part is, THEY WORK! Get your gloves on and put your head down, we are fighting this bi*** TODAY!!

You’re STILL here which means you WANT to fight and you got in the ring and for that I am proud of you. Now that you’re ready, here are some moves to help you out. The goal is to get THROUGH the fight. That doesn’t always mean you will come out unscathed. There are bruises along the way. There are teeth marks and scratches. There is blood. There are scars. But you will still be here. That’s the most important thing to fight for. Yourself. Your life. So here we go! Ding-ding-ding!


Round 1: SPEAK UP. Look your depression/anxiety in the eyes and get. in. it’s. face. Tell it that you will destroy it and it doesn’t have a chance against you. Think about it: if you were actually fighting somone you would puff up your chest and put your hands up by your cheeks. You’re a human. You have an innate impulse to protect yourself. You won’t sit back while something tries to harm you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself at this point, just pretend. Just say the words (out loud if you need to!) “I CAN BEAT THIS” and you will start to believe them.

Round 2: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I know. This seems impossible when you feel so down that you can’t even get out of bed. I understand. I do. This step is about giving in to those emotions and finding productive ways to embrace them. I do this a number of ways and you can too. The best part is, you don’t even have to leave your bed if you don’t want to. Get online, grab a book, connect with someone (even anonymously). Self help I feel is one of the best ways to take care of….well, yourself! There are hundreds of forums available online and tons of books on the subject of depression/anxiety. Find something that resonates with you. I spent my last birthday at home connecting with people on a depression forum. I felt really low….I cried. But you know what? That was the best place for me in that moment. Those people were all there doing the SAME THING and it was more comforting than I can tell you in words. I got more “happy birthdays” than I would have otherwise and I laughed (like real laughter) at myself for thinking it was silly to begin with….and then I cried more. Happy tears though. The point is that it is NEVER a bad idea to reach out to people and get help. Ever.

Start with a self-help book that grabs your interest and you will actually be likely to READ (such as this one!)

Round 3: TAKE A RISK. This one is the “eye of the tiger” moment in the fight. Maybe you’re winning, maybe not, maybe you’re tired and sore and don’t know what else to do. Maybe you’re running out of steam or you’re just out of ideas. Take a risk. Do something that scares you or is a little out of your comfort zone. Have you been holding yourself back from something? Do you want to go back to school but you’re scared you might fail? Is there a project you want to start working on but you think it will be overwhelming? Is there someone who keeps trying to connect with you and you keep pushing them away? Jump in. This step is the hardest part and it won’t be easy but if you do it….if you jump in….nobody can take that away from you.

***sidenote***

We went to the pool recently with a bunch of family. My oldest nephew (7 years old) cannot swim. Like he legit was practicing holding his breath under water that same day. He decided he was going to jump off the diving board knowing full well that he could drown. He did it anyway (lifeguard was right there waiting if she needed to go in after him guys). He did it though!! He did it even though he was scared. He did it even though it was going to be uncomfortable. He did it even though everyone was WATCHING! More importantly, he didn’t drown. He is alive and he is stronger for it.

Round 4: SHARE YOUR STORY. Your story is the most useful tool that you possess. Pass that story on and you are also passing on a multitude of knowledge to someone else. You don’t think you’re qualified to do that? You’re alive aren’t you? Then you’re qualified. YOU have very specific skills because you’re the only person who has lived your life and you’re around to teach those skills to someone who may be going through the same life events. Share your story. It is relieving to get it off your chest and it is comforting for others to feel less alone.

Round 5: JOIN AN ARMY. I’m being literal, but not in the way that you think I am. Stay with me. It is so important to fight your fight and get your life back. It might be a battle that you have to face every day. A lot of other people are fighting the same fight. My advice? Fight right next to them. When you feel ready, join an army in your own community. They are there and they need all the force they can find. Ask around or do some research to find a way to help people in your city who are going through the same things as you. They may not have the tools. They may not have the knowledge. They may not have the experience or strength. You DO….and you CAN do this!!!

If you’re interested in suicide prevention you should check out this site which has started an amazing project/campain. This is a great resource I came across and is totally worth checking out!

http://livethroughthis.org/stay/

Please remember you are NOT alone and you can always reach out to a crisis center. Here are a few options from their page.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Trans lifeline at 1-877-565-8860

There are also options for chatting:

Lifeline crisis chat and Crisis text line

I am happy you’re still here. Keep fighting.

 

If this post was helpful, PLEASE comment below or share it with anyone who might find it useful as well! Thanks!!