Gratitude: Thanksgiving Edition #my3thanks #MHblog #positive

Expressing my gratitude is long overdue, but I am also thankful that it took me this long. Sometimes you have to really figure out why you are thankful for something in order to express it, so here are three things I am most thankful for this year.

1. In September, I got opportunity to experience a life-changing internship which is still having a profound effect on my life and the lives of all others involved. I’m not sure why they call it an internship, because all of us are really being schooled about true purpose. How to see, love, and accept ourselves as we are made, and how to love others in the same way. It has truly been a spiritual, emotional, and mental transformation…. and it is only going to get better.

2. The YNF community has grown slowly but surely and I am thankful that there are people who really believe in this movement. I am thankful for the people I have met, and the lives that have been positively impacted because of it. This not only provides encouragement for others, but for myself and keeps me humble. To every single supporter of YNF, you are loved and appreciated.

3. I am thankful that my former best friend called the police on the day I attempted suicide (September 21, 2011). Fully thankful. It took me two years to realize how important that day was, not because of what I “lost,” but what was to come. It was through that loss of self and friendship that I was able to get a clean slate. If I died I would not have had the opportunity to start over and create YNF so that others could believe they can do the same. That they don’t have to be sad because something ends, but be hopeful because something new will begin.

(SIDENOTE: If the person in question ever reads this: Thank you. I hope you can forgive me as I have forgiven you, and love you very much… and congratulations on your new journey!)

The past two days I have noticed and enjoyed silence, beautiful skies, and clear roads and I believe that represents the new found peace and love I have for myself and others, the endless possibilities of community, and the fact that I have new life to go confidently in the direction of my God-given dreams. I believe that for myself, and anyone else who reads this.

IMG_20131127_100238

Live your lives, don’t listen to the dream-killers, and move forward. The only person that can stop you is you. Write about what you are thankful for and share it!!

Submit your blog post expressing your gratitude for MSW at USC here:
http://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/the-gratitude-campaign-call-for-submissions/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=blog

The Cycle, Part 86531 #MHblog #mentalhealth #depression

I have grown to believe that the series of events that come along side a depressive episode are QUITE ridiculous.

Here’s what happens:

1) Depression.
2) I am encouraged to be open about said depression or to go do something fun/get over it, depending on who I’m talking to.
3) Person on other side of my episode gets freak/irritated and cuts me off until depression subsides.
4) Isolation.
5) People ask why I’m isolating, when I should be open about how I feel.
6) I get a look on my face (that looks something like -_-) and mention how I have tried that and people shut down when I am honest.
7) I am convinced that the different person who tells me not to isolate will listen.
8) See #2, continue on, and then repeat until episode is over.. then start from the beginning when another episode begins.

I can’t be the only person has gone through a number of interpersonal relationships which are not even close to actually being real. You know, the friendships/relationships that lack give and take and being ridiculed for isolating by the very people who caused me to do it or taught me that that is something I should learn to do.

What I mean is, I can be honest all I want but if no one is receptive to it or they respond with silence and/or quick fix answers why WOULDN’T myself or anyone else isolate?

This is why TRUE COMMUNITY needs to exist and why people need to learn how NOT to respond to depression and suicide… it’s why I created this thing. So myself and others and YOU can be honest without feeling limited on what you can say… and if you need to grieve about something, then you can. It’s how breakthrough occurs and freedom is experienced.

This is how you share your story: https://yourenotfinished.com/contact-ynf/

This is how others have done the same: https://yourenotfinished.com/survivor-of-the-month/

#Suicide is NOT Freedom #preventsuicide #nostigmas #mentalhealth

I have heard (more than I ever want to) from some that suicide is freedom. Suicide is death, so that means if suicide is freedom, death is freedom (according to the math).

Let’s unpack that for a second. To make sure I got this right I looked up the definition of freedom, knowing that word is objective. It can be interpreted to mean so many things to so many people. Three definitions stood out to me most:

1) the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or physical restraint
2) exemption from external control
3) personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery

When you die, you are confined to a coffin.. subjected to people’s perception of you… not at liberty to change and better your circumstances or live out your purpose. Not free to love and be loved. You’re gone. All of those definitions, even the other two I did not list, imply that you have to be alive to experience freedom which means that death could not possibly equal freedom in any circumstance, no matter who you are.

Keep in mind, as someone who attempted suicide twice and thought this wasn’t true on multiple occasions I am aware of how simple this isn’t when struggling with mood disorders and mental illness. I say this because I can relate, and I say it because I believe that people are not thinking clearly when they attempt to take their lives.

To a clear mind it is obvious that suicide does not equal freedom, but to a mind that is clouded with illness, rejection, depression, anxiety, harsh words, bullying, abuse of all kinds, and death it is not so clear. How could it be when all of that other stuff I just listed (sometimes more) is DEEPLY rooted in someone’s mind, will, and emotions?

So remember, the next time you are tempted to say that phrase “Remember the guy/girl who gave up? Neither does anyone else” think that words like that are probably why they did give up. That there is a human life that matters on the other side of those words.

It’s a matter of going after people who believe that suicide is freedom and helping them shift their perspective so that the equation adds up. As I told my friend the other day, 1+1 does not equal a suicide attempt. It never has and it never will. It is time to help people who struggle, go after them, end stigma, and save some lives in the process.

Living and being open, community and support, overcoming and truth; that is freedom.

To view the new “Going After the Forgotten” project, click the link below.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/going-after-the-forgotten/x/5271595

Helpful tools for those who struggle:
https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help/

It’s OK To Be Different #MentalHealth #standout

Tonight I find myself thinking about all the things that make me weird, according to people who are OBVIOUSLY experts at what it means to be amazing (hopefully you can smell the sarcasm).

Since I’m learning to be more organized I will list all of the UNGODLY things I should be concerned about:

1) I JUST started watching How I Met Your Mother, and on top of it I have no intention of watching the previous 8 seasons to catch up on why the last episode was funny.
2) I really don’t like fried chicken.
3) When I hear, “You should write a book!” I’m like, “No, I shouldn’t.” Why? Because I believe that what I write when it comes to mental health should be FREE. People call it a service, I call it love. Some people should get paid for their duties, most should not.
4) I’m open about everything when people think I should not be so open. Whatever.
5) I’m an African American who writes about suicide prevention and mental health, and “WE” don’t do that (again, according to the awesome experts).
6) 86% of everyone I have met thinks I look like Whoopi Goldberg, when in fact I DO NOT look like her. Then again if the majority of people say something it MUST be true.
7) I can’t dance.
8) I still struggle with anxiety and depression (although significantly less. Full recovery is near ;)).

That’s just 8 of a bunch of things that people find unattractive about me and to that I say… no person was meant to be the same. Sure we can all coexist but that is not the same as being identical and identifying with the majority.

I’ve said this before, but I think it’s funny how as kids we were taught to be uniquely awesome and because of that possibilities are limitless… yet as adolescents and adults we are excluded if we don’t fit the norm.

We are put in a box if we openly struggle even a little bit with mental health. Cast out and swept under the rug because we don’t make society look good. What doesn’t look good is living in a nation that tends to not have compassion for those who struggle. In a nation where people think that mental illness is a show… entertaining.

The only way this will come to and end is if we all come against this in the greatest way possible. By being open and honest. Sharing our stories so others relate and feel free to do so.

By being different and standing out.

So, what’s different about you? If it’s positive, embrace it. Enhance it. Show it off and wear it well.

Going After The Forgotten #Campaign #Fundraiser

In January 2014, I will travel to three of the states in America with the highest rate of suicide; Alaska, Colorado, and Texas. I will spend 3-7 days in each state to find out why suicide rates are increasingly higher as time progresses, tell the stories of those who have been ignored and/or stigmatized, and raise awareness on suicide.

I’m Brittany Franklin, and I created the You’re Not Finished movement so that people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts or continue to do so can have a community in which they are fully accepted. It is where those who feel like they have been forgotten can have a constant reminder of their special place in the world and that they are loved for who they are.

While there are many suicide prevention campaigns around the nation, I believe there is not enough being done to make it personal. It is time to go after people, love on them, expose the truth about suicide, end stigma, and save lives in the process.

Although I will be doing the traveling and filming on my own, I cannot stress the importance of community. Since this is bigger than me, I will need your help to change how society views suicide.

Additional info on the perks of donating here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/going-after-the-forgotten/x/5271595


What I Need & What You Get

Here is a detailed list of what I will need:

~$1000 – Rental/purchase of camera equipment
~ $1250 – Travel to each state by plane and/or train
~ $600 – Hotel accommodations
~$150 – Food
~$1000 – Editing Material
Any left over funds will be use towards Indiegogo fee and/or perks
If I don’t reach my goal, I will only document the state with the highest suicide rate. If there is not enough for that, it will go towards grassroots efforts to prevent suicide.

The Impact

In the long run I want to establish genuine connections with people and even turn the You’re Not Finished movement into a non-profit organization, which provides web therapy to the states/communities that are under-served when it comes to mental health. Additional notes:

I anticipate this documentary being complete in April or May of 2014.

If you feel like your community is overlooked, please bring it to my attention and encourage people to donate in order to obtain the $1,000 perk!

I started this because after my second suicide attempt in 2011, I didn’t have a soft place to land after my stay in the mental health hospital. Suicide survivors are often forgotten and their real grief and feelings are downplayed but I would like to bring light to this issue. It is time for change and I can do this only with your help.

Other Ways You Can Help

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE:

Get loud! Please share this via Facebook/Twitter/Word of Mouth/Indiegogo social media! If you can think of any way you can get this campaign known, please be proactive and spread the word.

Like on Facebook @You’re Not Finished
Follow on Twitter and Instagram @YNFinished

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Finish well, survivors!

P.S. If you have a better title, I’m all ears. If I use it, you will get credit for it. 🙂