Being open and transparent on social media is a good 743 times easier than it is in “real life.”
I don’t have to look at people in the eye when I say that I attempted suicide twice… I don’t have to worry about their facial expressions when I tell someone I used to be an alcoholic… I don’t have to hear someone gasp in disgust when I say that I have used promiscuity and pornography to deal with the stuff I didn’t want to deal with…
There’s other stuff I don’t have to admit to in public settings which would get some kind of reaction…
I can type it all online and get a few people (hopefully more at some point) to who identify with this stuff to feel better because they aren’t alone.
There are times when I speak of my past and present struggles very plainly and candidly and I believe that is when I just don’t care or I use it a wall in order to prevent people from getting any deeper… All that information is getting deep enough, thank you very much. I’m perfectly satisfied with a connection to people that feels true but is absolutely counterfeit… (Hmm and I wonder why I’ve struggled with depth in my relationships… I digress).
But the honest-to-God 100% truth is that I am absolutely sick of myself doing that, and I am NOT AT ALL satisfied with counterfeit connections, telling half-truths, or not speaking up at all in a lot of occasions because it adds to the problems in my life… and in the lives of others. And a lot of times it CREATES the depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts that people are so desperately trying to get away from.
So I’ll continue to be transparent by telling you that when I found out this morning one of the members at church died by suicide that I was deeply affected by it in more ways than one, even though we weren’t close at all. It made me want to withdraw and go back to the place that God still helps me crawl out of sometimes because for some crazy reason I believed that going through it again would somehow bring them back so they could know that they wasn’t alone and that it was going to get better in some way, shape, or form.
We grieved as a unit at service, then of course began the speculation of why they would take their life began… which… come on now, have the decency to at least wait a while.
But it made me realize that for me (I will not assume for the person who took their life, and I KNOW for others) the perceived speculation and the fear of it is the reason why it took me over a year to ever admit to anyone openly that I struggled with anything and attempted suicide twice.
Which brings me back to my original point.
You absolutely don’t have to worry as much, if at all, about stigma online but shit like that kills in face-to-face interaction. Literally. To think stigma isn’t a trigger is to embrace the ignorance that fuels it.
So PLEASE, if you are reading this and you know or think you know someone who is battling with mood disorders and suicidal thoughts, best thing to do is shut down that little place in your heart or mind that makes assumptions and make room for people to be transparent so that they can be free. I’m willing to bet that you will save at least one or two lives doing that, and prove just how preventable suicide actually is.
For those who need help, it’s here: Get Help
You are loved, survivors. Until next time.
I’m just going to jump right on into it…
A couple months ago I found out my father was diagnosed with one or more mood disorders (I say it this way because he not as open about it); more likely than not the same ones I was diagnosed with back in 2011.
I of course sympathize with him because I’ve been through the same thing he seems to be going through right now… the depression, anxiety, hospitalization and feeling like you absolutely need someone, anyone to understand whatever this is that has decided to attach itself to you… to make its home in you. I know how it feels to need to know that your have at least one person, especially family, who will stick by you in spite of whatever you have been diagnosed with and what you’ve done because of said diagnosis. I get it.
Yet all I want to do is disengage.
Maybe it’s because through experience people more often than not have taken a more hands off approach when it came to me and my issues… maybe it’s because it’s him. The fact that he was not even making any attempts to be a father throughout my life and now all of a sudden HE needs ME and loves me so deeply… and needs me to love him in that way too.
Maybe it’s because I’m upset that when I’ve needed him the most he wasn’t there, yet now that the tables seem to have turned I HAVE to be there for him… because when things got overwhelming for him and didn’t go the way he thought they should have he ran and now I want to run; because thinking about him going through this stuff makes me relive everything I have gone through, and I DO NOT want to go through that again. Ever.
All this time I spent away from him, trying not to be like him… and yet here I am, essentially dealing (or not dealing depending on how you look at it) with the older male version of myself, knowing that if it were someone else I would have absolutely no problem with it.
Obviously, or maybe not so obviously, I’m going to stick this out and stand with my father. I just pray he gets well, and that no one holds it against me for being honest, since that’s the whole point of this blog. Hell, I wish other people around me were honest about this kind of stuff and I hope that more and more people begin to be as expressive without fear or in spite of it. If I can stay strong, you can too survivors. Much love.
So, California just became the 5th state to pass the ‘Right To Die’ law, which essentially means that people here will have the legal right/entitlement/what-have-you to commit suicide or have someone assist them in doing so in the event they are terminally ill and don’t want to prolong their illness.
Many people consider this a victory, however, I can’t help but feel… err… terrible about this law passing because of what it seems to reflect.
While I understand, to a very limited extent I am sure since I have no experience with terminal illness, the mental and physical agony of personally dealing with terminal illness as well as the varying effect it has on friends, family, and loved ones’ (depending on how closely involved they are), my first thought is…
There are so many people in the world who are fighting to live why would anybody be fighting to die?
As someone who was previously suicidal, I did whatever I could to convince myself that not only did I want to commit suicide but I would not live to see 28 because of what I “knew” in my heart and mind I was going to do. In hindsight, however, I see now it reflects how hopeless I was… How much I exchanged truth for a lie…. How much I hated myself…. How easily I was willing to give up and seemingly how thankful I was that giving up was an option which I believe in part is what people in favor of the right to die act are feeling, so in that sense I can sympathize.
But then we look at stories such as the one of Valerie Harper, the legendary actress who was diagnosed with illness and given a short time to live, and she’s still here spreading the fight… the positivity… the love… the hope. Which she can only do because she is STILL alive.
I’m sure there are more stories just like hers that don’t get publicity because the people involved aren’t celebrities, but that doesn’t invalidate their experiences nor does it make them less powerful and true to life. We have to believe that there is hope in every situation, that there is a reason to live FOR every situation and that this life we live is bigger than our own.
I do respect free will so I’m not going to impose my beliefs on anyone, but what I am asking people to consider, whether they are terminal ill or not, is choosing hope instead of choosing death. There is hope, and there is help.
Much love, survivors.
Get Help: https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help-2/
So the other day I was looking through my room for some documents, and I found this…
This isn’t what I was looking for…
And you’re probably thinking I colored this in when I was a kid, but I actually did this when I was 23, at a mental health hospital. Coloring this was actually one of the highlights of my stay there, because it was the first time in a very long time that I experienced what I believed was complete peace in my heart and silence in my mind. There were many people in the room for that group therapy session, but I couldn’t hear or really even see anyone while I was engaged in an act you would think is reserved for children and insulting to my age and intelligence… If your ability to be prideful supersedes the ability to be humble, that is.
After I finished this (in my opinion), I felt proud of myself. More proud than I’d ever felt. I’m not exaggerating… I remember being extremely happy during the coloring process and afterwards, telling myself that I would always keep this on my proverbial “refrigerator” as a reminder that I could contribute to something beautiful and elevate something simple, even though I had to be treated under special circumstances and/or restrained (essentially) to figure that out.
After my stay at the hospital I would look at this picture and get all nostalgic about the “good times” at the mental hospital, how I felt I could more freely express myself there than out here in the real world and how I was way more understood then that I was in any present moment. But the thing that brought me joy was starting to become a trigger to depression… so much so that I considered a voluntary stay at any hospital… so much so that I considered attempting suicide again in order to extend that stay. I knew that was bad though, to understate it just a bit, so I put the picture somewhere I thought it couldn’t be found.
So years later when I found this pic the other day after completely forgetting it and the actual lesson associated with it for some time, I was reminded of what I’d learned and was given insight on how it could be applied to my life today because depression and anxiety still try to punch me in the gut today, just to a lesser extent.
Let me elaborate…
There are times when I have expressed myself to people (both when I was in my right mind and when I wasn’t), and because of that I now have limited access to them. They have placed boundaries on me and walls against me, understandably so, and it is their right to do that. Those boundaries and and walls however, unbeknownst to them, feel like the same bounds that were on me at the mental health hospitals. They feel like handcuffs.. and that if I ever dare make the choice to try crossing the boundary line and breaking through those walls I’ll be put in my place, to put it a different way. Just like I stayed inside the lines on that picture, I have to do so in life.
But look at the shades of blue on the butterfly’s wings… Just because those wings are a certain length/width/etc, it doesn’t make it less beautiful or diminish its value, nor does it negate the creature’s ability to fly. I bet if you looked up in the limitless sky you would notice THAT or ANY butterfly for that matter.
We have to see ourselves in that way… as butterflies. Sure there may be limits on where you can go in certain circumstances, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere. There might be boundaries and walls against or around you for whatever reason, good or bad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fly upward and onward. When people set limits and labels on you, let them; but REMEMBER to NEVER other people’s limited understanding/compassion dictate or diminish your value or worth. Get help from communities of people who know how to show you who you really are and can enhance your ability to express yourself and stay away from people who put limits on you.
Stay strong, survivors. You are loved.
Helpful resources here: https://yourenotfinished.com/get-help-2/