Tag Archives: suicide prevention

Issuing A Challenge – Remembering How To Smile

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I was just browsing through some pictures of my sweet girl. For those of you who might be unaware, my little girl passed away three and a half years ago after fighting a one of a kind brain cancer. I have shared previously on this blog, and I’m fairly certain I will share again in the future.

11026172_803042006452078_6786944172042754938_nThis one, like so many, captured her personality. Sweet and dainty, yet fierce and vibrant.

She wasn’t afraid to wear what she wanted, when she wanted, simply because she wanted. She wasn’t afraid to go against the grain. She wasn’t held back by societal norms. She was authentic. She was real. She loved people well, and she was loved.

I write this because the thought grabbed my heart. Why aren’t we all a little more like Janet – a little more like an innocent child? Yes, we live in a broken world, and it’s easy to become jaded in the face of the polar opposite of love.

When we hurt, when we walk through trauma – through hell on Earth, it’s easy to grow calloused and protect the vulnerable interior.

But, I want to challenge you today. Just as I seem to need to challenge myself.

Let’s take a look at my little girl. Take a look at your own child. Maybe take a look at yourself as a child. Go back to a time where there was innocence. Remember a time where happy existed. Remember the moments where you’d go outside and play, or perhaps beg for ice cream from the ever sounding ice cream truck.

Think on times that society had not yet set “norms” and expect you to adhere to. Think on love. Think about what would happen if you allowed yourself to abandon all those preconceived notions on what life could or should be like, only if…Allow yourself to simply, be.

Give yourself permission to be who you are, who you are right now, to feel how you feel in this moment, and to know that somehow – that has to be okay.

Recognize that it truly is okay to not always be okay. Just try, even moment by moment, to not live in that place forever. Try to see the beauty. Know that even when hope may seem to be playing an epic game of hide and seek – it is only hiding, not missing. It isn’t gone. Drill that fact into your head and heart. For, know this. There will be times that your head and your heart are at war.

If you can teach yourself some simple truths, to hold onto during those rocky times – those broken fragmented moments will pass, or you’ll at least be closer to enduring them with even slightly more strength.

I wrote all that to say this – all hope is not lost. It may be the hardest thing you do today, but think of something that makes you smile. If you are not happy right now, if you are hurting – think back to even just one thing, to one time you were happy. Allow yourself to smile, even laugh. It may not last forever, but allow it to last for this moment. This moment matters. You matter. You are worth it. Your continued story is worth it. You are valued. Just as you are. Here and now. Take the time you need to simply, be. And know that it is enough for this moment. And for the next moment. Strength is grown moment by moment.

If you are hurting today, know that you are not alone. I am too, and I understand the sting of pain. I understand missing a child, a brother, a cousin, a friend, and many others. But, I also know the value in reaching out. In community. In being part of a tribe.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of my story – my journey. I need people in my life, and I know you do as well. It is part of the human condition. We are created as community people. To do life alongside each other. Thank you for giving me that gift. To those who continue to share your love, and your thoughts and/or prayers – know you have my continued gratitude. Please, never stop.

If this resonates with you, and you would like to further discuss, please feel free to reach out – either in the comments below, or you can always feel free to send me a message. I love connecting with this beautiful community. A community founded on love.

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Pain And Healing – The Value Of An Outstretched Hand

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Pain And Healing – The Value Of An Outstretched Hand

Every human being alive knows the definition of pain. For some, it’s chronic illness – physical, or mental. Life has a habit of launching some curve balls aimed at destroying the status quo. Our action, inaction, or reaction to reality altering events is what sets the tone of our journeys and lives.

When the pain is unbearable, it is easy to lose sight of hope – hope for anything other than pain. In the intensity of a crisis or painful episode, the shaded sunglasses are fastened tightly. Through them, we only see darkness. The brightest sunny day, with birds chirping and life happening can appear dark and dreary as we wear these glasses. It’s being sight impaired to beauty for fear of the pain.

That is what pain does. It blocks our vision. It keeps us from enjoying the okay or good times because there is a paranoid expectancy of the demons and darkness lurking around the corner.

On the converse, those moments where we’re feeling those unexpectedly beautiful moments, and we are able to take joy in them — it’s more crushing when the pain returns. There is no denying that good and beautiful things happened. There are sometimes undeniable miracles at work. Even with those, it’s hard to hang onto what feels like fleeting beauty. Sunglasses continue to darken the world around us. 

We all have pasts. The collective pain and brokenness that each individual brings into a crowded room is unfathomable. Hidden scars. Brokenness. Some have walked through addiction, sexual abuse or rape, traumas of all kinds, physical or mental illnesses, bullying, crisis moments, losses of small and great magnitudes – just pain that is unimaginable.

We all need to recognize the FACT that every single person in there is a living, breathing story. Each comes with their own story – what brought them to where they are today.

Let’s talk about healing. And taking off those sunglasses. 

Healing is a term that people throw around when things hurt. Physical or mental. When life hurts, I can almost guarantee that you will hear that time heals all wounds. Whoever tells you that is lying. They may not intentionally be liars, but time doesn’t heal everything that hurts. Some things, time does allow you to better get a grip of, or to carry a little easier…but take away the pain? Nope, not so much.

However, there are  things in life that help heal. 

When life hurts, love heals. It doesn’t make the wounds automatically go away, but it dulls the sharpness of the pain. When someone offers an outstretched hand, and doesn’t greet pain with silence, healing can happen in unimaginable ways. Hope that we were temporarily blind to – that hope holds your hand and sits with you in the pain. That place is where healing happens.

It’s important to note that it’s okay to not be okay. But, when you’re not, please reach out – and allow someone else the honor of your taking their outstretched hand. No, reaching out doesn’t erase the pain. It won’t, and it can’t. Even when you feel that you’re walking through hell on earth, it’s heartwarming to know that you don’t have to do it alone.

Even not being alone doesn’t mean the storms aren’t damaging.

It is what we choose to do in these moments that define us. For me, it’s accepting the gift of friendship. When there is an outstretched hand, it’s taking it and allowing myself to just be. To just feel. To cry the tears that I want to suppress. A friend recently reminded me that I needed to feel what I was feeling, and that it was okay. Even the brokenness and tears. That is a reminder I have shared with many people over the course of time – but, hearing the words said to me – did something in my heart.

No, healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage is no longer permitted to control our lives.

I know it’s sometimes easier said than done. I’ve walked through hell on earth. I’ve known deep pain. But, I’ve also come to know hope and healing.

If you are or were a kid who was picked on and bullied, know that you don’t have to be defined by that. Healing is possible, and you are more. Your life is valuable, and you matter more than the words of any written language could express. There are many who may feel their pain is a result of their own doing. If you feel like you’ve messed up, always remember that you are not a sum of your past mistakes. You can make choices that enact positive change. You don’t hold all the keys to the universe, but you do hold some to your own world. We can’t control everything, but we can control our own actions.

Yes, bad things happen. Yes, it sucks. But, no, it doesn’t have to define your entire life. Brokenness can be exchanged for healing. It may not happen immediately, but it can happen. Sometimes love and friendship is like a healing salve applied to intensely painful wounds to aid in the healing process.

In case no one has told you this, please hear me. I believe in you. I believe in your story. I believe in the power of a shared story. So, let me offer this. If you have a story to tell, or just want to talk – reach out. I’m here, and others are as well. You can post in comments or send me a message via my “contact me” page. Just never give up on your story. Yours is a beautiful story, with chapters yet to be written. Never, ever give up. 

When A Rape Turned Home Invasion Saved My Life (Guest Post) 

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This is an anonymous guest post. This is a guest post, and very few details have been altered – only to ensure her anonymity, protection and continued safety and freedom. 

Rape. Take a closer look at this picture. A mere 10 days after rape, you’ll see a positive pregnancy test, a crying eye, and embryonic growth and yolk sac. This picture shows that.

I cannot cope with reality. Plain and simple. It’s no secret that my significant other and I aren’t close these days. No one can tell me this excuses rape. 

Our lack of intimacy does not afford him the freedom of violently taking what was not, and never will be again, his. If you don’t think rape can happen inside a relationship, established home, marriage, etc, then you are part of the problem. 

As I lay on the cold, wooden floor, I could still feel the burn of being restrains. As I lay there, begging for escape somehow – asking God to allow me to perish, mysuddenly terrified daughter walked in the door. 

Without hesitation, she ran to me. Fiercely protective, this one. After a long talk, and at the request of a friend, 911 was called. Trembling and afraid, I opened the door. 

Compassion. 

Some of those exact moments remain a blur. And I’m not complaining. But I recall completely losing my shit at the ability to feel safe. Someone was there. For me. But not to hurt me. They offered no judgment, only compassion. 

Even if I wanted to turn very small and scurry away, I couldn’t have. Even if I didn’t press charges, my body forced the “this is getting investigated” scenario. Am ambulance was summoned, as I nearly passed out. From my cold, wooden floor to a cold hospital gurney, I became important enough to listen to. Important enough to fix. 

I did survive, but in those moments, living was not a desire. Yes, I wanted to die. 

Eventually, with my personal effects placed nicely in the newly crumpled brown super market bag,  I went back home. Home. It wasn’t a safe place anymore. I ached to not exist. 

As a routine follow up, I had wounds checked, blood and urine tested, and was then sent on my merry way. It was not until the following day, that I got a phone call that rocked my world.

My doctor needed me to come in (ironically on Labor Day) so he could further break my heart. It was one of the moments where it was hard to not kill the messenger. 

Your testing is back. (no dip!) I have some complicated news. You have hcg levels consistent with early pregnancy. (no amount of doctor speak could have lessened the new reality about to kick me in the stomach and steal the breath from my lungs. 

How did I respond to the news that I’m now a human incubator? Like a monster. I felt less than human. Broken beyond repair. I am carrying within my body, the product of rape. I fell apart. Crumbled into pieces. 

As I sat, now in a little ball – think crying in the fetal position, I could only think of how violently this little growing life had invaded mine. 

While I cannot fathom bringing a child into this world, I can comprehend, even less, taking his or her life. I will not stop a beating heart. But i also see myself as the world’s biggest asshole for not wanting this little growing life. 

The very next day, I was asked to come for imaging. Every other time I’ve seen a prenatal ultrasound, it invoked excitement. (and I have seen hundreds in my line of work.) But seeing my own, it terrified me. 

How then does this whole thing having happened play a part in saving my life? Simple. As much as I don’t want to be a human incubator under these circumstances, I do want give this child a fighting chance. I cannot die because someone, literally, relies on me to live. 

Yes, I do have family and friends. I remain alive for them because I know I’m needed or wanted, but this – this is different. 

Yes I’m terrified of this future, but strangely at a peaceful place where a trusted friend reminded me that beauty can and will somehow come from this. I can’t believe her right now, but I’ll borrow faith, and  the outstretched hand of others – that hand which will help me stand when I can’t even feel the solid ground beneath my feet. 

September Is _______ Awareness Month!!

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If you turn on your computer, do a random search about causes, you’ll find it’s an awareness month for different things. This month, September is known to be a month to bring awareness to two very important things. You see, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.

I wrote the following on Facebook last night:

What’s on my mind. Awareness. As you all know, or have come to read from my cover photo, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Clearly, this is a cause near but not so dear to my heart. It affects so many people, our family included. I never, in a million years, saw myself making that statement. Let’s remember all those affected in some way, shape or form by this. Do what you can to raise awareness, and also to take action on behalf/honor of those who have lost battles, but also for those fighting, and those yet to fight this battle. Each child is precious.

Something else on my mind is awareness for something else. Suicide. As you may know from previous cover photos and many status updates – suicide is also something not unfamiliar to me. Did you know that September is also Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is something else that holds way too many statistics. As you know, this is another topic that is near but again, not so dear to my heart. What I can tell you is that suicide is a real problem, and is a problem needing to be talked about. We need to do our parts as individuals and as groups to erase the stigma attached to this. Mental illness is very real, and is no laughing matter. Again, something I’m familiar with. If you know someone who is struggling, do NOT let them struggle in silence. Don’t let them tell you they’re okay when you know they’re not. Don’t let that fake smile be enough to say they’re okay. Dig deeper. Grow friendships more than skin deep. Be the friend you need in others.

No matter what your battle, or what you are struggling with, please KNOW that you are NOT alone. There is not a human being alive that needs to walk through life alone – through cancer, depression, etc. Don’t do it. Let others in. You are loved. Hope is real.

That is EXACTLY how I feel. This life is full of so many uncertainties. Nothing is guaranteed, and tomorrow isn’t promised. However, no matter WHAT curveballs life throws your way – NEVER lose hope. You are absolutely NOT alone!

If you’d like to connect and discuss either of these topics, you can feel free to contact me directly via “contact me” page, or you can post in comments. I look forward to continued dialog.