A Look Into A Depressed Mind: Suicide Prevention Week

I suffer from mental illness.

What do you think when you see/hear those words?

When I say them, I instantly feel ashamed.  I feel judged and criticized even when nothing of the sort if coming my way.  Why is that?

Because of the stigma surrounding the term.  Mental illness stirs up feeling and thoughts of patients locked away in a psych ward, or bad guys shooting up schools.  I am not those people.  I am a good person.  I am a mother, wife and empathetic/compassionate human being.

AND I suffer from depression and anxiety.  I have written about my experiences with postpartum depression in the past (You can find the link on my About page).  It’s incredibly hard to deal with on the days where it shows itself.  I have good days and bad, and I long for the good days to last.  I cry.  I rage.  I cry some more.  Then I smile.  It’s a never-ending cycle.

I also think about suicide.  It’s just a thought, though, I know this for a fact.  I think about the different ways I could kill myself, and just end the madness.  I think about where and when the best opportunity would be.  I think about how I would do it, whether to slit my wrists or take a bunch of pills (just some of the ideas).

Then I think about my girls and my husband, and then I cry.  Not hard tears, or a break down of sorts, but a cry to release the pain.  Then I smile, and instantly feel better.

I wonder what it would be like to run away, disappear off the face of the world, never to be heard from again.  I could escape in the middle of the night, and not deal with this pain I cause others with my problems.  My girls wouldn’t have to suffer anymore, and wonder why mommy is happy and then so angry.  Mommy wonders too.

I’m still on Prozac, 30mg.  I am talking to my doctor about a referral next week to a therapist of some kind.  I need help.  Not from myself.  I would never harm myself, or leave my family.  They are just thoughts.  I need help from my mind.  My mind is the screwed up one.  Not me.

Dealing with this nightmare for the last 6 years has made me incredibly aware.  Aware of my thoughts and emotions, way more than I was after Samantha was born.  I’m not sure which is scarier, not knowing why I am crying, or knowing it’s because my brain is broken.

Why am I writing about this again?  I need to share my story again.  I have been trying to hide it, and wish it away, but it’s real.  It’s part of me.

I read this morning that it is Suicide Prevention Week.  I was very close to killing myself once a few years ago.  I know what that feeling is like.  I know what it feels like to feel alone, and in pain.  I know those thoughts, and how them seem so real.

THEY ARE NOT REAL.

They are not you.  Those thoughts are from a broken mind, and it’s not your fault.  Don’t ignore them, but don’t act on them either.  Seek help.

Suicide is not the answer, though so many have thought it was.  Too many people die from suicide, which is completely preventable.  You just have to reach out.  There will always be someone there, even if it’s through the phone or social media.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386.suicide-prevention-graphic

You are loved, and you are more than your mind let’s you believe.  Stay with us, please.

Below is a list of warning signs from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
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Hey America: An Open Letter To The General Public

Hey America,

Land of the free.  What does that mean to you?  Ponder that for a moment while I explain to you what I think.

Freedom: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants (Oxford Dictionary Online).

Being free means having the right and freedom to think and believe the things you do, and live the life you choose.

That means freedom of religion.  In theory, you can believe and practice any religion of your choosing.  Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, or anything, you can practice you beliefs without consequence, so long as you aren’t harming another individual.

With that kind of freedom comes respect and acceptance.  This is not a Christian nation.  Nor is it Muslim, Jewish, or any one religion.  The term melting pot used to be thrown around a lot for a reason.  BECAUSE IT’S TRUE.

We are a nation of multiple faiths, colors, genders, and cultures.  To run a country based on one religion, or one race, or one gender, or one culture is wrong, and it will never work.  When you choose to base laws off one religious belief, or exclude members of society based on any of those things, that is discriminatory.

Keep your religion out of our public schools.  There are multiple faiths represented in classrooms across the country, and they do not all believe in the same thing.  Faith is not science.  It is faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something; strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof (Oxford Dictionary Online).

Teach your children about your god, and how the world was created according to your religious doctrines at home, in church, or any other religious place of worship you so choose.  You have that right!  However, it is disrespectful to push it upon other people who do not share your faith, and make it the way of the land.  That’s not going to fly.

While we’re at it, this is also not a male nation.  Nor is it a white nation.  Women make up 50.8% of this country.  Blacks make up 13.1%, Hispanics are 16.9%, and Asians are 5.1% (USA Quickfacts, US Census).  While whites may be a majority, that does not mean they can disregard the lives and freedoms of others.  Women are the majority (barely), but we are still being governed over our bodies, and still earning less than our male coworkers.

When you rule based on one race, gender or culture, dissension occurs.  That is not freedom.  That is an exclusionary culture that has no place in a modern, civilized society.

Wake up, America.  If one of us is not free, none of us are.

Love,

A Tired Citizen Worthy Of True Freedom

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50 Years Later: A Dream Not Yet Fully Realized

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Fifty years ago today, Dr Martin Luther King Jr stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and shared with us his dream for our great country.  It was a fairly simple dream in that all he wanted was equality for all.  He wanted love to rule over hate, and for his own children to live in peace with white families.  So simplistic and beautiful, but has his dream been fulfilled?

In part, yes.  Under the law, everyone of every race is viewed as equal.  My daughter plays mostly with the neighbor kids who are black, and has no concept any difference other than their skin is different colors.  There are laws in place designed to give protections to Blacks in order for them to receive equal opportunities.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

But racism is not dead.  It’s far from it.  Hate crimes happen every day against all groups within our society.  It’s not just a crime against skin color anymore.  And even with the nations first Black President in office, racism is still flourishing in all corners.  Progress has been made, as is evident with President Barack Obama, but we still has so far to go.

Fifty years later, Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians have the highest rates of poverty with unequal access to the very things that improve and better an individuals place in society, like education and pay.  Inner cities, where minorities are the majority, have the lowest performing and underfunded school systems.  This is also where poverty flourishes.  Women are still fighting for equal pay to that of their male counterparts, as well as the right to govern over their own bodies.  Homosexuals are still fighting for marriage equality, and the same benefits for their families that heterosexual couples receive.  Muslims, and people who are mistaken for Muslims, are hated and discriminated against because of the actions of a few.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is no finger-pointing here.  There is plenty of blame to go around.  We all have a share in the progression of equality.  A truly free society, in my opinion, is one in which equality is second nature.  Everybody has the same access to the important things, such as healthcare and education.  Instead of a dark cloud of hatred, a beautiful light of love shines down on everyone.

That may be only a dream, but it’s a dream worth making a reality.  Let’s reflect on the last fifty years.  All the progress, the steps backward, and the path that lie ahead of us in order to reach that dream.  Dr. King’s dream should not go unfulfilled.  His words and actions should be remembered for generations to come, and not taken for granted until his dream has been realized.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you wish to read Dr. King’s speech, and I think everyone should today, you can find it HERE at the National Archives.  You can also listen to him give his historical speech here in this video:

Stop Turning A Blind Eye

“You can turn a blind eye to people causing others to suffer greatly, believing God will choose who is worthy at the end of days, or you can bring down those who cause such horrendous chaos and God can still decide who had evil or good in their hearts.”

I am agnostic, so the part about God above means nothing to me, but the idea behind the quote is strong.  You can choose to stand by and watch atrocities happen, all while believing they will get their own against them in return, OR you can choose to stand up against the atrocities and those who perform them.  I choose the latter.

Recently, Russia has been in the news due to a law that was passed and upheld in regards to homosexuality.  From what I understand, the law was intended to prevent people from using homosexual “propaganda” against children, indoctrinating them and making them gay.  This has brought protests and supportive rallies for and by homosexuals, which has brought on arrests, violent public beatings, and shaming.  Carry a rainbow anything on your person, and you face the chance of an arrest, or being publicly beaten to a bloody pulp.  Support the gays, and you face the same consequence.  All in order to keep our children safe from the gay.

gayolympicsThe Olympics are coming up, and they are being hosted by Russia this time around.  Many are voicing their opposition to Russia’s laws and behavior, and fear for their own safety, or the safety of their countries athletes.  Many are even calling for a boycott of the Olympics in protest.  Russia has claimed they will not punish those from other countries who are gay, or support their fellow teammates who are gay, but come on.  Who really believes that?  They might not face criminal charges, but the fact remains that violence is being brought down on people who support, or who show they are gay.  Who wouldn’t fear walking down the street with a gay friend, or holding hands with their partner?

Stephen Fry was on Twitter this morning calling for a solidarity salute by the athletes, a salute to show Putin and his lawmakers that they stand by their fellow gay athletes, and that he can shove it up his ass (The hashtag is #sochisalute, in case you’re interested or have ideas).  In response, a fellow Twitterer has expressed that we should keep politics out of sports, and that we should confront the situation with more politics.  This person has also stated in a lengthy conversation with me that it’s just a law against propaganda against children, and that she has not seen proof that violence and oppression is occurring.  She’s Russian, and lives in Moscow, by the way.

Turning a blind eye.  Maybe she is doing it because the news in Russia chooses to not broadcast such atrocities, knowing full well they are horrible and should be condemned.  Maybe she really doesn’t have any idea this is going on, or maybe she is just part of the problem.  Knowingly turning a blind eye so that you do not need to stand up and fight against the problems is part of the problem.  Choosing to ignore the pain and suffering of those around you because it should be left to the lawmakers is part of the problem.  Standing by and not making your voice heard because the politicians and law enforcement can handle it is part of the problem.

How can anyone turn away from what is so obvious?  Maybe it’s a fear of getting beaten and arrested themselves, but even that shouldn’t prevent a person from speaking out.  Nothing was ever accomplished through silence.  Nothing was ever changed that way.

Stand up, use your voice, use any power you may have to stop the wrongs being forced on others.  Stand up to that bully threatening that kid on the playground.  Speak up and protest those politicians who are abusing their power to oppress others.  Stop those people beating up another just because of their skin color, or sexuality.  Even if you think it will change nothing, do it!  Awareness and a voice will bring light upon those performing the atrocities, and they will no longer be able to hide among the shadows.  They will be forced to be seen for all that they are.

Stop turning a blind eye, or you will become a victim yourself.

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#twittersilence

“Those Who Stand For Nothing, Fall For Anything”
– Alexander Hamilton-

I like to play around on Twitter.  A lot.  I mostly retweet things that I think are funny, or that I agree with.  I also get my up-to-the-minute news from Twitter, as it’s usually more accurate than the 24 hour news cycle.  It can also be a place for support, silliness, political discussion, and activism.

Today, there has been a trending hashtag called #twittersilence.  A woman by the name of Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran, if you wish to check her out on Twitter) has decided to use her platform by taking a stand against abuse on Twitter…by being silent.  Now, while I am sure her heart is in the right place, I have to wonder if it will really do any good.

Yes, her silence, along with many others, has struck up a conversation about bullying, abuse, etc on the internet and beyond, especially towards women.  However, what does silence really do?

In my opinion, the abuser wins when the victim falls silent.  They can’t win.  If they win, the abuse will continue.  Maybe not towards the original victim (I mean, if you ignore something long enough, it will go away, right?), but towards some other unsuspecting, innocent individual.  What if this new individual is at the end of their rope due to things they are keeping personal, and they are now being pushed to the edge.  That’s how some suicide sometimes happens.

No, silence is not the answer.  Sexual harassment is at a high in the military because abuse is allowed to continue.  Not only because the victim remains silent, but also because when the victim finally does come forward, they are silenced by the authority that is in place to protect them.  Fat lot of good that does them, or the next individual victimized, or the next after that.

What about the people being bullied for the color of their skin, or their sexuality?  Not only on the internet, but in the real world.  Racism is not dead people, it still exists.  Hate crimes still happen, far more often than they should.  Have you seen or heard about what’s been going on in Russia?  Men and women standing up for their right to love whoever they want are being publicly beaten to oppress their rights and their voices.  The people trying to take them down are trying to silence them, but the only way to push forward is to keep speaking out.

Silence is NEVER the answer.  We should all be standing up and shouting about the atrocities we see every day, whether it’s on the internet, or right in front of our faces.

We should all be taking a stand against the cyber bully who hides behind an internet persona because they do not have the guts to do it in person.

We should all be taking a stand against the prejudice slapping us in the face on a daily basis.  It shouldn’t matter if it’s against you.  Do not turn a blind eye.  Say something.  Do something.  Let your voice be heard.

It’s the only way to end abuse, whether it’s verbal, psychological, or physical.  Whether it’s online, or on the street.  Abuse of any kind is wrong, and should be stopped.

So no, I will not be silent, Twitter.  I choose to use my voice, and call out the abusers.

What will you do?

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