My older brother tried to kill himself when I was a kid.
I remember meeting him in the hospital and giving him silly putty to play with.
I remember my mom crying against his frail body beneath the hospital gown.
He was just a boy in my mind, but also my hero.
And I didn’t know then why he did it.
But now I know.
Approximately 87% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness.
Suicide is not selfish.
It is an escape for people who need help.
He was not weak.
He was scared.
And I’m so grateful he wasn’t successful.
But just because he lived doesn’t mean the conversation is over.
The suicide rate is going up and therefore the conversation around it also needs to go up.
I’m done pretending our world is fine.
We are not fucking fine.
We need help.
And we need awareness.
1. Inform them that thoughts of suicide are often linked to a treatable mental illness. This may instil a sense of hope in them.
2. Suicidal thoughts are common and do not have to be acted upon. The thoughts are often a plea for help and a desperate attempt to escape distressing feelings.
3. Encourage them to do most of the talking.
4. Do not attempt to solve their problems.
5. If you appear confident in the face of the suicide crisis, this can be reassuring for the person.
6. Although some people think that asking about suicide can put the idea in the person’s mind, this is not true.
From: Mental Health First Aid training
I was always afraid of who I would encounter, Jekyll or Hyde.
And now as an adult, I still don’t trust him or anyone.
I’m always wary.
Searching for the monsters in your closet.
I don’t believe anyone’s pure.
So show me your monsters before I find them myself.
When I was in high school, I took an art class. The class was full of chaos, but one thing I remember were the skulls.
We had to sketch the skulls and I remember immediately falling in love with them.
I didn’t see them as death.
I saw them as beginnings.
Beautiful, creepy beginnings.
And my mom hated them which made me love them more.
Like I said, rebellious weirdo.
But even now, I still love them.
Because the idea of death reminds me to live.
And don’t we need that reminder?
You wouldn’t know this by meeting me, but I struggle with anxiety and depression.
Funny, that statement, huh.
Like mental ill health has a look.
But so many assume it does.
They think, are you Eeyore or Tigger today?
Well, I’m neither and both.
And isn’t that confusing?
But the world is confusing!
That’s the thing.
We are not living in some binary world.
Our world and our feelings are perplex and alot of time paradoxical.
We can be both things at once.
We don’t have to choose sides.
And we don’t have to fit in a box.
We can feel everything and nothing and still be “normal”.
Being blindly kind
Will hurt you like a double edge sword.
Beware, your impatience to be kind is not actually a projection of your own ego seeking praise.
Childhood traumas sneak up on you that way.
I fucked up. I was trying to be kind to tracy and I didn’t even consider if it’s what tracy wanted.
And she said she wasn’t angry, but now she’s stressed and it’s my fault.
I’m a fucking idiot.
I know it’s done now.
But not in my head it’s not.
In my head I’ll beat myself up for the rest of the day.
Practicing empathy is so hard for me.
Because my dad isn’t an empathetic person.
I learned my whole life not showing empathy was the strong approach.
The right approach.
And now I’m unlearning that.
And it’s fucking hard
When I was a kid, I loved being weird and eccentric.
I once put all my winter clothes on at once and waddled out of my room saying, “I’m a snowman.”
Or I use to drip ocean mud on my legs at the beach until I was all covered up and say, “I’m the mud monster!!!”
In high school I use to skip down the halls and sing.
In university I use to compete with my friends about who got the highest score in our finance class and make dad jokes about it.
I’ve always been somewhat of a rebellious weirdo.
I’ve never wanted to be super cool.
Yeah I’ve wanted to fit in, but more importantly I wanted to be accepted for who I was.
And when I couldn’t find a group who would accept me, I’d usually just go searching in the library.
My people are always in the library.
So what I’m saying is, I like this about me.
And I’ll never stop being the onesie wearing weirdo who loves unicorns.
Because that’s me.
Don’t I know I have a problem with anger!
But lately I’ve been realizing its not a problem.
It’s a symptom.
Yes, I’m angry.
Yes, I was hurt.
But now what?
What am I going to do with that anger?
Will I let it sit and fester?
Because I’ve tried that and let me tell you, it does not feel healing. It feels like it’s tearing me apart limb from limb while I suffocate under water.
Will I let it fuel me?
Yes, I will.
My anger toward injustice and inequality and obviously the lack of awareness around mental health is fueling me.
It is fueling me toward more education, more compassion toward other victims and more love toward myself.
Anger can fuel, but it cannot heal.
So if you’re seeking to be healed, please know the path doesn’t stop at anger.
It begins there.
It’s funny, I’ve always liked graffiti.
I know I grew up with a father who sees it as trashy, disrespectful and dirty, but I have never seen it that way.
I see it as a treasure hunt.
I see secret messages on walls, trains, bridges and think, “the universe is speaking to me. What is it trying to say?”
So when I saw this message, I knew immediately how I felt.
I felt the universe telling me to choose love.
Choose loving yourself.
Choose loving others.
And especially choose loving others you disagree with.
Now, this doesn’t mean love without boundaries.
This means, love yourself first. Hence, respect and honor your boundaries first, then love those around you.
Once I decided to make this choice, I felt a whole lot lighter.
Because loving others without loving yourself first doesn’t work, does it?