To Those Who Are Left Behind

Today is the last day of September and today is also the last day of “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” which is a month long campaign used to raise awareness on this very stigmatized and still very taboo topic. 

Although it may only be a month long campaign it doesn’t mean that it ends today. The conversation needs to continue each and every day. 

We MUST continue to keep the conversation going. 

We MUST continue to give hope to everyone affected by Suicide. 

We MUST continue to educate others.

And we MUST ensure that ALL individuals, families and friends have the same accessibility to the necessary resources available to give us all a better understanding on how to prevent suicide and seek help.

I’m not okay.  

I’m still having very intrusive and very real thoughts of suicide. It consumes me.

I’m reminded each and every day by friends, loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers what life would be like for those I’d leave behind. 

Trust me, I hear you. Your words echo in my head day and night. But sadly for many people suffering with a mental illness or suicidal ideations their pain can still become too much to bare.

One of those many reminders came to me recently by an old friend of mine who reached out to me to chat and I haven’t been able to get our conversation off my mind.

I was so honoured and grateful that she chose to share her overwhelming and very raw emotions with me as she tries to come to terms with the heart-wrenching grief and despair she’s been living with for months now after losing a loved one to suicide. 

I could feel her disbelief, her numbness, her shock, her anger, her confusion, her rejection and her guilt all wrapped together as she desperately tries to begin her journey toward healing and acceptance.

The aftermath of losing a loved one to suicide and finding ways to cope with the sadness, the feelings of helplessness and the overwhelming consumption of what ifs or what more could I have done can be very triggering and both mentally and physically exhausting.

Just know that you are not alone. 

Surround yourself with people who want to listen when you need to talk or who offer a shoulder to lean on when you just need to sit in silence. 

Remember there is no “proper” way to grieve any loss, especially ones which are so sudden and without closure. Let healing happen at your own pace and in your own time.

Seek out others who may be experiencing similar grief. Sharing your story with people who truly understand your pain can often help bring strength to your healing process. 

And lastly, find a mental health professional to guide you through your grief and help you adjust to life after suicide.

Yes, today may be the last day of September and the last day of “National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month” but today can not be the end to the conversation surrounding the many complexities of suicide.

Lets all make a promise to band together with more compassion and support to those who wake up each and every day battling very intrusive and very real thoughts of suicide, show kindness and empathy to those who are left behind after a suicide occurs and help them in any way you can to honour the memory of their loved one who has lost their battle.

*visit the Mayo Clinic website for more information.

*Suicide Prevention Helpline* 1.833.456.4566

#youarenotalone #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #asilentkiller #keeptheconversationgoing #yourmentalhealthmatters #tothosewhoareleftbehind #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #mentalillness #mentalhealth

Empty Picture Frames

I’m not in a good headspace. It’s not like this is something new to me or unexplored before; but I’m just not “okay”. 

I’m feeling very unsettled and my heart is heavy. If it hasn’t already been difficult enough for me living each day of the last seven years feeling like I’ve lost a big piece of myself then how can I ever begin to shake off this heaviness I’ve felt for the last several weeks?  A heaviness that feels way bigger than just one piece of my life has gone missing. In a sense I feel like I’ve been robbed and to be completely honest, in a very real way I believe I have.   

I’m turning 50 in just a little over two months. I’ve never really been too hung up on the whole age thing and let’s face it, if I had been then I probably would’ve never agreed to go on a first date, let alone marry a man who’s close to nine years older than me. 

My social media feeds have been preparing me for my upcoming birthday since the beginning of 2021 as several times a week I witness one or more of my friends from my childhood and adolescence reach this special milestone. And it’s been kinda exciting and nostalgic to reminisce with many old friends, see old photos and feel part of this exclusive club; the one that significantly links me back to my childhood and adolescent years, a time and place that I have some of the fondest memories of with friends and extended family.

But a few weeks ago when one of my oldest and dearest friends was about to turn 50 I felt a trigger of emotions come over me and it hasn’t left me since. It feels heavy and unsettled and fills my heart with so much sadness, anger, resentment, hurt and emptiness. 

These triggers have taken me even further back in my life than just seven years ago, like way, way back; right to birth. 

You see I wanted so desperately to pay tribute to my dear friend with a walk down memory lane in the form of a photo collage and to be able to celebrate our nearly 40 years of friendship except, here is where the trigger of emotions really began to go off the rails for me because how can I make a collage of memories from an almost 40 year friendship without a single photo or memory from our younger years. 

I don’t want to get into too many details right now as to what actually happened to every single one of my photos and childhood memories I possessed before the age of 19 because well that’s where the triggers really start to go south for me. 

Let’s just say that if they had been lost in an accidental fire or went missing during a home invasion I could make room for forgiveness in my heart; but neither of those two scenerios actually played out.

There isn’t one photo of my first year of life to be found, not one school picture or memory from any of my birthdays to be found either. There are no photos of me sitting on my grandpa’s lap playing his trumpet or baking cookies with my grandma to be found. There are no photos of my childhood home in Montreal or Toronto for that matter, no photos of me from the many summers I spent at overnight camp as a camper (I do have a few pics though of my summer as a camp counsellor back in 1989). There isn’t the abundance of photos that were taken of my precious dog who meant the world to me during my adolescent years, no photos capturing the silly antics of me and my brother to be found, no photos of family outings, no photos of family friends or relatives and no photos of me and my besties growing up. It’s as though my childhood has been completely erased and sadly it all could’ve been prevented. 

The only photos I do have in my possession now (which I sometimes like to post) are the few that have been sent to me by old friends and family (please keep ’em coming!). 

My kids have begrudgingly posed for pictures and may get somewhat annoyed at times by my wanting to document every single milestone or seemingly insignificant moment from their childhood, adolescence and young adult lives but I see them, I see them periodically flipping through old photo albums and the hundreds of saved pictures on their computers. I see them laughing and reminiscing and looking back fondly at those silly memories and keepsakes and I definitely know now that one day they will totally thank me for it because memories may fade over time but a picture will tell a story for a lifetime!

Do you have a favorite photo from your childhood?

#memories #oldphotos #nostagia #lostmemories #feelinglost #fiftiethbirthday #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #friendship #family 

Perhaps It Was A Lobotomy?

A memory popped up on my Facebook page early this morning which reminded me that seven years ago today I had a minor surgical procedure done in hospital, but aside from some slight discomfort for a couple of days following, it was really no big deal. 

This memory has popped up on my Facebook wall for years now and recalling it has also never been any big deal before, that was until today.  Suddenly after all these years I became severely triggered by it and I really wish I could understand why.

It could’ve been because I had a particularly difficult day yesterday and was already in a very negative mindset when the notification came in on my phone shortly after midnight; which is also when the floodgates completely opened up and left me writing this at 4:30 am.

The above procedure I had happened to take place exactly seven weeks prior to “D” day. “D” day of course refers to the day in which my journey first began and reading this seemingly innocent memory this morning took me back, not to the actual day of my surgery but instead I began ruminating about all the events that took place leading up to “D” day.

I found myself ruminating about the new job I had just started literally a week or two before my procedure. I found myself ruminating about how I destroyed my entire world by choosing to leave another job to pursue this one. I found myself ruminating about all the scary conversations and dangerous situations I found myself in over the next six or seven weeks following the procedure, all at the hands of my crooked boss. 

I began to beat myself up further for several more hours, replaying every bad memory, image and scenario in my head that literally occurred up until “D” day and literally all night long. And to think that all this was triggered from a memory on Facebook that once felt pretty disconnected from all of the above.  

I’m beginning to think that maybe the procedure was a bigger deal after all, maybe I had more than just a minor surgical procedure done, is it possible I was given a lobotomy that day instead? I mean it certainly would all make perfect sense to me now. Yes? No?

#triggers #rumination #lobotomy #youareenough #youarenotalone #facebook #memories #itsoktonotbeok #sleeplessnight #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mindfulness #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #youmatter #ptsd

You’ll always be my babies ❤

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been” ~ Mark Twain

#youareenough #iloveyoutothemoonandback #foreverandaday #tbthursday

It’s 11:11

Monday Motivation

It’s 11:11. Time to make your wishes come true! We all make wishes subconsciously throughout our day, probably numerous times per day, that which we hope to fulfill.

Many of these wishes are just a fleeting moment in time like when you find yourself wishing it would stop raining outside or maybe you wish you could take a vacation.

Then there are the wishes that are done with more of a conscious mind like when we wish we we could find a way to have more money or wish we could somehow find a way to better our health or then there is the wish of so many who are longing (and wishing) to find that one true love to share their life with.

In order for our wishes to come true, they need to become more than just idle thoughts. They take vision, they take a mental image, they take intent, they take direction and they need to be written down and read out loud many times a day.

Wishes can and do come true, so tell me one thing that you wish for right now? 

#makeithappen #mondaymotivation #whatdoyouwishfor #makeawishescometrue #makeawish #thepowerofwishes #writeyourwishesdown #saythemoutloud #eleveneleven #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #dreamer #desire

Just One More

I’m pretty sure there are lots of people who choose to scroll past many of my posts on Social Media and lots more who have probably “unfriended” me over time because of the content I share may seem completely irrelevant to their lives or make them feel uncomfortable.

When I first started to share my story almost 4 years ago I would always fear what others would think of me when I shared many intimate details and experiences of my journey with you and to be perfectly honest, there are still many days now where the fear of being judged or shamed gets to be too much for me and I vow never to write again. 

But it’s on those same days that I need to remind myself that l cannot lose my voice and especially not now when the mental wellness of so many is on a rapid decline and the rate of suicide is rapidly increasing. 

I chose to share my journey, not as a way to gain attention to myself or for others to feel sorry for me but instead as a way of letting people know that they are not alone and that it’s okay to not be okay. I also began to share my journey as my way of trying to squash the stigma surrounding mental illness and bring about more awareness, education and change.

I am sharing my journey more than ever right now hoping that my story helps even just one more person scrolling by who is suffering in silence, or just one more person who needs to help a loved one who is struggling or just one more person who chooses awareness and change in their life instead of judgment and stigma then that will help even just one more person begin to feel accepted and less ashamed!

#endthestigmatogether #youareenough #choosekindness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #startaconversation #dontsufferinsilence #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #suicide #suicideprevention #justonemore

Concentration

I’m tired, actually let me rephrase that; I’m exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for days right now and my eyes are burning (well maybe that’s from my allergies!). I have trouble finishing a sentence or even finding the words to finish a sentence sometimes which could also be why I haven’t been able to write for several days. My level of concentration is at the bare minimum and I feel as though I have the attention span of a toddler. I not only have a difficult time putting together a full sentence without getting overwhelmed but I find that I am forgetting my thoughts while I’m in the middle of them. If I don’t write everything down right away, even the simplest or most mundane thoughts, you might as well just forget about it cuz I will for sure.

Focusing and concentrating on life has been incredibly difficult for me over the last many years, especially since I did ECT several years ago for my depression (which basically did nothing more than fry my brain), my ability to take in information and retain it has grown increasingly more impaired over time. I’ve always thrived on being able to multitask and was always up for any challenge but nowadays I need complete silence or next to no distraction to do most things anymore, including driving and watching TV. I find I need silence in order to talk my way through whatever task, activity or conversation I am involved in (even technologically) because otherwise there is a good chance I will miscomprehend it, misunderstand it, miss important information or stray far from the intended focus or destination.

I’m wrapping up my Initiative this weekend (for real this time) as the last bit of orders get delivered to me later today and once that is all said and done maybe as I refuel my tank I should start with a simple, mundane activity to help increase my ability to concentrate more; do you think concentrating on my tan could work?