Posts From July, 2019

Talk Until You’re Blue in the Face

My mental health is my first priority, because when that's not in check, my life just doesn't work.Over the last several years I joined my local suicide prevention coalition and co-chaired two Out of the Darkness Community Walks. Currently, I volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Healing Conversations Program, which offers peer support for survivors of suicide loss.

In 2017, I founded No Parameters LLC (www.noparameters.org) to help other trauma and loss survivors heal and feel like themselves again. These are my people and this is how I keep moving forward in my suicide loss recovery.

I believe isolation and disconnection are what lead to suicide, and that silence can be deadly. In order to stay grounded, I make it a habit to express myself genuinely and to connect within through daily meditation and mindfulness techniques. I also stay in regular contact with my in person and online supports.

I'm living proof there's life after trauma loss, but I believe it takes a small village to heal.

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Recovery is Facilitated Through Connectivity

Suicidal thoughts are symptoms of not only mental health conditions but life events, transitions, and a combination of social factors. I think these are important steps to re frame the narrative around suicide and mental health. If we don’t take control of the problematic narrative society is pushing, that will be the dominant narrative. 

Even baby steps, like these conversations, this blog, our Alternatives to Suicide group, celebrities talking about their stories, can help shift this narrative. 

The thing that facilitates change is people, and people don’t want to reach out because of fear of ostracization. There is power in groups, there is security in being surrounded by people who say “me too.” Building community and cultural understanding are the most important things we can do right now. Change doesn’t happen fast, but we need to continue to step up and face these problems collectively as a community. 

I hope that, in sharing my experiences, it lessens the pain for someone else.

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A LiFE OF HOPE: Discovering Me

I wish I could say that feelings of hopelessness are a thing of the past. But I still have days that knock me down. The defining difference is my ability to catch myself and tap into the many tools I’ve developed and surrounded myself with over the years. Healthy coping skills and relationships guide me through the darkness, helping me to distinguish between my fears and the hope that resides from within.  

Today, I am an advocate for mental wellness and suicide prevention—serving as a public speaker and the Founder and Executive Director of a nonprofit, LiFE OF HOPE. A quote by Jon Acuff fuels my new passion for life: “Sometimes God redeems your story by surrounding you with people who need to hear your past, so it doesn’t become their future.” May it inspire you as well.  

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My Son, My Hero: From Tragedy to Hope and Inspiration

Freedom from Depression: 6 Keys to Eliminating Emotional Pain

“Regardless of all the risks factors associated with depression, two forces are prevalent in every sufferer’s experience, an overactive fight-or-flight reflex and a runaway Negative Programming Cycle that, together decimate self-esteem that spirals down into feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and unworthiness, ultimately resulting in a deep, dark depression.  While we may not be able to do anything about the risk factors involved in depression, there are tools and training available that can intercede in the fight-or-flight reflex and Negative Programming Cycle that, in time and with practice can return those suffering from depression back to a state of mental wellness.”

My Son, My Hero:  From Tragedy to Hope and Inspiration

“Regrets and blame, shame, and guilt are normal reactions to the loss of a child to suicide.  While it may not be easy, learning to forgive ourselves and others and be grateful for all the wonderful things we have experienced in life will help us heal from our tragic loss.  Forgiveness and gratitude were both extolled in Jesus’s teachings.  They have also been proven by science to alter the structures, chemistry, and functions of our brains so that we experience life with love, joy, and abundance, instead of grief, pain, and loss.”

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Words Hurt, Share Hope

"It is not an easy journey and it is not a straight path but I have surrounded myself with a great support system and work on being honest with them as well as being honest in my speaking engagements to let people know that someone that has struggled with mental health conditions and suicide sometimes is not just “cured” one day.  When we share our stories, we are saving lives".

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