Remember September. 

suicideawareness

Taken directly from the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, “September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic. We use this month to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. NAMI is here to help.

Suicide is a topic that I have touched upon previously on this blog. It is a topic that I, personally, am not afraid to talk about. And you shouldn’t be either.

90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. Ninety percent. This number makes me sick for the sole reason that if people weren’t so afraid to talk about mental illness, this number may not be this high today. Starting a conversation could save a life.

For those of you who don’t think a difference will be made, I will take you back to the MTV Video Music Awards from Sunday, August 27, 2017. Rapper Logic gave us an extremely powerful performance of his song 1-800-273-8255, delivering a message about mental health awareness set on a stage with attempted suicide survivors – a message that healing and hope are possible, no matter the crisis – a message that will continue to have a lasting impact on the lives’ of others.

Don’t think that Logic starting a conversation mattered? You are wrong. Three days later, the New York Times reported that there was a 50% increase in call volume to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline after the awards show. He saved a life. So can you.

In three days, I, along with many of my close friends and family, will be walking in the Out of the Darkness Walk in Buffalo, New York. I will be doing this in memory of one of my dear friends who I lost to suicide back in April. You can read all about our team here.

Since we set this team up a few months ago, it has continued to blow me away every single day at how many people out there are willing to join in for a great cause. I remember my friend’s mom wanting to set a goal of $1,000 for our team. At the starting point, it seemed reasonable, and almost too good to be true. As of today, we are at $7,630 and are the first place team for the Buffalo walk. No, being in first place does not matter – not one bit as a matter of fact. What matters is the awareness and the fight – but when you see so much generosity and so many good people coming together for a good cause, you can’t help but smile.

If you are in the Western New York community, join in. If there is an Out of the Darkness walk in your area, join in. This is a stigma that needs to be ended.

We must make our voices heard very loud and strong about mental illness, mental illness stigma and suicide prevention. It is critical. It is crucial. Each life is priceless. We must stop this. 

xoxo.

Selfish? Not one bit.

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There is absolutely nothing that prepares you for the loss of a loved one to suicide. When I say nothing, I literally mean nothing. When someone passes away from old age, we tend to be “prepared.” This, not so much.

For me, this has been a very, very sensitive subject to talk about, yet one that I cannot get my mind off of. It has been over two months since losing a friend to suicide, and there literally has not been one day or night in these 2+ months in which my mind has not been reeling over this. It is not something I ever thought I would associate with, but yet, here we are.

Our healthy mental state is something that most of us take for granted, myself included. Suicide is not something that simply happens. Why is it when someone succumbs to suicide, we don’t acknowledge the disease – the demons, the mindset, the brokenness that contributed to this? It is something that happens as a result of someone being so lost that they think ending their life is the only logical option left. It is something that happens when someone loses a long, endless, internal battle. It is something that happens when the light at the end of the tunnel seems like the only option – the option to be free, the option to be out of the dark, the option to be at peace.

If there is one thing that is so wrong, it is that we, as a society, continue to call something selfish that people have absolutely no control over. Suicide is not selfish. What is selfish is telling people that are struggling to get over it. To feel better. To just be happy. By doing this, you are being selfish. You are not thinking about how difficult “just getting over it” may be for them.

In regards to my own personal experience, this has been haunting. Personally, I cannot go to certain places in my hometown without feeling sick to my stomach over what occurred. I understand that this is still new. I also understand that this is something I will never get over, it will eventually become something I have to learn to live with. I am learning day by day how to cope with the situation at hand. For those of you like me who have gone through this, I am sure you can relate when I say that finding support from loved ones and friends really gets you through some of the tough times.

All in all, how anyone could be angry at someone for not being able to defeat a psychological and emotional monster is beyond me. It is our job to continue their legacy and their memory. Dwell on the good, not the bad.

As hard as it may be, we need to start talking about suicide. It is not easy to talk about. It is not easy to grieve. But it is something we need to do. The conversation starts now. Let’s talk. xoxo.

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out and contact the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you or someone you know is in danger or need immediate medical attention, please call 911 to get help.