Archive | October 2013

Try loving somebody…again!

Everybody is always making a big fuss over the “first love” concept, and how it’s this life-changing thing that never really goes away. I feel like while your first love is great, and probably shows you things about yourself that you didn’t know, and inevitably breaks your heart, what we should really be talking about is the second and third and fourth great loves that show us that we can feel that way for someone again.

After that “first great love” breaks your heart you get to thinking they’re one in a billion, the only fish in this sea that could possibly jive with you, that could possibly make you want to touch them all night and then just sit next to them while watching Scandal and go grocery shopping and talk about all the little, ridiculous nuances of everyday life that nobody else could possibly understand but them.

But one day, usually when we’re least expecting it, someone else comes along. Usually, we’re hesitant to love them. We think we’re broken and “we need time” when really it’s just an excuse to not be with someone because we’re too afraid of our own feelings. But what we realize, slowly, but then all at once, is that the person we have in our lives right now makes us happier than that other person did. They ended for a reason, and you don’t have to end what you have because of what happened in the past. It’s over, your thoughts are the only thing that keeps it alive.

And maybe we want to keep these things alive, because we can’t get over the fact that sometimes in life, we can love greatly and deeply but, not forever. This is not what we were taught. We were raised on the notion that once we find someone we care about enough, we have to bind them together with us by law and conform to every convention set up for us to breed the next generation and live a blase life.

You don’t have to choose this. There will always be more love to find. I am getting over the worse loss of my life -my only daughter dying and guess what? Even me, in this state of finding my way through tragedy, have managed to find someone to love me just as I am -today. It’s only ever a matter of getting over the fear of feeling again. Of course, the love I have for my guy is different than the love I feel/felt for my daughter but, in the end love is love. I decided not to shut down and never love again. (If one does this -it’s to never feel that pain or loss again.) But, to love and to do it again, right now!

10 Ways To Maintain Your Mental Health

1. Talk About Your Feelings
2. Eat Well
3. Keep in Touch with family and friends
4. Take a Break
5. Accept Who You Are
6. Keep Active
7. Drink Sensibly
8. Do Something You’re Good At
9. Care for Others
10. Ask for help

Same thought, way better outcome!

Aris died by suicide -publically. I often search her name and see what articles are associated with her name. Today, I found a story and would like to share it. I also wanted to thank the author for chosing life!!!

Dear Aris,

You are someone I have never met, but you have had a big impact on my life. I first heard about you when I was contemplating suicide and I read about you in the newspaper. You had jumped from a Bridge, and that was so enthralling to me. You had actually taken your own life, and I admired you for doing that.

i’ve read every article and watched every video I could find related to you and the Bridge. It just seemed so simple; walk across the bridge, jump off, and bam, you don’t have to deal with life anymore, and no one has to deal with you. Back then it seemed like such a good idea, and I tried to follow in your footsteps, but couldn’t find the bridge because I am not from here. I found my own cliff, but thought about to many reasons why I shouldn’t jump.

My life is different for having known about you. I’ve seen pictures of you, and now when I see someone who looks kind of like you, I flinch, and go, “oh, its–” and I used to think “man, I really should do it too.” Now I just go, “oh, its–wait, no its not. God, thats so sad!” and then I feel sad and wish I could have done something to help you. Pretty often I think about your fiance, and what he must be going through. It must be awful.

Did you really think about how awful this was? how sad your family, friends and fiance would be? Im sure you didn’t. And I’m not saying that to condemn you, i’m just asking. And I’m sure you had no idea how many people you would influence who you had never met before. You influenced me, and I never heard of you until after you were dead.

During one of the lowest points of my life, someone told me, “Feeling suicidal is just like any other feeling. It is just a feeling, it is not something you have to act on, and it will pass.” Through a lot of work and often telling my suicidal side “no,” I’ve come beyond suicide and am actually enjoying my life and want to keep living. I often think of you and how if you had not jumped, you could have had the joy of learning to enjoy life too. I don’t know, maybe you were planning your suicide for a long time. I planned mine for a long time. Maybe you didn’t want anything to stop you. I was like that too. But even then it was still possible to learn to enjoy life, and if you had realized that its possible, and realized you were worth keeping alive, then maybe you wouldn’t have jumped.

Aris, I’m sorry I never got to meet you. I’ve admired you a lot in the past for taking your life. Now that I’ve learned to enjoy life, I only wish you could have learned to do the same. I’m sorry you had to end your life. I wish I could have talked to you before you jumped, and maybe changed your mind.

I’ll probably continue to flinch every time I see someone who looks like you. I’ll still feel sad whenever that happens, sad that I couldn’t prevent what happened. Its been 7 months since I first read about you. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget. I doubt I will. I know time will take away the sharpness of the sadness, and the thought says I should do it too.

But you made a choice, an irreversible choice. You ended your life. If you could feel, I’d say I hope you are happy with your decision. Even though you can’t feel, I’ll end on that thought. I’m still very sorry I couldn’t help you. You impacted my life a lot, hopefully not in the way that you planned on. Anyway, talking about how suicides affect thousands of people will not bring you back and change your mind. So I will just say, sleep peacefully, Aris. See you on the other side.



How should I treat someone who lost a loved one to suicide?

Many people bereaved by suicide feel alone and isolated. The silence that surrounds the issue of suicide can complicate the experience. Because of the social stigma surrounding suicide, people feel the pain of the loss, yet may not believe they are allowed to express it. We know that the support of friends and family can make a real difference to the bereaved person’s capacity to manage the experience. Maintaining a strong social support network is important. Grief is challenging and a network of friends and family can make it much easier. Don’t be surprised or alarmed by the intensity of their feelings. They may be overwhelmed by intense feelings of grief often when they least expect it. Intense feelings can come in waves and knowing that each wave will subside can make it easier to provide support. Accept that they may be struggling with troubling emotions (such as guilt, fear, anger and shame), well beyond what they will have experienced previously. What we have learned from bereaved people is that they need compassion, recognition and validation of their experience. They need to be really listened to, heard and understood, non judgmental support, an opportunity to tell the story over and over again, a safe and supportive environment to be able to express their grief in their own way, and to have no time limits imposed. I have personally experienced losing my daughter to suicide so, I can tell you that what is written here is true. I felt guilty for not being there in the city where my daughter died. I was angry she chose to end her life. I am still sad and miss her everyday. It’s been almost nine months and I am just starting to feel a little bit “normal.” Many people feel awkward and nervous when first spending time with a suicide bereaved person. It will take some time to learn how to respond. It is okay to feel awkward but you don’t need to let it prevent you showing support. I know for years, my daughter and I were a package deal so for me, it is not weird that some of my family have a hard time knowing what to say to me. The sadness they feel is real too. Knowing what to say to the bereaved can be the biggest challenge. Try not to say ‘committed’ suicide. This harks back to a time when suicide was a crime and some bereaved people find it distressing. You can say died by suicide or took their life. Try and comfort by saying things like ‘you’re so strong’, ‘time will heal’, or ‘she’s at peace now.’ Don’t avoid the subject of suicide. This can create a barrier making it hard for them to discuss personal issues later. Avoid judgments about the person who committed suicide. People need to come to come to their own understanding of the person and what has happened. Try to avoid simplistic explanations for the suicide. Suicide is very complex and there are usually many contributing factors. Listen and hear their experience. Be truthful, honest and aware of your limitations: acknowledge if you don’t understand or know how to react to what they are going through. Say the name of the person who has died and talk about them. Not saying their name can leave the bereaved feeling as though the one who died is being forgotten or dismissed. Be aware of those who are grieving who may be forgotten, for example, children, grandparents, friends should ask “How are you getting along?” and then really listen to the response. Stay and hear and try to understand. Allow the person to speak whatever they need to however difficult and complex it is. There are many types of support that can be provided during this time, practical and emotional. Remember that this type of bereavement is long-term and you will not be able to ‘fix’ it or make it go away. People need assistance and support, usually for a long period of time, as they come to terms with what has happened. Try to help attend to the things that might get left behind during this difficult period. For example, helping to look after children or cook meals occasionally. I know I did not want to cook for months and it was so appreciated when someone made me lunch or bought me a dinner. Eating just wasn’t on my mind. Offer to do something specific, for example, ‘I could come and mow the lawn’, or just bring some food or a meal. Many bereaved people will find it difficult to ask for assistance and they may also have difficulty making decisions or identifying ways you can assist. Be aware that the person is having a hard time. I didn’t want to ask anyone for anything right after my Aris died because I felt everyone had done so much already. I also was in no mood to talk. Respect their right to grieve and accept the intensity of the grief. Allow them to grieve in the way that is most comfortable for them and provide support that is helpful.

As one door closes, another is opened.

Much pain and sadness was/is associated with my daughter Aris’ death. She was so young and beautiful with her whole life ahead of her. The selfishness I feel of wanting her here, even if she was in a dark mental space…That door has closed but, another has opened. A scholarship was created in her name by her boyfriend’s mom. My daughter’s name will live on and a deserving student that is college bound will get help with tuition. Even though Aris had mental health issues, she remained dedicated to her pursuit of higher education. She would be so proud that her life’s obstacles helped another person’s dreams come true! I am proud of her just as much now that she has passed on as I was when she was here. She was good at everything she did and is still changing lives and helping people. She loved humanity and her purpose is still being fulfilled.

After a tragedy, how can you get the joy back out of life?

When you lose a loved one, it is hard not to be sad. You miss them immensely. It can be even more devastating when the death is sudden-that can take even longer to heal from. I’m speaking from the personal experience of losing my only child. I found myself alternating between paralysis and intense waves of pain, anger, guilt, sorrow, and devastation. I am just beginning to feel normal again and it has been almost nine months. I am learning to live without her physically being here. She is still with me, just in a different way. Before she passed, I always use to wake up with a song playing in my head. After she died, I noticed the music stopped. Guess what? I began to hear the melody playing in my mind again! For me, this is a clear sign, I’m coming back around. I’m starting to cry less and laugh more. I get much more happiness out of thinking about her and the times we shared together. I feel good about moving forward. I’m wanting to get the joy out of life I once had. Why do I need joy? Joy flows from love and peace and I find it in my nature to want joy.

Here are a few ways to bring joy back I your life:

1. Spend time with children (there are children everywhere).

2. Discover something refreshing (or surprising).

3. Feel your body (you are a miracle of life).

4. Read a novel (fiction, stories, not the usual self-improvement stuff).

5. Travel (any distance).

6. Look for smiles in people’s faces (on the street and on TV).

7. Write thank you notes (to yourself too).

8. Create a rhythm for your daily life (simple things will do).

9. Exercise (in a way that makes you smile).

10. Help someone (with something you enjoy doing).

11. Find a color that makes you feel good (and wear it).

12. Enjoy your spiritual practice. (Enjoy!)

13. Spend time with nature (plants and pets are nature, too).

14. Do something creative (just for yourself).

15. Accept help from people (strangers, too).

16. Learn something new. (What have you always wanted to learn?)

17. Listen to music (and let your body move along).

18. Walk barefoot (slowly).

19. Savor simple pleasures. (What’s that?)

20. Give yourself a break (in every sense of the word).

21. When you have a choice, choose joy.

Interesting Fact…

Suicide is a desperate act by someone who is in intense pain and wants their pain to stop. That is a HUMAN response to extreme pain. And over 90 percent of the people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death, so they are not thinking clearly. Saying that a person who had severe clinical depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or a similar illness was engaging in an act of selfishness when they died by suicide – even though their thought process, mood, and judgment were greatly affected by their mental illness – is not only inaccurate, but downright cruel, to both the person who committed suicide and the suicide survivors. A suicidal action that manifests from intense, excruciating, unbearable pain associated with a serious mental illness has nothing to do with selfishness. Period. If you know someone in extreme pain, please try to help them! You could be saving their life!