Archive for Help

Dear depression, grief and sorrow:

*orginally written June 4th 2011 updated with additions:

I’m not sorry that I finally had to kick you out of my life.  Mostly because you almost ruined it.  I thought I was going to be OK after I came to terms with Jason’s death, I foolishly thought that the minute that happened that life would magically fall back into place for me once again.

I’m smart, I’m strong and countless other things.  Yet you held me in captivity for far, far too long.  It wasn’t bad enough that fate decided that my friends life should be snuffed out far too soon, wasn’t bad enough that living conditions in my home got to the point that they were UN-bearable, that I live in a province that winter seems to live on far past it’s expectancy, that three more people that I knew had to take it upon themselves to play God and cut their lives too soon.  No matter what I did, you were always there.  Hanging around and turning me from a bright and vibrant person into something so dark that I couldn’t stand myself anymore.

So much to the point that I was sitting there with a proverbial noose around my neck, waiting for the courage to kick that stool out from underneath me and just end it all.  The others did, why not I?  I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that life/fate/the universe/God or some other spiritual being had dealt out so many lousy avenues in my life and yet somehow I got up, got out of bed and made it through the day.  I was still alive, however I had ceased to actually live.

It’s so easy to say to someone that there’s help out there.  Because there IS.  That however takes effort.  Far too much effort for some.  You’re left to wonder if you’ll ever truly live again, if your life will ever be the same.  Except it never is, life as you know it ceases to be the same ever again.

Updated: July 5th 2011

It’s hard to accept that you life will never be the same again…  Yet, you want it to be.  Desperately so, you think to yourself that if you stick it out just one more day; you’re going to make it.  Some things are just far greater then you can ever begin to imagine.  In spite of all that you have managed to overcome thus far in life, it’s no match for this.

At least for me. 

Faking it becomes your new full time job, one that you don’t want and certainly didn’t ask for.  You think that people buy into it, yet somehow you know deep down inside that they don’t.  In reality you’re hurting them as much if not more then you’re hurting yourself.  I lived this way for far, far too long.  I was dead inside emotionally, I had lost my ability to care, to cry, and several other things.  I hated myself, hated what I was doing to myself and others and yet I felt hopeless and helpless (in spite of the fact that they are not mutually exclusive) until one day you get so fed up with being this way that you can’t take it anymore.  Something happens, something that’s in reality quite trivial in hindsight and you completely loose it on someone who doesn’t deserve it.  Therein almost totally destroying a relationship that you have with that person.

3 days later, you have the opportunity to see that person face to face and that’s when you fall apart.  Even though in your mind your trying to convince yourself not to cry, thinking to yourself I haven’t been able to cry for months and all of a sudden you Can’t. Stop. Crying.  It’s in that moment that you hit rock bottom so hard that you have road rash on your ass for the next month.  Who knew that you would hit rock bottom wearing a fuzzy bathrobe, sporting bed head, standing in a puddle from the snow on the other person’s feet, crying all over them saying that you’re sorry again and again because you are.  Sorry that you hurt that person for too long, sorry that you waited too damn long to get yourself the help that you damn well knew that you needed and waited far too long to get.

Everything happens for a reason and I believe that what happened was supposed to happen.  In fact, that random incident on March 2nd 2011 quite likely saved my life.  Which sounds ridiculous perhaps, however it made *me*aware that I couldn’t do this anymore.  I had become a prisoner in my own mind and I needed to get the hell out of that prison.  So I did.  On March 5th, the day I hit rock bottom I had an epiphany of sorts.  I was recalling a conversation with said person that we had about 12 step programs and how there’s one for pretty much everything.  That’s when the serenity prayer crept into my head:

”  God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Then it all made sense to me.  It all seemed so painfully easy and simple; let go of what I can’t change for the past is that, UN-changeable.  However you can learn from those past experiences and move onto something better.  There’s something wonderful about letting go and chasing down your demons.  I made a promise to myself at that moment to get help, and I had to look pretty hard to find something that would cater to my needs and my budget.  Which was frustrating, I didn’t however give up and thought I had found something that would work.  There was no harm in trying, I had nothing to loose at this point.

The next day I grew a pair and made the call.  That was hard, reaching out sucks.  Especially when that person is a virtual stranger to you.  However, the great thing about strangers is that they don’t know you from a hole in the ground so they don’t say all the cliche things to try and fix you, they just want to help you because you’re putting forth the effort to help yourself.  The next day, Monday, was it.  I had a really hard time walking through that door.  Even a harder time walking down those stairs and into that room.

But I did.   And it was wonderful!

There was something strangely freeing having someone ask you what brought you there and having the balls to say  “I’m broken, please help me so I can be whole again.”  and not feeling like a freak.  It was in fact a relief.  I did it.  Not because I felt that I had to, because I wanted to.  Which made all the difference in the world.  Later that night, I was privy to a conversation dealing with grief when someone had asked: “How do you pick up the pieces and move on?” I waited for someone to answer because I didn’t feel that *I* personally knew what it was and the person who responded kept it simple, all they said was:”You don’t.  You start over.”

Which made So. Much. Sense.  
So I did exactly that.

I kicked all the toxic people out of my life that were doing nothing but weighing me down.  It was a shame to have to break up with some of my friends but they weren’t good for me and I feel better not having them in my life and having no contact with them since then.  I moved out of the hell hole I once called home, discarded all the things that didn’t matter and managed to hang onto the job and the people I loved.  People who loved me in return and made me feel grateful that I was still alive to see it, acknowledged it and be a part of it.

It’s been a long, hard, tedious road.  I’ve been in recovery for 121 days, and every single one of them has been nothing short of extrodinary.  Far from perfect, however I have yet to return to that dark place and in truth I hope that I won’t ever encounter it again.  Technically as far as my depression goes, most would consider me cured since I do not suffer from a chemical imbalance, I was the unfortunate victim in too many circumstances.  Depression after all, isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you’ve been too strong for too damn long.

Most importantly, I have an amazing life.  A life where I wake up happy to be alive, a life where I no longer take anything for granted, a life where I choose NOT to be taken for granted any longer, a life where I live by my own rules.  Yes it’s selfish, I am not however hurting anyone by doing so, especially myself and that’s what counts the most.

I gave grief the finger a long time ago, said good bye to sorrow and as for you depression I only have one thing to say to you:

Fuck you! I took my life back.

-Steph

 

The darker side of depression & death by suicide…

*DISCLAIMER* What I am about to write here is based on my own personal research, training and personal experience.

Yesterday marks the 3rd death of someone I knew, who died by their own hand.  Yes, that’s THREE people I personally knew.  Some more then others.  The hurt that’s left behind?  It’s all the same.  So are the questions.  I seen a 2008 poster for suicide survivor’s day, survivor’s as in the one’s who are left behind to deal with the emotional train wreck after loosing someone they love.  It’s message was simple, yet profound:

Every 16 mins someone commits suicide, every 17 minutes someone is left to wonder why.

Why as in:

Why didn’t they reach out?
Why didn’t they seek out help?
Why didn’t I see this coming?
Why did they do this to me/us/their family?

Which is usually followed by: I seen so and so last week/month and they seemed so happy! How could someone so full of life do this?  Which usually leads to who/what can I blame?

Ever since loosing Jason on September 3rd 2009 (the Jason the foundation is named after) I had a lot of questions, almost no answers and soul sucking grief, shock, numbness and anger.
The internet is a great place to get some answers, however with that you also get a ton of statistical data and little sustenance and usually not the answer to which you seek. However, after taking a university based course that has now certified me to be an Online Suicide Intervention Specialist (OSIS) I was at least given a better understanding on a few things.

Most people fail to realize, or understand that depression is an illness not unlike AIDS or cancer to name a few. NOT a state of mind. There is a rather large difference between being sad/feeling Mellon collie and having actual clinical depression. Depression can occur at any time, for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s chemical, sometimes it’s seasonal (SAD as an example) and sometimes it’s situation brought on by grief by loss of a loved one (either the end of a relationship or death) loss of a job and so forth.

Because depression fits into the mental illness category, it carries a huge stigma.  It’s far more acceptable by society to have some God awful disease that is easily explained away as opposed to having depression.  Because people on occasion automatically label you as crazy or some form as such and well who wants that?

Depression doesn’t show any physical signs that are blatantly obvious to most observers.  People who are depressed don’t wear a sign around their neck that says : “Hey I’m depressed!”.  Depression is also a very high maintenance disease for some.  There’s countless types of medication on the market, however they don’t work for everyone and most carry some potentially lethal side effects.  So this means trying out several types of medication to see what works for you.  Maybe your lithium levels are low, maybe you need more sunlight, maybe your serotonin (your feel good hormone) levels are really low or maybe something horribly tragic happened to you and you quite simply can’t deal.  Whatever the reason, depression sucks.

If you’ve never experienced true depression first hand (I have) then it’s easy to say: “why didn’t so and so get help” and other things that we tend to torment ourselves with when we loose someone we love.  Seems so simple, yet it’s not.  Some people sadly loose the will to live, for whatever the reason.  There’s always hope, and as I am fond of saying it’s the one thing that never, ever dissapoints.  Yet some people don’t even have that.  When you’re sucked that far into the darkness, there’s no sense of light anymore.  Which is sad and heartbreaking.

People think that suicide is a selfish, cowardly act.  Actually it’s not.  It is to those who are left behind to mourn the loss and pick up the pieces.  No one wants to loose the one’s we love and how dare they abolish their own pain when it’s the one’s who are left with all the questions and no one there to provide the answers.  The will to live resonates pretty hard in all of us.  Countless people attempt suicide, or have suicide ideals yet they don’t always follow through.  I encourage everyone to read When someone takes his own life.  Which is also located at the top of the page in the tab menu.  Perhaps it will give you some peace.  Also piece of mind when sometimes there is none to be had.

The human race also has an enormous amount of pride and for some seeking out help isn’t always the easiest thing.  Healing oneself can take a lifetime of work.  Sometimes we’re wounded so badly we carry that burden with us for the rest of our lives.  Not everyone is committed to that.  A persons first instincts are to try and “cheer you up” in the vain hope that you’ll feel better.  Sadly, depression doesn’t have an easy fix.  If it did, then none of us would be suffering now would we? 🙂

To love and be loved is part of the human condition.  To ask for help and seek out help is not.  This is more common in men who are almost genetically predisposed to want to fix things themselves.

Most people who are suicidal generally don’t make the decision quickly.  It usually takes a while to work up one’s nerve and the signs are subtle.  Most people who are truly suicidal aren’t a bunch of glaringly obvious drama queens.  There are always signs, sometimes though those signs are so subtle that they’re easily ignored.  Especially if that person is generally vibrant and strong to the outside world.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a ton of demons crawling about in their mind.  Most of us figure that we all fall on emotionally hard times or financial ones, whatever your poison most people are generally tenacious enough to pick themselves up and move on.  However sometimes life just shits on you one too many times too damn often and we all have a breaking point.

When that person hits their limit, chooses to take their own life; we’re the one’s who are left in a devastating wake of grief, hurt and anger.  Sadly we can’t resurrect our loved ones, however we can use that persons death in a positive light.

Educate. Inspire. Speak out.  Even though this foundation is named after Jason, it’s for everyone who has died due to suicide and for those of us that are left behind to pick up the pieces.

-Steph

Last post for 2010!

It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed and rather quickly at that!
We’re quietly going about things for the moment. Slowly, but surely getting the word out there that we exist but more importantly spreading the message of hope, because after all that’s what were all about!

Earlier, NAOYP partook in helping someone having a brighter Christmas.

Today I took a peek over at Stefanie’s blog and here’s proof that one person truly can make a difference in the lives of others.

While we weren’t able to donate much, it’s quality not quantity that counts.  Knowing that so many people pitched in to help a family of total strangers has left me touched and my heart a lot lighter these days.

Wishing you all the best for a wonderful 2011 from (I’m) Not Afraid Of Your Pain.

It’s been a while…

However don’t you dare think that we have forgotten 🙂

I (Stephanie) have been exceptionally busy doing stuff, more on that later!  Because there are people in this world who need help now more then ever, especially around this time of year!  I was reading a post over on Tanis the redneck mommy’s facebook page (you should read her blog, it’s nothing short of awesome!) which led me to baby on bored’s latest blog posting.  I find that this time of year people are generally more generous (although we should be ALL year round not just around the holidays) and I was touched by what this woman was doing for this family.

When you have almost or nothing at all, the smallest things can have the largest amount of impact!  In keeping with Jason’s dedication to help others (he always donated to charities when he could, especially those helping children) and with my job in a daycare, this really touched me.  Please head on over to her blog (link posted above) to read this very touching story of one woman who is aiming to make someone’s Christmas a little brighter.

The purpose behind NAYOP is to help others.  Even if it’s not directly related to our mission.  That being said I’m making a donation on behalf of NAOYP in Jason’s honour because I think that he would have liked that very much.

One thing that never, ever dissapoints is hope.  Hold onto it forever.

Happy holidays everyone from the Jason Cartwright Memorial Foundation

Bullying and how it can affect others..

Take a look here

Bullying NEEDS to stop!

This boy was a mere child, the age of 13!  In the past two weeks, this is the fourth recorded suicide due to bullying!

Also please watch this excerpt from the Ellen show: