WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2017
See https://iasp.info/wspd2017/ to find this article and more
Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Behind these statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.
Each one of these individuals is part of a community. Some may be well linked in to this community, and have a network of family, friends and work colleagues or school mates. Others may be less well connected, and some may be quite isolated. Regardless of the circumstances, communities have an important role to play in supporting those who are vulnerable.
This sentiment is reflected in the theme of the 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day: ‘Take a minute, change a life.’ As members of communities, it is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling, check in with them, and encourage them to tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Offering a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgmental way can make all the difference.
Taking a minute can change a life
People who have lived through a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life, and about the days, hours and minutes leading up to this. They often describe realizing that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them. Many say that they actively sought someone who would sense their despair and ask them whether they were okay.
Sometimes they say that they made a pact with themselves that if someone did ask if they were okay, they would tell them everything and allow them to intervene. Sadly, they often reflect that no one asked.
The individuals telling these stories are inspirational. Many of them recount reaching the point where they did try to take their own lives, and tell about coming through it. Many of them are now working as advocates for suicide prevention. Almost universally, they say that if someone had taken a minute, the trajectory that they were on could have been interrupted.
Life is precious and sometimes precarious. Taking a minute to reach out to someone – a complete stranger or close family member or friend – can change the course of their life.
No one has to have all the answers
People are often reluctant to intervene, even if they are quite concerned about someone. There are many reasons for this, not least that they fear they will not know what to say. It is important to remember, however, that there is no hard and fast formula. Individuals who have come through an episode of severe suicidal thinking often say that they were not looking for specific advice, but that compassion and empathy from others helped to turn things around for them and point them towards recovery.
Another factor that deters people from starting the conversation is that they worry that they may make the situation worse. Again, this hesitation is understandable; broaching the topic of suicide is difficult and there is a myth that talking about suicide with someone can put the idea into their head or trigger the act.
The evidence suggests that this is not the case. Being caring and listening with a non-judgemental ear are far more likely to reduce distress than exacerbate it.
Resources are available
There are various well-established resources that are designed to equip people to communicate effectively with those who might be vulnerable to suicide. Mental Health First Aid, for example, is premised on the idea that many people know what to do if they encounter someone who has had a physical health emergency, like a heart attack (dial an ambulance, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation), but feel out of their depth if they are faced with someone experiencing a mental or emotional crisis. Mental Health First Aid teaches a range of skills, including how to provide initial support to someone in these circumstances. There are numerous other examples too; relevant resources can be found on the websites of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (https://www.iasp.info/resources) and the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int).
Join in on World Suicide Prevention Day
2017 marks the 15th World Suicide Prevention Day. The day was first recognised in 2003, as an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and endorsed by the World Health Organization. World Suicide Prevention Day takes place each year on September 10.
On September 10, join with others around the world who are working towards the common goal of preventing suicide. Show your support by taking part in our Cycle Around the Globe campaign aimed at raising awareness through community action. Find out what local activities have been scheduled as well – or initiate one yourself!
Finally, if there is anyone you are concerned about, take a minute to check in with them. It could change their life.
~~~My angels gave me a mission to speak out about mental illness. In doing so they gave me a message that if someone wears turquoise or uses this color in their daily lives it will soothe them.
The name of my campaign is Brighten Your Day with Turquoise.
I will be sharing more information here about the color turquoise itself and ways to use this color.
I will be posting information where you can call or go for guidance if you are experiencing symptoms from a mental illness.
Here is some information from empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com on the color turquoise and how it helps with mental illness. The meaning of the color turquoise is open communication and clarity of thought. In color psychology, turquoise controls and heals the emotions creating emotional balance and stability. It recharges our spirits during times of mental stress and tiredness, alleviating feelings of loneliness. You only have to focus on the color turquoise, whether on a wall or clothing and you feel instant calm and gentle invigoration, ready to face the world again! Turquoise encourages inner healing through its ability to enhance empathy and caring. It heightens our intuitive ability and opens the door to spiritual growth. It is the color of the evolved soul. At the same time, it can help us to build our self-esteem and to love ourselves, which in turn supports our ability to love others unconditionally. It is a good color to use when you are stuck in a rut and don’t know which way to move.
Positive keywords include communication, clarity of thought, balance and harmony, idealism, calmness, creativity, compassion, healing and self-sufficiency.
This color represents open communication from and between the heart and the spoken word. Turquoise is what the spirit world guides me to use while making my connections with the other side. This is a good color to use while healing your Thyroid. By the way, your Thyroid can also cause depression.
Clarity of Thought: It enhances the ability to focus and concentrate, assisting with clear thinking and decision-making, and the development of good organizational skills.
Calming: It is calming yet invigorating, restoring depleted energies.
If you have any questions or input, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Journey with Mental and Physical Illness Cycles
By Catherine Laub
I am thrilled to say I have conquered my battle between my mental and physical illnesses.
Most people don’t understand that when you have a mental illness, it also plays into our physical symptoms. When I attempted suicide in 2014 it was because I didn’t have a healthy life. While hospitalized, I was interviewed in a class of 15 psychiatric students. I was a perfect example of how we are a whole package, NOT just mental or physical.
I have several diagnoses of illnesses; many related to my Thyroid Disorder where the immune system turns against the body’s own tissues.
Mental Illnesses: *Major Depressive Disorder/ *OCD / *Anxiety / *S.A.D. / *Bipolar Disorder
Prevalent Physical Illnesses WERE:
*Irritable Bowel Syndrome and I only have 10″ of Colon after surgical removal, resulting in CONSTANT Diarrhea!!
*Interstitial Cystitis which feels like a constant Urinary Infection. I have an Interstim Device implanted to cancel the pain sensations.
When my physical symptoms were so bad I got very depressed because I was “Living” in the bathroom. I would sit there crying often. I would come out and almost right away have to go back in. I often had accidents which made me even more upset. There was hardly any relief.
When my mental state of mind was off balance, it caused my physical symptoms to flare once again. If I got anxious, I had to run right to the bathroom. If I got depressed my body ached from my Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy. The pain prevented me from achieving anything physical so I would just sit and watch TV or sleep the day away.
It was a vicious cycle.
I found a holistic practitioner who steered me on the road to recovery, and my psychiatric team prescribed the correct medications after many trials and errors. I ate better and avoided the real irritants for my “Disposal System” health. I followed up with therapy weekly and eventually once every month.
My major diagnoses are Depression and Anxiety, which it seems almost everyone suffers with at some time. If you can relate, I recommend you pay attention to the occurrences in your life. If it is a temporary upset, you can spend time relaxing and do something you enjoy as a distraction. If it seems long term, I highly endorse seeking support.
Support can be just talking to friend to let them know how you feel. They can become your go to person when you are extra stressed. If you feel like this can’t help, I propose you look for professional counseling and if necessary, medication to help you gain better ground and have a positive direction for your future.
If you suffer as I do with both physical and mental illnesses, I suggest you follow up with your health practitioners and create a healing team as I did. I am so much more stable now and enjoy my life to the fullest.
July 18 2017
I recently needed to make changes to my medications and ultimately had major changes to my mood and actions. I had to stop my Lexapro because I was always very overheated where it became too embarrassing. My psychiatric nurse switched me to Celexa. I began crying often again and I even had a major manic event last week!! I just finished watching a television show and I cried over a small sensitive scene.
I write this to let you know we all go through things and when we make up our minds we can reroute our thinking to help us feel better. Remember it doesn’t happen overnight. We must have patience with our treatments and allow time for them to help. I recognize that my new medicine is not strong enough so I will discuss it with my nurse. He told me I had to give it a full 6 weeks to be sure if it is working well. I still have 2 weeks to go, but I will try to have him increase my dose this week.
My anxiety is very high and I am thankful that I have been able to babysit my 3 youngest grandchildren this week. This is a great way you can help overcome some of your symptoms. Find something that you really enjoy and do it. I took time away from my work and by doing so I do not feel stressed over it nor feel like I am behind. I feel rested and calm because of this fun activity. Other times I like to work on my various crafts. When I do this my anxiety level goes down quickly because my mind is focused on what I love to do.
I also remembered to focus on the turquoise in my home. I wore a lot of turquoise shirts and even bought turquoise file drawers for my paperwork and supplies. With this heat here in New York I took out my turquoise fan and put it on the table nearby to cool off.
Whatever it is that makes you happy and takes the anxiety and stress away even for just a short while at a time is what I suggest you do to put yourself on the road to good health and happiness.
NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness
http://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/-It-Gets-Better “It Gets Better” 01.05.17
“It gets better,” is a phrase I’ve hated for years and continue to hate to this day. People used to tell me not to worry, that the depression I was in was only temporary and I would get better, I just needed to give it some time. Yeah right. I was diagnosed with depression in early June 2012. My family moved to America in July of 2012. I was hospitalized for the first time in late August. The first day of school to be exact; my first day at an American high school. I was stuck in a depression for a long time and it is something I would never wish upon anyone. I hated everyone and everything – specifically myself, my mom, my family, my house, my school, America and everything in between. I felt so much hatred towards to my mom and for no real reason. I blamed her for all my problems, and everything was her fault, even when the problem had nothing to do with her I would still find a way to pin it on her. I would continuously lash out at her, hoping she would give up on me. I wanted her to give up on me because when she did, that would be my confirmation that I was as totally worthless as I felt. In my mind, if she gave up on me, that would be my ticket out. I could check out of life without feeling bad about it. She never did. Thank God.
Having depression is like being mugged by five different people: hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, self-loathing and demoralization. Once depression had me, I became its prisoner. It chewed me up and spit me out. It took everything I had away and then left like nothing happened. This pattern was continued day after day until it became a part of my daily routine. I was at a point where I welcomed depression into my life, creating a space where it could live and grow. Eventually I forgot what it was like to be happy and how to enjoy the little things in life. Being sad was my new happy.
My diagnosis changed during the summer of ’14. I originally was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. My new diagnosis became Bipolar Disorder NOS. Now as if it wasn’t already hard enough telling people I struggled with depression, I was also Bipolar.
Anxiety and depression go hand in hand in my opinion. Anxiety is a scary thing. It’s so unpredictable; when it hits it’s crippling. When I was IOP (Intensive Out Patient), there was a girl who would always try to one up everyone. “Oh you had a nervous breakdown last night? Well I cut myself because I was so sad.” I hated her. The way she talked made what she was saying seem like a cry for attention instead of a cry of help. All I heard when she talked was “pay attention to me, pay attention to me.” She wanted people to feel sorry for her, which made it hard to have any empathy for her. By no means am I trying to discredit what she was saying because she did have her own issues; but she belittled my anxiety, which at the time was incapacitating. After meeting her, I noticed more and more girls use the terms ‘depressed’ or ‘anxiety attack’ to get attention. They said it like it was cute to get anxiety attacks or that being depressed was cool. That infuriated me.
Okay I lied before about not wishing depression on anyone. I did wish it upon these girls. I took it back shortly after because I truly believe that would be the worst thing to wish upon anyone. As much as I have used the word “Depression” or “Depressed,” I hate it. I hate that word. It’s overused and misused. The phrase “I’m so depressed” makes me mad because the person, who is saying it, is usually saying it over something that is causing temporary upset. Depression is not temporary; it’s a prolonged feeling and, you don’t get to choose when it comes and goes. It was antagonizing for me to hear others use the word so casually. I felt like any time I tried to bring up my struggles with depression with my friends, they took it with a grain of salt. They knew I was struggling but, the responses I was getting from them weren’t helpful. It seemed like they thought I was faking.
Imagine I am in the middle of the ocean and my friends are on shore. “I’m drowning,” I shout, hoping they can hear, hoping they can help me. “Maybe I should get the lifeguard” friend one says. “You aren’t really drowning,” friend two says. “Stop messing around and get out of the water,” friend three says. Now, if I could have gotten myself out of the water, I would have. I guess at that point I should’ve re-examined those relationships.
I blame the misuse and overuse of the word depression for that. The word depression or being depressed has been so watered down that the word no longer portrays the full intensity of the diagnosis. I stopped using that word when referring to myself because it felt like one of my favorite shirts that I let my friend borrow only for her to let someone else borrow it. By the time I finally got it back, it was all stretched out and no longer served the same purpose.
Like I said before, I was stuck in a depression for a long time. I was in and out of psych facilities and treatment centers from 2012-2015. I skipped school a lot because I didn’t care, and quite frankly I didn’t think I would make it out of high school alive. My relatives would always tell me, “Hang in there, life gets better,” I hated them all a little more each time they said that. Mental health workers would tell me that same thing, “It gets better. Trust me. Once you get to college, everything gets better.” I hated them even more- I couldn’t think far enough ahead to plan for tomorrow, let alone plan for my future. I wasn’t even planning on having a future. There was no white light at the end of the tunnel for me. It was just dark and empty. I wanted to die.
Early 2015 my life slowly started to change. I was introduced to DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Mindfulness. That is what DBT is all about. I hated that word. Still do but it’s what helped turn my life around. 2015 was still a rough year for me, but that was the year I got my driver’s permit, which is something I never felt the need for because I figured I would never use it. It was the year I started to love and appreciate my mom again. My sadness was shifting from black to grey. I was starting to see a faint light at the end of my tunnel. You would think I would be happy to see that light no matter how faint it was. Wrong. As soon as there was a glimmer of hope, I would put it out and go right back to being sad. I liked being sad. I wanted to be sad. I wasn’t comfortable being happy. I hate to admit it, but self-sabotage is a real thing and I did it, all the time.
It gets better. I hate to admit it. Thinking back on it, the reason I hated everyone who told me that was because I didn’t want it to get better. I wanted to let my depression win. My depression was the pilot for a long time. He had control and he flew my plane. Until one day, I can’t tell you exactly what happened or when it all happened because I’m not quite sure. But it was the day I asked if I could try and fly the plane. The answer was yes, but depression knew how self-conscious I was. He knew what to say to make me fail. After that, I didn’t want to fly the plane. I never wanted to fly it again. So I don’t know what possessed me to try again, but I did and I didn’t fail, well not completely. It was that little bit of confidence, that little bit of hope that helped me become the pilot of my own plane. It was me vs. depression over who would take the pilot’s seat. Depression had a huge head start, an unfair advantage because he knew exactly what to say to knock me off my game, and he did, again and again. But he wasn’t prepared when I had a plan B.
Over the year of 2015, I had gained a new skill set, a set of coping skills. Slowly but surely I was becoming more and more resilient; I didn’t give up as easily. Depression was going to have to step up his game if he wanted to keep me down. It wasn’t until 2016 when I finally took over the pilot seat. 2016 was also the year I got my license and bought my own car. It’s the year I worked at a summer camp as a one-to-one with a kid who has special needs. It’s the year where I am continuously making goals and striving to complete them. It’s the year I’m planning for my future. It is the year where I don’t give in as easily, where I put myself out there and try new things no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. It’s the year I can finally enjoy and appreciate the little things in life, but most importantly it’s the year I started to love myself again. Depression still rides my plane, but now he sits back in coach. It does get better. Hang in there. – See more at: http://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/-It-Gets-Better#sthash.pKmf03cY.dpuf