Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Elephant in the Room: Suicide (Part 8 of 8)

September 9 through September 15, 2012
Suicide Prevention Awareness Week
Every year since 1974 ('75?), the nation has come together in a week-long campaign to help promote Suicide Prevention Awareness.  All sorts of events are held all over our country, in the hopes that the information received there will help keep even just one person from committing suicide. The idea is to draw attention to suicide prevention, suicide warning signs, reduce stigma surrounding the topic of suicide (so that more prevention happens), encourage those who need it to seek mental health assistance, and to support those who have attempted suicide, as well as those who have lost someone to suicide.

Walks are organized, screenings are done, information is handed out, and memorials are held for those who have been lost. Fundraisers collect money for research for mental health issues, and for existing suicide prevention outlets.  All of this helps coincide with what is known as World Suicide Prevention Day, which is held annually on the 10th of September. As the name would imply, this is the day that suicide prevention is recognized all over the world. 

For my small part in helping promote and spread awareness, I am posting one blog post every day this week—Suicide Prevention Awareness Week—in the hope that even one person may be saved. I have experienced loss to suicide myself (some time ago now) and find this to be a therapeutic way for me to deal with that grief.

I intend to give you as much information as I can on suicide but I also strongly encourage you to take the time to read the personal stories attached within all the facts. These are real people, with real stories that I have collected, just for this occasion. They wanted to let anyone who reads their stories to know that they are not alone in whatever they are going through. There is hope and there is help.

Thank you for stopping by to check this out. Suicide is preventable. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to spread the word, so pass this along as you see fit to. Here’s to hoping we can help save some lives.
This is going to be the last installment of my suicide awareness series. I hope that everyone has benefited from reading everything so far.

Today, I will share some resources for anyone who is thinking of attempting suicide and for anyone who has lost someone to suicide. This is by no means a complete comprehensive list, but I hope that it is at least a place to start.

In the next few weeks, I will be adding a more complete resources page to my blog. I want a place where the information below is readily available for anyone to find and utilize, so keep a lookout for it.

Remember, suicide is 100% preventable. Sometimes, all it takes is to talk to someone who will listen. You are NOT alone and you ARE loved. If anyone tells you differently, they are WRONG.

If you are currently experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or behaviors, here are some resources for you to try:

 You may need to view this video in fullscreen mode to read all of the cards...
This is Hannah Novak and this is what she has to say to you about suicide. Please watch all the way through to the end. Thank you for sharing this with the world Hannah! Your message is honest and inspiring :) You are a wonderful girl.
If you have lost someone to suicide, or know someone who has, you can use any or all of the above hotlines and chat lines for immediate information, help, and support. There are trained individuals to help you understand and manage your grief on the other end of these support lines. Please, use them.

Here are some additional resources that you can use to help you deal with your loss:
 Simply click on one of the above mentioned organizations and you should be directed straight to each of the resource pages. Many of these resource pages have websites listed to visit, links to online support groups, information about suicide and grief, and even book listings to take a look at. Take a few minutes to look around each of these resources and find the best ones for your needs.

Always remember: If you are in immediate danger, or know someone who is, call 911 (or any other local emergency contact number) and/or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

I hope this has helped in some way.
A Year Ago...

For: Hanse Joshua Peterson
3/27/87 to 2/4/03

Sick and twisted thoughts stir in my mind
Guilt of the tragedy is all that's left behind
Memories of who he was are fading fast
How long is this pain inside going to last?
Four days from now it will have been a year
The loss of someone close is what I fear
What did he think when he breathed his last breath?
Was he scared when he knowingly embraced his own death?
Suicide Action Montreal
24 hours; 7 days a week
A year ago we were all doing just fine
Then the world fell apart, including mine
I told myself that it couldn't be true
So lost and confused, I didn't know what to do
Wandering alone in the dark I couldn't see
My pain was so great and I blamed me
A year ago not many people knew who he was
If he walked to school or rode the bus
Did he have many friends or was he a loner?
Was he a goody-goody or was he a stoner?
Did he laugh much or did he ever cry?
No one gave a damn until he died!
A year ago nobody cared to ask questions
To give him advice or make small suggestions
They laughed at him and they called him names
They all fucked him up with their mind games
Now some sit outside and enjoy the rain
Some hide away and swallow their pain
I live my life and hide my pain away
I lost a good friend a year ago today

Rochelle Callahan

If you live in the Tillamook area, there is an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop that you can attend. According to the information ad in our local newspaper:

"Asist is a comprehensive suicide intervention training. ASIST is the result of more than 20 years of research and development, and is the most widely used suicide intervention program in the world. ASIST is partially funded through a federal grant targeting suicide prevention alternative.
By the end of the workshop you will know:
  • The signs of suicidal thinking
  • How to intervene to prevent immediate risk of suicide
  • The resources available in your area"

 If you are interested in attending this workshop it will be held on September 20th and September 21st from 9 am until 5 pm at Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC). Registration for attendance is required. The cost to attend is $30 per person and for Social Workers, Counselors, and First Responders there are Continuing Education Credits available for taking this workshop. If you would like to register, please take a moment to call (503) 842-8201 ext. 271.

This has been a big personal project for me. While the initial idea for an informational post-a-day for suicide prevention awareness week was indeed mine, I do have to admit that the idea to incorporate personal stories into each post, was not mine alone. I have to give that credit to Lisa Richards.

In my initial research for current information on suicide facts and statistics, I came across her website and read her homepage, which explains what her book is about. Richards lost her eighteen year old daughter to suicide in 2011 and began collecting letters from all of Mallory’s family and friends. Each page in the book is filled with love and loss…laughter and heartbreak. I found this to be incredibly touching and couldn’t shake a serious case of the goosebumps.

Due to the intense reaction I felt to just reading the homepage of her website, the idea that incorporating personal stories into my posts was born. I hoped that someone reading my posts would be as deeply affected by the personal stories shared there as I was by this loving gesture.  So, a great big thank you to Lisa Richards. You are an inspiring and strong woman.

On that note, I wish to thank the wonderful guest bloggers that gave me the pleasure of showcasing their spectacular writing skills, as well as, their very real and personal experiences with suicide. I really feel honored to share their stories with all of you in the hopes that it will help spread awareness. They are wonderfully strong women who are, I believe at least, fabulous writers. If you haven’t already checked out their blogs, you should head on over and do so now! Just the Messenger. and Diary of a Madwoman, thank you again so very much!!

And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank all of my terrific family and friends who also helped me with this important project by sharing their own stories and experiences. I feel like a great weight of my posts couldn’t have been possible without your help and input. I can never thank you enough for allowing me this privilege.
"Ok, so my story... not really sure what to include so I'll do pretty much everything.
I have a family history of mental illness, my mom is majorly depressed, anxiety, PTSD, etc. My father is bipolar, psycho, rage. My father was an abusive asshole to my mom—actually I was a rape baby while she was on birth control. He threatened to kill her if she aborted me. So, after I was born she fled away from him with my aunt to Washington state. Somehow, he always kept finding her and beating the shit out of her. That is until my 5th birthday. She figured out that he was able to pay the post office $1 and if he knew the old address, [he could] get the new address. So, she fixed that and we finally got away from him. Unfortunately, for me, I was out of a physically abusive situation and into a mentally and emotionally abusive one.
I am bipolar, anxiety, mania, psychosis, schizoaffective... and a very high IQ. My mom didn't know how to handle me, so we always fought. She didn't mean to, but she always ended up trying to stifle me. She was a single parent working 2-3 jobs. As I got older, things only got worse. It turned physically abusive as well. I finally crossed the line in middle school, and I threatened the school cop, and was sent to Texas to live with my aunt, again.
This was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. They treated me like the redheaded stepchild. I was never included in anything. They treated me like a prisoner. Worse even. It was during this period that my depression worsened from [just] depression to suicidal ideations and self-mutilation. I had been slightly suicidal already since about 2nd grade. I used to hide in my closet with a butcher knife held to my heart just wishing for the courage to plunge it through my chest. In 3rd grade I was hospitalized after walking to school in the bike lane, since there were no sidewalks. They thought I was trying to kill myself. I wasn't at the time, and it only taught me how to manipulate the system. It didn't do anything to help me.
So in 7th grade when I went to Texas, I started cutting myself on a daily basis almost. I remember the first time I ever did it was on Thanksgiving in 1999. I had been there for about 6 months and I had found quickly that everything they had promised me was a lie. They claimed they treated me like their own child, but if I so much as blinked wrong I was in a living nightmare. Whereas their kids could disappear without any notice until 10ish at night and they [would] just blow it off. Then in 8th grade there was a choir concert and everyone was cheering for their friends. I had bad timing apparently and cheered for a split second after everyone had stopped. I stopped as soon as I realized this mind you, but they didn't believe it. So what was my punishment for such a heinous crime? I got to stay up all night on school nights for some 'quality time' with my drill sergeant uncle. He put me through military boot camp PT all night, let me get 2 hours of sleep, made me go to school like that, and do it all over again. For weeks.
Needless to say, this did nothing for my mental state. They had also withheld my Christmas gifts from me, but had filmed the whole thing for family and my mother to see, so they made me pretend to open my things and be happy. I wasn't. Then you take into account that I was molested by my older cousin a couple times. I had no desire to continue living. I got so deep into cutting myself that I made morbid little designs and decorations on my arms. I thought they were beautiful. I still do.
Cutting/self -mutilation is an addiction. I haven't done it on a regular basis since I was 19, but I still have the urge to do it every year or two. In fact just writing this is making me itch for it. It's such an amazing sense of relief from the stress and anxiety built up inside of you. It's more powerful than any drug in the world. I should know, I'm no stranger to them.
In 11th grade I tried to kill myself by swallowing a bottle of sleeping pills and was hospitalized again. This time I was prepared but they still managed to catch me off guard. They drugged me before I went to see the shrink and was high out of my mind. The first morning I woke up, granted the only morning I was there, the girl in the room with me and her friend asked me if I wanted to burn myself with salt and ice. No, I can't say that I do. There were about 3 people including myself who were there because they were genuinely depressed and suicidal. All the others, well, they were just behavior problems that their parents didn't want to deal with. Take my roommate for example, she was around 9-10 and her grandmother was her guardian. She was supposed to show up that day to visit, but she didn't. So the child started throwing a fit and trashing the place. Thankfully my mom was there to see it. I had told her the place was literally making me crazier but she didn't believe me. For some reason she had stuck around longer than expected and when she saw that girl she immediately checked me out. It was an incredibly unhealthy place.
I had always hated being on medication. I had been on 19 different meds between 6 and 11 years old. So, I was on anti-psych medications until I was 19. At which point, I realized I really needed help and decided I wanted to get somewhere in life. I wanted to be a psychiatrist and help other people in my situation. Unfortunately that wouldn't really happen. When I was 20, almost 21, I had surgery to remove my gallbladder and would discover that I'm terminally ill. I decided that I'd be a nurse then since it didn't take as long as psychiatry. That didn't work out either. The pain in my kidneys got to be too much for me to even go to school and lately to even function normally. Nursing was definitely out of the question.
It didn't seem fair that all the time I spent wanting to die on account of my depression, I would overcome it mostly just to find out it wasn't really any better. Nowadays, I'm still suicidal, but in a different way.
I'm terminally ill. I suffer on a daily basis in incredible pain and I'm on high enough doses of narcotics to kill a few people with one dose of my meds. Now I want to die to end my suffering. I believe in assisted suicide for the terminally ill. I feel we're more humane to our animals than we are our sick and dying.
I've recently come up with an idea for a charity/foundation to help people who are suicidal get help. I'm also focusing very heavily on cutting and self-mutilation needing addiction help. I've been lucky enough to be able to collaborate on it with Bert McCracken of The Used, my absolute favorite band.
I don't believe that my desire to die currently is wrong in any way. My pain will never end. Yours can. So please never give up and find help if you need it. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm lucky enough to have a husband who takes care of me in light of all my problems. You'll get through it. I promise. It may not be incredibly soon, mine took most of my life, but it will get better."  ~~Stephani Trioli~~
Thank you so much Steph :) I love you sweetheart, so much! I'm so excited for you for being able to collaborate with Bert for you project! And, I am proud of you for trying to help spread awareness as well. *Hugs and Kisses*

If you need someone to talk to, please call the number above.
There is someone one the other end who WANTS to help you.
Suicide is NOT the answer.


  1. oops, found a typo on my part. Scratch the 'on' in front of anti psych meds...

    other than that, I'm soooo happy to have finished reading the series lol I don't do well with suspense

    love you deary, great work :)

    1. The typo may be my fault LoL I can fix it though :) I'm glad the suspense is over my dear and I have glad you liked it! Love you too hon.


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