Still Here

Almost a year since twilight set in and settled round my shoulders, soon turning my world a shade of pitch black I couldn’t bare. Yet I am still here. Huzzah!

Not sure who to credit with is brilliant photo but I’m using it anyway because it is so fitting. If anyone knows the artist please let me know so I can give credit where it is due.

My Mom’s birthday is November 21st and last year my heavy depression coupled with an unbearable sense of grief drove me to near madness. I spiraled down deep into depths of hopelessness I never thought possible.

Those dark days led me to self harm, suicidal thoughts, and rock bottom levels of self loathing. I cried rivers and affected a zombie-like 1000 mile stare. I’ve never felt so lost.

Checking into the psychiatric ward was the best thing I could have done. I think it saved my life. I realized the therapy I was receiving as an out patient wasn’t enough and even though I didn’t think I deserved help I managed to force myself to seek it.

Staring down the barrel of the anniversary of my breakdown is confusing to say the least. On one hand I am feeling stronger and am proud of how far I’ve come, on the other I fear the triggers from last year will seep back in and rob me of the light once again.

The important thing is I’m still here. I’m still fighting. So bring it on fate! If I’m destined to keep slaying the dragons of mental illness I will with all the strength I can muster. And should I falter again sometime in the future, so be it, I will just keep getting up again and again until the last beast is slain.

K

Are You, Unwittingly, Not Claiming Your Experience as Your Own?

“When I have a panic attack it feels like _____.”

Only one tiny word alteration changes how this sentence will be perceived, either consciously or unconsciously. Behold:

“When you have a a panic attack it feels like _____.”

Take a moment and think how each sentence makes you feel. Take another moment to consider the language you typically use?

Up until a few years ago when I entered group and individual therapy this extreme difference had never really had never given me pause. I was guilty of using you statements instead of I statements. The difference just hadn’t occurred to me until it was pointed out.

Once it was pointed out to me the gravity of such a small difference began to sink in and I began to notice it everywhere; in movies, TV shows, interviews on the news, in writing and everyday speech.

Unwittinly and without malice, many people are guilty of projecting their views and feelings onto others. Doing this, instead of recognizing the need to assume all viewpoints are subject to the unique thoughts and paradigm of each individual, can have a powerful effect on our psyche as individuals.  

As soon as I began to speak in I feel and in my experience type statements I began to notice significant and important changes in my interpersonal relationships. Others seemed more open to sharing their unique experiences and viewpoints. I also began to see my thoughts and opinions as important and, very much, my own, authentic.

If you haven’t already adopted this type of language shift I encourage you to give it a try. To start with, just listening to how others tell stories is helpful. Once the you epidemic is heard it can never be unheard and it is everywhere. 

Try slowly shifting your language to embrace taking ownership of your opinions and ideas as uniquely yours. I found, for me, it took a while to adopt this virtually all the time but the sense of accomplishment and, overall sense of authentic me-ness was worth the effort!

Remember we cannot change the actions and words of others but we do have the power to change ourselves.

I challenge you to try practicing the above dearest readers and let me know how this change makes you feel or let me know if you think this is just psychobabble hogwash😉

K

Suicide Prevention Day

This post is going to be tough. I’m already sobbing and I’ve scarcely begun to write.

Have I ever felt suicidal? Yes. Oh my goodness yes.

Why am I still here? Many reasons, but the biggest reason is family. I couldn’t bare the thought of what my self-imposed early exit would leave behind in its wake.

Perhaps it helps that I have seen the heartbreak caused by suicide on more than one occasion. The wife of a family friend committed suicide a number of years ago and she left behind something for her husband I had never considered.

You see, not only did her poor Husband have to find her he also, as a matter of routine, had to be investigated by police. The thought of this additional insult to injury just never sat right. I could not bring myself to leave such a possibility for my own loved ones.

A coworker of mine committed suicide a few years back and I’ve never forgotten the broken look in his parents eyes at the memorial or how the tears at work didn’t cease for weeks. He was so loved and cherished by so many but in the end it came down to not enough love for himself.

My great Uncle also committed suicide after many failed previous attempts. I recall being so sad for my great Aunt who found him. Dead. Dead on the floor by the phone with a belly full of pills.

Ultimately, for me, I can’t see a way to commit suicide without leaving behind untold heartbreak and hurt. Simply the idea of what a mess I’d leave behind makes me want to hold my loved ones a little tighter, linger a little longer, and love myself a lot more.

Recognizing feelings of deep depression and suicidal thoughts has been key in keeping myself alive. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable, I’ve always dragged myself to my therapist to talk as soon as possible, called the Distress Center in Calgary http://www.distresscentre.com or 403-266-HELP, and/or gone to the hospital for help.

These services are there for everyone. Never think you are not worthy of seeking help. Dig deep to find even just a spark of self-love and save yourself with the help of others. There’s no shame in needing help and you are worth it.

K