You Will Never Be the Same Again


One of the things I was never told in my counselling sessions since Brian passed away, is the fact that I was in the process of changing and would continue to change. In essence, I am becoming a different version of myself.

Now, many things trigger changes within ourselves but suicide is pretty major. I can only tell you my personal experience with this but I know it’s the same for every person going through suicide bereavement. We just don’t look at the world the same, ever again.

In fact, I don’t even look at my friends and family the same or life, in general. Every person’s suicide survivor story is unique to them, as are the changes that occur.

One of the services I wish to offer, in future as a Life Coach, is to help determine what those changes are and how we can best use them to our greatest and highest good. I had to learn to put my life back together, by myself. It was hard because my family and many of my friends didn’t want to discuss it and wished I’d just get on with my life and forget about the whole thing. After all, I’d only known Brian for all of 3-months, didn’t I?  How come I was still so upset?

Well, we know that love doesn’t come attached to a time frame and because I was smack in the middle of the infatuation/honeymoon part of the relationship, I got kind of stuck there. Being still “in love” with a man who took his life is very complicated – specifically seeing as the ‘trigger’ event was another woman. As you can imagine, this comes with its own assortment of interesting issues.  I had to sort through that, myself, too.

I suspect having help with this from someone who can understand what it’s like to move through the pain and sorrow, could and would be helpful.

I’d like to put together a program of healing and movement. What I mean by that is:

  • Acknowledging feelings and moving through them over time with the goal to be able to express them in a helpful and healing way. I started colouring! It helped me relax my brain and stop the constant chatter that was going on in there.
  • Determining next steps in your life and identifying the changes that are taking place in your beliefs, relationships, spiritual understanding etc. I broke up with a few friends and reinforced a bond with another.
  • Set up goals and touchpoints (to make sure we’re on track) and align them with our core desires. I discovered that I didn’t want to do my day-job any longer so I started taking steps towards something more fulfilling.I’m not there, yet, but I’ve started the process.

I could go on, but you get the point. What worked for me may not work for others but there is something out there that WILL help. The new YOU may or may not be similar to the old YOU and one needs to prepare for that. I think my family is finally starting to see the differences in me, little by little. And, not all changes are that positive so we have to be mindful. You may find yourself not as tolerant or patient, for example, but these are things, once recognized, that you can work on.

I’m embracing the new me but she’s not done transforming. It will be interesting, in the next few years, to see where she lands and I’m rather excited about it.

So, if you’ve been touched by suicide and all of this actually makes sense, know that you’re going to change and that it’s perfectly okay to do so. How or if you choose to help the process is your choice but be aware that these changes will take place through time and if you can identify them, along the way, it could help you through the process.

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Feelings and Whatnot


As I’m meandering my way through my Life Coaching Course, I’m learning a few new things and validating others that I already knew. Not ever being a fan of sympathy, I was happy to learn that empathy trumps it (NOT the Donald) every time.

Do you know the difference? I could write an entire chapter on this but simply put: sympathy is pity; empathy is understanding.

It’s always a better scenario to have someone ‘understand’ your feelings rather than feel sorry for them. Why? Because that’s how we relate to one anther – by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

It’s a pretty basic thing…but I will never give a ‘Sympathy’ card out to someone who has lost a loved one, again. I don’t want to pity them, but empathize with what they’re going through. I think we should rename those cards: Empathy cards. Sympathy is the weaker/annoying cousin to empathy – you know…the cousin whom you haven’t seen for a decade that shows up for dinner, one night, expecting you to entertain them.  They are just not up to snuff when it comes to hard core feelings such as grief, like empathy is, who will show up only when you need them and want them, but also take you out for a nice meal and throw in a few glasses of wine, to boot.

Empathy listens without judgment. Sympathy interrupts with platitudes and then possibly makes it all about them.

So the next time someone comes to you for a shoulder, listen with empathy. Don’t judge them and let them know they were heard and you’re there for them.

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Empathy

World Suicide Prevention Day


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I think it no coincidence that today is the day I end up taking Brian’s ashes to scatter them on a beach he played on, as a child. I was supposed to go, last week, but seeing as it was the Saturday before the last long weekend before School is back in, my sister and I thought better of it. Long and busy ferry lineups are not our thing.

I didn’t even clue in that we’d re-worked our plans for THIS day. There are no coincidences…this was meant to be.

I miss him. Every day, I miss him.

For new readers, my late boyfriend, Brian, took his life on May 11th, 2015. It is a day that I’ll never forget and one that changed me for the remainder of this life.

Every blog post I read about those who have lost someone that they love, to suicide, tells a similar story. Gut wrenching pain and all too stupid and insensitive comments; platitudes that are tossed out there to us like left over scraps thrown towards a starving street dog.

I’ve heard it all and if you’ve gone through it, so have you.

Mental illness is not treated like other diseases and can you imagine if someone came up to you and said: “Well that was very selfish of him to die of cancer that way!”

That’s the trash we get from friends, family, people who should know better as well as strangers.

One of my all time favourites: “Why aren’t you over it, yet?”

They don’t know any better. We’ve been taught to be uncomfortable around the word: SUICIDE. Why? Because, in our culture, it’s an unacceptable way to die. We’re not supposed to choose to leave on our own. If we spoke about this out in the open, discussed it with our children and loved ones, early on, so it wasn’t a taboo and unholy subject, I believe less people would die.

For those who are battling depression, anxiety and have ever thought of taking their life or who have attempted it, ignorance and societal judgments, as well as, misunderstandings are just the norm. It’s sad and it makes everything SO much worse and I dare say contributes to the rising rate of suicide and suicide attempts.

Those that are so desperate to end their emotional pain that they are willing to end their lives are treated like criminals and outcasts, and that is the worst crime of all.

Let me share this: what suicide attempt survivors wish you to know.

I’ve met others who’ve had a brush with suicidal thoughts; it’s far more common than you think. I know a suicide attempt survivor who is a good friend of mine. One thing that was said was: “thoughts of ending your life never leave you, they are always at the back of your mind. I’d decided that if I ever needed to attempt it, again, that this time I was going to get it right.”

Brian’s story isn’t new. His isn’t unique although his reasons and pain are unique to HIM. How many other people out there are suffering in silence, afraid to ask for help because we criminalize their pain, lock them up like a common killer, and take away every shred of their dignity and all of the things that make them feel human and provide a sense of belonging?

We can do a better job and we have to. In a future blog post I’ll describe the initial PAU (psychiatric assessment unit) that Brian was put into. I will say, now, that it was frightening and he was very scared. I would be too. I’m sure there is a way to fund some sort of community temporary home that allows safe personal items as well as protects people from themselves in a more loving environment. I strongly suspect that family would be willing to help. I would have been.

One issue that is brought to our attention is that our youth are greatly at risk. One in 5 teens have considered suicide, last year according to this article.

One.

In, Five, teenagers…children, for God’s sake.

What is it going to take for us to be comfortable to talk about this in the open? When are we going to let suicide out of it’s closet, because it’s bloody well banging on the door.

Take your religion out of the picture. Take your presumptuous thoughts and set them aside. IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU. It could be your best friend, your spouse, your daughter or your dad. It could be your uncle, your cousin, someone you work with, someone you go to school or the gym with. You could save a life. We could all saves lives if we brought this out into the open and just talked about it.

It could be you. You need to know that it’s safe to talk about.

So, let’s do it. Right here. Open up the door and let it out because if you don’t, it could destroy you.

My goal is to help, to council and to coach. My path is to assist in your healing and guide you to your next steps on your journey. Remember, your soul wants to be here. You chose to be here and everyone has everything to live for.

; None of our life stories are over, yet.

 

 

 

 

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month


Chances are you know someone or know someone who knows someone who has been touched by suicide. You may not even be aware of it but I’m betting that this is the case.

You see – people don’t talk about it. But, they should for so many reasons and I’ve written about them here.

Please be aware of the signs. Sometimes there are no obvious signs; had I not been warned by one of my Guides, I wouldn’t have been prepared at all. As it was, Brian showed no outward signs that he was suicidal. He kept his pain very well hidden. In the end, only his ex-wife and I knew what was going on. Often it’s a very well kept secret that the person who is suffering, is embarrassed by and they’re afraid to talk about it because our Western Culture shames them and criminalizes mental illness.

Don’t be afraid to call 911 if you think someone is in danger of harming them selves.

September 10th is World Prevention Suicide Day. I’ll be posting my future intentions as a Metaphysical Life Coach, Grief Counsellor and Healer.

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial.

Helping Suicide Out of the Closet


I’ve wanted to write about this for a while and I believe I’ve attempted it, many times, and in various forms. The fact is: Suicide is a problem and the biggest part of the problem is that it’s kept in the closet.

It’s not only kept their by people who have either attempted it, who are thinking about it or have successfully (and most tragically) succeeded at it. But it’s sent into the closet by everyone else. For the most part, the reason is that our culture not only doesn’t really understand this off limits subject, they don’t want to deal with it at all. I’ve personally experience this. In hushed tones, odd looks and behind closed doors – that’s where the topic of suicide lurks.

Nobody wants to fucking talk about it.

At least, not many, unless you’re exceptionally brave and have been battling it. Or…you’ve been touched by it in the worst way. Most religions not only frown upon it but many outright tell you you’ll wind up in HELL (that’s eternal damnation, fire and brimstone for those who are not familiar with this myth). In essence, if you do this, you’re a VERY BAD PERSON. No wonder people don’t seek help. They’re shamed and looked down upon.

This does nothing to help or heal those that are battling this terrible struggle. Quite the opposite, it promotes self-oppression and wrongly points a finger at someone who is deeply in pain and suffering. What element of humanity promotes the condemnation of the mentally ill, those that battle depression and those that are bullied? We do it all the time. Shame on us.

I’d like to point out there have been great strides towards recognizing mental health issues such as depression, bullying, etc., that can lead to suicide. Project Semicolon is one of them and I’m SO, SO, happy for this. It’s incredible but it’s not enough. Many are completely unaware of it and as a survivor of suicide grief, I can tell you most people (including members of my own family) still don’t get it and really don’t want to talk about it.

So. How do we get people talking about it?

This is what I’m all about. This is what part of my new life-focus will become. We need to help. We need to help those that are battling themselves and those that are in terrible sorrow and struggling with the aftermath. It’s hellish. In fact, it’s beyond hellish.

Do you know that suicide grief survivors are 10x more likely to take their own life? I betting you didn’t.

Did you know that even very young children have thoughts about suicide? Think about that…think about what would drive a 6-year old to want to take their own life.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. Yup. An estimated quarter of a million people per year, become suicide bereavement survivors just in the US.

Suicide among males is 4x higher than females but more females have suicidal thoughts and their attempts are 3x’s as often.

1 in 100,000 children aged 10-14 die from suicide every year. Did that grab your attention?

This is mostly based on US statistics but I’ll assume that Canadians are close behind based on POP variables. Now, we don’t have a lot of guns, here, and firearms are the most common method of suicide among males but that won’t stop someone who is serious about it. Trust me on this.

Here’s an interesting STAT. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in the WORLD for those aged 15-44 years. THE THIRD. In 2012, it was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year old’s. SECOND.

Over 800,000 die due to suicide every year and that doesn’t count those that attempt it.

Yet, we don’t want to talk about it.

It’s embarrassing. It’s thought to be selfish. You’re told to ‘get over it’. Did you know that when my late boyfriend took his life, last year, I received one card of sympathy?

One. Just….one.

Thank you, Debb. I appreciated that more than you know. Now, had Brian died from cancer or had been killed in an auto accident there would have been an outpouring of support from co-workers, family, friends and whatnot. It would have been talked about and NO ONE would have told me to get over it.

But he didn’t. He quietly hung himself on a beautiful spring, May evening.

We need to talk about it.

I’m betting (and I’m not a betting woman) that there will be some who read this who’ve either thought about suicide, have been touched by it or have even attempted it. But they’ve told no one.

We need to talk about it.

This is preventable, if we educate ourselves, our children and – TALK ABOUT IT.

There is one death by suicide in this world about every 40 seconds.

For your sake, for your loved one’s sake, for all of our sake; let’s talk about it.

Please.

I will continue my plight in bringing this subject to the surface, out of the closet and out in the open.

Until then.

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Why?


Some days I wonder why. Why all the violence, senseless murders, anger, fear and sociopaths filled with hate that may be the next leader of the most powerful country in the world?

What does it all mean? I think the human race, in our time, is experimenting on experiencing …

Just how bad, can or will it get before we let the light in?

They say: it is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.

I dare suspect it will grow considerably darker before humanity understands that we need to change our ways of thinking and doing on a global scale.

And then, there will be a dawn like no other but it will slip into the world so slowly and gently and with such love that it will take us a bit to realize that we’ve emerged out of one of the worst times Western Civilization has ever seen.

Hang on, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

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Three Pounds of Brian


I wondered what was really inside the bag,
Inside the other brown paper bag all non-descript looking, even slightly humble

There it sat up high beside the poem I’d written for you, forever framed in time
Beside your picture; it looked rather out of place and lost

I removed what used to be part of YOU, in that little paper bag, placed it tenderly on the floor

I stared at it.
I walked over and touched it
I picked it up

Gently took out the contents inside clear plastic, all tightly sealed
They looked harmless enough

I saw ashes, bone fragments and I cried

I held what was once a man I loved (or part of…) and washed my face with salty tears as a plastic bag filled with YOU sat in my lap

I imagined that part of those 3 lbs. contains your heart
I imagined you’d want it that way but I know it’s all mixed up

All shoveled together into one spot to be later separated so that you were shared

I’m taking that approx. 3lbs of you home to the Island
To where I grew up and you spent endless summers on the beach with your folks

I wish we’d gone back there, being both Island people, and walked on that beach
Remembering our pasts, contemplating possible crossed paths

We’re going to make that journey, 3 lbs. of you – and all of me
It’s taken us a while, but we’ll walk that beach and share

Share a past we could have known but never did
And I’ll let you go, there; among the sand, the shells, and the Pacific Sea

Setting you free in Qualicum Beach.

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