Friday, December 18, 2020

    December 2020
      It is ten months ago that we first heard about the Pandemic.  It has crippled the world not to mention all the businesses that have closed, jobs lost, people dying, schools affected, and life as we know it will be forever changed.
     The medical community continues to do its part. It's hard to imagine working in a hospital and seeing so many patients dying of Covid.  There have been doctors, nurses, and first responders feeling devastated and ending up taking their life.
     Schools are dealing with outbreaks and having students do their lessons online. Some schools have implemented a hybird model while some are doing lessons remotely. Students are feeling detached and lonely. Not to mention that learning  is not the same as being in a classroom.
     Time doesn't stop as we know.  The holiday season is here and most families are separated from each other. It is hard to feel joyful right now.
     Researchers and scientists have developed a vaccine.  Most of us will be vaccinated by Spring. We have learned a life lesson that we should never get too comfortable to not think that something could happen and our lives could be changed.  
     Many suicides have occurred in the last ten months. It really doesn't matter if it is an adult or teen.  The fact remains they felt alone and saw nothing positive in their life. So, on top of dealing with the virus many families are mourning their loved ones.  We can't even have a funeral service like we would like. Unfinished business is everywhere.
      My point is let your families and friends know (even by Zoom) they are important and valued.
Keep your selves protected and help others to do the same.  Wear your masks, wash your hands, avoid large crowds and most of all know that this too shall pass.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

                                        Making the Best of Something That Is Not The Best!

     Who would have thought that we would ever be living through a Pandemic?  Just a few months ago life was what we call "normal" and then we hear of all the sickness going on in China.  We still carried on with our lives like going to the grocery store, shopping. school and social events,
shows and entertainment, and being with our family and friends with no face covering! Then we heard about the devastation Italy was going through but again we heard but did not listen that the virus could affect America. We then listened to the news and saw many political folks tell us that this was all a hoax and we have no cause for alarm. Reality hit when we saw the power of this virus on folks in New York and the death numbers staggering. We now know the power of this virus and the potential of it wiping out a nation.
     Very few states have not been affected and the medical staff asks that we protect ourselves by following the guidelines of washing our hands, keeping physical distance between others, and wearing face protection, I am sadly amazed that many think our rights are taken from us by that simple gesture of wearing a mask.
     If that was not enough, we are seeing the rise of racial discourse. With many deaths occurring in our nation against Black Americans by policeman we are hearing their pleas. Of course, there are also
other minority groups that could say they too have been discriminated against. So, we are seeing demonstrations, looting, statues being taken down, and streets being renamed. Again, I understand their slogan that Black Loves Matter and that they do.  I am just wondering if all our
history books, movies that show slavery, and states that supported it be chastised.  History shows the best of times and the worst. We learn by mistakes and there are many. That is what makes history.
     So, since this is a post on suicide you may be wondering how all this affects loss survivors. Since most would agree that the death of their loved one was the most overwhelming and devastating event that has happened. This pandemic has not only seen deaths by the numbers but the rates of suicide are continuing to rise. Please continue to check on your loved ones.  Learn some new strategies that can help with your mental attitude.  Never give up and know there will be life after this virus has been contained. Live in the here and now and be present.  Tomorrows are not guaranteed.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Should we Find Entertainment with Suicide?

     With all the media posting about  teen suicides there are many plays that are dealing with this subject. I have to be honest and say I am not sure exactly where I stand. One part of me says," Good, great, let's keep it up."  The other part of me says, "Let's be careful on how we portray the characters, is someone getting the blame, and think about how we leave the audience.
     I have seen three plays recently that have dealt with the subject matter of suicide with teens.  The first one left the AUDIENCE wondering if there was anymore to the production.  The audience just sat there waiting...and waiting... for someone to say something. No one came through the curtains. It was obvious it was over.  The audience clapped and left.
     The second one was a monologue about a young man who had a bi-polar mother. She attempted suicide several times and finally completed.  This production followed him from his boyhood through his adult life and how his mother's death affected him.  At the end of the production, there was a panel who answered the audience's questions. I might add the actor who performed was excellent!
     The third play a musical.  First of all, I wondered how a musical would be performed with the theme of suicide.  As a suicide loss survivor, I have a hard time enjoying a play with singing about a topic that still plays havoc with my emotions. Its premise was a high school boy who completed suicide. He had few friends but one young man came forth like he was his friend. The young man who acted that he was a friend got noticed by his peers and life changed for him from being a loner to someone with popularity. He kept this facade going making the parents of the young man feel better about the death of their son. Finally, ridden by guilt of the friendship he came clean dealing with
what he had done and how it affected others. The audience clapped and seemed to enjoy.  I wondered to myself how many people in the audience dealt with suicidal ideation, attempt, or loss survivors.
     The fourth play is coming out today.  I haven't seen it yet but the theatre teacher is having a panel talk on mental health, how to deal with depression, and how the school and parents can together support mental health and open the dialogue.
       So, I am glad the subject is being talked about but to leave an audience with no local materials,
organizations to call, suicide hotline number, text number, etc. doesn't feel right to me and most of all not to ask the question. Are you thinking of suicide?  Just my thoughts...

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why Suicide Rates Spike in the Sprinf

Why Suicide Rates Spike in the Spring
By SASS-MoKAN (Bonnie Swade)

     With the sun shining brightly, temperatures starting to warm ,
and the onset of longer days one would think everyone is happy with the promise of new life in the spring.  Unfortunately, research shows that suicide rates tend to escalate.
     According to an article that appeared in the Mental Health Magazine that is not the case.  Some of the reasons are seasonal affective disorder, summertime depression in women related to melatonin production, and social influences.
     Seasonal affective disorder is one reason.  Even if the temperatures are warming and the days brighter for some that is not enough to lift the blues.  Seeing others around having a good time when you aren’t is sad according to Dr. Michael Riba an associate director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center.
     Summertime depression happens with the onset of spring and there are some theories related to the amounts of melatonin produced in women but doctors are not completely sure of this.
     Another reason may be social. This time of the year people go on vacations and some groups disband for the season according to Riba so there may be less structure and support in place.  Watching people enjoy the season with their families and friends may cause some jealousy and envy. If one is experiencing challenges and struggles in their life it’s hard to feel happy. Financial concerns or a break up with a significant other may also be a factor.  
    Given these factors it is not surprising that suicide rates rise.
Suicide rates spike in the spring and to a lesser extent in the fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not around the holidays as everyone suspects. And in fact, suicides in general have increased 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, according to a CDC report released in April. The uptick begins in early April and late May. Why? The seasonal brightness may actually have something to do with that: In a recent op-ed in The Washington Post Harvard professor of psychology Matthew Nock cited a 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry that found that as hours of sunlight increased, so did the risk of suicide. "The authors speculate that sunlight could boost energy and motivation, thus giving people who are depressed the ability to take action and make a suicide attempt," he wrote. Some researchers are looking at suicide rates at times of high-pollen counts compared with less pollen, theorizing that the increase might be due to increased anxiety or aggression related to inflammation.  

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Our Boy Brett
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It is another December and this year marks the 14th year since our oldest son Brett took his life. In some respects it seems like yesterday as I can still recall our youngest son’s voice on the phone that he found his brother in our gazebo. We were in Chicago at the time visiting our daughter. I thought, “found him in our gazebo”? Why wasn’t a doctor called? Did somebody harm him? Was this a mistake? Then the realization hit that he took his own life. How could that be? We had plans to have our Hanukah Party in a few days. Did he not want to be with his family? What was so terrible in his life that he chose to end it? What could we have done that might have saved him?
We got our things together, gathered our dogs, and headed back home. Our daughter and family would leave later in the day. The eight-and- a-half hour car ride seemed endless. There was no conversation, no radio, just the sound of my crying. We were greeted when we returned home by family, friends, and dinner. Food seems to be the denominator for making things better. I didn’t want to eat, talk, or be consoled. Basically, I wanted to be left alone to process this devastating realization. He was gone and I would never hear his “Hey, Mom.” I would never feel his touch, watch him grow older, see him interact with his brother and sisters, play with his niece or nephews, have a family of his own, and he would never see us as
we grew older. Losing a child is out of sync with the universe. Parents are not supposed to see their children die before them.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Using the Correct Term

                                                           Suicide Term

     Most people who have lost a loved one by suicide are very passionate about using a term that does not stigmatize their loved one.  It is not uncommon to hear in a news report someone use the term "committed suicide."
    My husband and I facilitate a support group for people who have lost love ones by suicide.  Hearing the word "commit" brings out all kinds of negative connotations.  It is used to commit murder, commit robbery, commit adultery or other kinds of wrong doing that signify a crime.  It even goes back to the times when people were committed to asylums.
     Recently an article by Glenn E. Rice had the headline "Man who killed estranged wife commits suicide."
     A person who attempts or dies by suicide is in deep pain and hopelessness and is experiencing mental illness. This does not signify he or she is a criminal.
    Please use the correct term and understand the importance of language. If you had lost a loved one
to suicide, you would want his or her death treated with respect.  Wouldn't you?


Dear Loved Ones,
     Another Mother’s Day and soon it will be Father’s Day that I am not here with all of you. I want you to know I love all of you so very much but I was unable to stay.  I tried hard to be the person who could just let things not bother me and I did so for longer than you know.  I smiled and I laughed at all the things I was supposed to and I even convinced myself that because I was loved so much I could stay. I knew you would be devastated and sad about my leaving but the darkness, despair, and black hole I felt kept pushing me to find peace.
     I know you would have done anything in your power to make life easier for me.  But it wasn’t about you it was about me. I could have gone to another doctor and gotten more medication prescribed and if you remember I did do that many times. For a bit, the medication seemed to work but my mind was so cloudy that I couldn’t even think or process my thoughts.  So, I had to stop and think about whether this was fair to put my family through all this again. 
    Please believe me when I say, this decision was not an easy one nor did I treat it as such.  To never hear your voices again, be a part of a family, enjoy all the holidays, see others in our family get married and have children brought me to question was I doing the right thing? Would I ever be forgiven for my action?
     I know that I caused a lot of worry, anguish, sadness, and caused a great deal of heartache.  If I could take any of my actions back I would. I hope you will remember all the times we did things together and the fun we had.  I will never forget the smiles we had for one another. Some of those crazy things we did that kept us giggling and laughing endlessly.
     However, I want you to know that I could never find peace and contentment in my earthly life.  I could never say the many things I wanted and felt that I let you down so many times even though you told me that it wasn’t so.
    So, I made the decision to go.  Do not cry and be sad that I have left. Please remember all the wonderful things we did and the joy we had in one another.  I am at peace and have found contentment.  When you see a bird, feel the sunshine on your skin, hear the wind rustling through the trees, read a book, listen to music, and enjoy life remember that I am doing that too.  I am just not where you are.  You can serve me well by being kind to each other and loving unconditionally. I am a better person for having you in my life.  May you feel the same way about me.
     As I say goodbye to you now, please enjoy life and all it has to offer. I can see you, I can feel you, and I will always love you.
     Yours forever,