SUICIDE CAN BE A SILENT KILLER

*It may be triggering to some*

I’ve been really struggling a lot this past week and it’s been a struggle to write this. 

I get triggered easily. 

When you suffer with chronic depression and daily thoughts of suicide as I do, triggers are very common and sometimes they may even occur through positive life events as well.

I don’t always know what triggers my downward spirals or even feel them coming on sometimes but this past week I am very much aware.

A few days ago I was told of not one, but TWO tragic stories of suicide, within a span of one hour. 

They were both someone’s father, brother, son, friend and husband. 

Hearing these stories and then quickly realizing that I knew one of the individuals who had taken his own life from when I was a teenager has all been too much for me to process.

It’s hit my surrounding community very hard and it’s hit very close to home. 

The more I learned about the pain and suffering of these two men and as more and more tributes began to fill my Social Media pages of the man I once knew, talking about what a truly amazing human being he was, the more numb I became. 

I saw myself in him. I felt every ounce of his pain and suffering. I’ve attempted suicide before. I could’ve been him. I could be him. Many of us could.

There are warning signs of an individual who may be considering suicide,  (https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/recognizing-suicidal-behavior) but we want so much to believe that “it” won’t actually come to that place. But it does and sometimes there may not even have been any warning signs at all, leaving loved ones completely blindsided on top of their pain. 

Suicide can be a silent killer. What happens when there aren’t any warning signs? What happens when someone is too afraid to speak their truth because of the stigma attached to it? 

Suicide is still very much a social taboo. It’s also very hard to predict at times and very often it can be spontaneous or impulsive.

Sometimes it’s just easier for an individual to not talk about it. I have thoughts of suicide almost daily. I talk about them, but not always. The thoughts will often enter my mind when no one else is around, when I’m feeling most vulnerable and I think to myself, maybe now would be the perfect time?

We may think someone is okay.

Everything looks great to the outside world (and to the social media world of course). They may want you to think that because what you often see or what you want so badly to see is their happiness and excitement from a promotion they just got at work, or the upcoming vacation they booked that they had been dreaming about forever, or a wedding proposal from the love of their life or the all nighter they just pulled studying for a big test the next day or maybe they just received an acceptance letter to the post-graduate program at a prestigious University they’d waited their whole life for.

Living with a mental illness and suicidal thoughts is real life to so many. We need to continue to break down the barriers that may prevent someone from seeking proper care and treatment. We must let others understand that mental illness is a real illness and that it’s not a failure of personal strength or character. We must not forget to check on our strong friends and we must create safe, nurturing environments for everyone in order to break the silence.

My deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the families and loved ones who have been affected by the tragic loss of both these men. They are in my thoughts and my heart ❤.  

If you or someone you know is in crisis please reach out to a mental health professional or confidant for help immediately.

#checkonyourlovedones #checkonyourstrongfriends #yourmentalhealthmatters #suicideisasilentkiller #suicide #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #mentalillness #depressionkills #anxietyisreal #mentalillnessisreal 

What Does Suicide Prevention Look Like?

**May be triggering to some**

I’m in a pretty crappy headspace right now. 

It’s one of those weeks where I find myself tumbling further and further down a very darkened rabbit hole and can’t seem to find my way out. 

I’ve spent the last few days questioning whether I should even bother, asking myself if life is worth it, wondering why I should even try, telling myself I can’t do this anymore and convincing myself that I should just give up.  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. 

1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness. So I know I am not alone.

It’s all around us and it’s more than likely that you know someone who may be struggling with one or more mental health challenges at this very moment. 

And it’s also sadly and quite plausible that many more are doing so in silence.

But we can’t ignore our mental health and we sure as hell can’t ignore mental illness either because no matter how hard you may try and hide from it, it will find you. It will catch up with you and at times it will make you question your self-worth, it will make you doubt yourself, it will tell you to stop trying and it could convince you to give up. 

As a society that is right smack in the midst of the worst mental health crisis ever we need to understand what suicide prevention really looks like and most importantly that it is everybody’s responsibility to play a role in it. 

As a society we need to understand that we all have a responsibility to take better care of each other because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need to talk openly and honestly about mental health disorders and suicidality because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need more public awareness and education in order to destigmatize mental illness and suicidal behaviours so that those who may be most at risk can feel less alone, less fearful or less ashamed because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need to accept each other’s differences because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need to be able to openly and honestly express our feelings because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need to help someone who may be in crisis and then follow up with additional support because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need to make sure that we all live in an environment that is nurturing and safe because that is what suicide prevention looks like.

As a society we need to have proper funding in place to allow for everyone to access mental health supports and services because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

As a society we need to be there for a loved one, a friend, a neighbor or a coworker who may be experiencing the loss of their job, the loss of a relationship or loved one or some other major, life altering change in their lives because that is what suicide prevention looks like. 

Suicide prevention means knowing that it’s okay to not be okay. 

Knowing that it’s okay to ask for help. 

And together as a society we need to make it OK.

What does suicide prevention look like to you?

***If you or someone you know is in crisis please call Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566 or go to your nearest hospital. 

#suicideprevention #suicideawareness #mentalhealthawarenessmonth #yourmentalhealthmatters #youmatter #youareenough #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #itsoktoaskforhelp 

Bell Let’s Talk Day 2021

Today is the 11th Annual Bell Let’s Talk Day. To date Bell’s Mental Health initiatives have raised more than 25 million dollars towards various programs and research projects by contributing 5 cents every time someone in Canada sends a text message, makes a phone call (Bell users only), tweets #BellLetsTalk or creates a Tik Tok video using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk, views one of their videos on any of their social media platforms or uses Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame and Snapchat filter today.

Their message this year in the wake of Covid-19 is simple; “When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts.” 

So if you can take a moment today to talk, text or tweet (etc) #BellLetsTalk it really could make a difference in someone’s life and remember that every action taken is one step closer toward ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Our words matter, our actions matter and our mental health matters more than ever before and by simply showing a kind gesture to a friend or loved one who is feeling depressed today or by listening to a child who may be feeling super anxious and unsure right now or by asking a coworker or neighbor how you can help them because they are feeling extra stressed are just a few of the many ways that you can let someone know that they are not and that it’s okay to not be okay.  

**If you would like more information on how to get a copy of my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” please feel free to message me directly. All proceeds from any book sales made between today and Sunday will be donated to #BellLetsTalkDay initiatives. And for more helpful tips and tools on mental health and self-care practices or to learn how Bell Let’s Talk initiatives have been impacting groups and communities all across Canada for the past 10 + years please check out their website @ https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/our-initiatives. 

❤Thank you❤

#BellLetsTalkDay #bellletstalk #wordsmatter #youmatter #everyactioncounts #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation kindnessmatters #ohcanada  #endthestigmatogether #wheredidmommyssmilego #author #blogger

Mental Illness Is Not A Crime

Last night I watched “The View” from earlier that day (yes I tape The View every day and once I even got to sit in their VIP seats for a live taping many moons ago!!!!). 
The ladies were discussing the tragedy that unfolded in Philadelphia earlier this week when Police Officers were called to the home of Walter Wallace Jr., a young black man who was in the midst of a mental health crisis. For those who don’t know, he was shot (many, many times) and killed by Police Officers because he was wielding a knife (not a gun!) and had ignored their pleas to drop it even after his mother was heard hysterically begging them to help him. 
This is yet another story of unjust in America today especially amongst the Black community but sadly the Police in many parts of America don’t have the necessary tools or training when it comes to deescalating a mental health crisis.
Family members of this young man had called 911 to request an ambulance and medical assistance but instead the Police showed up with their guns drawn and ready for battle. 
As the ladies further discussed the tragedy itself and the imminent need for proper tools and training in police departments across America they then continued to support their cause by stating facts on how many other countries are so much better equipped to deal with these types of mental health crisises and how they have also taken the important steps forward to deescalate similar situations in a more humane way. 
I was most proud when Joy Behar gave a particular shout out to Toronto for having these tools and training in place.  I have found myself in situations where 911 has needed to be called during a mental health crisis. And yes, I may not be black or living in America or have ever been in a state of psychosis or armed with a weapon for that matter to fully compare the two situations but when 911 is called during a mental health crisis here in Toronto (and its surrounding areas) I can tell you first hand that an ambulance will arrive on the scene and that a police officer will always be accompanied by a trained mental health professional. 
This very tragic outcome was also very preventable and should never have happened. Apparently since this tragedy just days ago, Police Officers in Philadelphia are now required to carry a taser with them (which they didn’t have on them at the time due to there being a shortage) when responding to mental health calls which could have made a difference between the life and death for this young man who deserved to live and get the proper help he needed, the help his family stood by begging for as they watched him be shot again and again and AGAIN. He was not a CRIMINAL, he was SICK and it’s time for America to take a page out of Toronto’s Playbook.
#makesmeverysad #mentalillnessisnotacrime #mentalhealth #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #youareenough #proudtobecanadian @theviewabc

Keeping Up With Kanye

 

I’m sure most of you reading this have probably seen or read the news lately and whenever there is any kind of distraction from the Global Pandemic or finding out what the President of the United States (a term I use loosely) has said or done now, we welcome this much needed distraction with open arms. I of course particularly love the distractions that come from Hollywood or Reality TV because (I’ll be honest), those are two of my biggest obsessions in life, but what has been playing out in Hollywood/Reality TV over the past week or so in regards to the Kardashian and West family is truly heartbreaking.

Yes the Kardashians in particular have undoubtedly chosen to be in the public eye and have allowed us into their homes for over ten years now but when the cameras are turned off, the world still watches them in judgment, waiting for the next piece of Tabloid News to hit the stands. At the end of the day they are human which means that they make mistakes, they bleed, they hurt and they are not immune to disease or death either. This also means that no matter what or how they choose to live their lives, it can’t be easy always having the world watching your every move.

It’s been no secret for several years now that Kanye suffers with Bipolar Disorder which is a very complex Mental Disorder. Bipolar Disorder “causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration and the ability to carry out day to day tasks.” A person with a Bipolar Disorder will go through periods of extremely “up, elated, irritable or energized behavior to very down, sad, indifferent or hopeless.”

Bipolar Disorder is a treatable illness and although it can be managed with medication, therapy and other treatments it is also a lifelong illness that normally needs a lifetime of monitoring in order for someone suffering to have a good quality of life. The last thing anyone, famous or not, needs while experiencing a manic or depressive episode of Bipolar is to be met with criticism or abandonment and when it’s being played out so publicly the way it has been with Kanye is sadly being met exactly this way.

My only hope is that Kanye gets the help he so desperately needs right now and that he can begin to use his platform for good (even though he’s got my vote for President. Oh right, I can’t vote!) and let his many fans around the world understand that sickness does not translate into weakness and that sometimes in life we fall down but that it’s okay to ask for help when you need help getting back up again. 

We need to learn how to lift each other up with kindness and empathy because no one is immune to Mental Illness.

#youareenough #endthestigmatogether #bekind #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #checkonyourlovedones #keepingupwiththekardashians #kanyewest #bipolardisorder #manicdepression #mentalhealth #mentalillness #kindnessmatters 

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