When I saw this photo on Facebook yesterday it resonated with me and took me right back to a defining moment in my childhood.

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I was a daddy’s girl. I loved hanging out with him and he willingly let me do so. Thanks Dad!  I was quiet and shy. As I grew up I began to notice that I seemed to be referred to most often as “Alf’s daughter” or “Alf’s girl”

“Hey, it’s Alf’s daughter” or “Just ask Alf’s girl” or “Send it with Alf’s daughter” It began to dawn on me that was how people thought of me.  Not as an individual but as Alf’s daughter.

As a teenager I was working on the farm catching chickens.  My girlfriend and I were a bit of an anomaly being the only girls working amongst a group of males.  Her dad’s name was Joe and my dad’s was Alf.  We became known as Little Joe and Little Alf.

At first it was sort of cute. But after awhile it became annoying. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why but each time I heard it I got a little more frustrated until one night I said quite matter of factly “My name is Jewel, not Little Alf”.

Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was a teenager and finally trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into what seemed like a rather large and somewhat scary world. I was starting to think for myself and I wasn’t quite daddy’s “little” girl anymore. As a matter of fact I was beginning to push limits and disagree with my parents about as much as I agreed with them. I needed to be an individual. I needed to be recognized and acknowledged as one.

They laughed, most of them still called me Little Alf. It was a defining moment for me. I knew that I would have to work to step out of the shadow of my father. So I did. For years it defined me, the decisions I made, the things I did, the places I lived.

Yet it stuck with me. To this day I feel like I’m still working at it. I’ve made my place in the world, I am my own person, yet I always feel there is a shadow, not necessarily my dad anymore, but an undefined shadow that could overtake me, engulf my individuality and make me disappear into a something else.

Sure, I know it’s “all in my head” but it doesn’t make it any less real.

So seeing this picture posted yesterday really helped to remind me that I am someone, and I’m not the only one who knows it.  We are all “someone”. So be the someone you want to be. Be all you can be. Start defining yourself right now, your way. It’s never too late. It’s always the right time.

I AM someone. My connection to others doesn’t determine my value.

If this speaks to you, don’t hesitate. If you really want to start do something right now, within the next 5 seconds to start the process. If you don’t, you probably won’t.  Why  5 seconds? Because that’s apparently how our brains work. If you are sparked and do something to make it real within 5 seconds you are far more likely to carry on.  If you hesitate and wait beyond the 5 seconds you won’t do it at all. Want to know more? Watch Mel Robbins explain it all in her TEDx talk.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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Sometimes things just come to you, and they make sense.  And then you have to stop what you’re doing and write it down.  That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was feeding the chickens.  Yes, feeding the chickens, all 25 of them. And the duck.

My brain tends to work in metaphor and analogy a lot. Apparently yesterday was no different.  When the boat is rocking you have to find your sea legs and sometimes what we need to do seems to be counter intuitive to everything we think we know.  But sometimes…. that’s exactly what we have to do.

 

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Depression and anxiety are like being on a ship in rough seas.  All of a sudden your whole world, literally the deck beneath your feet is lurching to and fro, throwing you around mercilessly.  Unable to keep your footing, you’re getting drenched by the crashing waves. Your stomach matches the lurch of the deck as you slip and slide, feeling like you have lost complete control over everything including yourself. All you want to do is make it to the head and die but here’s the thing…

While every fibre of your being is screaming get below deck to the head… any sailor will tell you the solution is actually to

  • Stay above deck
  • Stay in the fresh air
  • Take deep breaths
  • Keep your eye on the horizon where you want to go
  • Don’t fight the lurch Rock and Roll with it
  • Vomit over the rail but not into the wind

It probably won’t be fun or easy, but when the sun comes out, which it will, and the waves recede, which they will, you’ll walk the deck sure-footed again in warm gentle breezes with  a grin upon your face.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I want to share a most amazing tribute I received a few days ago from my wonderful fellow blogger and wordsmith Soumya Rose John

Ten months ago I had the honour of speaking to a kindred soul from all the way across the globe. Her name was Jewel Fries. 
When I was first asked to become a blogger for Life Vest Inside alongside Jewel, I was a little nervous. Would we have the same vision, the same kind of drive, would we want the same things? After all, I thought, we were quite literally the definition of worlds apart.
However after my very first Skype call with her, I found my fears quickly taking a backseat to awe and admiration. 
Quite frankly, I have never come across another woman as talented, genuine, wise and humble as Jewel. I realised that not only was Jewel’s writing so incredibly eloquent, powerful and close to my heart, but she never made me feel like a silly child floundering about life (that let’s be honest, we all know is pretty much my definition!) trying to get things right. 
It isn’t every day that you come across a writer whose heart is as beautiful as the words they so skilfully string together, but then there are those few like Jewel who really restore your faith in believing that a writer can be as amazing as everything you read of theirs that you think reverberates your very soul. 
Jewel runs a crazy inspiring blog called Rise Like Air which is filled with uplifting, moving, motivating content and there is no time like now to check it out, I promise it will be worth your minutes! 


https://riselikeair.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RiseLikeAir/?fref=ts


To a woman who has endlessly supported me over the past year and helped me immensely along my personal journey as a writer, kindness ambassador and a human being, this one’s a MASSIVE shoutout to you for being the light that you are in this world, even when you sometimes don’t realise how strong that beam is! 
P.S. You need to tell me how to pronounce Saskatchewan someday 

Soumya’s smile, attitude, writing and love for life and people inspires me every day. I love working with her and we manage to keep each other afloat on a regular basis in the crazy busy world that we share from literally thousands of miles apart (One day we should figure out how far it really is!)

I’ve said many times that words are one of the most powerful items at our disposal. They can inspire, motivate and build a person up but they can just as easily destroy self esteem, hope and joy. They can kill the will to even try.

Soumya knows exactly how to use her words to spread love and kindness, tackle tough subjects while always leaving me with a smile on my face and hope in my heart.

She writes a great blog at Quirrk – Isn’t Life Just A Candid Lil’ Quirk?
I hope you’ll take the time to check out her writing. I think you will be happy you did.

Soumya, thank you for making me cry, laugh and believe. I really do appreciate you lending me your eyes to see myself, because the truth is, mine often don’t see the same thing. It’s nice to know when I don’t believe in myself I have others around to help me get back to that place again. I am honoured and humbled to not only have the pleasure of working with you but of calling you friend. You help me strive to become a better person every day. For all of that and more, Thank you.

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I AM FREE

It’s taken me a long, long time to realize this.  And even longer to actually believe it.  And some days are harder than others.  But ….

 

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“But still, like air, I’ll Rise” – Maya Angelou

 

Yes, I am.

And I will remain free.

I realized there is only one thing that determines whether I am truly free or not.

My THOUGHTS and thereby,  what I BELIEVE.

It took a lot of realizing OTHER people were trapped in a “less than”, “shackled” mentality.  A lot of time spent trying to help them realize how awesome and important they are.  Convincing them they not only have hope but tonnes of unrealized potential.

And then, one day I looked in the mirror and I realized that I was carrying the same heavy burden as all those other people.

I saw their potential, their amazingly awesome greatness but I had been overlooking my own.  I had been overlooking what I can do, who I can be…. who I truly am.  ME!

And there is nothing wrong with me.  I am me.  Just the way I am supposed to be:

A beautifully wonderful masterpiece, and a work in progress all at once. And that is what I will always be, because that is exactly what we all are.  And what we are all supposed to be.

I realized it is time to embrace myself, my potential and all that I am.  No matter what other people think I am or who I am, my freedom comes from embracing me for who I am and learning to love myself just the way I am.

Broken, sometimes smashed to bits. Healed, sometimes with bold scars. A little wild and crazy.  A little bit of everything.  A wonderful eclectic mix of awesome.

 I am learning to live my life for me, because only then do I live my life well enough to be all I can be.  And only when I am all I can be, can I do what I am meant to do in this world.

Some people see it and allow me to shine easily.  Some people don’t understand me and try to change me to fit into their mold.  Some people stay, some people walk away.  Sometimes it feels good and sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes it hurts a lot. Sometimes doubt creeps in.  Sometimes a lot of doubt, almost too much doubt.  But every time that happens something else amazing eventually happens too. From somewhere there is always a message that arrives in some unexpected form that reminds me with complete certainty.

I AM A MASTERPIECE AND I AM FREE.   ALL I HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE.

It really is that simple, but as we all know simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Sometimes it’s hard work and takes time.  But I do guarantee, that when you come to the epiphany, you too will realize it is worth it.

You see, you really are already completely free.  You just have to realize it and believe it. And then you can feel it. And you will never want to feel any other way again.  You will cherish your freedom and you will do the work to keep it. You will become strong enough to walk tall and with purpose and you will wonder how you never realized you were already free before.

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oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up)

we’re dancing into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

spirits time has come

We want loving’ we want laughter again

we want heartbeat we want madness to end

we want dancin’ we wanna run in the streets

we want freedom to live in this peace

we want power we want to make it ok

want to be singin’ at the end of the day children

to breathe a new life we want freedom to love who we please *(rise up rise up)

oh rise and show your power(rise up rise up)

everybody dance into the sun (rise up rise up)

it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up)

the spirits time has come

Talkin’ ’bout  the right time to be workin’ for peace

wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease

this tightrope’s gotta learn how to bend

we’re makin’ new plans gonna start it again

rise up now It’s time, it’s time, it’s time (rise up rise up)

(part lyrics – RISE UP by The Parachute Club, released 1981

 

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I was working on my How To Be Happy journal that my lovely daughter gave me for Christmas.  Like me, it is a work in progress. It has made me question “what is happiness?” and more importantly, “what is happiness to me?”  I realize it is not the same for everyone. It can actually be quite different. I also understand happiness, at least for me, isn’t really about things, not even people, places or events.  Happiness is about feelings.

I began thinking about why and how some people lose happiness completely. How do they lose sight of everything hopeful and only see hopelessness, only feel fear and pain? How can we share the same basic reality but view it so differently? A friend recently pondered this.

“Lots of times I wonder what makes people end up the way they do? Why do we have the feelings, desires and emotions we do? How do you become truly happy? Which leads me to wonder, what makes up happiness?”

Depression surrounds us, an invisible presence most of us are blissfully unaware of.  We walk by people, sit with them, talk to them and we don’t see a mental illness, their pain, their need. I know this to be true. But what makes up happiness?  How do we find happiness when we’ve lost it?

I started Rise Like Air because I wanted to be part of a change, part of making something better.  I wanted to help people, even if it was just one person, realize that there is hope and that they don’t have to give up.  I wanted to share success stories and struggles to inspire people to keep trying, to embrace their own beauty and abilities, to empower them to love and live fully, to extend a hand to let them know that when they are hurting they aren’t alone, even if we can’t understand it all, there’s a place they can go to be unconditionally accepted.

Like many ideas that simmer slowly, a catalyst occurred to move it forward.  Six years ago this weekend we received word that Todd, a family friend we knew who had been experiencing severe depression took his life. It was the classic stereotypical situation with all the whys and how could have he’s. He had so much to live for, family that loved him completely, children to watch grow up, a good job he liked.  Sure there were setbacks, but how did he lose such complete perspective, lose all hope, lose all desire to live? And how did it seem to happen so quickly?

I remember what I was doing when we got the call.  I remember how everything suddenly became surreal, time slowed down, my heart started to race and I started to feel detached. And I remember the distinct feeling of I should have been able to do something. No, really I couldn’t have, I knew it then, I know it now. But it was what eventually moved me to start Rise Like Air. His mother,  Joyce, has been one of our greatest supporters. When I was almost ready to quit because I questioned the value, it was her wisdom and kind words that made me realize no matter what, if I’m only inspiring one person, that is more than enough.

She has taught me so much on this journey, including how important it is to talk about your loss and pain as you heal. Speaking of the people we love, sharing memories is a way of not only grieving, but keeping that person with us. So when you are tempted to say something, but don’t know what or how, take the leap. Your support will mean the world.

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I was out with a severely depressed friend a while ago.  I watched the interactions they had with others while we were together. They smiled and laughed, they chattered, they went about their business.  There was no sign that said, I feel like I’ve died inside, my body just hasn’t caught up yet. There was no indication that they needed a friend, needed help, or that they were anything but a “normal everyday happy” person.  I knew the truth and was shocked at how invisible it was on the surface, except when I looked into their eyes.  Eyes that no longer held any joy, hope or life. They were already dull, empty, pained. You can train your body to lie, but the eyes are much more difficult to hide.

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Depression is an invisible demon that revels in slowly sucking the joy, hope and life out of people so quietly that often, no one else even knows the deadly stranglehold is in play.

WHO, the World Health Organization, says in October 2015 that

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

Even when we do realize that someone needs help, often what we try to do to help is completely counterproductive.  Depression is not simple sadness. Often the very things we say or do trying to help actually make it worse, make them feel like they’ve failed, are a burden, are hopeless and helpless. However! This is not a reason to stay quiet or give up.  It’s a reason to learn what to do, how to be a positive support. How to save lives!

If someone had a broken leg we wouldn’t say, “well it can’t be that bad, just get up and walk on it!” We’d do all the things that have to happen to fix the leg and support the person while they are healing.  Why? Because we can see the injury, we can see and hear the pain they are experiencing. Visible or not it does not change the severity of the dis-ease.

But there are things we can say and do that are helpful.  There are resources that can make us part of the solution instead of part of the problem. We can be supporters who help others heal.  We can help save lives.

 

 

You never know what word, smile, conversation, text or email will be the thing that makes a small or big difference in someone’s life, that might save their life. When you listen to people who have been saved in their moment of despair, it often was something very small that saved them that day, gave them the strength to carry on.   It can be as simple as asking “Are you ok?” as in the case of Jamie Harrington, from Ballymena, Dublin,  who explained about meeting a man in his 30s sitting on the edge of a bridge and about to jump off it.

If we can help a person see through the clarity of our eyes instead of the clouded vision of their own, we can be the beacon of light they need until their own eyes clear.

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Project Hope Exchange is an organization committed to bringing hope to people everywhere.

Give hope. Get hope. All in 30 seconds! What if we could do just that and start spreading hope around the world? We at The Adversity 2 Advocacy Allianceand Life Vest Inside believe we CAN, and we’re thrilled to be partnering to offer you this unique and powerful opportunity. Through Project Hope Exchange, we are collecting, aggregating and sharing 30-second audio messages fromindividuals who have survived some kind of adversity to others who are currently facing that same adversity. And at the heart of our exchange are real human voices. We hope you’ll add yours!

 

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I have learned kindness, patience and unconditional love can make all the difference in helping people.  Life Vest Inside is an organization that  helps me and many others find their way through tough times by simply providing a safe, positive place to just be. Their video The Kindness Boomerang went viral a number of years ago and has been a catalyst for many to change their lives in positive ways.  So that is what I leave you with today, something positive, uplifting and hopeful.  We all have the ability to make a difference in people’s lives every moment of every day.  Do not waste your opportunity to help make a life better.  It just might be yours.

 

 

If you are experiencing depression or any mental health issue, please do not give up. No matter how long it’s been, how desperate or numb you feel, there are people who care and want to help. Please reach out.  There is a life vest.  All you have to do is hold on tight.  This is a dis-ease I truly believe we can beat together.

 

In memory of

Todd Pidhordetsky April 21st, 1970 – March 6, 2010

You are loved, you are missed, you are treasured

 

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fear

Be all you can be.  Be who you are.  Use your Fears, don’t let them use you.

 

 

Our Greatest Fear

it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other

people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

 

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An excellent take on relationships, people pleasers and how to set healthy boundaries.

GentleKindness

love me

There are many of us who asked to be loved by a parent who either refused to love us, or was incapable of loving us. This can carry over into adulthood as a disorder called codependence. People who have codependent tendencies also have People Pleaser Syndrome.

The traits of People Pleaser Syndrome include difficulty saying no, a phobia of upsetting people and being around negative emotions, and a tendency to do what others want even if it causes you discomfort or even harm.

This need for approval and love was not gratified as a child, and there is still a longing for approval from others. There can be a confusion between people loving you and people approving of you.

People can approve of your actions because your actions meet their own agenda. This does not necessarily mean that they love you, or even like you. There can be a tendency…

View original post 857 more words

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It is so easy to think I know. I know what’s best. I know what they should do. I know. I know. I know. Often this comes with a side order of If only. If only they would, if only this could. If only they would try harder. If only. If only. If only.
 
What’s hard is admitting that just maybe I don’t know. I don’t really know how someone feels, or how to fix it, or even help them. All I can be is a friend. A supporter. All I can do is try harder every day to actually understand. Not understand from where I stand, but from where THEY stand. Time to walk in their shoes. And try as we might, we can’t do that well unless we actually are walking in their shoes.
 
Sometimes we can’t . We can’t suddenly experience cancer, or depression but we can work to understand more deeply. We can work to hold true empathy and compassion, even if we don’t get it.
 
UnderstandUs is a volunteer group in Regina, Saskatchewan Canada founded by Jeremy Demeray and Thomas Le.  They are ending the stigma of mental illness in a process to move us to mental health and support those in need. They are telling people’s stories so we can get as close to walking in their shoes as we possibly can. They are naming the elephant in the room.  
Victoria Sutherland’s piece Naming The Elephant In The Room is beautifully written and hits at the heart of what it feels like to be in a depressive episode that becomes so hopeless you will do anything to end the pain. She writes in a way that allowed me to feel like I am walking in her shoes.  I got it a little bit more. An excerpt from her article,
However, after 20 odd years of repressing a mental illness, it doesn’t take a lot before something seemingly small or insignificant can trigger an all time low. (I wish it was as simple as boy breaking my heart – that can be dealt with by listening to Tegan and Sara while eating a tub of cookie dough ice cream and screaming “liar” at everyone in Love Actually). Looking back, I’m not even certain I wanted to kill myself, I just knew that I never wanted to feel the way I did at that moment ever again. I was tired of feeling the kind of debilitating sadness that consumed my life and took joy out of everything I loved. I was tired of feeling alone even when surrounded by a room full of people who love me. I was tired of letting someone else’s actions and words have complete power over my emotions. Most of all, I was tired of extreme highs followed by periods of excessive lows. I felt like a grenade with the pin pulled out just waiting to go off. I could be having the best day of my life but if someone said or did something that upset me, I down-spiralled. Fast.
A couple of days after everything hit its dramatic climax, I started feeling guilty. Seeing the effect all of this had on my family and friends and even my dogs made me feel terrible. I felt selfish and needy and like I was a huge inconvenience to everyone in my life. My mom took time off work and moved in with me, my sister became my 24 hour sounding board and all of my other loved ones were taking time out of every day to check in, see how I was doing and just trying to be there. It was overwhelming and while I felt appreciative, I also questioned why I was worth consuming everyone’s thoughts and lives. And if that guilt wasn’t enough, I started to feel guilty when I wasn’t miserable.
When we start to “get it” we can become part of the solution, part of the support network.  We can make a difference, a positive difference.  We can save lives, we can give hope, we can make a difference. We can help people become whole again. Because they are. They are whole.
While difficult to read on one hand, Victoria’s words gave me hope.  Hope because I understand better.  Hope because Victoria is proof that change can happen, that you can find ways, constructive, healthy ways to deal with depression, to learn to live again. To actually want to live again. That is an incredibly beautiful thing.  It’s a true rise like air moment.
To everyone out there who has, is or will face a time in their life where it is so painful and hopeless they see no way out, I want to thank you for still being here.  For that, I am eternally grateful. Because I’m beginning to realize just how big a commitment that is to make.

Life Vest Inside is a wonderful organization that empowers people and changes the world through kindness.  Being an ambassador with LVI has truly had one of the biggest most positive impacts on my life. If you need some support, a little kindness and want to be inspired every single day, surrounded by people who care and exude kindness, check them out.

Also check out Project Hope Exchange where you can give and get hope in 30 seconds. Now you know you’re curious.

©2016 J.Fries/Rise Like Air

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f84b16e2ce887345b5d855d7c74264b7

Wizard of Oz – Glinda

I subscribe to Mike Dooley’s Notes From The Universe. Five days a week I get a wonderfully inspirational email that never disappoints. I’m always uplifted, always inspired and motivated.

Personally I believe we get messages all the time.  You can say from the Universe, or God, or your higher self or whatever feels right to you. Maybe you think life is all about fate or destiny. It doesn’t really matter.  I believe if you are still and pay attention, lessons and opportunities abound.

A few months ago I received this message from TUT in my inbox.

Within any clearly imagined dream, far beyond the curtains of time and space, lies the intelligence and energy to choreograph the entire sequence of events necessary to make it manifest as soon as possible. 

And if you physically move towards that dream, demonstrating both faith and belief, making yourself available to “accidents and coincidences,” not insisting on the hows and rolling with what may come, the sequence is permitted to play itself out. 

Understand, however, that since you will only perceive this sequence with your physical senses upon a linear time line, it will likely seem that much of your journey doesn’t make sense, is unpredictable, or may even appear off-course. 

Yeah, you’re crushing it right about now – 
    The Universe

This resonated completely with me.  So much so I printed off a copy which I just came across today.  It resonated all over again, but with a new twist. At the time I had wondered why it so often still feels difficult to move towards a dream for so many people.

Recently I’ve realized the answer to my question.  Too many people have forgotten how to dream.  They don’t believe in dreaming. They are afraid to dream because they’ve come to believe that their dreams can’t come true.

They’ve failed to see that the real problem is that they’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over and over but expecting different results. It’s not the dream that’s the problem, it’s the approach to achieving it. And maybe in some cases the dream is the problem.  Sometimes we can be so fixated on what we think is our dream we miss all the messages that say maybe something better awaits us.

I hear so often “I don’t know what I want.” or “It doesn’t matter anyway.” or “What’s the point, it never worked before.” or “I can’t change.” or “It’s too late.”

When really, all you have to do is adjust your gaze a little.  See the same landscape, but with new eyes.  Demonstrate a little faith and belief. Don’t panic. Don’t shrink. And before you know it, you’ll start to see change.  Maybe big, maybe small, but if you open your eyes, and open your mind, you’ll see it. And you might just find out that dreams do come true.  Sometimes even better than you even imagined.

Dare ya, dream big.  Really big. Gigantic even.

The Universe is right, yeah, we’re crushing it right about now.

©2016 J.Fries/Rise Like Air

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** This post was edited February 7th 2016

I just received word that a friend from years ago just took his own life, just after his birthday, just before he was ready to start a new chapter in his life, retirement.

I am gutted. I haven’t spoken with him in years and in truth, didn’t know him well in the first place, but I knew him.  I talked with him, laughed with him, enjoyed his creative talent.  Now to know yet another life is gone because the mental pain became greater than the alternative, at least in his opinion is almost unbearable .

“No one knew”

Maybe one word, one action, one smile would have made a difference. Maybe not. We’ll never know.

But today I will ensure I consciously do all I can to make every contact I make count.

In the UK last year over 4000 men took their own lives. Something has to change now.

I ask for your thoughts prayers and positive energy to be sent out wide today, to everyone who is struggling.

We all need each other. Even when we think we don’t.

In the piece “Why Men Kill Themselves” Paul McGregor is candid in what he has to say.  He knows what he’s talking about from very personal experience.  He suffers from depression and his father took his own life because of his own depression. Like so many others, once the slide began for his father there seemed no way to stop it. This is what we must change.

Because that uncomfortable feeling around talking about or even thinking about suicide is just one reason suicide has become the leading killer of men under the age of 50.

Why do men kill themselves?

In fact, why does a man take his own life every 2 hours in the UK alone?

Why is the suicide rate increasing year after year and why out of all of the suicides last year, a massive 76% were men?

While I’ve experience episodes of depression I admit I’ve never reached that level of despair.  I’ve always wondered how that happens, where does the mind finally say enough is enough and actually believe it.  Paul McGregor is the person who has finally made it understandable for me. And it shreds my heart to know that any one of us could reach that place.

After listening to numerous people who survived their attempts on suicide and reflecting on my Dad’s suicide, a lot of them talk about the pain in which they wanted to end.

Not wanting it to hurt anymore, wanting the pain they’re going through to go away.

When you think of it, dieing is physically painful…

But the pain they’re in at the time of making that decision is far greater than the physical pain they’ll endure.

Something I’ve never really shared before stands out to me here…

When my Dad decided to walk infront of a lorry reports from witnesses say after the collision… he smiled.

 

After I read that I felt physically ill.  Somehow I could finally understand at a level I was never able to before. ** I finally understand that the pain is as harsh, as strong and maybe even more unbearable as any physical pain can be.  The pain is real, it is not imagined or exaggerated. It is not temporary and it cannot just be pushed aside. If medication and treatment isn’t working there is no fix to give temporary or permanent relief. And in that moment of absolute endless pain, there is no sight of light or hope or anything other than the unquenchable desire for it to be over.

I was suddenly taken back to when I gave birth to my first born. I was as prepared as any mother to be could be, but there still came a point where I thought, what have I gotten myself into, I can’t do this, make it stop now.  I don’t for an instant pretend that this is the same, but my own experiences with depression and giving birth, the dots were finally connected. I finally got it, or at least I’m starting too. I’ve lost my arrogance about how to “fix it”, maybe that’s the biggest part of understanding. I hope the connection I’ve made will make me a better friend, a better supporter, a better person all around. **

Paul not only knows the pain, he’s reached a point where he is unafraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. He’s starting the dialogue, offering solutions, offering hope.

Paul offers 4 things to start the process of changing the stigma of mental illness into a move toward mental health

  • Think about it, talk about it, do something
  • Shift societies attitudes through dialogue and the media
  • Change our language of suicide
  • Treat it

 

Let’s do all those things and more.  And let’s start today, right now, this second.  One small word, one small smile at the right moment does save lives.  Take every opportunity to make a difference.  I believe that’s what we’re all here to do.

Namaste

to-anyone-who-has-had-suicidal-thoughts-im-glad-you-are-still-here-keep-holding-on-quote-1

©2016 J.Fries/Rise Like Air

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