Archives for posts with tag: mental illness

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Today I’m home from work sick and I really don’t feel good. But sometimes opportunity comes in the form of what we initially think isn’t so great.

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day too.

And I so want to talk. Anyone who knows me even a little isn’t surprised by that I’m sure. I want to talk about Mental Health. I want to talk about the fact that people you know well, people you walk by the street every day, total strangers that smile broadly at you SUFFER from mental illness, things like depression, OCD, anxiety and a plethora of other ones and YOU probably know nothing about it.

I want to talk about the myths, assumptions, stigma. I want to talk about the far too many lives lost every day to mental illness. I want to talk about the families and friends, lovers and children left wondering, trying to make sense, trying to carry one. I want to talk about the hopelessness and the hope. The fear and the courage. The present and the future.

But most importantly, today…

I WANT TO LISTEN…

I WANT TO UNDERSTAND…

I WANT TO SIT WITH YOU…

I WANT TO LEARN…

I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND…

I WANT TO BE QUIET…

I WANT TO BE LOUD…

I WANT TO BE THERE…

AND I AM.

I ask each of you to take time not only today, but everyday to really look, seek out and listen. For those needing help, don’t give up… find it. Talk to someone. And keep talking and keep trying. Please.

I don’t want add any more names to the list. It’s too long. It’s already too personal.

A young man took his life in our area just this week. A friend of his had posted on FB earlier in the summer “My biggest fear is losing people.” A cyber friend had a “lovely smiling” previous coworker taker her own life this past week.

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Bell Let’s Talk

So take the time. Don’t assume. Ask a friend. Be a friend.

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I am here. Reach out. I mean it. Whether you know me or not. I’m here. Please let’s talk. I will listen. You are not alone. Honest, even if it feels that way. Let’s work to change it together.

In memory of all those we’ve lost and in eternal hope that we lose no more.

Related blog: Out Of The Ashes We Rise (in memory of Todd Pidhorodetsky April 21, 1970-March 6, 2010)

©2017 JFries/Rise Like Air

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To anyone ready to give up today I have one huge favour to ask.

 

Please don’t 

Don’t give up
Don’t be alone
Don’t hide it
Don’t feel ashamed
Don’t believe your negative thoughts or pretend

 

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Please

Do keep going
Do ask for help (as many times as it takes!)
Do be open
Do accept where you are, but be willing to change it
Do know it will get better and so will you

 

 

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We care

 

Life has plenty of challenges and it’s easy to find ourselves in overwhelming circumstances feeling alone and unworthy, not knowing where to turn. It can happen to anyone at anytime. But there is ALWAYS hope. Whether today is a day you find yourself short on hope, or with a little extra to share, check out Project Hope Exchange. It’s a unique project that enables people to share hope. Give a little, get a lot.

Think you’re alone? Think again.

 

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! (from the PHE website)

 

A closing thought.

Often we are consumed by “what if’s”, all the things that we worry and overthink about.

Today…

what if…

everything you’re going through right now 

is preparing you…

for a dream bigger than 

you can imagine…..

What if……

Just maybe…

Maybe so…

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I happened to be in one of our local small cafes the other day, called the Blue Rooster Cafe and Studio. It’s a quaint, eclectic little place that serves up great service, lots of smiles, fresh food not to mention whipping up one of the best London Fogs around,  and I happen to know these things.

I was checking out the notice board about upcoming art classes (after all it is a cafe AND studio) and I noticed a rather simple piece of paper.

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Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Regina is committed to helping people survive and escape the cycle of addiction and poverty through various programs and services.

What a simple yet incredibly impacting way to get involved.  Simply take a travel mug and fill it with warm drink mixes, instant soup mixes and other non perishable yet nourishing items.

How many of us don’t have an eclectic assortment of hardly used travel mugs neatly (r not so neatly) tucked away in the back of a cupboard? Why not put them to good use and help out a person in need this winter?

Just one more way for everyday people to make everyday differences every day. What difference will you make today?

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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I’ve been doing extensive reading about how our beliefs affect our thoughts which affect our outlook on life which affect our perception of our experience. It’s not only interesting but has the potential to create the change in mental health treatment globally that is so desperately needed, but that’s another topic.

In “My Happiness Project” Gretchen Rubin says, “It takes at least five positive marital actions to offset one critical or destructive action, so one way to strengthen a marriage is to make sure the positive far outweighs the negative. When a couples interactions are usually loving and kind, it’s much easier to disregard the occasional unpleasant exchange.”

Wow, if that doesn’t say something about the power of actions and words and what we do with them.

In the TED talk, “Getting Stuck In The Negatives (And How To Get Unstuck) Alison Ledgerwood’s research found that negative information trumps positive information given to us regardless of which information is given first. Failures stick with us longer than our successes.  Positive versus negative framing matters. (10 minutes)

My good friend Debbie Hyde wisely reminds me regularly, “We all have a choice. We can let go of what we don’t need. Or we can hang on and be dragged.” She believes this so strongly that she wrote a fantastic book about it (yes, free plug, my blog, I can do that. Trust me, I personally think the book is really well worth reading.) You can check it out here.

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The last while letting go has been on my mind a lot. I’ve got too much clutter of all sorts in my life and at some point you have to do something about it or keep tripping over it.  As always, when you need something, I’m a firm believer it shows up. Although I’ll be the first to admit that I get anxious and doubt my own wisdom about that when I happen to be the one having to patiently wait. Human. Masterpiece and a work in progress. Yep, that’s me. What happened was a brief piece that came across one of my feeds. What caught my eye was the phrase let it go. As I scanned it  a technique to “let go” intrigued me.

  • Simply tear up pieces of paper.
  • On each piece write something you are willing to let go. For example: anger, hate, jealousy, judgement, labels, neediness, chasing people, self harm, my job. You get the picture.
  • Light a fire (nice, piece it emphasized safety first. The internet isn’t all bad)
  • Put a slip of paper into the fire one at a time as you say “I release -fill in the blank- because -reason why-.

I added the reason why part. It came to me as I was throwing my first piece. “I willingly and happily release anger because it hurts everyone.”

Heck it was garbage burning day anyway so why not. It seemed appropriate to throw what I wanted to let go of into a fire fuelled already by things that were being let go of. My son can thank me later for doing one of his chores. I’m a nice mom some of the time.

My envelope was filled with slips of paper. It took me a while in the peace of a beautiful morning to complete what I had set out to do, to let go. When the last piece had curled into white ash I said, “I let go of all that does not serve or is harmful to allow for the space to embrace all that does and is helpful.” I was actually very surprised at how light and peaceful I felt when I was done, even if I smelled more than a little smokey.

I’m glad I saw that little blurb the other day. My son should be too since it got him out of a chore. I think I’ll do it more often, maybe even make it a habit. Maybe it’s one of those things that’s supposed to fill up that space I just made.

©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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It’s Monday incase anyone needed reminding. However,

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So I did!  Started my day with Yoga for the first time in a long time and I feel so much better for it, going to make it routine again.  Because here’s a little secret, I like feeling better. It’s a good thing.

It’s also summer solstice – and full moon!!! Love this time of year and having both come together is like an extra special gift. Monday just keeps getting better if you let it. Now there’s a lesson we should all take to heart, Monday and every other day too.

I m working at holding onto hope and passing out as much of it as I can to others who may be a bit short. Rips me up to see how much hopelessness there is swirling around me. It truly truly is about perspective, but perspective is sometimes this elusive, slippery concept that seems just out of our grasp. My life mission truly is to be a catalyst for hope, for change and I keep feeling like messages are coming to me to get on with it. So ok already! … I am!

Your deepest heart knows what your soul purpose is. It is connected with the you that you wish to be.  It is embedded in the place of joy within you.  Its expression creates a sense of fulfillment and meaning.  It is the reason for you being on the Earth at this time. Julie Redstone

And the biggest thing I’m learning as I move through all of this messy thing called “Life” is that mindfulness is key (ya really working on that) and that to truly be what I want to be and where I want to be I have to accept change, I have to accept the messiness of life and what changing life means. I am truly a butterfly – delicate but capable of flying through a hurricane, and sometimes in the end you just can’t go around the storm, you have to go through it, even if it means battered wings.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgment.  Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have been releasing so much crap lately, internally and externally and the process continues. Somedays I see it all so clearly and other days the fog is impenetrable. Today is just hazy, forecast is for clearing skies – shining my light – and sparkling, as brightly as I possibly can because the world needs shiny people who sparkle. (Seriously, it does…. did you miss the memo?)

What is ringing clear as a bell is that I can do what I want, I can be who I want to be – if I’m willing to

BE

BELIEVE

DO

… I’m the only thing truly standing in my way. All other things will move or dissolve if I MOVE. Even if I move just al little. I’m moving, I’m moving, I’m moving!! No regrets right? Keep on keeping on.  That is what I am doing. I am recreating myself yet again because if I’m honest, that’s what we do every day. Its what we should be doing everyday.

Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you are listening….  – Lisa M Hayes

I am not giving up on me. I am not giving upon those around me and I most certainly am not giving up on this glorious potential and opportunity filled thing we call LIFE! I am embracing uncertainty, fear and discomfort. I am using these as my catalyst to be all I can be, to be all I want to be. And I am using it to fuel not only myself but others. I am healthy whole and complete. I am the manifestation of clarity of purpose, purity of intent and courage in action as I willingly and gratefully step out of my comfort zone (Yikes! repeat that one again). Sure, there is a huge knot in the pit of my stomach, but it will not stop me, it will propel me forward. I will be gentle with myself and others, but I will always be true to myself because only through that process will I really be true to others.

Taking care of yourself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. Bryant McGill

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So Rock your Monday, and Roll over anything that gets in your way. But remember to be gentle, even speed bumps have a purpose.

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©2016 JFries/Rise Like Air

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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 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 Pidhorodetsky April 21st, 1970 – March 6, 2010

You are loved, you are missed, you are treasured

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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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** 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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