What it Feels Like After Suicide

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gun to head

Derek was my sweetheart when I was 16 years-old. I wrote Derek’s Story, which was about his suicide, but now I realize that I left so much out. When you are a survivor of suicide – either your own or somebody else’s – the feelings left over are extremely confusing. Nothing is what it seems and it can feel like you are lost in your own world. This blog is my attempt to describe the emotions that come and go after a suicide, and try to make sense of them.

middle school

In middle school, the students were told that a boy in high school committed suicide and his girlfriend was beside herself with grief. I remember thinking that if something like that ever happened to me, it would be the most embarrassing and horrible thing that could happen in school (This was 1988, so we would see the actual most horrible things to happen in a high school later). About five years after that, it did happen to me. This is what I did:

  1. I told Derek to “go ahead” and commit suicide. I don’t like to be threatened and I didn’t think he would do it, but he did.
  2. I felt nothing about this.
  3. Three full days later, I went to the police and they found him dead.
  4. I felt nothing.
  5. I cried just a smidge, but I still felt nothing.
  6. Clearly, I was in shock.

shock

When I stopped feeling nothing, I started feeling empty. This was slightly different than feeling nothing. I had a few feelings pop up around this time: guilt, dread, anger, devastation. These were almost welcome after feeling nothing for a few days, but I say almost, because these emotions basically suck. I think the guilt kept me feeling empty longer, because I blamed myself for his suicide, and possibly rightfully. My emptiness confined me to my bed for about a week, and then my dad made me go back to school.

nose piercing

At school, I didn’t know how to act. I would get giggly for no reason and say inappropriate things to people. Teachers and students would tip-toe around me so as not to have to converse. Outside of school, my behavior became erratic. I pierced my nose and started wearing rags, instead of my nice clothes. I morphed from walking around like a zombie to an outgoing young girl and back again. No one knew whether I was coming or going.

cry

Nightimes had me crying under the covers. Having full feelings now, I was overwhelmed. Even though I had just graduated from a treatment center, I went out and got drunk almost every evening. I don’t even think my dad noticed because of his concern about my grief. I got lost in a huge drinking crowd where I would hang out and get completely wasted. This was the beginning of my habit of drinking to assuage pain.

drinking

My grief was long and unbearable. One day, my well-meaning best friend told me that since it had been two months since his death that I should be “over it”. I disagreed. I believed that the pain in my heart had years to work itself out. I was right.

In the past 25 years since Derek killed himself, I have asked the same questions almost every day: “Why?”, “Why me?”, “Where did you go?”, “Will I ever see you again?” “Did you know how much I loved you?” It’s been all these years and I’m bawling like a baby right this moment.

butterfly effect

Any death in a family will have a butterfly effect on those around the deceased. Derek’s funeral was standing room only. Batches of people gave their own eulogy and I got up there and said a whole bunch of shit that made no sense. Later, I skateboarded down a hill I didn’t know how to navigate and half killed my own self. No one really knows how to operate when something so horrible happens. My opinion is that we just let our emotions ride until they pass and try to think of the good times with that person. Even if it makes you cry.

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Amber’s Story

 

If You Are in Crisis, click here.

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When I was 22, my boyfriend and I liked to go the bar every night. The bar was joined by a restaurant that served delicious Tex-Mex food. We didn’t go there to get drunk (but we did) or stuff ourselves with tacos (we did that too); we were there to see Amber. She was my age and I liked her a lot, but Rob, my boyfriend, loved her as his best friend in the world. Rob was older than we were by about 12 years, and Amber’s fiancé was even older than that, I think. He was the manager at the bar, while she was a bartender. Although Rob and I weren’t as close to Tori as we were to Amber, we liked to visit with them both.

Amber was the sun on a cloudy day. She was so beautiful, witty, and smart – she could always make you smile. That’s probably was what made her a great bartender. However, bartending was only a fraction of what Amber could do. She was also a graduate student and had a student position in the science department. She always told us that the scientists she was working for had a top secret experiment going on that she was allowed to participate in, but she wouldn’t tell us more. I remember her coming over to our house and smoking cigarettes with me on the porch. She knew all about the constellations and would explain these and things like the phenomenon of cults to me. It seemed that Amber knew a little bit about everything.

When Amber sported an engagement band on her ring finger, we were so happy for her. We teased her about Tori finally getting her a ring. She retorted, “I bought this for myself. I knew Tori would never get me one”. Of course, we didn’t know what to say, so we said nothing. I remember being confused about why she would buy her own ring, but it didn’t seem to bother her and I never asked about it.

Amber and Tori would come over for game night or dinner. I remember one time we went out to a restaurant and I got drunk, squirting half and half over everyone from the little containers. Rob was furious with me, but Amber only got a little frustrated. That’s how she was: calm and cool. I loved her for keeping me grounded. I needed that, because I was an untreated bipolar alcoholic. I knew that Amber was Rob’s best friend, and I respected that, but I secretly wanted her to be mine.

I only saw Amber upset once, but I couldn’t figure out why. She said a “nosy neighbor” came over and bothered her about a loud noise coming from her house. Amber thought this was ridiculous and that the neighbor just wanted to bother her. We took her side right away, telling her that it was ridiculous and that she should just forget about it. I don’t think she ever did – she was so pissed off.

Rob and I were having dinner with Amber and Tori one night when she exclaimed that she alone had solved the science problem in her lab at school. We stared at her with dumb looks until she finally thought she convinced us that the year-long hypothetical, college level science problem, had been solved exclusively by her. We told her we believed her, but I don’t think any of us did. “Are you going to tell the scientists?” I asked. “Soon”, she said, “soon”.

She never told them. Word came that Amber was dead. She had put her head in a drawer and shot herself. They would find extra holes in the drawer where Amber had “practiced”. This is why the neighbor had previously come over. It was important to Amber that Tori find her, which is what had made her so angry. None of this made any sense: Amber was always upbeat and almost everyone she knew loved her like a sister. Why would she want to hurt Tori like that? What had happened?

She wanted a ring on her finger in death and she wanted to pass away knowing that she alone held the secret to the science experiment. Tori talked to one of her science coworkers who verified that Amber had hidden the scientific results. But why would she want to leave us? Didn’t she love us? No one could explain a thing about this suicide. It didn’t make sense, but do they ever?

So many people mourned at her memorial. It was a disgusting and sad day. Mourners walked around with lost faces. I thought a few would walk straight into the wall. Amber left us a memory album (she what?!), yes, she compiled a book of memories for her death. It was clear that she knew about this day long before any of us did.

This was 1997 and I don’t know what kind of suicide prevention there was. I know there was a little, because I remember learning about it at school, but even that was minute. I think that if there was more early education, potential suicides would know what resources are out there. This could have helped Amber, but I don’t know that it would have. We’ll never know why Amber had to die, but I can tell you that the people who knew her will never forget her. This is why I work to spread suicide awareness and work for suicide prevention. We need to eradicate stigma and maintain safe places for people to talk about suicide.

Suicide Prevention Necklaces for Men and Women

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Erin’s Story

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Erin's story

Picture above: “Erin’s Story” by Susan Ward

This is the short story of my life and how I became suicidal. Because it is a bare-bones account of who I am, I am sure that I am leaving out a lot of information that would help you understand me. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. I would love to interact with you. Erin

My early childhood was okay. Mom was Betty Crocker and Dad was Ward Cleaver. I was a pretty happy kid, unless they were fighting with each other. My mother and father could really get into it, and it frightened me. One time they both came bursting into my room, each grabbing hold of one of my arms, and pulled me like they were playing tug-of-war. Neither parent remembers this – or admits to it. They just wanted to get away from one another, but each wanted to take their only child with them.

Finally, they divorced. The judge awarded them joint custody of me. This was the most stressful thing as a child. My mother was slipping into mental illness, in my opinion. On the weeks I would spend with her, she would yell and scream at me for no reason. I looked so forward to seeing my dad, who was calm and nurturing, but the weeks with him seemed to speed by.

I was a promising Olympic hopeful when this was going on. My sport was Rhythmic Gymnastics and I had placed first in a regional meet when I was ten years old. My (now insane) mother was drooling over the chance to have a famous daughter. She pushed me and pushed me to be better at it, but with the added pressure, instead I took a nosedive. My scores lowered and my mother got more freaked out.

Suicide Prevention Jewelry for Men and Women

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Finally, my mother gave me an ultimatum: move with her to a town with a more prestigious gym, or she was taking off and I could live with my dad. If this happened, she told me she didn’t want to see me until I was 18 years-old. I was almost twelve at the time. I cried a lot over this, but eventually chose my dad. I still feel that sense of her abandonment today, although I’ve talked to my mom since, and she needs a lot of psychiatric help, in my opinion. She is no one I would have liked to raise me.

Alcoholism took over very early for me. I was about 12 years-old when I impulsively stole a little from each of my dad’s booze bottles, poured it all in a Garfield thermos, and chugged. I don’t remember that night, but my dad does! He tried to dissuade me from drinking by taking me to skid row and giving me the tour. I just felt jealous that the bums got to drink and sit around all day. This definitely says something about me and my alcoholic tendencies.

Bipolar disorder took over not long after that and I was impulsively goading my sleepover friends to snort crystal light powder up their noses, or outrageously flirting with teachers and other students, or kissing older boys, or urging the driver to go faster. I just felt so empty and I was searching for a thrill. I was uncomfortable in my skin and I needed something to make me feel better.

The depression part of bipolar made me cry almost every day. In high school, I would sleep through my classes. During my junior year, I had a boyfriend named Derek, who I was madly in love with. He decided to shoot himself in the head and I was devastated. Although I had just been to rehab, the tools I learned there were worthless in this situation. I became more depressed, impulsive, and alcoholic.

Suicide Prevention Necklaces for Men and Women

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I left high school my senior year to go study at the local community college. I was so uncomfortable all the time; it would make me think I had to get out of whatever situation I was in. That’s why I left high school. College was better, but still, I was feeling like I had to bail. So I followed the Grateful Dead all summer.

During this time, I took way too much LSD. I traveled with a man I barely knew and to tell you the truth, probably wouldn’t even have had lunch with. He took the battery out of my car and put it in his, so I was essentially trapped. His car was smashed by a delivery truck while I was in it, injuring my back and shoulder. My “friend” drove away from the scene due to his not having a license – a fact I had not known about. I struggle with my back and shoulder to this day.

Then I got drunk. I got drunk, drunk, and drunk. I held jobs for less than a year. I flunked out of community college, alienated people at bars, and became a stripper so I could get paid to drink. I got kicked out of those bars too. I didn’t care about anything except getting drunk, and then I found methamphetamine.

For a year and a half, I smoked, snorted, and even shot methamphetamine. What was best about this drug was that it calmed me down for a while. I definitely got amped, but there would be a time after ingestion when everything just seemed alright. This was what I was searching for all my life, it seemed. As a bonus, I could drink a lot while taking meth. Like for 72 hours straight.

I sobered from meth and alcohol in a treatment center I stayed in for four months. I remained sober for seven years after that. During this time, I struggled to manage my bipolar symptoms and I had yet to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, so I was trying to manage symptoms without knowing why I had them. I acted out sexually during this time and impulsively took my medications as they were not prescribed. I was sober, but I was still in trouble.

I finally drank again, which brought back feelings of relief and comfort. I could never stop at tipsy, so I got shitty drunk whenever I drank. I lost my driver’s license for four years. Luckily, I lived with my current husband at the time and he could drive me around, but otherwise I was trapped in the house if he wasn’t going anywhere (we live in the country). I continued to drink and finally, my husband kicked me out.

Semicolon Necklaces for Men and Women

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I went to live with my dad for a year. I ended up taking off with another man I wouldn’t even have lunch with. He was living in a tiny little camper trailer, and now, so was I! I decided to go off all of my medications and get pregnant with this guy. Three months later, I had an abortion. The guy and his family harassed me for months, but the deed was done. I had been mentally sick and needing medication while I was pregnant, but there are few medications you can take while carrying a fetus. I also realized that I was too messed up to be a mom.

Still recovering from the abortion, I took off with another homeless guy (lunch? No thanks.). We ended up staying in this ancient and small Airstream trailer that was sitting in a junkyard. The dust in that place was at least a half-inch thick. This was in Eastern Oregon and the nights were freezing. I had to squish myself into a sleeping bag with this guy in order to stay warm. I lay awake like that one night and decided that I wanted to kill myself. I just didn’t know how.

I escaped back to my husband and he welcomed me with open arms. My bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorders were still not being treated and within a year, I cheated on my husband twice. The first time, I tried to commit suicide by drinking a giant bottle of Jack Daniel’s in one hour. I woke up two days later and was taken to a psychiatric hospital. Because I had no insurance, they just let me stay there for seven days without treating me. They had no problem charging me $14,000 though.

The second time I cheated on my husband, I ended up in jail for drunken disorderliness. The doctor there prescribed me some meds and I felt relief right away. I was put on probation, but get this: being on probation meant I was eligible for a free doctor. The doctor put me on an antipsychotic medication and I had never, ever, felt better. All of the pesky bipolar symptoms went down to a low roar and I felt like I could do anything.

A few months later, something strange happened. I fell into a depression because I realized how much I had wasted my life. I looked back and saw a drunken, meth-addled, poor student, bad employee, and awful partner. I couldn’t find a way to make anything of my life now. Suddenly, I knew I was ready to die. I just needed to find a way to make it look like an accident, so my loved ones wouldn’t have to grieve a suicide.

Suicide Prevention Necklaces for Men and Women

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I can’t sit here and describe the horrible guilt, despair, and sorrow I felt when I realized I was ready to go to the other side. Those feelings weren’t for me; they were for the people who I would leave behind. It was so weird to finally have freedom from the symptoms which plagued me for 25 years, yet feel I was in a rock-bottom mess. I just felt worthless and I wanted to die.

Therapy. 12-step meetings. Talking to friends. Therapy. Counseling. Reading self-help books. Therapy. 12-step meetings. Reading spiritual literature. Therapy. Counseling. Talking to friends. Talking to a 12-Step sponsor. Okay, I think you got it.

I changed my attitude and decided to get busy living instead of get busy dying. I decided that I could spend each day doing nothing but what I needed to do for the day and let the future shake itself out. So far, it’s working. I don’t feel suicidal anymore – I love my life. If you’ve read this and something sticks out for you, please leave me a comment. Thank you for visiting my blog.

Here are some helpful books about some of the things I mentioned:

The Bipolar Disorder Survival guide

I Hate You Don’t Leave Me

The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life

50 Wacky Ideas for Fundraisers

Here are 50 of the most potentially hilarious fundraising ideas I could find. Okay, so not all of them are super funny, but I think you could say that they all have a certain wackiness factor. Have fun reading, and if you have any questions about these, please feel free to contact me by leaving a comment.

Suicide Prevention Necklaces for Men and Women

1. Onion Peeling Contest

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Who doesn’t love seeing a grown man cry? This is an inexpensive and hilarious way to raise funds. Helmets not allowed.

2. The Four Pound Burger Challenge

There is nothing at all like an eating contest. Challenge some prominent men and women in your community to come and pig out. Serve regular-sized burgers for a donation and fun will be had by all.

3. Bad Hair Day Contest

bad hair day

I would win this. Everyone will have a good time with this contest – even those who are not sporting bad hairdos. Invite some local celebrities to be the ones wearing the styles and  use their status to advertise on the news. Charge admission. Done.

4. Jail and Bail

Have local business owners “arrested” when they have agreed to be nominated (this is very important). Allow the public a window of four hours to “bail” each prisoner out through an internet website. Try to make this happen at the actual jailhouse and install a webcam. Solicit the jailers to let delicious food be served to the prisoners during those four hours (you’re not a monster). The arrestees will have to pledge their friends and family in the time before the arrest to raise money fast in those four hours!

 5. Get Naked for Suicide Prevention

stripper

Make a calendar or have a strip-show at a local auditorium (adults only, of course). You don’t have to get down to bare naked – just give ‘em a good laugh.

6. Flush Suicide/Cancer/Violence, etc.

Some students in Pennsylvania decided to paint a toilet gold and sell opportunities to have it placed on someone else’s yard for the day. Priceless.

7.Travel Abroad Wearing Only a Bunny Suit (or Wacky Suit of Your Choice)

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This idea came from the Brits, and they are very wacky. It is suggested that you travel abroad wearing a bunny suit the whole time. However, you don’t have to go abroad; you can go anywhere, or stay in town – as long as you’re wearing your bunny suit. You have to prove you are wearing it by posting to facebook, Instagram, your own website, or whichever you choose. Pledge for donations ahead of time and get your friends to join you while wearing other funny outfits.

8. Movie Themed Event

Shaken, not stirred, may the force be with you, say hello to my little friend, may the odds be ever in your favor…

9. Bungee Jumping

bungee jump

Wheee! How fun it would be to get a group of people to bungee jump together. Pledge your friends and family to see who wants you to jump off a bridge. Then do it!

10. Get Cold!

The winter is a great time to strip down and dive into your nearest lake. Bring tons of towels and blankets and have a community bonfire right there on the shore. It might be a little cold, so you can make arrangements with a local dining hall for a gathering after the dip. Either have participants pledge for their plunge, or nominate local celebrities to dip while you charge admission. Half-price when they bring a prepared dish for your feast.

11. Coffee Tasting Party

coffee tasting

You can class this one up by pledging all of your local coffee brewers to donate their wares and then turn it into a formal gathering. You can charge admission, people can vote on their favorites, and a good time will be had by all.

12. Beauty Pageant for Men

Need I say more?

13. Dog Show

dog show

I have no friend who owns a dog and doesn’t think their dog should be a trophy winner. Gather the locals in your auditorium of choice, name a judge, charge for dog entry and people entry, and just go for it. Be sure to sweep the space afterward. One word – fur.

14. The Best Parking Spot Auction

You can run this at your local everywhere: the mall, the Walmart, your local busy restaurant. Pledge each manager to run the raffle, giving away the best parking spot for one month to a lucky winner.

Suicide Prevention Jewelry

15. Food Fight!

food fight

I’m not sure how easy it would be to procure a site for a food fight, but it’s a fun idea. If you can get one of your local high schools to donate their cafeteria, you could put tarps on the floor for semi-easy clean up. Make sure there are lots of volunteers to wipe the spaghetti off the walls and all that. Solicit local grocery stores and restaurants for the food, or charge half-price at the door when people bring it to toss. Don’t forget to invite local celebrities (who wouldn’t want to see that car dealership owner who advertises incessantly to be covered in Jello mold?).

16. Barstool Race

For those lucky enough to live next to a ski area, this one is tops. Participants try sliding down a hill balanced on a barstool balanced on skis! Challenge your local high school and college athletes to join your cause while having a fun day on the slopes.

17. Adult Spelling Bee

adult spelling bee

Everyone knows at least one adult who loves to tell you how intelligent they are. Well, make them prove it. Here is another fundraiser that is perfect for inviting local celebrities. People would definitely pay to see the weatherman go down in alphabetical flames.

18. Beautiful Baby

Let locals submit photos of their baby on a website that has the capability of charging an entrance fee. Televise the winner on the local news.

19. Firewalk

firewalk

Sound scary? It’s actually a very enjoyable experience if done right. Make sure you do your homework (there’s a ton of information on the web) and you and your friends could be pledging for donations just to walk down an aisle. A fiery aisle.

20. Stay Out of Jail

In this one, your company has to raise enough money to stay out of jail. If the funds aren’t raised, they still get delicious food in their jail cell. Also, there would be opportunities to get bailed out.

21. Color Run

color run

It’s like this: people run, and along the way, other people fire colored powder at them. The end result is a lot of multi-colored people laughing their butts off. The powder is a non-toxic talc, so you’re good. Bring a change of clothing or towels to throw over your car seats. Either charge an admission fee to the runners or have them pledge for funds during some length of time (3 months?) before the race.

22. Post Halloween Yard Clean Up

Get some volunteers and go!

23. Zombie Prom

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Even if you’re an adult, you probably love zombies. That’s why this fundraiser needs no explanation.

24. Premium Stadium Seating

If you can procure this, then anything is possible. Advertise this prime piece of real estate on the news and set up a website where you can auction it off.

25. Casino Night

casino night

Gambling at its finest! It’s all the fun with none of the guilt when you’re playing for charity. Grab your friends who would be great dealers, or better yet, have local celebrities draw the blackjack cards.

26. School Sleepover for Adults

Yep, the floor of the caf and everything. Play movies, games, eat a ton of junk food. Charge admission and get no sleep.

27. Turkey Trot

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A perfect Thanksgiving activity, the Turkey Trot is a race before a turkey feed. Ask spectators to bring a prepared dish (advertise this if you can) and solicit your local markets for turkeys. You will need a lot of volunteers to pull this one off, but it’s a great way to bring the community together and gather funds for your cause.

28.Test Drive the Car of Your Dreams

Admission charged to drive your dream car around the bend.

29. Car Detailing

car detailing

Solicit a bunch of detailing volunteers, advertise the date and location, and then go to town! Charge a nominal fee for the service, and at the end of the day, you got funds.

30. Kidnap the Pastor

Kidnap your beloved pastor/reverend/Buddhist teacher and don’t let them go until enough people have pledged his/her safety. Actually, you can just tell people he/she is kidnapped. You can really just be kicking back together, playing parcheesi.

31. A Roast

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This one is my favorite. Invite local celebrities like your news people, a beloved restauranteur, or the guy with all the annoying local commercials, to be roasted on a stage. They can’t say no, I mean, are they worried about what people will say? Involving your “famous” locals is a great way to get on the news to advertise your fundraiser, and it will get people off the couch for one night as well. Make sure that your audience understands that it is all in fun, and have a moderator make sure this is so. Charge admission and have a great time!

Suicide Prevention Jewelry

32. Embarassment Cards

Write up an embarrassing action (chicken dance, hop on one for one minute, pull a face for two minutes) and hand the cards to your friends, family, and business associates. Tell them they have the choice of donating a dollar or doing the action on the card, on film. Should be an easy choice.

33. Balloon-O-Gram

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No one can walk past a bunch of balloons. This is something you can do outside your local supermarket (with permission, of course) and should generate a big crowd. A balloon-o-gram is about ten or so balloons with a card attached. The public can purchase these for a loved one and you create funds.

34. Human Targets

Water balloons at a donated price and elected people to throw them at. This works best with local celebrities, clergy, and businesspeople.

35. Abseil (With or Without Wacky Outfit)

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The British suggest that you do this with a bunny suit. I’m not kidding. But I think this fundraiser will work either way. If you do decide to wear a funny costume, just make sure it won’t get in the way of your equipment. Have the Abseil-ers pledge for donations and then try to fall (sorry, I’m a fatalist).

36. Helicopter Drop

If you can get a helicopter with no problem, it will be a miracle. But if you put a little networking into it, it could happen. Then you get a map of a certain area and break it into a grid. Offer the public pieces of the grid to be procured for a donation. When the helicopter drops a specified item onto the mapped area, whomever’s part of the grid it reaches wins the prize. Offer second and third place prizes as well.

37. Touch a Truck

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This is an awesome idea for kids’ charities, but I think it could work for any fundraiser. Solicit your local police, firefighters, and construction crews to bring a truck or two to a parking lot on a Saturday morning. Charge admission. Simple.

38. Pin the Map

Hide treasure somewhere in town. Offer pins for a donation and let people put them on a map that encircles then treasure. You might want to make tiny flags to identify the owners of the pins. I think you got the rest.

39. Break a World Record

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There are so many records left to break: the most people drinking coffee simultaneously, the most people making origami simultaneously – sorry, I’m not that creative. But there really are lots of records to make up and break. This could get the public seriously involved, and you could bring in a lot of donations. Make sure to contact the Guinness World Record people. I think they come and give you the award in person.

40. Townopoly

Solicit local businesses to fund their spot on your new board game. Check out this website to get your game built: http://www.makeplayingcards.com/custom-board-games.aspx

41. Game Show Night

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Play your favorite game by having volunteers move the set around to reflect the plays and get great laughs from the audience (whom you sold tickets to). Local celebrities make the best hosts.

42. Dueling Pianos

Find your local piano heroes and hold an amazing concert.

43. Shave Your Head

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This one’s great if you have a boss. Get a collection jar, and when it fills, the person you nominated to go bald, uh, goes bald. Make it a contest amongst businesses in your area to see whose jar can fill up fastest.

44. Choose the Torture

This is also great for bosses, clergy members, and local celebrities. People donate for a chance to vote on the “torture” to be imparted. It could be hair dye, dressing in pajamas for a day, or shaving a moustache, but it should be funny – not really torturous.

45. Inflatable Fair

inflatable fair

Nothing wrong with that.

46. Party Like its 1999…or 1982…or…

Just do it.

47. Smartie’s

smarties

Hand them out to your friends and ask them to return the wrapper – wrapped in their spare change.

48. Dog Walk

Be dog walkers for donations.

49. Tasting Party

food tasting

Pledge your local eateries for their finest delicacies and sell tickets to your upscale party.

50. Badminton Tournament

For laughs to be had by all.

One Extra…New Year’s Eve Party

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If everyone goes in costume, it will be that much more fun.

There are so many things you can do for charity. Fifty fundraisers don’t even scratch the surface. Whatever you decide to do for your cause, make sure it is safe and that all participants know they are participants. Other than that, have as much fun as you can and get those donations!

Suicide Awareness Jewelry for Men and Women

 

25 Shocking Careers that Might Make You Kill Yourself

If you are in crisis, click here

Suicide Prevention Jewelry for Men and Women

There are so many sites with statistics on who is killing themselves in whatever profession. These sites sometimes reference the National Organization of Occupational Mortality and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I will reference both, but I still won’t be able to come up with 100% accuracy in the statistics I list. This doesn’t worry me as much as trying to explain why these professions cause suicide more than others. In doing so, I will start out by saying that men had much higher suicide rates than women. Also, as age increases, so do suicide rates.

Pharmacists are 1.29x more likely to commit suicide

Pharmacist

This one makes sense to me. If I was surrounded by a candy store of narcotics every day, I’m not sure I could control myself. This leads to addiction, which can eventually lead down the road to suicide. In one woman’s account of a fellow pharmacist falling into that trap, it almost ended in suicide. The coworker wound up in the hospital after taking a ton of pills. Even after getting his license back, he relapsed and nearly drove himself to death again. A stream of evidence suggests that dangerous materials on a jobsite make suicide that much easier.

Precision Woodworkers are 1.3x more likely to commit suicide

Precision wood worker

“A growing group of experts is seeing perfectionism as both a blessing and a curse, prompting high achievement but making the achievers implacable self-critics” asserts Daniel Goleman in his article, “Higher Risks for Perfectionists” which attempts to explain the high number of artistry suicides. Perfectionists tend to respond poorly to medications and treatments, according to other studies. It seems that stresses such as getting things “perfect” can be a killer, especially if the art is a commission or for someone special. Usually, after finishing a project, the woodworker finds him or herself without a new commission and may become depressed when the money stops coming in.

Electricians are 1.3x more likely to commit suicide

Electrician

Being exposed to electromagnetic fields all day has to do something to your mental state. I have to also wonder about accidental deaths in this field being labelled as suicide. It seems like in a dangerous job, danger would befall. When a person has to be as exacting with the little electrical components, it would be very stressful. Dealing with that every day may lead to depression and possibly suicide.

Heat Treating Equipment Officers are 1.3x more likely to commit suicide

Heat treating equipment

Hydrogen sulfate is extremely toxic by inhalation, and guess who works around it? Immersing the self in this poisonous gas is sure to kill. Unfortunately, 25% of the deaths associated with it are of first responders. Other symptoms associated with hydrogen sulfate gas are, but are not limited to: tachycardia, bradycardia, dyspnea, and photophobia.

Farm Managers are 1.32x more likely to commit suicide

Farm Manager

Newsweek’s April 18, 2014 cover page reads: Death on the Farm: Farmers are a Dying Breed, in Part Because They’re Killing Themselves in Record Numbers. I’m not even sure I need to write any more about it, since that pretty much sums everything up. The same story outlines the actions of a man who woke up one morning, shot all of his cows between the horns and then did himself in with an automatic rifle. Farmers have a hard time of it, what with the financial burden of keeping it all afloat and the excruciating work they endure every day. Another problem is the pesticides, which can be a slow poison over time.

Lawyers are 1.33x more likely to commit suicide

Lawyer

I married a lawyer once. I was there when he had to study for the state bar exam and I was actually wondering why he hadn’t blown his brains out after a while. The profession seems very stressful. The American Psychological Association claims that lawyers are 6 times more likely to experience depression, which makes a lot of sense right there. According to an article in CNN.com, eight of the 50 state bar associations have found reason to be alarmed. California, Montana, Iowa, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina have added a “mental health component to mandatory legal continuing education.

Electrical Equipment Assemblers are 1.36x more likely to commit suicide

Electrical equipment assembler

I’m going to have to take a guess on this one. There was no literature that I could find on this job related to suicide, unless it was about China and the iPhone. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has apparently compiled the list I’m referring to, though the link is dead on their website. So I’m going to say that assembling electronics might be extremely boring and there might be a certain level of anomie involved. If you are feeling apart from your work, it can be mind-numbing to say the least.

Real Estate Agents are 1.38x more likely to commit suicide

Real estate agent

It seems that suicide affects real estate agents even when they are on top. In 2009, Steven L. Good, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sheldon Good & Company was found dead in his Jaguar. His death created much turmoil in the real estate industry as the stress of selling pinches everyone in this profession already. And then there are the murders to worry about. Sarah Anne Walker was stabbed 27 times while hosting an open house. That sounds safe. Or there was Ann Nelson, 71, who was robbed, strangled, and beaten with a fireplace poker by a man she thought she was showing a house to. So there is more to be stressed about than sales in real estate, probably a lot more than just possibly getting murdered. Real estate seems like the prime breeding ground for suicide.

Pottery Throwers are 1.39x more likely to commit suicide

Clay pot thrower

It’s impossible to find information on this profession and suicide. So I will postulate. Artists are the worst kind of perfectionists, and perfectionism can lead to depression. As we all know, depression can lead to suicide. Also, artists can fall into philosophical pits, like asking, “Is it all worth it?” too many times. In addition, you kind of have to be an artist to really appreciate the terror and heartache of making a giant mistake in your work. This alone can start a person thinking negative thoughts that could eventually lead to suicide if help is not sought.

Urban Planners are 1.43x more likely to commit suicide

Urban planner

Urban planners want to please their entire community. Everyone knows that you can’t please everyone all the time, though. With the unions, long hours, and competition for jobs, urban planners face stress at all angles. As well, there are the politics to contend with. The urban planner is stretched as far as they can go and then, as with the artists, if something does not go as planned, it can be devastating. Even though this profession brings in quite a bit of dough, it is not enough to keep some of this group of people around when push comes to shove – and it does.

Supervisors of Heavy Construction Equipment are 1.46x more likely to commit suicide

Heavy construction equipment

According to the Action Alliance Construction Industry Blueprint: Suicide Prevention in the Workplace, construction industry workers have a capability of fearlessness. The workplace is notorious for acts of bravado, stoicism, and toughness. People who engage in this kind of behavior often find it difficult to ask for help, so if a crucial time of depression comes around, they’re screwed. Supervisors of heavy construction equipment are stressed every day because the workplace includes near-death, fatal, and life-threatening accidents all the time. The supervisor is responsible for whatever happens, which can be a big downer. Also, when a job failure occurs, the supervisor’s identity is often tied to that, which can bring down a hefty load of shame. And we all know where shame will get you.

Chiropractors are 1.5x more likely to commit suicide

Chiropractor

It was hard to find my own research on the suicidality of chiropractors, but then I just googled “chiropractor suicide” and a plethora of articles announcing the suicide deaths of chiropractors came up. I can imagine that this business would be difficult. The financial worries of staying afloat, plus the stress of putting people “back together” properly would add up over time. I don’t think chiropractors take insurance all the time and it would be hard to manage a business on self-pay. Also, many clients use a walk-in policy, so the chiropractor’s books are never full. This would add to a sense of insecurity, and then there’s the mountain of paperwork every night. It seems a fact that chiropractors kill themselves more than average people. But I don’t know why.

Financial Workers are 1.51x more likely to commit suicide

Financial worker

These are the people who jump to their deaths from skyscrapers. They are under tremendous strain to make money every single day. They work long hours and often feel pressure, whether it’s real or imagined, from their families to make more. Along with having extra money around, alcohol and drugs come freely. No one gives financial workers urine analysis, so all is good for a while. If the person has turned to substances, it is really difficult for them to ask for help. In fact, if you are working 16 hour days, you don’t have time to ask for help.

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Veterinarians are 1.54x more likely to commit suicide

Veterinarian

Thankfully, the rate of suicide among veterinarians has dropped considerably since the eighties, according to Psychological Medicine, June, 2013. However, an April, 2015 issue of The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association states that one in six veterinarians have considered suicide. Apparently, veterinary school is very depressing, causing up to 36 percent of its students to enter the field with a gloomy outlook. The handy access to drugs once inside the profession makes veterinarians easy targets for drug addiction and suicide.

Semi- and Unskilled Labor are 1.6x more likely to commit suicide

semi and unskilled labor

Let’s just admit that it’s a drag to have to work your butt off for low pay and any number of aggravations to get it. Back-breaking work can drag a person down, especially if going home means going to a shack. I didn’t put any information in here about migrant workers, but I think they are a good example of how hard a workday can be, how little pay a person can get, and how sad most of us would be if we were doing this for a living.

Dentists are 1.67x more likely to commit suicide

Scientist

The September 1, 2007 Oral Health magazine reports that dentists are subject to an alarming number of health problems: “cardiovascular disease, ulcers, colitis, hypertension, lower back pain, eye strain, marital disharmony, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental depression, and suicide”. Well, there you have it. They are confined to a tiny room (smaller than a jail cell), looking into people’s bad breath holes. They are usually alone with a patient and maybe an assistant, but they can’t have conversation. Sounds dreary. I don’t even like to go to the dentist.

Doctors are 1.87x more likely to commit suicide

Doctor

So that means that about 400 doctors kill themselves every year. Even though hospitals recognize the toll residency takes on a person, yet nothing gets alleviated and residents stay stressed. Then, you have doctors working 36 hours with little sleep. It sounds grueling, even if you are making doctor-scale money. And don’t forget the sense of fallibility a doctor must face. If he/she screws up, it’s your life instead of theirs. Oh, and the pills. The pills.

Marine Engineers are 1.89x more likely to commit suicide

Marine engineer1

I’m just going to guess that it’s the isolation in the engine room, the screaming noise of the machinery and the numbing aloneness of being way, way, out at sea (maybe with a few people whom you dislike?). Overboard, anyone?

Farm Workers are 5.1x more likely to commit suicide

Farm Worker

According to an October 5, 2014 Scientific American article, it’s the pesticides. They are nasty, poisonous, and can cause all sorts of things from confusion to depression. This, along with the back-breaking work of farming and very little pay, can certainly lead to suicide.

Police/Firefighters are 5.3x more likely to commit suicide

Police officer

While stress takes an increasing toll among police and fire departments nationwide, no one wants to talk about it. In professions where employees are supposed to handle problems on their own, it’s clearly not working out to stay silent. 300 cops annually commit suicide. That’s twice as many as are killed in the line of duty. Firefighters inhale smoke while risking their lives, causing cancer and other lung problems. Conquering that is hard enough without having to ask for help for a “mental problem”. Unfortunately, not asking can be a fatal mistake.

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To round out The 25 Most Shocking Careers that Might Make You Kill Yourself, I’ve compiled data from The Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Suicides Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Fact Sheet, August, 2009.

Statistics from Suicides during 2007-2008:

Military Occupations

15 out of 251 suicides

Building and Grounds Cleaning Occupations

15 out of 251 suicides

Protective Services Occupations

25 out of 251 suicides

Sales and Related Occupations

26 out of 251 suicides

Management Occupations

34 out of 251 suicides

 

References:

http://www.newhealthguide.org/Highest-Suicide-Rate-By-Profession.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/most-suicidal-occupations-2011-10?op=1

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leadingcauses.html

http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0502-suicide-rates.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3642721/

http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan01/suicide.aspx

http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/osar0010.pdf

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/8939/title/Suicides-in-Science–A-Search-for-Answers/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-11-professions-highest-suicide-rates-abe-bushansky

http://www.policeone.com/health-fitness/articles/137133-Police-Officer-Suicide-Frequency-and-officer-profiles/

http://thecourier.com/local-news/2015/11/19/ex-pharmacist-tells-story-of-addiction/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/high-rates-of-suicide-depression-linked-to-farmers-use-of-pesticides/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1740363/pdf/v059p00649.pdf

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/01/07/illinois.realestate.death/index.html?eref=rss_us

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3642721/

http://www.tearsofacop.com/police/articles/lewis.html

http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/19/us/lawyer-suicides/

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-more-white-collar-workers-are-at-risk-for-suicide-2015-07-01

http://www.oralhealthgroup.com/news/stress-in-dentistry–it-could-kill-you/1000214585/?&er=NA

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/05/opinion/why-do-doctors-commit-suicide.html?_r=0

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/01/us/higher-suicide-risk-for-perfectionists.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1740363/pdf/v059p00649.pdf

http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-products/hazmat-equipment/articles/968922-The-chemical-suicide-phenomenon/

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/04/18/death-farm-248127.html

https://books.google.com/books?id=swbMhfC2D3AC&pg=PA362&lpg=PA362&dq=semi-+and+unskilled+labour+suicide&source=bl&ots=o6vRk2FTsA&sig=zBPKZ2Xc12d-5oOWbOGBCKFY9zc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwil9sSvpbjJAhUX8mMKHU-6CkkQ6AEIJDAC#v=onepage&q=semi-%20and%20unskilled%20labour%20suicide&f=false

http://blog.gettinghired.com/Home/tabid/159/entryid/58/how-suicide-affects-relationships-in-your-company.aspx

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/the-six-reasons-people-attempt-suicide

http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2015/05/top-10-professions-with-high-suicide-rates-3157524.html

http://www.therichten.com/people/top-10-professions-with-high-suicide-rates/

http://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/sites/actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/files/Suicide%20Prevention%20in%20the%20Workplace%20-%20Final.pdf

http://www.chirohealth.org/events/event_details.asp?id=695593&group=

http://www.therichten.com/people/top-10-professions-with-high-suicide-rates/

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/pets/2010-04-02-dolittler02_ST_N.htm

http://blog.gettinghired.com/Home/tabid/159/entryid/58/how-suicide-affects-relationships-in-your-company.aspx

Thanksgiving Self-Murder Quotes

finger

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“I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. I’m not doing well in terms of being a functional human, you know?”
― Ned VizziniIt’s Kind of a Funny Story

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
― Sally BramptonShoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression

 “Mind led body
to the edge of the precipice.
They stared in desire
at the naked abyss.
If you love me, said mind,
take that step into silence.
If you love me, said body,
turn and exist.”
― Anne Stevenson

“Since you seldom spoke, you were rarely wrong. You seldom spoke because you seldom went out. If you did go out, you listened and watched. Now, since you no longer speak, you will always be right. In truth, you do still speak: through those, like me, who bring you back to life, and interrogate you. We hear your responses and admire their wisdom. If the facts turned out to contradict your counsel, we blame ourselves for having misinterpreted you. Yours are the truths, ours are the errors.”
― Édouard LevéSuicide

“No,” I say. “I didn’t know that,” and as I say it I feel flooded with bitterness at all the things Ingrid kept secret from me.”
― Nina LaCourHold Still

 “Prate not to me of suicide, Faint heart in battle, not for pride I say Endure, but that such end denied Makes welcomer yet the death that’s to be died.”
― Stevie SmithSelected Poems

 “There once was a woman named Story Easton who couldn’t decide if she should kill herself, or eat a double cheeseburger.”
― Elizabeth LeiknesThe Understory

 

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Can You Recover From Suicidality?

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Scream, cry...

Recovery [ri-kuhv-uh-ree] (Noun) An Active change in one’s Attitude, Thinking and Behavior.

So, yes, you can recover from suicidality. Or no, you can’t. Depending on how you want to play it. Recovery takes work and you have to be willing to do it. The work is hard – excruciating at times – but you must do it if you want to succeed. So, I can’t guarantee that you will recover. That is up to you. But I was suicidal most of my life and have now been free of suicidal thoughts for about two years. Not too shabby for a person who was miserable for most of her 40 years. I can tell you what I did and what the professionals I sought told me to do and maybe it will help you kick start your own incredible recovery. However you decide you want to work a recovery plan, the problem will inevitably be being able to change your attitude, thinking, and behavior and to summon the energy and courage to face your fears and work this damn thing out.

12-Step Programs

Do you have an addiction of any kind? If no, it’s okay for you to read this as well – you could find out something you didn’t know that can help you. If yes, have you found or been going to regular meetings? A lot of people don’t go to their meetings for myriad reasons, one being that they’d just rather die than go. Can you relate? It could be a clash of personalities that’s stopping them or maybe they find the readings to be laborious. Finding a reason not to go to a meeting is way easier than actually going. But here’s the deal: meetings offer a way to get in touch with others, communicate feelings, and learn to live spiritually. Often, you have to go to several in a row, or mix up the plan with different kinds of meetings. You can’t go one time and make a decision about whether you want to go again based on that. If you think about how much pain you’re in right now and then think that all you have to do is sit in a chair for one hour and you might feel better, the prospect becomes a bit more enticing.

Self-Help Groups

Are you suffering from PTSD? Are you like me and struggle with bipolar disorder? Is there anything in the past that has disturbed you? There is a self-help group out there for you. Even if you live in a tiny little town that has few groups, you can start one yourself. Like a suicidality group! Similar to the 12-Step programs, self-help groups thrive on service (and so do the suicidal). It’s called getting out of your self, and it works. But I digress. Finding a good self-help and support group could unlock your door to recovery. There are friends to be made and people to be annoyed by (I gotta be real), but the experience can be a very healing one. Also like the 12-Step groups, it is easy to find excuses not to go. I’ve made up many excuses why I shouldn’t go to my groups, but I try to have a willing attitude in my recovery overall. I also try to change my behavioral patterns that would lead me to sit in my house rather than try to help myself.

Doctors

Have you seen a psychiatrist? If not, (ahem, excuse me) WHY THE HELL NOT? If you have, then ignore what I just said. Here’s news to those who don’t know: suicidality is a mental disorder – one that can be treated with medication, mostly. It can take what seems like forever for medications to start working and that’s why people give up before it takes effect, or before they and their doctors can find the right one. I worked with doctors for many, many years before we came up with a solution that was right for me. A snippet about me is that when the medications finally started taking the right effect, I slipped into another depression because I realized that I was 38 years old with only a college degree to show for the past 20 years. I had struggled throughout my life to the extent that I could not keep a job, had no family besides my husband and father (everyone else had cut me out of their lives due to my psychosis, suicidality, and drinking), and few close friends. I realized that I would have to start building my life almost from scratch. But I changed my attitude, thinking, and behavior and before long I knew that rebuilding my life would be a challenging, but beautiful, experience.

Getting to that point is hard. Doctors don’t know everything – they make mistakes and the process can take longer than expected. However, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you see your doctor regularly. Maybe you want recovery without any drugs at all. This is gallant of you, but that thought is crap. If you are considering killing yourself, you are a person who needs to be under a doctor’s care. If you don’t like your doctor, get another one.

Professional Counseling

As with hiring any professional (doctors included), finding a counselor can be a hit or miss situation. It takes time to develop a relationship with a person, and a counselor is no different. It’s easy to quit when you don’t see results right away, or maybe you will suspect that you picked the wrong professional. In any case, in order for it to work on your attitude, thinking, and behavior, you must have the right attitude, thinking, and behavior going in to therapy. If this sounds hard, you’d better believe your sweet bippy that it is. However, counseling can be very rewarding if you are willing to put the effort into it. You must be honest with your counselor, and I don’t mean halfway honest. When you dig inside for those raw feelings and it’s uncomfortable and you want to stop but you have to keep going, you know you are making great progress. If you don’t already have a counselor in mind, I suggest going to your local mental health department and asking if they can refer someone, or ask a friend or your doctor. Other than that, just open those yellow pages and dive in!

A Good Friend

When you pick a friend to talk to about your suicidal ideations, don’t get the one who will speak to you with religious overtones or “guilt” you into staying alive. Mostly what you need to hear when you are really suffering is “I understand” and “It’s okay” and “I love you”. Those are the three things I would like you to imagine me saying to you right now, in fact. Your friends love you, but they might not know how to say it well. Pick wisely. Or visit a pastor or reverend or whatever. But pick these wisely too. There are some real jack wagons out there.

The Hospital

Really getting suicidal? GO TO THE HOSPITAL. The hospital will keep you safe and doctors will see you around the clock. It will at least give you a respite from having to make the decision if you are going to die by your own hand right now or not.

A Higher Power

God, Buddha, I used to call mine Billie Joe Armstrong after the Green Day lead singer. Who cares what your higher power looks like – it’s a freaking higher power. I know some people who would pooh-pooh this section of the blog. If you have that urge to too, I now urge you to take another look at forging a relationship with a higher power. If you have no idea how to do this, take a look at some Emmet Fox books or something a little more Buddha- mystical like Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. I don’t have to tell you all the books there are on spirituality because you can find anything you want out there. I just suggest that you work on your spirituality while you are in recovery. It makes all the difference.

And keep your eyes on the prize.

IMG_0840

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Quotes About Suicide

images

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“Did you really want to die?”
“No one commits suicide because they want to die.”
“Then why do they do it?”
“Because they want to stop the pain.”
― Tiffanie DeBartoloHow to Kill a Rock Star

 Razors pain you,
Rivers are damp,
Acids stain you,
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful,
Nooses give,
Gas smells awful.
You might as well live.”
― Dorothy ParkerEnough Rope

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” – David Foster Wallace

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
Sally Brampton, Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression

“People pontificate, “Suicide is selfishness.” Career churchmen like Pater go a step further and call in a cowardly assault on the living. Oafs argue this specious line for varying reason: to evade fingers of blame, to impress one’s audience with one’s mental fiber, to vent anger, or just because one lacks the necessary suffering to sympathize. Cowardice is nothing to do with it – suicide takes considerable courage. Japanese have the right idea. No, what’s selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching.” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

“Suicide is a particularly awful way to die: the mental suffering leading up to it is usually prolonged, intense, and unpalliated. There is no morphine equivalent to ease the acute pain, and death not uncommonly is violent and grisly. The suffering of the suicidal is private and inexpressible, leaving family members, friends, and colleagues to deal with an almost unfathomable kind of loss, as well as guilt. Suicide carries in its aftermath a level of confusion and devastation that is, for the most part, beyond description.” – Kay Redfield Jamison, Night Falls Fast

“There is… in this [melancholic] humour, the very seeds of fire… In the day-time they are affrighted still by some terrible object, and torn in pieces with suspicion, fear, sorrow, discontents, cares, shame, anguish, etc., as so many wild horses, that they cannot be quiet an hour, a minute of time, but even against their wills they are intent, and still thinking of it, they cannot forget it, it grinds their souls day and night, they are perpetually tormented… In the midst of these squalid, ugly, and such irksome days, they seek at last, finding no comfort, no remedy in this wretched life, to be eased of all by death…to be their own butchers, and execute themselves.” – Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (Excerpt from Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison

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IMG_2654

 

Where Do We Go When We Die?

what if

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I have bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, so when the pain got to be too much, I didn’t care where I went when I died, as long as it was out of this body and mind. I was never filled with high religiosity growing up, so I didn’t have a fear of hell. I just worried about the ripple effect that would devastate my family and friends. I suppose it might or might not  have helped that I believed wherever I go would be beautiful and peaceful – so unlike the current world in which I felt trapped.

I don’t know about you, but when I talked about my suicidal ideations with a deeply religious person, I felt worse than ever. They would say, “Thou shalt not kill. You know, the Sixth Commandment? If you break a Commandment it’s a sin, and sinners go to hell.” I’d say, “I’m not killing anyone besides myself. Does the bible say anything about suicide?” The “friend” would then get flustered and say something like, “Well, God wants you to live”.

I’d think, God wants me to live? Feeling this way? Feeling this way for so long? I’m 40 years-old and I finally started feeling good just a short while ago. When I was suicidal, though, I did not think God wanted me to live. Despite my religious friend’s well-meaning spew, I did come to believe that God cared about me. But first I had to find God – the real one – the one that doesn’t come with religion. Years ago, I read a book that helped me understand what might be going on in that “other side” we all wonder about. This is the link: The Other Side and Back. Another book that helped me through my 30+ year suicidal trip was Life After Life. It is written by a man who interviewed people that had died and come back. It’s pretty unarguable. I have to warn you that these books make death look excellent. In my opinion, it probably is. The point is to have an explanation of what you are up against if you decide to kill yourself. I don’t know why finding out death is a good place helped me to not to kill my own self.

I’ve posted this next book in one of my entries before, but it’s so good, it deserves another one. I was very skeptical of this one, but my Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor urged me to read it and I trust her completely. Once I got past the old-fashionedness of the wording, I started understanding the basis of Christianity (not at all what Christianity looks like today) and all religions for that matter. Here is a link to that book: Sermon on the Mount. I know it’s all Jesus-like, but don’t let that stop you if you are not a Christian. This is an informational treatise on how to live. Maybe if it was about Buddha, it wouldn’t have been so hard for me to initially pick it up. However, if it had, I would have gleaned the exact same information.

So, where do we go when we die? That information is pretty much totally up to you. You can read about it, meditate on it, whatever. No one knows for sure what we have in store, so use your imagination. After doing my research (books and experience), I’ve decided that if you are alive, you have work to do that you don’t even know about. “God” does want you to live, but you have to be patient and you have to ask for guidance from whatever higher power you have. Please look at me: I was suicidal for 30 years and now I am not. It can happen to you too. Maybe don’t worry so much about what it’s like after death. Maybe just pause and drink some tea or talk to your best friend. There are still things about this life you love. Or you wouldn’t still be here.

If you are in crisis, click here.

Suicide Prevention Jewelry

I Want to Murder Myself

still here

If you are in crisis, click here.

Suicide Prevention Necklaces for Men and Women

I was having lunch with a counselor friend of mine who is quite old school the other day. She speaks her mind, and we were discussing suicide because of the suicide prevention necklaces I make. She said, “I don’t know why anyone would want to murder themselves”. I was taken aback, because I had never heard it put that way. I thought about it: is it really murder when it’s against you? Does it really matter what you call it as long as someone precious is dead?

I replied, “The reason someone would want to self-murder is because I’m 40 years-old and it took me up to last year to start feeling okay. For 25 years I had to include a team of medical experts in my recovery as well as self-help groups and a lot of counseling. For 25 years I felt that nothing was changing – I wasn’t feeling any better. When I was a little girl, I was happy, but I hadn’t felt that way in close to 35 years. I felt completely hopeless. Finally, my psychiatrist landed on a solution which was right for me. I still don’t feel happy very often, but I finally get to know peace. In those years that I was uncomfortable and crawling in my skin, I just wanted it to end. I just wanted to feel good for once. That alone was a good reason to ‘murder’.” 

To my surprise, this salty old lady nodded her head and didn’t argue further. I don’t know if it was justified, but I did an internal victory dance. When you can convince someone that self-murder can at least feel justified, it feels good. It’s a validation of sorts. Committing the act and thinking about or even wanting to kill your self are two very different things. I think the more we talk about the wanting and the thinking about, the better able we are to climb from the black pit of depression that holds us so tightly.

I know you are struggling. I know this is the hardest thing you’ve had to go through. I just have to ask that you hold on a little longer and consult as many experts as you can. If you are in crisis, call the number in the link at the beginning of this page. If you feel that you could talk to a friend, please call someone. But don’t call someone who will judge you or give you religious garbage. Find someone who will just listen and love you for who you are. For after all, you are very loveable.

Semicolon Necklaces for Men and Women

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