September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month. While it’s great there’s a month dedicated to this, it should be 365-day year awareness.

I understand suicide can be a touchy subject especially for those who have struggled with it themselves or have lost a loved one to it.

I wanted to share my personal story with suicide because that was something I struggled with for a long time.

I was 14 years old when I started getting suicidal thoughts. I was in high school and was completely miserable. I was living in an abusive household suffering abuse from my mom on a daily basis. It was physical, verbal, & psychological abuse. Living in such a toxic environment and experiencing that abuse on a regular basis caused me to go into a severe depression.

I would spend hours locked in my room crying myself to sleep. I would always question God asking him “why me?”

“Why was this happening to me?”

“Why did I have to get a mom who treated me so terribly?”

It wasn’t much longer when I started to get suicidal thoughts on a regular basis.

My mom told me so many lies on a regular basis that it was hard for me to not believe them. She convinced me I was a burden to others & that I shouldn’t be on this earth. She told me things that no child or person should ever here. She told me she wished I were never born and that she wished she had me aborted when she had the chance. These are things I wish I could say never happened, but those were all lies she told me.

My thoughts started to become more negative and darker as the days went on. I started to lose feelings of happiness and forgot what happiness felt like. I started to feel numb & empty on the inside not feeling any emotions but sadness. I started to cope with self-harm when I was 14 years old. I believed it was the only way for me to feel something besides emptiness & sadness so I turned to self-harm.

That’s when the suicidal thoughts started to creep in and became more frequent. I started to believe the lies my mom and my depression told me. I believed I was a burden to others and that the world would be a better place without me in it. I wanted out of the world so bad that I came up with a plan when I was 15 years old to end my life. I had been prescribed pain medication from a dentist visit when I had to get a root canal and researched that medication and found that if I took all of the pills in the bottle I could never wake up again. That was my plan.

It was like playing tug o war in my mind though, there was that part of me that believed I was a burden and that I should just leave the world now, but there was another part of me that wanted to keep fighting. It told me to keep pushing through that those negative thoughts were lies and I could beat them.

I confided in my high school’s guidance counselor and he helped me push through the suicidal thoughts. I didn’t seek out treatment for my depression at the time even though I should have. Throughout high school I still struggled with depression and being active in sports helped me manage it.

After high school and when I went away to University the suicidal thoughts started to creep in again. I thought it was just homesickness since I was going to school on the other side of the country, but it was much deeper than that for me.

It was the summer of 2014 when I was home from University that I sought out treatment for my depression. I struggled with an alcohol addiction and one day when I had way too much to drink I couldn’t control the suicidal thoughts. I knew that if I didn’t seek out help that night, I would have harmed myself and may not be alive today. I had my best friend’s boyfriend drive me to the mental hospital and drop me off. He asked me if I was sure I wanted to do this and I told him yes I knew if I didn’t get help I was only going to get worse.

I spent three days in the crisis unit of the mental hospital. I was put on Zoloft and anxiety medication that helped ease my anxiety while I was there. I wish I could say going on Zoloft helped with my depression, but it actually made things worse for me. At the time I was diagnosed with depression and didn’t know I had bipolar disorder. When I was on Zoloft I felt like a zombie I was so out of it and numb, I hated it. I didn’t realize that for those who have bipolar disorder, anti-depressants could cause you to go into mania, which it did for me.

When I was back at University that semester I was a wreck. I was in and out of depressive episodes along with being in manic episodes. My alcohol problem was out of control and my behavior was reckless. I was failing all of my classes and was drinking on a daily basis. I started to struggle with self-harm again and the suicidal thoughts again. I knew that if I didn’t leave University and get myself out of that environment things were only going to get worse for me. That’s when I withdrew from University and moved back home to Florida.

I wish I could say everything got better for me when I got back home to Florida, but my depression grew worse. The psychiatrist I was seeing was no help at all to me and didn’t listen to my problems. He didn’t care to give me a proper psych evaluation and just wrote me a script for the next anti-depressant out there. I continued to struggle with self-harm and battled the suicidal thoughts daily.

I was empty & numb living in an endless cycle of my depression.

It wasn’t until the end of 2016 when I finally found a psychiatrist who gave me a proper psych evaluation and diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. Getting on the proper medication and changing my lifestyle to healthier habits, put an end to the suicidal thoughts. It was like the fog had finally been lifted and I could see clearly again. I started to see a therapist for a few months as well that helped me work through some of the issues from my past.

I’m happy to say that I am stable now and have not harmed myself in over three years now. I still find myself going into depressive episodes every now and then and will catch the suicidal thoughts creeping into my mind. I’ve become a lot stronger than I was three years ago and can fight off the thoughts much better than before.

I know living with a mental illness will be a life long battle for me. I’ve spent over ten years now fighting the demons and while it can be exhausting, I know I will survive the fight.

For those of you that have experienced something similar or going through a tough time please never hesitate to seek out help. There are so many resources available out there today and remember you are not a burden to others. Your life matters and you are never alone in this fight.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Dream It, and Then Just Do It

I was reminded today that if you want something you just have to go for it. It’s easy to sit and dream away the pounds, spend the money you will earn from all the success you are planning, hear the accolades in your head from those who are inspired by your work, imagine how your book will smell when you flip the pages, how the cover will emulate the amazing words on the inside, what kind of author picture you will take and how it will look sitting in the Barnes and Nobles….sorry, got distracted by my fantasy 😊

It’s important to dream, we need to dream, small, big, feasible and even what some may call impossible.  Dreaming fuels us, it’s exciting, it drives us outside of our comfort zone toward where we are meant to be, but many times this is where we stay, in dreamland. We know what we have to do, we know that in order to run a marathon we must train, and yet as we dream of the finish line, the early mornings, the long miles and the sacrifices are just not as glamorous as the medal. We know that in order to have a successful business, we must build it from nothing, and it takes time, effort, blood, sweat and tears, and in order to publish a book, you must write one. We know this, and yet we sit in dreamland, frustrated our dream hasn’t happened yet and wondering why.

You may have figured out by now, this is really my personal pep talk. I need to replace all the we’s with I’s, but I feel better about myself if I’m not the only one getting lectured 😉The frustration I have for myself can sometimes be overwhelming because every time I think I’ve defeated that pesky fear, it shows up as procrastination, social media, Netflix binges, social media, cleaning out and organizing closets that have never bothered me until the moment I sit down to write, and social media. Man, I really need social media anonymous. Its just so easy to fall into the blackhole of pointless thought, cute dogs and funny cats. It’s like a vacation for the mind, but it can be so difficult to reign it in.

Fear masks itself in many tricky ways, but the worst is when it appears in its true form, and whispers, “you’re not good enough”.  However, this post is my reminder, that the last time I looked fear in the face for the lie it really is, I wrote my first children’s book cover to cover 13k words in 10 days. I just did it and it felt amazing.

So today, after getting into the ring with fear once again I am reminding myself of that moment, and how I squeezed my dream tight, let it go and then chased it until it was mine.  Our dreams are ours, in our hearts, on so many personal levels for so many reasons, but until we make up our minds to share it, that’s exactly where it will stay, but the moment we let go and begin to chase it, the more likely that dream will become our reality.

Keep dreaming, and just go for it!

Much Love,

Lisa J

Why Not You?

top-of-mountain

Not Me….but Why Not?…someday 🙂 Photo by Pixabay

 

Believing in yourself, your mission and your heart is not just a meme we find on social media, but the real deal, and once you commit to those beliefs, you can achieve more than you think you can ~ Lisa J. 

I have been pretty MIA from this blog lately and while I’m sad about that it’s been for good reason — pursuing my dream of one day being a published author. I do however, want to express my deep gratitude to James for continuing to allow me this platform, and for all who read. Never give up on you, and never give up on your dreams, make them real by believing in them, and you, everyday 🙂

I had a different post in mind just a few minutes ago, but it’s funny how our paths sometime lead us in a way we don’t even realize. As you may already know, I have started a pretty exciting journey in the world of writing, specifically children’s books. This along with my subject of today, was something I never expected to step into, and while that is a story in itself, it is not the reason behind this post. This post is actually about how sometimes, even when we are confident in our walk, we tend to get distracted by the outside world that, at times, begs the question…Why Me? 

This question can rear it’s ugly head in various chapters of our lives, especially during the hard times. We find ourselves asking out loud or in a whisper to our higher power, the universe as a whole or whoever will listen, Why Me? I won’t lie, I have had this question weigh on my heart many times, and in those thoughts the emotions that overtake me consist of mostly anger, the feelings of unjustness, and the repetitive notion that I need an answer.

Unfortunately, even in these low moments, the moments that can break us, the moments that can make us question our faith, our love and even contemplate the reasons behind it all, what we don’t realize, the answer to Why Me is always Why Not? 

It feels so harsh, but it’s true, and while maybe I will post more elaborately about this side of things, the above serves as more of an introduction to a more positive point, give me just two more minutes…If this is true for all the times we feel we get the short of the stick, doesn’t that mean it can be flipped to answer the same question in a different context? The answer…Why Not?

That’s where I was tonight. I had typed in a title for a different post altogether when I got distracted (which happens often, ;)) and I found myself engrossed in yet another publisher’s website reading submission guidelines word for word and paging through the bios of author after author. Suddenly I felt myself slipping into that same mentality, “Look at all these crazy talented writers, they’ve been doing this forever, that’s not me, Why would they choose Me?” 

I know I’m not alone with these thoughts. Have you ever seen a successful person, or a person doing exactly what you’ve only dreamed about doing, and think to yourself, “Wow, how nice for them, I’ll never see that kind of success, why would I ever think that could be me?” Don’t be shy, you can nod, it’s ok, we all do it. It’s self-doubt, or this insane idea that successful, in every definition of success, people are superhuman not of this earth. What we don’t realize is that the answer is always the same…WHY NOT? 

If you really want to dive deep into this subject, I can go on and on about how we may not always be a direct cause for the negative or positive in our lives, but we are absolute contributors, that is not why I write this post. My point and my message to not just you, but to myself, is if we can ask ourselves the question, Why Me, why can’t the answer be the same for both scenarios. WHY NOT? 

So next time you catch yourself daydreaming about that dream job, that mountain to climb, creating every day, loving, laughing, enjoying life to the fullest in whatever way is the most true for you, and you start to ask yourself , Why Me? Before you spiral into the ocean of self pity and excuses, respond with the only answer that can set you free from the envy and the anger…WHY NOT? The catch however, is once you answer this question within your heart, the true test is what you do next.

Why Me? Why You? Well, because Why Not? is only the first statement to the story of your dreams and when you believe it in you, what you once thought was impossible becomes more possible than you could have ever imagined. 

Much Love, 

Lisa J.