depression's rock bottom

The idea for this post has been swirling in my head for some time, but the topic is a bit difficult to articulate. I’m going to give it my best effort and hope that it resonates with some readers… I have often wondered about mankind’s varying degrees of reaching “rock bottom,” especially when it comes to depression. As with any aspect in life, like addiction for example, some people reach their perceived rock bottom and use it as a springboard to bounce out of whatever they’re facing. Others view rock bottom as a hole too deep to dig out from and continue heading south. What is it that motivates people to head in either direction? I can think of two times in my life where I’ve reached my personal “rock bottom” emotionally. (However, this might […]

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feeling normal again after a suicide

The holiday season can be especially difficult for those who have lost a loved one to suicide, as we face a number of emotions including sadness, guilt, anger and shame.  I have found that many survivors think about their loved ones more frequently during this time as we are reminded that they are no longer with us.  Survivors often feel conflicted not knowing if it is ok to feel happy during this time of year.  I have written a few posts about the difficult grief process (found at the bottom of this post) that we face as survivors.   I recently came across the article, “20 Things I Wish Someone Told me About Grief” on the Mind Body Green blog and wanted to share it.  I have included the 20 things as written by the author, Shannon Kaiser […]

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seasonal affective disorder

Living in the Midwest, it’s common to succumb to the doldrums of winter. The blistering cold, the mountains of snowfall and the lack of sunshine can all contribute to seasonal blues. For some, seasonal depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can hit during the holidays. The time spent either with or without family can influence people significantly. For others, this feeling may come after the bright and happy holiday timeframe, when there doesn’t seem to be much to look forward to and the grey skies and dirtying snow piles seem inescapable. For survivors of suicide, this might be an especially vulnerable time. It’s not just about the weather. It’s a time when we realize that our loved one won’t be around to partake in the festivities. Survivors might also feel guilty about being “down” during […]

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Our Side of Suicide

Motherhood (and the prospect of it) has given each of us a new perspective of the world and what we’ve gone through with the loss of our dads to suicide. I gave birth to a healthy baby girl nearly two months ago. Needless to say, it has been the most wonderful thing I’ve experienced. Every day, I soak up the chance to hold her close and introduce her to new things. I feel so lucky to be her mom. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also have my brush with some form of baby blues. In the early days, I shed many tears of joy. I cried bringing her home – because I couldn’t believe she was actually mine. I cried for all of her “firsts,” like the first time I read […]

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My Dad, at my wedding, 12/13/08

I follow The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors on Facebook, and read a post last month entitled A Moment in Time: Eulogy for Kathy, my Sweet Sister. The Author, MaryCatherine, asks you to pause and “not to reduce her entire life to that one moment that she made the transition from being alive in this world.”  This quote resinated with me, as I struggle to ensure that my father is remembered for the man he was, and not the moment that ended his life.  It can be difficult for a survivor to maintain legacy beyond suicide. That really struck with me. I remember the first few weeks, then months, and the first entire year after my Dad’s suicide. All I could narrow in on was that my Dad committed suicide.  It was difficult to see […]

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depression vs. slump

Lately, I’ve been wondering if there’s a difference between depression and “a slump.” After losing someone to suicide, I think it’s natural to become hyper-vigilant to ensure we don’t miss any warning signs from others. I am finding it hard to strike a balance between being mindful and being overly concerned about someone’s behavior. I mean, how can you really know? I also don’t want to become super-annoying to people if I repeatedly check in with them when they are just having a bad day. When thinking about my dad and the “symptoms” he may have had before taking his life, I would have characterized them as “a slump.” To me, that meant he wasn’t quite acting like himself for a short period of time – I’m talking a few weeks. He seemed to mope […]

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dying-with-dignity-bill-in-quebec

I recently moved and have spent the past couple days with my head buried in boxes.  I took a few minutes this evening to see what was going on outside the confines of my home.  It saddened me to see that, Brittany Maynard has ended her life.  As I read through the People article, “Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life,” I couldn’t help but think about my dad and his choice to end his own life.  I took some time to read through the comments and felt saddened by how differently the world has looked at her death as opposed to the death of my father.  I still do not understand how these two deaths are different?  Is dying with dignity suicide? The article includes a previous comment by Brittany Maynard where she notes, […]

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