Gaude pic

Today, we welcome a post from guest blogger, Corinne.  Her story reminds us of the importance of fighting the battle to end the stigma surrounding both suicide and mental illness, as well as of the work that still needs to be done within our mental health system.  She recently lost her mother to bipolar disorder and suicide. We are honored to share Corinne’s story: Just a few months ago, on June 9, 2014, I lost my radiant and infinitely kind-hearted mother, Gaude (pictured above and below), at age 70. She held strong in her lifelong battle against bipolar disorder for as long as she could. Here are some of my thoughts as a begrudging new member to the “survivors club,” during National Suicide Prevention Week.   Our mental health system is medieval and broken. It stings […]

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National Suicide Prevention Week

This week, Sept. 8-14, 2014, marks National Suicide Prevention Week. Each year, leading organizations on the topic are able to use this week as a platform to inform and remind survivors or those who may be worried about a loved one of warnings signs or measures they can take to help save lives. National Suicide Prevention Week comes at an interesting time this year. Having just experienced the loss of Robin Williams, suicide (and prevention) permeated mainstream news coverage for about a week. I felt hopeful that the topic might continue to be discussed or that major initiatives might be announced by the President to make it easier and more acceptable for people to get help. I wondered why there wasn’t a televised, awareness-driving program or fundraiser following Mr. Williams’ death. What I did learn is […]

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my father's suicide

Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, knows that it forever changes your life.  It rocks your world in a way that no other death can.  It leaves you feeling helpless, hopeless and completely lost.  The emotions are overwhelming and the “why’s” and “what if’s” consume you.  You are overcome with anger as you question how the person you loved could have left you here, alone, completely broken.  You try and put the puzzle together, only to discover that pieces are missing.  Grief after suicide is complicated.  It takes you to a place where you have never been before.  It can break you.  It can make you question everything and everyone in your life.  It challenges you and your abilities.  It can take you to a very dark place.  I know, because I […]

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our side of suicide

This week marks an unbelievable three years since my dad’s death. As I was developing this post, I almost included the word “anniversary” in my title. However, I realized that term usually has a happy connotation – like with a wedding – and I didn’t feel like using it this time around. Some days, it feels like he left us only yesterday, but on other occasions, it feels like so much longer. I’ve had new jobs, a new house, a new car and a new baby on the way all in this timeframe. One question that will continue to permeate me is how long he had been considering suicide as an option. To me, it all seemed to happen so quickly. I found this picture from a fundraising event we attended together at my high […]

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our side of suicide

Among the flood of commentary surrounding highly-publicized suicides, I always grimace at the naïve and ignorant statements made by those who haven’t been touched by mental illness or a loss of this nature. Reading or hearing things like, “what a selfish act,” are extremely hurtful and perpetuate the unfortunate stigma facing survivors. It also demonstrates a lack of understanding of the impact of mental illness on those who are struggling. It’s so easy for people to make snap judgments or statements and continue to move on in their day without realizing how wrong they are. I am certainly not a researched expert on the topic, but I can speak emotionally as a survivor on 5 myths about suicide I’ve observed since losing my dad. Myth #1 – People who complete suicide acted “cowardly.” Elizabeth Hawksworth summarized […]

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Our Side of Suicide

Together, we’re facing another dreaded “morning after” today. In the wake of the untimely death of Robin Williams to suicide, we opened groggy eyes realizing that this nightmare actually happened, and that suicide happens. Days shy of the three-year anniversary of my dad’s own suicide, I am reminded of how I felt that next day. After a night of fitful (or no) sleep, I saw that our once charming grandfather clock was still set on the time I pulled its plug the night before (because I didn’t want to hear one more happy chime) and that my dad wasn’t manning his usual spot at the breakfast table. The house took on a creepy silence and the dreary weather outside seemed to match our moods. No one knew quite what to do or say, let alone […]

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ted talk.

I was introduced to this TED talk, JD Schramm: Break the Silence for Suicide Attempt Survivors (click underlined portion to watch), a few months ago, and wanted to pass it along to you all.  The speaker happens to be a man who attempted suicide, and was fortunate enough to be blessed with a second chance at life.  I know that our readers, myself included, were not this lucky as our loved ones were successful in their attempt. After the loss of my father, I established an overwhelming urge to talk about suicide as I believe that more resources are needed for the suicidal. JD Schramm does a great job of discussing how one’s perception is not always another person’s reality.  I have often heard survivors question their loved one’s decision to take their life noting the blessings in […]

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