It’s amazing how the mind and heart work together or rather with one another.
Over the past weeks, a storyline on the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, has led me to tears more than once. One of the characters died in the arms of his wife as a result of a gun shot wound. While this wasn’t exactly what happened to me, it’s similar in that she lost her husband tragically.
I can relate to the loss of a husband/spouse.
Another storyline revealed how someone lost his wife to the completion of suicide due to a self-inflicted gun shot. She had bouts of depression and consumed too much alcohol
I can relate to the loss of a spouse to the completion of suicide due to mental illness.
I watched a couple of shows last week Wednesday, November 12, that I don’t normally watch (SVU and Chicago PD). I watched them because they became tied to a three show crossover week/event. None of these shows carry a disclaimer before airing their shows. From showing gruesome deaths and injuries by accident or self-inflicted, there’s no warning. Sorry, but I didn’t care for seeing someone shoot themselves in the head nor the gruesome remains of a death. I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t care for scenes like these even IF it’s only TV…in someones life, it’s real. Had I know, I wouldn’t have watched.
I’m guessing disclaimers aren’t required for the real life depiction of this stuff. Common courtesy may choose to display disclaimers.
I won’t watch one of those shows ever again, crossover event or not, with or without a disclaimer.
“As the world grieves, may more light be shed upon mental illness and the prevention and education of suicide”. -K.E.Voss
It’s been over a week since the world learned of the passing of Robin Williams. Since then we have learned the cause of his death by suicide — he hung himself and had attempted to slit his wrists. I apologize for my bluntness, but it’s not something to hide behind, it’s truth. We also know he had the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which may have caused his depression or added to it.
There’s so many questions and there may never be answers. He may not even know.
I do know, like many people who have lost someone to the completion of suicide, may have been affected by Robin’s death; I know I have. When I heard the details of how he died, I had an immediate flashback to the moment I found my husband. It sent a wave of emotions into me. Your breath is a powerful tool to calm the mind down. I had a visit scheduled to my chiropractor who doesn’t just assist with physical ailments. Talking about it and getting adjusted, which helped my emotional and mental health as well as physical, made for a better night. Seeking support from friends geared thoughts to other things. This created only a bump in the road for me that became smoother.
Others affected may not have had it as simple as I did. Reliving tragedies isn’t fun especially if you still have fresh wounds. Depending on what you witnessed, it takes a good amount of time to heal and even then the memories can resurface.
Death opens wounds for those affected by suicide
Remember to call upon and check on those who maybe re-affected by worldly or local/national tragedies. Show you care. Be there.
A recent Dear Abby post (from Tuesday, August 5, 2014) reminded me of something I wrote in That’s All I Got. The lady who wrote to Dear Abby mentioned that no one outside her immediate family knew she suffered from depression or a suicide attempt.
When Russ and I were dating and then married, we never shared the information about Russ’ mental illnesses with anyone in my family. We wanted Russ treated without judgement, as a regular person and not someone seen as a victim or a special case. This was our mutual decision.
After Russ died and the details started to emerge, I heard or maybe asked about why we didn’t tell and that maybe they could have helped. My first thought was: How? Can you take the illnesses away? When I gave the reason behind not telling, I heard, we wouldn’t have done that (meaning judged him based on him having bipolar disorder and auditory hallucinations). Really? It’s 2014, everyone is quick to judge. How many times have you heard about someone committing (completed is the correct term) suicide and thinking they’re crazy when in reality they suffered from a mental illness known or unknown to someone else. I used to do this myself until suicide affected me. Can you say the same? Do you want to?
Think about it. Don’t be quick to judge.
A week ago, I discovered that That’s All I Got made the list of availability at three separate libraries. On Wednesday, July 2nd, I had a hunch to check the Milwaukee Public Library website and look at the book listing. Boom! There you go! The first borrow checked out of the Cudahy Family Library on what seems like the day before, Tuesday, July 1st (you can borrow a book for three weeks which is how I figured out the date from July 22nd.
I wonder…did someone spot it in the New Books area? Did they read about the library availability on Facebook. LinkedIn, or Twitter? Did someone wait until it had a home in the library to borrow the book instead of purchasing a copy? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that someone borrowed it to read and that person can share with someone else. What matters is that for some reason that book found a hand to hold; a journey of discovery that may help someone or inspire or even lead someone on their own journey of inspiration, peace, hope, or guidance. That’s what matters.
One step at a time the journey expands onwards and upwards. Healing, discovering, sharing, leading, helping, inspiring. Step by Step. -K.E.Voss
Some time ago, my uncle purchased a book to have me donate to the library of my choice. I selected the Bay View library, which is part of the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) System. When I went in to donate the book, I spoke to the librarian who asked if I wrote it and if it’s my first book. I told him I am and it is. He informed me that chances were the book probably wouldn’t get into circulation by donating. He did give me the phone number to the Acquisitions Department at Central Library. Not only did I leave with a piece of useful information, but with two books by Maya Angelou who passed away two days prior. Inspiration for inspiration.
I left a message for the person in the Acquisition Department on Friday, May 31st and spoke to her on Monday, June 2nd. I supplied the necessary information that would make its way to the appropriate selectors. The time frame given to me spanned 4-6+ weeks. I had two bonuses with me: I’m a Milwaukee author and they’ve worked with my publisher before. She told me that I would only know if the MPL system purchased by book is to see it online or if my publisher told me.
The next day, Tuesday, June 3rd, I received an email response from my publisher on another matter and she kindly informed me that the Milwaukee Public Library System just ordered two books! A very quick response to a request. I’m looking forward to seeing the books in circulation!
A Chicago Fire episode (A Heavy Weight aired 4/15/14) touched on something that people deal with everyday, though often not talked about, the loss of someone to suicide. It’s not just portrayed for TV, it happens in real life. They touched on not seeing the signs, but there aren’t always signs shown; I know this from personal experience. The person referred to suffered from a mental illness, depression, which no one knew about except her family (so someone said). People can hide symptoms, to a point, and even those seeking treatment don’t always live well enough to win the battle of the mind.
How many people know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month?
I’m sharing information I received in an email from the Mental Health America of Wisconsin along with their resources for proper crediting. You can find the entire article by going to: Mental Health America of Wisconsin mental health month newsletter.
- Key Statistics
- Nearly 1-in-5 Americans over age 18 will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year (1), and nearly half will experience a mental health disorder in their lifetime (2).
- Approximately 70% of Americans experience physical and non-physical symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress.(3)
- More than 2/3 of American adults are either obese or overweight. (4)
- One in six Americans over age 18 binge drink. Excessive drinking (binge drinking and heavy drinking) causes approximately 80,000 deaths each year.(5)
- Nearly half (48%) of Americans report not getting enough sleep, with women feeling so more than men. (6)
- While it is estimated that approximately half of US adults use supplements, only 23% of supplements used were recommended by a health care professional. (7)
- Relationships and social connections are important. Low level of social interaction was found to have an impact on lifespan equivalent to smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic, and was twice as harmful as being obese. (8)
- Half of American adults do not get the recommended amounts of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise. (9)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (February 28, 2014). The NSDUH Report: State Estimates of Adult Mental Illness from the 2011 and 2012 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD.
- Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Demler O, Jin R, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R).
- American Psychological Association. (2012) Impact of Stress. [Online] [Accessed on 27th March 2014] http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2012/impact-report.pdf.
- Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity and trends in the distribution of body mass index among US adults, 1999-2010.JAMA. 2012;307:491-7.
- The Better Sleep Council. (April 2013) Survey: Americans know how to get better sleep-but don’t act on it. [Online] [Accessed on 27th March 2014] http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/the-science-of-sleep/sleep-statistics-research/better-sleep-survey/
- Bailey RL, Gahche JJ, Miller PE, Thomas RP, Dwyer JT. Why US adults use dietary supplements. JAMA. 2013;173(5):355-61.
- Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB (2010) Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. PLoS Med 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316
- Schoenborn CA, Adams PF, Peregoy JA. Health behaviors of adults: United States, 2008–2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics 10(257). 2013.
Break the stigma. Mental illness is for real. Suicide is for real. Become educated and talk about it. You might be that person who saves a life or reaches out for saving. Don’t be the one who asks, Why?