Earlier this year, a story I wrote based on my journey, was selected for incorporation into the Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over book. The book, designed towards 18-25 year olds is a welcome read for anybody.
The book synopsis, according to HarperCollins, is the following:
“Project Semicolon: Your Story Isn’t Over reveals dozens of new portraits and stories from people of all ages talking about what they have endured and what they want for their futures. This represents a new step in the movement and a new awareness around those who struggle with mental illness and those who support them. At once heartfelt, unflinchingly honest, and eternally hopeful, this collection tells a story of choice: every day you choose to live and let your story continue on.”
It’s been over a year since That’s All I Got! became reality. Since then 175 books have been in my personal inventory waiting for good homes to readers to inspire and educate. For a long time, 99 books have waited for 1 more to join them out into the world. That day arrived. On May 1, 2015, book #100 found a home!
It took a lot of time and effort to reach this milestone and I began to think it wouldn’t arrive. Here’s proof that patience does pay off. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and to those who help share the message the book holds.
There’s too many innocent lives lost to the completion of suicide every year due to mental illness. There’s too many stories that need telling to help prevent another life lost and to educate others about mental illness and suicide. I’m surprised how many people have had their lives touched in some way due to a suicide loss. Just today, I listened as someone shared the story of another life lost to suicide, and this person asked questions that most people don’t due to the stigma still surrounding suicide. Help break this stigma-speak the story/journey-help others-share the message.
Last night I received a phone call from a friend seeking reassurance that she did the right thing.
She had received a message from a friend who threatened to potentially harm himself as a result of a job loss. Not knowing if he was serious or not, she took the initiative and called the police. The police went over to his residence for questioning and later took him to a safe place for evaluation. Because of her concern, he no longer wants contact/friendship with her.
After she told me what happened, she asked if she did the right thing. I informed her that she did. Had she not called the police and he would have inflicted self-harm, she’d carry the guilt for not doing her part to help him.
What’s worse: carrying the guilt around forever or losing a friendship?
I’m proud of her for doing the right thing. She potentially saved another persons life.
She sought me out because I have been on this journey even though I’ve never been in her shoes.
Please, if you’re contemplating completing suicide or self-harm reach out to a friend, relative, or trusted individual. If you’re the friend, relative, or trusted individual, do the right thing and trust your instincts. You too can help save a life.
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?
It’s been a week since I stepped inside the Cudahy Family Library to donate a copy of That’s All I Got. I admit that I’m eager to see when it’s available for borrowing. I went online today to see the progress at either this library or the two purchased from the Milwaukee Public Library System for two separate libraries.