This past year has been like no other I’ve experienced. In October 2019, I found out my full-time job was being eliminated in 30 days; it was a week after closing on a cash refinance for the house with intentions to pay down debt and purchase a new car. Needless to say, I became stressed and full of anxiety over how I was going to pay the bills, find a new job, get a new car before mine went kaput, and all the other worries that accompany a job loss. Within a few weeks, I ended up at my physician’s office with a weird rash or hives and it turns out it was related to stress; I had shared the upheaval in my life. She provided two recommendations/forms of treatment to help with a stressful period of time. It only took me until the next morning to decide I would take her up on both. One treatment would be a temporary prescription and the other is on-going talk therapy. I realized early on that I should have taken up her second suggestion years prior and then maybe I could have handled life better, but as a friend told me, “you’re getting help now”. Yes, I am. One of my assigned homework tasks was to read my own book: That’s All I Got! Thrival: A Widow’s Journey After Suicide and I did. It brought back memories and feelings that I haven’t experienced in a long time.
Little did I know there would be a big challenge in my job hunt—the Covid-19 Pandemic, where employers stopped recruiting. Luckily, in May a job I had originally applied for in March, started their hiring process again and I acquired a new job that started three weeks later. Phew! Life is better although there are a few challenges I had to work out. Throughout this series of trials, I have learned so much more about mental health and not only my own.
The year 2020 tests everyone and mental health is taking its toll on people. From job losses to income reduction to being cooped up indoors to mask-wearing to the worries that accompany businesses reopening. All of that leads some to pursue the inevitable: taking their lives to the completion of suicide. The one event that brings together our community to help prevent suicide, to educate, and to support those of us who have a connection to suicide loss won’t be happening in person (as a large gathering) this year. The Milwaukee Out of the Darkness Walk has gone virtual. While they’ve changed it to an experience rather than coming together as a group, it’s not the same. This year, we need to be stronger to support those who might be struggling. Won’t you help me raise funds to help everyone in the coming year and beyond? Your contribution may help save lives as AFSP strives to educate and prevent lives lost while getting others the treatments needed for our mental health.