Two Organizations Work To Decrease the Stigma of Mental Health Issues & Suicide

Yesterday, the organization called, BringChange2Mind shared a link on Facebook, of an art exhibit called, Man-Up Against Suicide, being held at the Foster Eastman Gallery in Vancouver.  I watched, Dr. John Oliffe, describe the exhibit in the YouTube video, “Man-Up Against Suicide-Depression Documentary,” on the Men’s Depression and Suicide Network. (Warning–YouTube automatically posts recommended videos on the right side of their site that may differ from the tone/purpose of the link).

The featured artists lives were touched by suicide. Some talked about dealing with their own thoughts, others of family/friends contemplation or completion of suicide.

One speaker, Doug, talked about his friend, Ron, (3:32) having thoughts of suicide. He described his friend as a “very strong person…very warm heart, very kind, very giving, but he doesn’t see that in himself.   Here’s this…shiny happy person on the outside, but there’s a lot of darkness and turmoil going on within him.” This was my experience of Dave. I’m attracted and others are too, to Dave’s Continue reading

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Daring to be vulnerable: Sharing My Story

Dave and I have been doing better.  Dave’s been working on finishing a post for my blog. I asked him about authoring a post when I first set my blog up.  I let him know, no pressure, only if he felt ready.

Making public disclosures, is hard, even for myself, it’s hard to self-identify as the partner of a person who made a suicide attempt, hence the “private pain,” as the key words in my blog’s name.  In my posts I don’t use my real name, or Dave’s partly to protect Dave’s identity, but also to protect my own.

I was on Facebook’s, American Association of Suicidology page, and found a link to this NY Times post

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/us/suicide-prevention-sheds-a-longstanding-taboo-talking-about-attempts.html?hp

about the hidden population of attempt survivors.  The article reported that one factor  in the “invisible” nature of this population was the stigma and shame in self-identifying as an attempt survivor. Another factor was the concern by mental health professionals of the stressors involved in sharing one’s story–that the negative reaction of the audience (or perceived negative receptivity of the audience), for example could trigger an attempt.

Another hidden population not identified in the article, are the people whom are are  the primary audience for this blog–the partners of the individuals that attempt suicide.

I myself believe in the
Continue reading

A quick update

I haven’t written a piece for awhile.  I’m going through an intense professional period in my life, and spare time is hard to come by. But I do want to make a quick report that things have been going well for Dave and I.  There have been ups and downs for both of us, but we’ve weathered them well.  We’re still going to couples therapy once a month, and we both go to individual.  Right now I would say–that the individual sessions have really helped us to grow ourselves, and that helps to strengthen us as a couple.

I’m trusting him more now.  I didn’t think there would ever be a day that I would say that.

But even though this has been a pretty rough period for us, as I’ve gotten very busy, and Dave has had to do a bit more for our family–Dave hasn’t tanked.  There were times when we felt overwhelmed, but we got through them.

Dave still went to his automatic, “I should kill myself,” thinking, but he disputed those thoughts quickly, not allowing them to escalate into increased berating of himself and decreased self worth.  Those thoughts will probably always be the first thoughts he has, they’re so ingrained, his knee-jerk response–but he seems to have developed some skills to fight those thoughts off (more later about the deeper changes he’s made regarding his value).

I’m almost through this intense period in my life and it will be nice to be able to give Dave and Beth more attention.  Even though Dave misses my attention, we do quickly kiss each other on the forehead and reassure each other of our love for each other. That Dave can feel tired, overwhelmed but not tank is increasing my trust in him.  I don’t feel as scared and panicked anymore.

That’s my quick update.

Take care.

Ups and Downs of Trust Building: Trust earned and lost over time.

Yesterday, I spoke to Beth about trust. Recently Dave and I allowed Beth to stay in the house alone while Dave and I went for walks in our neighborhood.  She’s been irritated toward me and I asked her why and she said because I didn’t trust her to stay home alone for longer periods of time.

I told her that trust was something that could go up and down depending on what a person did.  Trust could be earned and lost over time.

Backstory:
The other night we Continue reading

Do I Stay or Do I Go? (Round 2)

Dave and I through the years have both struggled with the question –Should I stay? Should I Go?

There have been a few critical pieces that contributed to us staying together, 1) our Christian faith and values 2) engaging in couple’s therapy and 3) engaging in individual therapy. By engagement I mean taking to heart what we learned about ourselves, each other and our relationship style; applying strategies; taking risks to do new things; bottom line–doing the hard work to change things for the better.

I just wish we got help sooner.  By waiting until we desperately needed help, our marriage had Continue reading

Blogging Less as Sense of Urgency Decreased

Just a quick post. Sorry I haven’t been posting as often.

1) I got a job in 2012 that really consumes a lot of my time.

2) There isn’t much to report recently.  Dave and I are going to individual therapy. We’re really working hard on our individual issues and working hard at growing in the areas we need to grow in.

3) We are beginning to Continue reading

Individual Therapy–Self Care For Me

Right after Dave’s second attempt, I felt like I was falling apart. I would come home and see Dave’s car in the carport and think, “Oh please, don’t let me walk in there and find him hanging!” If he was getting a little irritated with me, I feared he was tipping toward an attempt. I was afraid to voice my irritations with him. Fear and anxiety were taking over my life.

So two months after his second attempt I requested individual therapy.

Individual therapy helped because I didn’t have to censor what I said. My therapist helped me process my feelings about my husband, Dave, in it’s very rawest stage, in the safety of four walls. During the session I could craft the language in a style that Dave, my husband, could hear and take in and prevent him from walling me off or spiraling towards suicide.

I got to hear over and over again that it was not my fault.

I got to process the trauma. Grieve. Heal.

Though Dave’s last attempt was over a year ago, I’m still processing it. It still affects me. The fears and anxieties still erupt and Individual therapy has been critical in helping me get through that year.

I am doing individual therapy to take care of me. To help me. To support me. It’s what I need and I’m doing it to take care of me.