I wasn’t planning on jumping into this subject right off the bat, but with September being Suicide Prevention Awareness Month I thought I would take this opportunity to share a personal story about suicide.
More than likely we’ve all been affected by suicide in some way. I reflect back on my teenage years and I can still remember the names of a couple of peers that took their own lives. My son lost a dear friend in 2019. Another one of my son’s has carried a friend to the front office at school who had overdosed and watched her be taken away in an ambulance in hopes of saving her life - she pulled through. This son is on the Hope Squad at the High School and has loved his experiences over the last 3 years. He’s learned many valuable lessons.
When I got on my mission and into counseling my counselor said I was stubborn and a fighter. I honestly hadn’t ever thought about taking my own life through all of those challenges. I guess I felt I had something to prove and I was being successful at portraying a happy, all together life.
Over the years there have been times I’ve thought how am I going to get through this, different challenges felt very heavy and difficult, but I’ve honestly always been a fighter and felt I would find a way through things.
Last year as everything came crumbling down I honestly couldn’t think through things anymore. I was so exhausted and had lost hope. I was sinking into a very deep depression and my heart was racing a lot and at times I felt I couldn’t function anymore - I felt paralyzed. I would push to get up and do the things that had to be done, but didn’t have much more left in me. Nights were crazy difficult for me. Usually around 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. I would start to crash for the rest of the evening. I didn’t even feel like myself.
The counseling was a huge blessing to start processing things. I started to better understand depression and anxiety and how much I was dealing with those things. I hit a point that I couldn’t deal with things anymore. I found myself staying in my bed and feeling like I couldn’t push through everything and thought a handful of times about ending my life. It was like an out of body experience. I honestly wasn’t connecting to the 47 year old recognizing all of the good things in my life. None of that was really being considered in my thinking.
I hit a point that I couldn’t deal with things anymore. I found myself staying in my bed and feeling like I couldn’t push through everything and thought a handful of times about ending my life
I was struggling with sleeping. I was on an antidepressant that had definitely taken the edge off things, but I was truly falling apart. Towards the end of May there was an afternoon / evening that I had spiraled. I honestly couldn’t think through things anymore. I was tired, didn’t feel I would be missed by anyone and honestly felt I was destroying the good relationships in my life. Those I wanted to accept and love me I just knew I wasn’t enough. Everyone was gone. I was home by myself curled up on the couch crying. I shut off my phone, had a plan and was ready to end things. I was honestly not connecting with the real reality. I felt I was in a space of reality, but it wasn’t real.
THEN, in walks one of my son’s much earlier than I thought he would be home. He said he felt to come home for a few minutes before heading somewhere else. As soon as the door opened it was like I snapped back into my real reality. I felt back connected to my real life. It didn’t take away the pain, the sadness, loss of hope I was feeling, but it did help me see that I needed more help.
With the help of a couple of friends and Rick I made an appointment with my doctor. I almost didn’t go to the appointment, but I had a friend make it clear to me that I needed to make myself a priority and take care of myself before I could sincerely help my family and others. Talking with my counselor he talked about the importance of sleep. I kept the appointment and as I talked with my doctor he decided to put me on PTSD medication that would help me sleep through my dreams / nightmares.
With medication, counseling and alot of support I was able to turn a corner and I’ve not looked back at that as an option in my life. I look back at that time and I came to really understand how people get to the state of mind of giving up. I’m so grateful for my son that has been in Hope Squad who sat down with our family and shared so much of what he has learned.
Most wouldn’t have ever guessed that I was struggling to the point of taking my own life. I come across as having it all together. Happy, laughing, busy, serving, volunteering in many different places, looking out for others - it appears things are going well in my life. I’m sharing this experience, because we honestly don’t know what is going on in people’s lives. We don’t know their internal struggles. Depression, anxiety, low self esteem and many other things are not visible. Can be hidden well. I encourage everyone to always strive to look for the best in people. To be kind. To smile. Be a friend. If you have a feeling to reach out to someone - do it. You never know what kind of an impact you can have on others lives.
I love this video and I’ve watched it over and over and over again. As a child we feel stay can be a rewarding positive word, but as we get older and feel the pressure of the word stay it can be difficult to stay.
PLEASE STAY! There is hope. There is help. Things are not all lost. People love you - you just might not be loving yourself right now to feel others love. When your facing anxiety or depression or those moments that are out of body experiences and just don’t really feel like you go for a walk, write down your thoughts, turn on some music, go outside, try to have a conversation with a loved one, write yourself a letter when you are feeling strong that you can read when you hit the tough times.
I will say that for the first time in my life I’ve come to really understand the importance of sleep. The importance of taking care of yourself. Think about the foods you eat. Taking time for yourself. It’s the little things that add up to make the biggest difference - we don’t have to be perfect or do it all at once. One step at a time.
Be kind to yourself. AND, CHOOSE TO STAY!!!
Conversion: the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another
27 years ago September 28th I embarked on a brand new adventure. . .a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
During the 17 months (yes, 17, not 18) that I was gone, I had many different, special experiences. Throughout my journey I will share many of those experiences, but one of the greatest experiences was my own conversion. Wait, what??? Yes, my testimony grew, but there was a greater beginning to my conversion, a much different conversion than I had ever anticipated.
A couple of weeks into my mission my health took a downward spiral. The water hitting my skin in the shower was sooooo painful. There was finally a breakdown, a realization that I couldn’t carry all that I had carried for at least 13 years all by myself. Here I was 21 years old serving a full time mission and I was finally sharing that I had been abused in many different ways for over 13 years. It was like my spirit finally felt safe, away from my hometown, away from those that were a part of my life that had abused me.
"The water hitting my skin in the shower was sooooo painful. There was finally a breakdown, a realization that I couldn’t carry all that I had carried for at least 13 years all by myself. "
The abuse was physical, emotional, sexual and the feelings were intense. My companion had me visit with the Mission President and it was agreed that it was best for me to stay on my mission. The agreement was that I could continue to see the counselor throughout my mission as long as my companions were alright with going on their P-days. At that time we were handwriting letters so they could sit in the office and write their letters while I was in my appointments.
As I began meeting with the counselor and we started going through my history he said, “There’s only one way you’ve made it this far carrying all of this by yourself. You’re STUBBORN and a FIGHTER.” I guess that’s one way to put it - lol.
I was able to receive counseling at different times throughout my mission. It came to the point that there were concerns about me going home and between the Mission President, my counselor and I we decided I should return home 4 weeks earlier than planned.
Through that preparation and making that decision I was given a priesthood blessing. To this day I’ve never forgotten a part of that blessing - that there would come a time that I would share my experiences, healing process and that I would have the opportunity to bless many lives through sharing my experiences.
Well, there have been many times that I’ve been prompted to share my story and experiences over the 25 years that I’ve been home, but I haven’t felt ready. I’ve been insecure, scared and really nervous. Many say that 2020 is the year that has been the hardest, but for me 2019 was the hardest for me. There were many AMAZING things happening in our lives, but through it all there was enough for me to have a breakdown. The middle of November brought me to a point that felt there was no returning to happiness and I couldn’t handle anymore. Gratefully I have a very loving Bishop that spent hours with Rick and I through this time and he had a counselor he highly recommended. I thought there was no way I could take the time for myself - my family needed me and I had many commitments.
The end of December I started counseling and have been going to counseling every single week since then. It has been the MOST DIFFICULT THING I’ve ever done. I thought I was fine, that I had my life really together, but as I’ve gone through real healing I’ve come to better understand pure, real happiness in life that I had no idea existed. As I’ve gone through this process it has become very clear that it’s time to share my journey and the things I’ve learned. It is time for me to share my real conversion, a complete change in ME!
I hope you will join me in this journey and learn from my experiences. We are in this together. There is healing. There is real happiness. There is peace within. You can have healthy relationships with those you love. I’m still on my journey, but honestly, it’s truly been an amazing journey.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 1 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity