Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Say hello, save a life.

Suicide Awareness Day tends to sneak up on me. It's a day that it's hard. Sometimes hitting me right in the gut, sometimes bringing waves of emotion. 

Mental health is so close to my heart, something that I've struggled with, fought, won, lost and won again. It's my passion. It's my demon. 

But here I am. Finally on the other side of the mountain, in a position to help others fight their battles and work through their own journeys. 

So many people struggle. They may be open about it or they may be hiding behind a smile. People handle depression, grief and anxiety in so many different ways. Check on them. No. Matter. What. 

Take the time to ask your friends how they are doing. Be sincere. Be kind. Listen. For a long time, I was able to hold it together - until I wasn't. The battle began. Over ten attempts later, I'm still here. I'm happy. I'm empowered. I'm healthy. It took a long time to get here and a having a support system that takes the time to check in has been a huge factor in my recovery. 

Not everyone has that. So please, be that person. Reach out. Even if you haven't talked to them in awhile, be the friend who says hi. You never know whether or not it could be a game changer for someone. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. If you don't have anyone, I'm here. Another great resource is 7 Cups of Tea, a website and app that allows you to chat with peers that have gone through similar experiences. It's an amazing resource to use when you are not in crisis. 

If you are considering suicide or self harm, please get help. Check yourself into a psychiatric hospital, a resource that saved my life more than once. Look into a Respite to recharge. Look into resources through NAMI. Or use these resources for suicide prevention:

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

More than anything, remember that you are worth it. You have a purpose and a beautiful life ahead of you. Don't let your story end. 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Why the butterfly

Change. It's scary. Terrifying, really. It shakes me to my core and is oh so hard. But it's also wonderful. Change can take something and make it beautiful. A storm into a rainbow, summer leaves into beautiful fall colors, caterpillars into butterflies. 

Change can bring hope. It can make someone feel empowered and hopeful. Yes, it may also come with sadness and difficulty, but if you really think about why the change is happening, there is almost always a light there, too. It may be dim, it may seem far away, but it's there and the harder you fight the brighter it will become. 

I've gone through so much change in my life. Some things that I've made very public, others that I've kept personal. But through it all, I've leaned on God and kept the image of a butterfly in my mind. I have it tattooed on my ankle with a semicolon body. It's my constant reminder that the continuing the fight will always result in seeing beauty, if only for a moment. 

As my life circumstances change and my journey shifts, I continue to be strong and focus on the beauty of change. I'm terrified. But every day I put on my armor of God and I fight. I remind myself of all I've been through and remember that I am a warrior. 

There are so many good things happening right now. My path is becoming clearer. I'm taking the road less traveled and it is stunning. I encourage you to face your hard times head on and find the beauty in the storm. Embrace the change and find the transformation that will take place at the end of this small path that is just a curve in your long road. Yes, change is a wild ride of emotion and pain and sadness. But find the light. Find the joy. And remember, at the end of it all, your butterfly will emerge.