I Don’t Want to Write About #Suicide for #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

Do Not Want to Write About Suicide. Background image is chainlink fence with people playing basketball behind it

I don’t want to write about suicide
I don’t want the image of her
Clinging onto a chain link fence
Chef’s knife in hand
Chef’s knife inside of her
Looking through the chain link
At kids playing in the park
She mourned the loss of her son
She could not contain her grief
She could not hold on
She had other children
They no longer had a mother
My father no longer had a cousin
I no longer had a cousin once removed

When I was 18
I, too, wanted to kill myself
I thought the world
Better off without me
My family
Better off without me
The emotional pain
A living hell
But I didn’t kill myself
I sought help
I got help
But I was not a mother
Grieving the loss of her son

International Association for Suicide Prevention - September 10, 2017 - World Suicide Prevention Day - Take a minute, change a life.

World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

Book Reviews: fAdE tO bLuE and mOnOchrOme

fAdE tO bLuE by H.M. Jones

He did not go gentle into that good night... Fade to Blue, H.M. Jones
fAdE tO bLuE is H.M. Jones‘ prequel to mOnOchrOme. Those of us who read Monochrome met the fascinating character Ishmael. This prequel gives us Ishmael’s back story and explains more about how the hellish world of Monochrome works. Monochrome is a creative metaphor for depression, specifically suicidal depression.

Ishmael’s childhood was filled with trauma and neglect. As the novel opens, he finds his mother’s body after she dies by a particularly gory suicide. He descends into a suicidal abyss, and finds himself in Monochrome.

Though my life was far less traumatic, like Ishmael, I was a suicidal young adult. What saved me, and what keeps Ishmael alive, was the fight to live. Fight depression. Fight those lies depression tells you.

mOnOchrOme by H.M. Jones

Monochrome: What would you do to save your most precious memories? H.M. Jones

mOnOchrOme by H.M. Jones is a blue cold scary fantasy world, a metaphor for depression, an infernal purgatory where the protagonist Abigail survives by paying for her basic needs with positive memories.

As Abigail struggles to leave Monochrome and return to her baby, she fights the despair of postpartum depression. She fights the lies depression convinces her are truths.

Monochrome is a powerful, compelling novel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it as a work of fiction that told important truths about depression through the metaphor of Monochrome.

Depression Lies

Depression lies. You matter. You have value. You are loved. Those you love are not better off without you. Fight the lies depression tells you. Fight and reach out for help. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

You are not alone. I, too, have experienced the hell of severe suicidal depression. I’m thankful that I fought it and got the help I needed. Those I love, those who love me, are thankful, too.

Please Don’t Ask Me to Review Your Book

Recently I’ve written two book reviews, and am about to write one more. BUT, I do NOT consider myself a book reviewer, so PLEASE don’t ask me to review your book.

As a mental health writer, I have many online connections, authors whose writing is fueled by mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. My heart wants to reach out and support all mental health writers (all writers, poets and artists, for that matter), but I simply cannot.

I read far fewer blogs than I once did and very few mental health memoirs or novels, preferring to escape living with mental illness. Usually I read novels which do not involve the subject of mental health.

That said, I did read both mOnOchrOme and fAdE tO bLuE and thoroughly enjoyed them both.

Thank you.

An Invitation: JOIN ME on SEPT 10th to Honour ULLA’s Life

Ulla, aka Blahpolar, will be greatly missed. She fought devastating and unremitting bipolar depression. Please join us in remembering her on Saturday, September 10th, 2016 – World Suicide Prevention Day at theblahpolar.wordpress.com. May she rest in peace.

May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health Facts in America 1. Mental Health Facts IN AMERICA Prevalence of Mental Illness by Diagnosis 1.1% 2.6% 6.9% 18.1% 1 in 100 (2.4 million) American adults live with schizophrenia.1 2.6% (6.1 million) of American adults live with bipolar disorder.1 6.9% (16 million) of American adults live with major depression.1 18.1% (42 million) of American adults live with anxiety disorders.1 Treatment in America Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.4 Nearly 50% of youth aged 8-15 didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year.1 African American & Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about 1/2 the rate of whites in the past year and Asian Americans at about 1/3 the rate.1 www.nami.org 1 This document cites statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov 2 Statistics provided by Department of Justice. 3 American Journal of Psychiatry and U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1999. 4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Follow Us! facebook.com/NAMI twitter.com/NAMIcommunicate Ways to Get Help Talk with your doctor Visit NAMI.org Learn more about mental illness Connect with other individuals and families Consequences Impact Fact: 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year. 1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. Nearly 1 in 25 (10 million) adults in America live with a serious mental illness. Approximately 10.2 million adults have co-occuring mental health and addiction disorders.1 Approximately 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness.1 26% 10.2m Approximately 24% of state prisoners have “a recent history of a mental health condition”.2 24% Mental Illness Addiction 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.3 90% Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.1 1st -$193b Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earning every year.3 $ One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by the age of 24. Whites African Americans Hispanic Americans Asian Americans 60% 50%

Trigger Warning Revisited

I first wrote this post June 2014 and am sharing it again, for the theme is still timely.

Monday afternoon while shopping at Party City for some sugary treats for my son, in front of me in line stood a teenaged girl with wrists covered in fake blood depicting gory razor slash wounds. She told the older woman she was with, “I don’t see why the school says it’s offensive. It’s just makeup.” I was tempted to step in and educate this young woman, but I did not. Perhaps I should have. She was completely oblivious to the effect she might have on others, specifically on those who suffer or have suffered from suicidality and those who have loved and lost someone to suicide. Her special effects make-up I consider constitutionally protected speech. Unfortunately, she was completely unaware of the power of that speech.

Driving home from my writers’ group Tuesday night, after having drafted this post, I remembered how flippant and irreverent I was in high school. My friends and I anonymously published and distributed around our campus a treatise entitled, “A Beginner’s Guide to Suicide.” As I recall, our “underground” collection of stream-of-consciousness writing contained no instructions for how to kill oneself. The title just suited our non-conformist New Wave quasi-punk teen angst. We meant it sardonically. One of my friends got in trouble for the publication. He managed to protect those of us who had high collegiate aspirations. I, for one, hoped to go to an Ivy League school and could ill-afford disciplinary action. That same year I wrote an article in our school paper in which I imagined receiving a rejection letter from Harvard. In the short fictional article, I wrote that I reacted by hanging myself with an attached suicide note saying something to the effect that life was not worth living if I couldn’t attend Harvard. As fate would have it, I was rejected by every Ivy League school to which I applied. UCLA, in fact, informed me that I had to attend remedial summer school before my freshman year because my SATs totaled under 700. Apparently, the Educational Testing Service had screwed up and sent the wrong data to all the prestigious schools to which I applied. That freshman year at UCLA, I experienced deep and unbearable depression and suicidality. My satiric article was prescient, but I had been completely oblivious and insensitive to how deeply painful it was to be depressed and suicidal.

Although I would never take away the right to offensive, objectionable, or insensitive speech, I do believe that we should be aware of the effect we may have on others, or at least listen to the responses we provoke and show compassion. As a teenager, I, like the girl with the fake slashed wrists, was completely in the dark as to the objectionable or offensive nature of my speech, of my writing. As an adult, I failed to engage the young woman in a conversation about depression and suicide, and how her make-up might cause pain to those whose lives have been affected by depression and suicide. Instead, I rushed to finish my errands before picking up my son from school.

Many mental health bloggers offer trigger warnings before presenting disturbing material. I argued in an earlier post that I do not, nor would I do so, that my blog’s title says it all. But, I get it. I understand the consequences of my speech, and I understand the importance of showing and teaching compassion. On the one hand, we must speak the truth; on the other, we must show compassion.