***Content noting.  This post contains several, graphic mention of suicide.  Know your triggers and read at your own discretion***

This was supposed to post yesterday but I was extremely sick.  However nothing wrong with a day late post right, as long as it gets done.

Every year the month of September is suicide awareness and prevention month.  On September 10 it’s world suicide prevention day.  Thanks to twloha.com suicide prevention and awareness had grown a very large audience.

Which is beautiful.

What I love is other grass root non profits and companies started off smaller more local names for them selves.  One of them is So Worth Loving.  There message is one of hope and beauty in the midst of a society that judges woman with impossible standards.

The reason for the mentions is that on September 10th which is world suicide prevention day, every year people all across the board are asked to write to write the word love on their arms, wrist.  Somewhere visible so people can see it and ask about it.

Every time the month of September rolls around I feel more confident in sharing my own personal story involving suicide.

This day is important to me because the recent suicide of Robin Williams has renewed  me to start talking about suicide again and raising awareness.  I do this because of the friends and loved ones whose lives were tragically cut due to suicide.  I also share my own story.  Each year it’s been a heavy post but it’s on a topic that needs all lights on it.

My story begins at age 12.  I was in 7th grade and had this boyfriend naked Eric.  He was the “it guy” and he was with me.  I always knew he struggled but what his dark demons were, no one really knew.

We broke up but stayed really good friends. On March 8th I said good bye to Eric after school.  He was looking for a friend of ours.  He gave me a hug.

I remember what I was wearing when he hugged me.  A pink flowered baby doll dress and combat boots.

The next day I was doing my volunteer work at the local elementary school, when my mom walked in to pick me up.  I knew something was wrong.  She tried to keep it from me until we were outside but I stopped in the middle of the school and demanded she tell  me.  When she did I shook, I sat down and cried.

His death shook my entire being; partly because there was no one there, other than my other 12 and 13 year olds.  We banded together and sat together at his funeral.  We kept a memory of his at school when they allowed us to plant a tree and bury a time capsule underneath it.  The school showing such attention was a healing balm.

I experienced suicide personally at age 13.  I had been given medication buy my psychiatrist to help me “concentrate” Turns out it was an anti-depressant.  I was so angry at my parents for deceiving for tricking me.  One night I took the whole bottle and passed out on my bedroom floor.  I woke up in the middle of the night covered in vomit.  I cleaned it up as best I could but it was still there when my mom woke me up the next morning.

Her only response was very nonchalant “Oh you threw up in the night”  Nothing about possible reasons, nothing about staying home.

Just silence.

I slept through every class in school that day and no one noticed anything, never said anything.  I felt invisible.  I had just tried to take my life and all I got was silence.

My adolescence was went in different therapists office, different psychiatrists’ and on different medication.  It was as if my parents were trying to “fix me.”  Fix me indeed.  Somehow my “behavior, due to my severe mood disorder” I was diagnosed at age nine and shoved in my face every year since then.

It was as if I needed to be fixed so that my behavior stopped making my parents look bad, like they had a daughter than was unmanageable.  I know that was incredibly difficult for my mom because she needed control in every area of her life and she needed me to act a certain way.

From 18 until 24 I was suicidal, anorexic, hooked on crack and looking at no future.  Then the most miraculous things happened I got pregnant and it suddenly stopped being about me.  I really struggled the first few months of my pregnancy.  Things with Jeffrey were hanging by a thread and my emotions were fraught.  My OB prescribed medication and BOOM things got better ( I also left Jeffrey)

For the first time I didn’t feel depressed.  I was truly happy.  I struggled greatly with Jeffrey’s abandonment but I wasn’t depressed.  Giving my life to Christ helped, I do believe that was a huge source of help.  I would come to learn that I needed to lean more on the the therapeutic side rather than the faith side so that I could heal.

I gave birth in July of 2006 and for the first couple of weeks I was okay.  And then I started thinking about leaving everything behind.  I expressed my hurt to the director to the house and they got me in counseling with the leader of the women’s ministry at church.  She was amazing but had a very busy schedule.  So I didn’t really get much counseling.

My depression was leading me to make poor choices and by the time Abigail was a year old I was miserable again.  Back in that old cycle of feelings except that this time I had a baby girl to raise and couldn’t afford to fall back.

2009 was part of my undoing and I finally was able to admit and accept that I needed medication again and the change was almost instantaneous.  I felt better than I had in years.  I was also in therapy which I think helped keep me sane.

On the inside though I was still struggling; I had started coming to terms with some of my abuse and it was more than medication alone would help.

I started seeing a new therapist in May of 2011.  I had finally reached the end of my rope and a way out just wasn’t enough.  The women’s ministry, bible thumping, Beth Moore groupie way of living wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I went deeper within my cocoon of pain.  Numb to the outside.

I started therapy and that first summer was rough.  At one point I was texting my therapist every day as an accountability to remember my safe place.  I wondered everyday if I needed to check myself into the psych hospital.

I did prevail, and started to get better.  My circumstances seemed to ebb and flow with my healing so sometimes I felt like life was covered in sunshine and other times I wasn’t sure I would make it through the day.

I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen.

No depression, no suicidal thoughts, I was “filled with joy” and thumpin away at my bible.  Then I went to Africa and returned home to a shit storm even the toughest person couldn’t have weathered.  There was no life raft, no helicopter and certainly no burning bush shit during this time.  I couldn’t even look at God.

With everything ripped apart and nowhere to turn I fell and I fell hard.  I was still in therapy but our sessions were mostly filled with my anger and needing to express it.  I didn’t get much processing done during this time.  But we walked through it and I thought things were getting better.

And then it hit me hard…. AGAIN.  Just as I thought I was making my way out of the pit I got slammed back in.

That’s when the depression set in I wasn’t surprised but I was determined to break it through creativity. I started writing more, reading more and spending more time buried in my art journal.  There was a beauty within those acts and though I do struggle still to do them, the peace I feel when I pour my soul into my work.

I won’t say it’s been like rainbows and cupcakes the month of May had me checking myself into the psychiatric hospital because the anxiety from being assaulted 11 days prior was out of control.  It was the best thing I could have done for myself.  I wasn’t suicidal but the flashbacks and triggers were overwhelming.

My time in the hospital helped. After I got out Abigail and I went on a long vacation.  It was so nice to get away and be loved on by people who genuinely care about us.  We also met some new, forever friends and some friends I have only known online.

I am still struggling. Most days it takes a lot of me to not stay in bed after my daughter goes to school.

I am so exhausted and still fighting chronic physical pain.  But somewhere within me I am refusing to stay down.  This is the first time in my life that I have hope that even though the darkness looms there is light, somewhere between the cracks in the walls.

I live for my daughter too.  She’s my all knowing, spunk-tastic, mini me.  She shows me how to smile when things are tough.  The snuggles and the laughter, the games of tic tac toe and the color books my life is full.

Even though sometimes I can barely hang in, I do because this girl saved my life.

There are resources out there:

www.soworthloving.com

www.twloha.com

Suicide Prevention Hotlines

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

RAINN

1-800-656-HOPE

NAMI National

1-800-950-NAMI

If you’re local in denver

Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health

303-730-8858

Metro Crisis Services

888-885-1222

NAMI – Denver

303-321-3104

Reach out, ask for help. There is no weakness in suffering from a mental illness or suicidal thoughts.  You ARE loved, you are WORTHY of love.  There is hope beyond the darkness, someday and not always like me thought it would be, but baby hold on because it’s coming.

I am always here to answer questions.
As Always,

Bethany

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