“Risin’ up, straight to the top
Had the guts, got the glory
Went the distance, now I’m not gonna stop
Just a man and his will to survive”
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor – mobile
Eye of the Tiger – desktop
I met these beautiful souls Sunday morning! They were laughing because their big beautiful dog came running over to my dad and me. lol 😍❤ They lost someone close to them to suicide and they survived it! And they survive it each & every day and take their agony and use it for the good of others. 💔❤ How heartbreaking but inspiring! ❤
(this isn’t him & this isn’t my photo – i got it on the Afsp page! Isn’t s\he adorable!? There were so many adorable furkins there!! 😍❤😀 )
On Sunday morning I attended the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention. The money that is donated goes to education and community programs to help save lives.
I have been told by a couple of people that paying money for these kinds of things is pointless, stupid, and a waste. I completely disagree because days, weeks, months, years of ongoing research and exploration can all add up to eventual breakthroughs, discoveries and enough skills, knowledge, and ideas to come up with a cure for something or to discover a way to make things better.
When a cure or solution or important info. is found for something, I don’t think it was usually found in a day with no previous research, funding, education, developing of skills…it all adds up and the journey of exploration, experimenting, or searching itself is valuable. There can be smaller but still significant steps along the way. Also, these walks do not just help in a monetary way, they are so healing and inspiring just to see all those people who care to show up. Each person has been touched in some way personally or just deeply cares about the cause. And often, it’s already too late for the ones walking. Many of them already lost someone to whatever it is, suicide, cancer, asthma….but they want to walk to bring awareness to and show support for, and prevent it happening to others. During the suicide prevention walk, we all wear honor beads of various colors to show the way we have been impacted by suicide. Or to show that we just support prevention and awareness.
I loved doing the walk. I always feared that a suicide prevention walk may be a trigger for me, especially now because I am just coming out of a severe depressive episode, a bad one, one of the worst ones I experienced and this thing has lasted longer than they have in a while.
But I gathered up my inner strength and my courage and attended! And I found the walk inspiring and healing. To be surrounded by people who understand the pain of mental health conditions is a great thing. There’s a kind of irony about it. It’s amazing to see so many people supporting suicide awareness & prevention and understanding the pain that overwhelms those with mental illness and those who care for them. It’s so great that so many care and act on their love for those who are sick and have died. But it’s also extremely devastating because most people there on those walks have lost someone to suicide and know that pain all too well. And many others there struggle themselves. So while it’s a great thing that so many care to come out and walk, it’s so unfortunate that so many have experienced something so tragic and that so many struggle with mental health problems.
But at the walks, we focus on the bright side. The awareness brought to suicide and the research and programs supported by donations have so much potential to save lives. And we see that none of us are alone in our struggle. While we dont ever want anyone to be afflicted with our pain, we know they are. So it’s great to come together and find each other and see the incredible love everyone has for those grieving for their lost ones and those of us struggling. We take our pain and turn it into something good, bringing light into so much darkness.
We were all given beads of various colors. Whatever our personal relation to suicide\mental illness is, we are given beads to indicate that, so others can see and know that someone understands our pain intimately.
At first it felt so awkward wearing the beads, like I was advertising my condition. Everyone who looked at me knew so much just by the color of my beads. And most people there were not wearing the ones that are for a personal struggle; very tragically most seemed to have lost someone. Some individual people even wore just about all the colors to show they lost multiple people to suicide, parent, sibling, lover, friend, child….how tragic to lose even just one and some have lost many! 💔
So, anyway, for a while I walked around with my arms trying to cover my beads. It felt as if I was flaunting a thing that shouldn’t be flaunted. I felt in a way like I did when i experienced my first psychiatric hospitalization years ago, after years of suffering in secrecy then telling all of my deepest, darkest pain to a doctor (who was extremely compassionate & understanding), a person I did not know. I felt stripped to the bone, like people can see right through me, right through my flesh and guts and whatever else, and see the darkness of me. But then I realized there was no need to conceal my beads! Everyone there understands. Even if they don’t struggle with suicidal inclination like I do, they love someone who does or someone who did and lost the battle or they were just there to support something they are passionate about even if they have no personal relation to it. No one was going to look at me and think “Psycho!” and even if they would have, so what? I know me and that’s really all that matters!😀 It’s my light that is stronger than the darkness. My light always shines through. ❤
But as open about my condition both in person and online, as I am, see how still difficult it can be to let people in and know? Imagine what it’s like for people who aren’t open about it, to have to struggle and feel alone or try to conceal something so significant to them.
The great thing about wearing the beads is, others with the same struggle can feel a deep connection.
(I love this bracelet especially because it glows in the dark! How inspiring! I did not even know until I walked into a dark room and a green light came on. ❤)
One of the other things I loved about the walk is the general atmosphere; it was cheerful and positive. Even though it had to do with suicide, it wasn’t gloomy or dark. There were lots of smiles, singing, lots of laughing and chatting. One person even said “It’s a beautiful day!” And the scenery is beautiful, water, trees, flowers, stones, weeds, buildings, statues, grass, concrete, plants, people, dogs…So much positivity and beauty through all the pain that brought us together. I also love the universal love that is expressed. Most of us don’t know each other or all the other sufferers like us, but everyone there has a strong desire, a great passion to help and save others, even those we don’t know. A few people talking through speakers who lost a person close to them said the deaths of those they love inspires them to work to save someone else. As sad as it is it’s also beautiful. There’s nothing they can do now to bring back the victims but they can honor them, helping others like them live as survivors instead of becoming more victims. ❤💔❤
I have met people or read stories written by people who have lost someone to suicide and said if their story or donation to research can save even just one life, just one, they will feel like the death of the one they love and lost isn’t so senseless and will feel as if their person is being honored and still living on in a way. I am so inspired and so shattered when i hear or read a sentiment like that. I am inspired to live for them. Even when it is difficult and seems impossible or completely pointless, I want to live so their deaths don’t have to be so senseless, so their people can have their wish of even just one life spared, fulfilled, even if they won’t know it. I want to live for all the suicide survivors who do all they can to save a life I want to carry on for all those we lost and all those struggling, to try to bring hope and inspiration to anyone I can in any way I can. Though I’m not a saint and not always kind and loving. Sometimes I argue with people, laugh at stuff I probably shouldn’t be laughing at, sometimes I reject favors someone asks of me….and that’s ok and probably true for most of us! We don’t have to be absolutely perfect to be perfect in our own way and to be loving, kind, compassionate, and generous in general. ❤
The thing about depression is that it does not necessarily get us to only see the negative or unpleasant side of life, as some may think. That is possible but not always so. Often with depression, we can and do see the bright side, the goodness, the beauty, the love. We often can see the positive things. But it doesn’t matter. The pain or the numbness make it so nothing has purpose, nothing matters, the good things aren’t enough to cheer us or if we’re suicidal, not enough to get us to want to live. I’m not speaking for everyone with depression but this is my experience and the experience of many of us. Sometimes even when something brings me deep joy, like my dogs for example, or the holiday season or beauty of nature….it just is vanquished by the pain, the deep despair of depression. It’s not always that there’s no joy with depression; but when there is, often, it just feels like it doesn’t matter.
But it is possible to seize all the good things, all the beauty, all the good things we can do for others, and hold on for them even in the throes of suicidal depression. It may take practice for it to become easier to list and live for the good but I can tell you it is possible. Recently I found myself in a very dark place that I almost forgot exists. It frightened me because it got to the point where my pain and despair felt so profoundly and so frequently like I was in another world, another place, one that is dark and pointless and never ending. My pain was connected to nothing on Earth and I knew it. It was nothing at all to do with anything. It’s not that I had no problems(though I had nothing serious going on), just that they were not what was depressing me. Some people do have environmental depression that is beyond the grief or distress almost anyone would have in that situation. But this isn’t what I have usually. What I have more than environmental depression is a deep, inherent sense of purposelessness and despair that has nothing to do with what I have or do or dont have or do. I do not have low self esteem so this depression i have is not a secondary thing as a result of that. When it flares up though, it’s often a general sense of despair about nothing in particular. And it starts on the top of my head like something physical and invisible and so heavy just crushing my whole body beneath the terrible weight of it. It surrounds me and is within me. It makes it hard for me to stand.
I knew I was in a bad way when i got out of a shower one day recently and saw my sweet boy sitting on my bed, my lil pomchi. He looked so adorable and was wagging his tail at me and i felt so much love for him and so much joy well up in me. But my despair was just so deep and my joy was just drowned in the depression, even though I was able to still feel it. I wanted to die even though my dog brings me so much love and joy and happiness.
So, you see, it’s not that we feel we have nothing necessarily, just that it’s like nothing matters, like nothing can conquer that despair and purposelessness. Nothing. But it’s not true. Love & beauty can conquer this illness. This sickness I know so well. It is a sickness. I know this because I can feel it. When it reaches a certain depth, I can’t think that it’s anything but a dark sickness come to take me, suffocate me, consume me. A sickness that grips me so tightly in its bondage I can hardly breathe. My whole body feels it. But Love can conquer it. Love for anyone or anything we can love. Even if we still want to die, still are in deep pain or so numb we can’t feel a thing; even when joy is drowned in despair, there is a reason to push through. It’s so hard but so possible.
I live to bring hope to suicidal people. Hope that pain can end and until then, we can still live, still love, grasp any sliver of light we can. Even if the pain keeps coming back, it’s worth the struggle to live. And I live to bring hope to suicide survivors. Hope that the deaths of those they love and lost are not in vain. Their stories touch me; their love lifts me. I wish they never died but since they did and that cannot be changed, their pain can be used for goodness. I will keep giving, keep sharing, keep loving, keep living. I will always live to love even if I don’t always love to live. ❤ And I hope everyone else will too, no matter how hard it can get.
(A boy was carrying this sign Sunday, holding it up for anyone & everyone to see and I wanted to get a picture but did not have the chance then later i saw it on this rail thing here! This kind young man brought me so much love & hope with this act of love for all of us. Wishing us love and positivity even though he doesn’t know us is a perfect example of someone surrendering to universal love. ❤😍)
Much love & light to you, always!! 😍😀❤ And lots of hugs! Keep letting your light shine on us all. The world needs all of us. ❤