The Overnight: Fighting Stigma & Suicide Prevention

The Overnight

I have mental illness.

Before motherhood, major depression and anxiety. After the kids came, things have started to look quite a bit like bipolar 2. I’ve struggled with self-worth and body image issues for years and suffered through bouts of terribly low motivation and lack of drive.

I’ve even been suicidal.

But today, I’m glad to say I’m still here, my illness is treated, and I am NOT ashamed.

I live each and every day, a woman, a wife, and a mother, and I choose to stand up for my mental health. I choose to share my story and fight against stigma.

Every 14 minutes someone takes their own life, most often due to untreated mental illness. That is a lot of loved ones lost way too soon.

After losing a dear lifelong friend to suicide over 2 years ago I started blogging about motherhood and mental health at Motherhood Unadorned. I also started actively advocating and raising funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization dedicated to research, education and lobbying for mental health and suicide prevention.

I’ve done a few local Seattle “Out of the Darkness” walks to raise funds and awareness, but from June1-2, 2013, I am participating in the AFSP’s National Walk known as The Overnight.

Eighteen miles in our nation’s capital.

This is a big deal for me. I’m running screaming as I blaze out of my comfort zone. This walk is that important. You never know when someone close to you may be struggling.

It’s important to keep your eyes and ears open for the warning signs. Education is key to suicide prevention.

Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior
Observable signs of serious depression:
-unrelenting low mood
-pessimism
-hopelessness
-desperation
-anxiety and/or mania
-sleep problems

Increased alcohol and/or drug use.

Recent impulsiveness, taking extraordinary risks.

Unexpected rage or anger.

Making a plan:
Unusual and/or sudden purchases of firearms, poisons or medications.
Giving away possessions.

If you ever notice these behaviors in a loved one, reach out right away. But most of all, if you ever see a loved one struggling, do something, anything to show them you care. Your words and actions can help heal the shame that they’re feeling. Your love and concern could help them see it is OK to reach out. Knowing someone cares can make all the difference in the world.You just might save a life.

 

 

Who to call:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) is a wonderful resource to keep in your back pocket…for anyone in crisis.

Internationally, Befrienders.org provides a list of crisis hotlines all over the world.

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