Gratitude letter

Dear Charles,

I’m grateful you were part of my life. If I had known from the beginning about your suicide at ages 20, would I have chosen to have you as my child?

I’d like to think so. Knowing me, I would have thought I could have changed the course of destiny. Nevertheless your life, as short as it was, transformed mine. And your death, transformed it again. Everything is now categorized as before or after your death.

You helped me see outside of myself. You made me laugh and see the world through a whole different perspective. No one … Read more...

Reading on Richmond Magazine Instagram

Add to Calendar 08/14/2020 12:00 PM 08/14/2020 12:15 PM America/New_York Richmond Magazine Reading on Instragram: Diary of a Broken Mind Ten minute reading https://www.instagram.com/richmondmag/ 90

I hope you’ll join me on Instagram at 12 pm EDT. It’s about a 10-minute reading from my book, Diary of a Broken Mind which recently was a finalist in the International Book Awards. And I was thinking I’d read five minutes from two different sections. And if you have an opinion on what parts I should read, let me know!

Link to Richmond Mag Instagram

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Suicide, Trauma, Foster Care, Adoption

by Carla A. Carlisle

Carla A. Carlisle

On March 22, 2010, my life was forever changed when I became a first-time foster parent to a beautiful premature 10-day-old, two-month baby boy.  I knew that becoming a foster parent would mean major lifestyle changes, I didn’t know that my connection to this child would change the essence of my being.  I was told that 99% of children taken at birth don’t go back to their birth parents, but this one fell in the 1%.  At six-months-old, this dear sweet baby boy was returned to his birth mother. In the six months, I had interacted … Read more...

Students looking after one another

by Dave Matthews

I live in an older neighborhood.  I used to know everybody and we looked out for each other.  All the neighborhood kids played together, we collected mail and newspapers when a neighbor was away. That sort of community.  We didn’t have a “Neighborhood Watch’, though.  We didn’t really feel like we needed one back then.  We genuinely cared for our neighbors.

Some 40 odd years later we still look out for each other. But now, in the era of  “Me Too” and BLM and wearing masks to protect one another, it seems to take on a new … Read more...

My emotional pain

by Ben Eden

As I share my story, pay attention to how you think and feel.  These realizations will be important in your path to overcoming your own emotional pain. 

As you read my story, don’t compare and think, “That was no big deal” or “Oh my! That is so much worse than mine!” Rather, see how we can relate.  Our experiences may not be the same, but we may relate in how we have felt during our experiences.  We are all dealing with something and maybe we can learn from one another.

My story comes from when I was … Read more...

I need your help

i need your help

I am co-writing a book with Kimberly O’Brien for Jossey-Bass, a division of Wiley Publishing called the Emotionally Naked Truth About Student Suicide. And I need to interview some people for the book. I’ve had several really good ones so far from all over the country. This book is focused on middle and high schools and here’s what I’m looking for.

  • An African American school counselor or teacher who is dedicated to the cause of suicide prevention in schools. Perhaps this person has been through a student suicide.
  • A teacher who has worked at a school in which there
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What does it mean to move forward after loss?

While my loss was the death of my son by suicide, yours could be the loss of a loved one to mental illness or addiction. It could be loss of a marriage or a even a job.

After my son Charles died I would hear people talk about moving forward. Early in the grief process, I couldn’t fathom what that meant or what it would look like. Despite my tragedy, the world lunged forward with annoying consistency and continued to spin on its axis while I struggled with the steps on how to take a shower and get dressed.

At … Read more...

Parents of Addicted Children

by Donna Marks

There’s a 12-Step program for just about everything. Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) has been around for a long time. It was a spin-off of Al-Anon (significant others of alcoholics), which evolved from Alcoholics Anonymous. ACA is a 12-step program that offers help to adult children who have been emotionally traumatized by a dysfunctional family.

According to Claudia Black, a dysfunctional family operates under specific rules: “Don’t think, don’t trust, don’t feel, and don’t talk about it.” The secrets and silence are generally related to shame-based behaviors, usually addiction-related. 

I’d like to see a 12-Step program for … Read more...

Does virtual learning create a culture of increased drug use?

by Sarah Scarbrough, Ph.D., Founder of REAL LIFE

We all have heard the news – schools across Virginia, and the country, are returning via a virtual environment. And, we know it is going to be tough. This article is not here to debate the decision or the whys but to raise awareness and open your eyes to something that worries me greatly: idle time, kids home alone with alcohol and drugs.

This article is going to be bold, but I have seen way too much to sit here and be silent. Parents need to have eyes wide open going into … Read more...