The lollipop land of shiny faces and perfect families is a dangerous facade

perfect-family

We have created a fake world presenting only the best side of our families and friends and rarely sharing pain or struggle.

We created it in social media, in person and at social events.

I’m not proposing we go all newspaperish by being negative and presenting only bad news. But it’s time to strike a balance.

We are a society obsessed with accomplishments

We are quick to pass judgement on those whose children are not currently succeeding by our standards. And our current fast-paced society breeds anxiety, depression and dysfunction.

We are a sharing society. Only we choose to share only that which is … Read more...

Upcoming speaking, workshop or panel events

microphone_318-50712Scheduled speaking events are now located on this page.

If you know of someone looking for a speaker for mental health and suicide prevention, contact me.

My speaker proposal is here

Young people, you are not alone. Here’s what you have been sending me

feedbackHere is what I am hearing from young people 17-25 about what I am writing and you are sharing from Emotionally Naked.

The fact is these young people have suffered through a system so broken and in a society so unaccepting of their struggles, is heartbreaking. And reading these brings tears to my eyes.

It’s utterly amazing they have done as well as they have. So proud of all of you. One day you will get support and acceptance. Help me work on that by sharing these posts.

I am honored you wrote me and I thought you’d be … Read more...

Is your child or spouse using? Signs of drug use

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Thank you Stas Novitsky from VCAM and McShin Academy for much of the information on this page. I wish I had this back in 2010. 

Keep in mind that it’s a combination of many of these signs that illustrate a drug habit.

This is not a complete list as substances to abuse are all over the place and around your house.

We could use the help of those in recovery to add to this. Use the comment box. You can use another name and only admin can see your email–no one else. Your privacy is respected.

Download the Signs of
Read more...

4 things you should never say to grieving parents

Man shouting, pulling hair

I made a pact that I was not going to get upset with people regarding what they said after Charles’ suicide. After all, it’s hard to know what to say and I was thankful when someone said anything. However, there are some classic zingers you should know to avoid.

1. Say nothing

I think this is the worst. If your child had stigmatized illnesses, you are used to nothing. No emotional support. No conversation. No resources. Saying nothing appears as though you are erasing this child because mention of him/her makes you uncomfortable. Many times people make excuses like, “I … Read more...

To all who have lost a loved one to suicide or overdose

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I’ve made a commitment.

I need one from you.

On behalf of my son Charles who died by suicide, I am carrying on a tradition he handed down to me and that is to reach out.

Survivors of suicide loss and those who have lost a child or loved one to overdose need to say the words suicide, mental illness, addiction and drug overdose.

Don’t soften it, sugar coat it or hide behind it

If we do, we carry on a tradition of shame instead of acknowledging our loved ones struggled from an illness. Those illnesses will continue to carry stigma if we don’t … Read more...

Should you talk to your children or friends about suicide?

Yes.

Of course there is probably an age at which it needs to be handled differently. I will leave that to those experts but I would think that 11 and under is where you might seek guidance from a professional on how to approach the subject.

Suicide will continue to stalk our kids, our teens and our young adults if we keep turning our backs on it.

Already, it is the number one cause of death for college students in the US. It’s the number 2 cause of death for those 15-25.

So how did suicide get such a promotion?

Read more...

The long arm of the law reaches down Charles’ pants

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Supporting Files:

  1. Mp4 – Internal Affairs interview -This has the most accurate account of what happened from Charles’ point of view. Just hearing him on the tape triggers a crying episode of despair.
  2. Word Doc- Transcript of police stop above on the Mp4
  3. Word Doc – Charles account of the original arrest
  4. Mp4 – Police stop with Charles and 6 officers 
  5. PDF – Breathalyzer

One of the incidents I have had a hard time with was one that happened in late February 2015 in Chesterfield County Virginia, just 4 months before Charles died by suicide.

Charles was driving home and was stopped by … Read more...

Grief. My alter ego tries to hoist me out of bed in the morning

Alter Ego:  Morning. Time to get up. 

Me: I don’t want to. 

Alter Ego: You have to get up. 

Me: But I’m not ready. I have to face the fact he’s gone when I’m awake. 

Alter Ego: Are you going to spend all day in bed?  Won’t that totally depress you? 

Me: Yeah. It will. 

Alter Ego: What are you going to wear on your run? 

Me: My legs feel like lead. I don’t want to run. 

Alter Ego: You always feel better once you go. 

Me: Not always. Somedays my legs feel like lead the whole time. Somedays nothing Read more...

Grief. Is there a heaven?

I want to believe it without reservation. I do.

And I know most of you do. You’ll tell me there is and all I have to do is believe. However, I am a skeptic. I think there is something out there. But I often have doubts.

I do think it is something very different from what we think it is. A different kind of existence all together. Not a bad existence just not what we think.

I have a lot riding on this belief

Since Charles died, I really want to believe 100%.

Let’s say there is a heaven.  Would … Read more...