Racist photos in Northram’s yearbook shines a spotlight on prejudice

I’m not going to debate the picture in Virginia Governor Ralph Northram’s yearbook. But it got me to thinking about prejudice in general which goes way beyond race.

It’s prejudice I’ve been fighting for the last nine years for the topics of both substance use disorder and mental illness.

Every time we say “commit suicide” we are making a prejudiced remark that those who die by suicide are criminals. Here in Virginia, we’ve been unsuccessful in eradicating the ancient 1600s law that suicide is a crime despite that  government agencies and scientific studies having declared it a public health issue.… Read more...

#MythBustingMondays-Once a teen has a suicide attempt, they’ve learned their lesson

Previous suicide attempts are serious predictor of future completed suicide

A  history of one or more suicide attempts is the strongest predictor for future suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide. Almost two thirds of those who die by suicide had a previous attempt which makes it a serious risk factor.

Charles had a previous attempt that I didn’t know to classify as one.  He had told me that he took a bunch of pills and didn’t know why he did it and he was both surprised and glad he woke up the next morning.

Was that a suicide attempt? It was.

I asked mental health professionals about it to … Read more...

A bipolar diagnosis doesn’t mean I’m a serial killer

by Jon Farrow

The moment you’re diagnosed, that’s what you become, a psychopath. You are a witch in a society fascinated by the thrill of a hunt. To even utter the word bipolar brings cogitations of whether you could be a killer. So you bury the new explanation for the pain you’ve always felt. The answer you’ve always been searching for is considered a vulgar word.

Bipolar is an adjective thrown around to describe anything inconsistent, such as the weather. To even speak of it in anything but a satirizing tone is written off.

That pain of being written off …

Should I tell someone my friend is thinking of suicide?

Your teenage friend has confided in you their darkest and most personal feelings. It took everything for them to tell you and now they have asked you not to tell anyone which leaves you in a horrible dilemma.

You wonder, “Should I tell someone my friend is thinking of suicide?”


First, ask your friend if you can tell someone together and make a date to do just that.  You can go through a list of possibilities and select that person together. 

Second is to escort or help your friend connect with professional services– a school counselor or a college … Read more...

Happy Birthday to my three-year-old blog!

my log has reached a half million
Google Analytics from Feb 4, 2016- Jan 30, 2019. This blog has had a half million visits. Number of pages viewed? 690,135

It’s 2016 and I’m just starting off on my morning run. Good God it’s cold. It’s one of those days when my eyelashes freeze. I’m covered up completely and the only thing you can see is my eyes.

I don’t run or walk listening to music or podcasts– just me and my thoughts. And I get an idea which is what happens when I leave my brain some room to think and create. If I constantly have noise … Read more...

I got new built-ins. Why does this matter?

I was having my headshots taken with photographer, Tosha Tolliver, late last year who also lost a child, and we started talking about momma grief. Her teenage daughter died unexpectedly from a medical complication at just around the same time Charles died by suicide in the summer of 2015.

Later on she started talking about wanting to have her floors refinished. I had talked about planning these closets for a custom build.

Both of us then realized that for the first time in years, we actually cared about decorating and making changes to our homes. Prior to that, it could … Read more...

Videos for the breathing exercises

Karla Helbert wrote Breathing strategies to quiet anxiety or manage grief and then a few days later sent four videos to clarify how the breathing is done which is posted on the page with the written instructions.

I just wanted you guys to know they were posted. I’m also adding the video links to the Coping Strategies for Grief & Loss ebook.

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Emotionally Naked Speaker Demo Reel

I don’t have the TEDx yet but I needed to do a demo reel so this is mine. This was not easy for me to put out there. I hope, going forward, it is easier.

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Is my child using drugs? Free ‘Signs of Drug Use’ Report

This report can help you figure out if a child, or any loved one or family member is using drugs and which ones they may be abusing.

When Charles was using, I was constantly trying to figure out which ones or if it was something else. Teasing apart all the behaviors was so frustrating since he also suffered from ADHD, DSPS (a sleep disorder), anxiety, depression with some panic attacks. There were signs of drug use I didn’t know were signs until later, and physical characteristics and behaviors I found confusing and didn’t know … Read more...