Coping Strategies Workshop

It was our virgin voyage of our Coping Strategies for Grief & Loss Workshop at Ellwood Thompson’s The Beet. You think I would have removed the geeky voice amplifier. The room was packed with 50 or more attendees. The sharing was awesome and we got great feedback from the group so we can adjust as we go forward.

We had people who came suffering all kinds of losses and just being in the room together, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying together was part of what I loved.

Just making the effort to come out was huge. And Karla and I especially … Read more...

I inspire people to break up with mental health stigma

That starts with education through storytelling. With suicide being the number two cause of death on college campuses, I’m going to start there.

So in the fall, I will be targeting colleges, mostly Virginia and North Carolina to start. However, if any of you have a college connection outside of that area, I’m open to it. If any of you have connections locally, please send it. Here is my contact form. That doesn’t mean I am not going to do conferences or other offers that come my way. It just means I’m

Most colleges have a student activities fund …

What did I say to myself to keep going?

After my son died by suicide, I kept telling myself I would survive.

I took deep breaths and repeated it to myself several times a day at first. I had no idea how, or when, or what that journey looked like. I honestly didn’t even know if it was true but invested in blind faith that I would. Others had. Why couldn’t I?

That simple phrase was the single most important thing I told myself.

It was a way to offer myself hope at a time when my future looked like it was paved with broken glass and razor wire. … Read more...

My son is ‘not the type’ to kill himself

I wish I could tell you that those who suffer those thoughts always wear green shirts and orange and white striped socks, that they have a particular color hair or a certain shaped nose.

But they don’t.

Given that suicide has increased by 25% for the general population and 70% for youth, we have to know those signs–just in case. Because anyone our circle of friends could be at risk.

If you had told me Charles suffered from thoughts of suicide, I’m not sure I would have believed he “was the type.” I would have thought, “No, he loves us … Read more...

People need your emotionally naked story

People you’ve never met who feel isolated and alone, go to google in distress, type in phrases about drugs and alcohol, myths, suicide, mental illness, eating disorders and more.

They land on my stories and your stories and many of them become part of our tribe. Some look up the names of your loved ones because they want to know more, they look at your pictures and read what you have to say.

They’re important. No one remembers facts, figures and most of the time, directions. They remember your stories because those are what move their souls and make them … Read more...

Irritable, moody, and flustered

Coping with Charles’ birthday month has been different this year (he would have been 24 on April 26). Just a few days in, I’m sad sometimes but more often just plain agitated.

Sleep is weird but I’m following Karla Helbert’s breathing techniques which are helping. I’m doing a lot of my self-talk (alter ego conversations) because I get into destructive negative thinking patterns and I have to tell my other self that there are enough people who will put me down and I don’t need to be one of them. I do follow my own advice on that … Read more...

Looking for a school speaking sponsor

A number of schools have reached out for me to speak. The ones out of town often can’t afford to even fly me to the location much less pay any kind of fee. I would love to say yes, especially to the ones where a teen reaches out to me to speak to their school. Then sometimes it’s a school counselor who is already so overworked, they don’t have the manpower or the hours to search for a sponsor.

Because I like to eat and sleep indoors, and these offers are now competing with paid offers, I thought I’d try … Read more...

My favorite quote

So many times, I’ve had to take an about face because my life took an abrupt turn in an unexpected direction.

Most of you have had this happen, too.

There are and have been so many things outside my control. My son’s suicide was outside of my control as were the diseases that lead to that cause of death, his depression and addiction. It is was once I faced how powerless I was to stop it, change it or fix it I met humility.

I had no choice but to adjust–adjust to the loss and to my new life after … Read more...

6 reasons why kids don’t tell you they want to die

I have several articles out on the web on both this site and The Mighty to capture young people who are googling certain questions related to mental illness, drug use, cutting, and suicide. No one in their lives is answering or addressing the issue, so they look on the internet to ask Dr. Google.

One of those articles is, “How to tell your parents you want to die?” We are always telling people to call a number or “reach out for help” but rarely to we give specific instructions on how to do so.

Now that there are …

New speaker website and registered trademark

emotionally naked speaker

#1 – I have a new speaker website at

Take a look and let me know what you think. It’s a one page site and I would love your feedback.

#2 – Emotionally Naked® is a registered trademark

This means I can use the circle R and no one else can use the phrase as their own. It took about nine months to get the trademark and fortunately there were no objections. No one else can call themselves the emotionally naked speaker.

And a funny. The other day someone in a group I’m a member of asked about logos … Read more...