The day I went public

newspaperMany of you know me as someone that went public after my son’s suicide. It was actually prior to that in 2014. 

I know why most of us don’t speak our child’s mental illness because our kids, teens especially, want their struggles kept private. We also worried they’ll get labeled and mistreated as a result. Which is a valid concern. 

In 2014, I had had enough silence.

I can’t remember the circumstances, but I was asked to write an article for Richmond Times Dispatch about our family’s struggle with our child’s mental illness. I said yes. I can’t say I Read more...

Shame

shame-003

When Charles first started abusing drugs, we didn’t talk about it. My frustration and fear and fear were the dominant emotions.

Was it drugs or was it mental illness? We did find out eventually that it was mental illness first and the initial drug use was a result of his wanting to feel better, or more normal. Getting to the root of the problem was an enormously difficult process.

I did talk to people I trusted.

I didn’t talk about it to everyone, though. And one time I talked to the wrong person and it somehow wound its way back … Read more...

Presented suicide prevention program to YMCA Leader’s Club

Watching Charles rap the song, "Letter to God"
Watching Charles rap the song, “Letter to God”

I was honored this evening to present my story and my social media based suicide prevention program to the Swift Creek YMCA group in Chesterfield County. Before my very eyes, I saw stigma leave the building. Tosha Frye, fellow Beacon Tree board member, joined me and told her personal story and delivered her message of hope.

I met teens willing to reach out to others. Some of them spoke up and told their stories. We cried and we laughed. They are a very special and diverse group with great leadership. It’s a service club that takes … Read more...

Evil E.D. held my son hostage

by Tamara Harvey Braswell

logancareytown10k
Logan Neale

The Woodlake Turkey Trot was in honor of Logan Neal. November 19, 2016, 9:00am-11:30am.

It’s name is Evil ED. ED stands for Eating Disorder.

I declared war on Evil ED shortly before my son Logan turned 16. The disease crept up on him subtly and gradually until it had a death hold on his brain.

Evil ED does not discriminate. It’s an equal opportunity life destroyer. The common myth is only young females have eating disorders. Not true.

Evil ED’s victims are girls, women, boys and men. They are all races. They are … Read more...

Would you ask someone with a heart condition to pray their way out of it?

praying

You wouldn’t ask a diabetic to pray for more insulin, so why would you ask someone with a chemical imbalance in their brain to deny themselves the medication or treatment they need? Why make someone feel guilty for taking medication that literally keeps them alive and functioning?

The brain, like the heart, is a major organ that sometimes needs medical intervention. Mental illness, addiction and suicide are not moral failings. They are illnesses or the result of one.

Oftentimes, those who suffer depression or some other mental illness are encouraged to pray their way out of it. Still others imply that this was God’s way … Read more...

Facebook LIVE: Coming back to life after a suicide attempt

See this on Facebook (has all the comments)
Important highlights:
  • Recovery from mental illness is ongoing and not always perfect
  • Medication is a customized process that will take time
  • Suicide is the result of mental illness and seeing no other way out
  • For some, medication is an absolute necessity to prevent suicidal ideation and maintain a livable life
  • Family and a support system is vital to maintaining a recovery with mental illness
  • Looking for a therapist? If you can’t get a referral look online for your mental illness issue and then ask the receptionist
  • How do you broach the subject
Read more...

A story of hope: I never thought I would be alive to see graduation

by Carly Stansfield

If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be fighter. Throughout my whole journey I have had to fight day in and day out to find happiness. I have had to fight for the one thing I have always wanted the most, full recovery.

For those who don’t know me, here is my story

I’ve always had insecurities and struggles–the biggest was separation anxiety from my mom.

In elementary school, I remember running to my mom who worked at the school, and clinging to her as my teacher pulled me off. I know now … Read more...

7 reasons I think we are seeing more teen depression

depression-charles

When I talk to people, this subject often comes up. Mental illness in teens is on the rise.

Why? Here are some of the reasons I think it’s gotten worse.

1. Lack of Connection

As technology has improved, our lives have gotten busier as a result of easier access. We tend to pack in more than is humanly possible and in trying to get more out of life, we are getting less. It’s always on to the next thing.

Social media and technology have also made us more more “silo-ed” and less social. It’s not as common to see kids jumping … Read more...

Darkness

morninglight

Charles’ friend Michael’s brother sent this to me to share. Thank you for sharing Thomas. Keep writing! I can feel this in my soul. It will help other young adults to know they are not alone. Readers, please comment. 

by Thomas Stewart

Better off asleep
I don’t wanna think
But shit I’m still counting sheep
Cleaning the vomit from the sink
I know that they love me
I know that they care
But they can’t fuckin’ see
Its my final frontier.
I’m flooded with tears
Hit it and shit disappears
Death I don’t fear
Shit, it’s invited
Me? I’m excited… Read more...

De-stigmatizing anti depressants- Facebook LIVE

In case you missed it. Here are all the FB live videos. See it on Facebook with all the comments here.

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Comments from the event

You can see all the comments when you click on the Facebook link but here are some of the highlights

  • In Canada they swap out with generic that have more fillers and less of a percentage of the active ingredient
  • Genesight for figuring out what might work for you
  • My son is alive because of the benefits of his current antidepressant and mood stabilizer. However, he
Read more...