A friend I met teaching online lost her son to suicide

by Julie

I can’t even imagine the heartbreak. The helplessness those left behind are feeling. The hopelessness her son felt in the final days when everything went so dark there was no turning back to find the light.

Suicide isn’t a desire to die; it’s a desire to end the pain. Too many beautiful young people have ended their lives trying to end the pain because they can’t see the light at the end of the darkness. We often wonder how they could do this with so much going for them. If only they could see themselves through our lens … Read more...

I’m the mother of a transgender child

by Patti Hornstra

Other than that, my life is now and has always been, wonderful yet largely unremarkable. My story, my journey, started four years ago. My ‘normal’ life was suddenly a whirlwind of tension, research, confusion, and therapy; none of which proved productive for me.

About two years ago I realized that I had things bottled up inside that needed to be said. So, I started to write down my thoughts, my memories, my feelings. And then, one day—voila!—I had written a book.

My book, When He Was Anna: A Mom’s Journey Into the Transgender World, is a … Read more...

A Dance with the Devil. My son’s decades-long battle with addiction and recovery.

by Connie

Connie

New Year’s Day 2020…my cell phone rings, I recognize the number. It is our son, who has been in an addiction spiral for the past eight months. 

Mom, if I don’t get out of Richmond I am going to die.”

Another New Year starting with the same message for the past 15 years. With each request, rehab, and relapse my husband and I had grown weary from the emotional, financial, and spiritual drain this disease had inflicted upon our family. We had learned detachment, setting boundaries, quit enabling, and threw out tough love methods.

We … Read more...

What is 710 day?

by Laura Stack, Founder Johnny’s Ambassadors

710 day dabs

Make sure you know where your teenagers are at 7:10 PM on July 10.

Why? Because 710 is Dab Day. Turned upside down, the digits 710 spell “OIL.”

Why? Because participants are high on cannabis oil, which is one type of high-potency marijuana. While 420 Day celebrates marijuana in general, 710 Day celebrates the high-potency extracts called “dabs.” At 7:10 PM, users will celebrate the holiday with a dab.

What is a dab? Dabbing involves extracting the THC (the part that gets you high) from the cannabis plant (see photo). Users place a small … Read more...

For my son’s birthday in heaven, I got a tattoo

by Kerry Rhodes

So if you know me, you know how much I disliked Taylor having tattoos. When he turned 18, he begged to get a cross on his chest with Frank Woolwine’s name on it. Frankie was his good friend who was killed in a car accident the year before.

I knew better than to think I would stop Taylor once he was 18, so I said let’s go with something small. He agreed and I paid for it for his birthday. If you give Taylor an inch, he could sometimes take a mile. So that one tattoo turned … Read more...

My Wish: What people need to know about suicide–love, loss, and hope

by Chano Itwaru

My tall and handsome 33-year-old son Kevin was smart, friendly, and charming. He was a biomedical engineer with a charismatic, dazzling smile, gentle personality. As a talented musician and artist he played the sitar, guitar, trumpet, piano, flute, Japanese Shakuhachi (flute), accordion, harmonium, Djembe (African drums), he produced many paintings. But Kevin had a secret. When he was 21 years old, he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

My son suffered in silence rather than face what he feared–the judgment and rejection of friends and family. He slowly isolated himself from lifelong friends. It was heartbreaking to watch … Read more...

I am in charge of my recovery from bipolar disorder

by Tammy Ozolins

Tammy is a middle school teacher who contributes regularly to this blog on subjects related to mental health

Being diagnosed with a mental condition called Bipolar Disorder (I do not call it an illness anymore, because my brain is not sick, it is just different) has been challenging at times but it has made me such a stronger person in so many ways.

When I was first getting medical treatment I would go into the psychiatrist’s office and just nod my head, yes, and say Uhm, and not say much, even if I felt like the medicine … Read more...

Step Away

by Bart Bright

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bart-and-family.jpg
Kevin Bright is on the right

On August 14, 2018, my son, Kevin, died by suicide. He was 29 years old. Kevin suffered from depression and cannabis-induced psychosis, (a diagnosis in the DSM-5).

Kevin told my wife and me about his cannabis use at 15

He agreed to get help. Over the next 14 years, Kevin participated in many recovery programs. He experienced periods of health and happiness while in recovery. Unfortunately, after a while, he would go back to his drug of choice, high THC cannabis. As he increased his cannabis use we started witnessing psychotic … Read more...

What I want you to know…

by Mary-ellen Viglis

Dear DJ,

It’s been nearly 10 months since you left, my sweet, loving beautiful boy- Demetrios James.

I want you to know how truly missed you are. Most days I am brought to my knees by the hole in my heart. It feels like lava overflowing. It burns. It stings. There is no end to it. It seeps out of every part of my body. All the pain and grief – it is filled with all the love I have for you.

I am not mad. I am not angry. I don’t think I ever will be. … Read more...

How I feel a year after my husband’s suicide

by Marylyn

Still heartbroken.
Still in disbelief.
Still in anguish about how desperate he was.
Still feeling guilty in whatever part I may have played in creating that anguish.
Still mad that he left his son.
Still seeing blood.
Still reliving the phone call I received from the officer at 9:18 am on January 30th.
Continually wondering what this life is for
and why live through it if it doesn’t really matter in the end anyway.

Wondering if the me I used to be is gone forever.
Deeply afraid I’m not doing my best for our son.
Wishing he hadn’t … Read more...