Grief is like a chronic disease

by Omar Abubaker, D.M.D, Ph.D.

Dr. Abubaker and his son, Adam, on the left who died from overdose.

By the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics,  a chronic disease is one lasting three months or more, and generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear on their on its own.

Some chronic diseases include cancer, diabetes, mental illness, cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension or high blood pressure, and respiratory diseases such as asthma, and emphysema.

Despite many advances in medicine over the past one hundred years, and despite better understanding … Read more...

Traumatic brain injury can trigger suicidal thoughts

by Beth Tucker

Suicide is not always just an emotional or psychiatric issue. Sometimes it’s a physiological one too.

I am a suicide attempt survivor

That means I have survived a suicide attempt. I’m also thankful to be in a much better place today, emotionally, psychologically, physically, and most importantly spiritually.

Four years ago I underwent brain surgery with extensive complications which resulted in a massive hemorrhage to the left temporal lobe of my brain. We hear so much these days about traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by things such as football-related concussions, military IEDs, as well as other brain … Read more...

What is Anticipatory Grief?

by Jenny Derr

Jordan, Jenny and Billy

Three years ago I came across a passage on Anticipatory Grief.

Anticipatory Grief
“There are numerous obstacles that inhibit family recovery from addiction. One of the most critical is the cumulative effects of anticipatory grief.  Anticipatory Grief (AG) is a process through which grieving begins in expectation of an imminent loss.  It is the rehearsal- the progressive letting go-that unfolds as a loved one’s behavior might lead to death.

AG is particularly evident when families have experienced numerous near-death experiences of a family member, such as when a loved one with addiction overdoses. Read more...

I lost my grandaughter, Elizabeth Jarrard, to overdose

by Betty Schnellenberger

Elizabeth Bryan Jarrard was my first granddaughter so that made her special plus she was my namesake. She had riotous curls every mother wants for her little girl. Elizabeth became an Army brat early born at Ft. Bragg and moving to her dad’s other posts including Alaska and Belgium.

At each move every three years every school district proved more difficult for her academically. When my son in law finally retired to Frisco, TX we hoped she would find her place amount lasting friends at the last high school; however that began her descent into a very … Read more...

Addiction resources and ideas

Shared by Evelyn Zak, Certified Substance Abuse Counselor

RVA Light is a Richmond VA coffee shop that supports those in recovery

Here are some national, regional and local Richmond, VA resources for those in the addiction and recovery community. There are many here that have that, “Wow, that’s cool vibe.” So if it’s not in your area, it may be an idea that inspires you. At the bottom are recommended books and movies.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)– National

12-step support– National

Read more...

The cop I thought I hated

by Sarah Gaer

I like to say friends are the family we choose. 

For many reasons, my chosen family as a young person was often the kids who didn’t belong anywhere else. Kids bond through shared traits and I felt like a social outcast and so I connected with the other kids who also felt the same.

Some of them came from abusive homes, some of them had learning disabilities, some of them had mental health challenges and some had all of the above. Sadly, because I fit in with the group that felt they fit in nowhere, I lost … Read more...

Suicide, Stigma, & the African American Community

By Victor Armstrong, VP Behavioral Health of Atrium Health

Victor Armstrong TW: @1of2vics

According to an article published in verywell health (1), Black men in the United States suffer worse health than any other racial group in America and, as a group, have the lowest life expectancy and the highest death rate compared to both men and women of other racial and ethnic groups.

Among the leading statistics of concern are:

  • 44% of black men are considered overweight
  • 24% are obese
  • 40% of black men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to 21% of white men
  • Black men
Read more...

Our Son’s Preventable Suicide

by Pat Sterling

Trigger warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method mentioned.

On March 22, 2018 our 38-year-old son, Brian, took his own life.

My husband and I believe very strongly that Brian’s suicide could have been prevented if the first group of medical responders and sheriff officers who we called had acted appropriately.

What follows is a reconstruction of events to the best of our recollection and we question why officers who responded to our 911 call did not exercise their authority to use an ECO (Ref: Emergency Custody Order that allows a person to be taken to a … Read more...

Paying it forward gives another hope

letter by Christopher Doyle

Scott Zebrowski died from overdose and a scholarship fund established by his twin sister, Jill, has given Christopher a chance at recovery

“About four months ago, I was in such a dark place that I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it out alive. To be hones, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. Thirteen years of heroin addiction and failed attempts at getting clean had brought me to a place of such hopelessness and despair that giving up seemed like a viable option.

Scott Zebrowski didn’t die in vain. If his family can … Read more...

How other medical conditions affect my mental health

by Tammy Ozolins

Coping with a mental illness like bipolar disorder can be tough and I have had to make some hard decisions in my life as a result. I’ve also have had to deal with other medical problems on top of this which can add to my rollercoaster of emotions.

When I first started my cycle, I would get severe cramps and would often throw up the first day. I remember missing school for a day or two when my cycle would start and lie on the couch with a heating pad to calm down the cramps. My cycle … Read more...