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...

Emotionally Naked Story Makes Women’s Day!

Tamara and Lloyd Braswell (now married) was a story here on this blog. And a writer for Women’s Day was doing a feature on great love stories for their February 2021 issue and they reached out and asked for Tamara and Lloyd’s contact info so they could be included in the issue. The Emotionally Naked blog was mentioned in the article.

See the original story at the link below. This is so exciting!

Read more...

Autism, social struggles, and suicide

by Abby

There is something that’s been weighing on me lately. I was diagnosed with depression about 3 years ago, and it got better for a while but it recently started to come back. I keep having thoughts that everyone would be happier without me, and unfortunately, it’s starting to seem more and more true every day.

I’m on the autism spectrum so it’s already hard to deal with a world that wasn’t built for someone like me, but feeling like this all the time makes it harder.

I keep having a hard time at work and disappointing my boss, … Read more...

What I put in my self-harm safety kit

by Ayushree

Note from Anne Moss: A self-harm safety box is a kit that a person puts together as a self-help strategy. This was sent to me by Ayushree and she details the contents of her safety box which she has so far found helpful in breaking her self-harm habit.

Self-harm safety box

To make my own self-harm safety kit, I took a shoebox, covered it in white paper and made doodles all over it. I didn’t write anything on it because otherwise, my mom would know.

Doodles are one of my hobbies and it helps me to relieve stress. … Read more...

Priyanka’s coping strategies for working through depression

by Priyanka Sarkar, chemistry and biology graduate, India

Priyanka’s daily journal

Before focusing on any particular strategies, I want to emphasize that loving yourself is more important than anything on this list. Be your own cheering section and make sure you do that every day. Treat yourself with love and respect. If you do, others will, too. This phase tests your patience thoroughly but trusts me it ends (even though it may not seem like it) with you attaining wisdom. Now the coping strategies that helped me through depression.

1) Acknowledging and establishing a connection with my feelings

Generally, we … Read more...

Concrete strategies that helped me work through my teen depression

Desmond Herzfelder is a freshman at Harvard University majoring in applied math and visual art.

Note from Anne Moss: Kim O’Brien and I interviewed Desmond for our book, Emotionally Naked: A Teacher’s Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. We asked several young adults who struggled as teens how they survived a dark period in their lives and the coping strategies they used to find their way out. This is Desmond’s thoughtful response.

by Desmond Herzfelder

1) Prioritizing my happiness!

This, above all else, made the difference for me.

2) Reaching out for help.

I cannot say … Read more...