#MythBustingMondays – Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem

Implying suicide is a cop out is a lazy and a flip comment from a limited point of view. We say it to try to make sense of something we don’t fully understand. It dismisses the fact that the thoughts, for many, can be pervasive. The intense, irrational part when someone is in danger of following through is temporary.

But when someone completes a suicide, we don’t always know how many times someone has suffered through it or what trauma, mental illness, or life event may have triggered it. Over time, they can be difficult to fight and wear someone … Read more...

What stops a person from killing himself?

My son, Charles, wrote this as part of his rap song, Hell on Earth.

Live with meaning before death forever
Eternal darkness,
peace at last,
no more hardships
Hard to comprehend in the human mind
Impossible to envision leaving yourself behind

Many people comment here about suicide and some while they are feeling the worst hurt of their lives and contemplating how to end their own life.

The two reasons people don’t kill themselves fall into two categories.

Life reasons.

Fear reasons.

The life reasons have to do with children, spouses, parents, pets, and friends. The suicidal person doesn’t want … Read more...

Does childhood trauma cause mental illness?

by Jody B.

A close friend asked the other day how I think my trauma has contributed to the variety of mental illnesses I live with which got me to thinking that not only did it contribute to mental health issues, but it started so young that it in fact changed my entire development and personality. I never had a chance to develop properly, especially on the emotional side, because for me, there simply was never a time I wasn’t traumatized.

My birth mother was a cigarette smoking, drug addicted alcoholic who gave birth to me, a drug addicted, drunken … Read more...

You know that family–the one that appears so happy

by Sonja Dawn
You know that family--the one that appears so happyNobody knows what goes on behind closed doors? That was my family.

We appeared to be a happy family, with loving parents and three happy, healthy
daughters. I am the middle child and I appeared to be a typical middle child who felt ignored and left out, but really I just wanted to be left alone. The attention I received from my family was frightening no matter how hard I tried to change it.

I did want what any person wants, a loving family, but that is not what I got. I remember one particular day very … Read more...

How did I get the courage to speak out about suicide and addiction?

Three years ago, I wrote this newspaper article following Charles‘ death. I’ve referred to it several times before. 

Charles died by suicide June 5, 2015 and I started writing it in August of that same year. We were moving at the same time since the house sold four days before his death. 

It took six months to write 1,200 words. Earlier versions were so angry they would have spit at you from the page. Other versions were a complete mess like I was. But I kept at it and by December 2015, I had sent it to the editor … Read more...

I need your stories. Because this kind of message never gets old

Names have been removed to protect the identity of the sender of the above message but these are the kinds of messages I get in response to both my story and yours. That’s why I need and want your emotionally naked stories. That’s why they are important.

Stories about managing a life with a loved one who suffers from substance abuse, how you cope after a loved one’s suicide or suicide attempt, how you manage thoughts of suicide or a mental illness, a memorial about your loved one that suffered from mental illness/addiction, your grief after loss of a loved … Read more...

Racist photos in Northram’s yearbook shines a spotlight on prejudice

I’m not going to debate the picture in Virginia Governor Ralph Northram’s yearbook. But it got me to thinking about prejudice in general which goes way beyond race.

It’s prejudice I’ve been fighting for the last nine years for the topics of both substance use disorder and mental illness.

Every time we say “commit suicide” we are making a prejudiced remark that those who die by suicide are criminals. Here in Virginia, we’ve been unsuccessful in eradicating the ancient 1600s law that suicide is a crime despite that  government agencies and scientific studies having declared it a public health issue.… Read more...

#MythBustingMondays-Once a teen has a suicide attempt, they’ve learned their lesson

Previous suicide attempts are serious predictor of future completed suicide

A  history of one or more suicide attempts is the strongest predictor for future suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide. Almost two thirds of those who die by suicide had a previous attempt which makes it a serious risk factor.

Charles had a previous attempt that I didn’t know to classify as one.  He had told me that he took a bunch of pills and didn’t know why he did it and he was both surprised and glad he woke up the next morning.

Was that a suicide attempt? It was.

I asked mental health professionals about it to … Read more...

Should I tell someone my friend is thinking of suicide?

Your teenage friend has confided in you their darkest and most personal feelings. It took everything for them to tell you and now they have asked you not to tell anyone which leaves you in a horrible dilemma.

You wonder, “Should I tell someone my friend is thinking of suicide?”


First, ask your friend if you can tell someone together and make a date to do just that.  You can go through a list of possibilities and select that person together. 

Second is to escort or help your friend connect with professional services– a school counselor or a college … Read more...

Happy Birthday to my three-year-old blog!

my log has reached a half million
Google Analytics from Feb 4, 2016- Jan 30, 2019. This blog has had a half million visits. Number of pages viewed? 690,135

It’s 2016 and I’m just starting off on my morning run. Good God it’s cold. It’s one of those days when my eyelashes freeze. I’m covered up completely and the only thing you can see is my eyes.

I don’t run or walk listening to music or podcasts– just me and my thoughts. And I get an idea which is what happens when I leave my brain some room to think and create. If I constantly have noise … Read more...