Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are

Many of us beat ourselves up about not doing enough or being enough. Or we allow someone else to imply we could do more.

What we fail to do is tell ourselves is that we are enough.

So while I often hear, “Meet others where they are.” My question to you is, “Are you meeting yourself where you are?”

Because if you are expecting yourself to make a million-dollar house out of ten dollars worth of plywood, you will disappoint yourself. You are creating unrealistic expectations that are bound to make you feel like a failure.

You should be your … Read more...

‘My family wouldn’t be surprised if I suicided’

Dear those who struggle with thoughts of suicide,

No matter how many times you’ve said it, we could never be “prepared.”

It is always a shock if that’s the way a loved one dies. To us, we think you won’t really follow through. Because you love us so much or you made a promise you can’t possibly keep because you are not in full control of your actions at that moment.

That sort of thinking does reflect our gross misunderstanding of what those struggling with thoughts of suicide go through. But we family members and friends tell ourselves you’re not … Read more...

How important is self-care?

I remember thinking, “How can I possibly care for myself when I have no time?” I know now that I have to put my oxygen mask on before I put it on others. It was painful to learn that.

The times I decided to bag the support group and do something else meant I was giving up that which was working for me at a time when I needed it most. Those times you decide to meditate, go to yoga, take a hot bath, play golf, go for a run, allows you the break you need to refuel and gain … Read more...

It’s the helplessness

After Charles died, helplessness and I had a come-to-Jesus moment. I couldn’t make it budge, reverse engineer it, or even make it change its mind.

It stood stubbornly in its place reminding me that I couldn’t change the outcome. That I was a victim to the emotion to which I was now facing. I didn’t want to do grief. I wanted to back out of it. But it swept me away anyway. I had no choice.

Helplessness and I first met when a loved one started using drugs and alcohol as a teen. I couldn’t stop it, change the course, … Read more...

I wanted to die. But I didn’t.

Trigger warning: Strong emotional content and suicide method mentioned.

by Devon Barfield

Devon Barfield

Growing up I’d always known I was a bit different. I was an introverted, shy, creative, and intelligent child. I felt that I was special in a way, almost as if I was from another time or place. I never felt like I belonged, therefore fantasized a lot growing up and had a vivid imagination.

As I got older and gained more insight into the world, my mental health slowly began to decline. I had just recently started middle school so naturally, I thought I was … Read more...

How one mom moves forward after losing her children

as i sit in heaven

“I lost my daughter in 1985 and my second daughter in 2018 and just lost my son 2020😭. There is never closure but I will share what I read every morning to help me through my day.”

When I read this posted on Facebook by another mom, I could hardly breathe. All I could think about was, “If she can do this. So can the rest of us.” I love posting coping hacks, strategies, and ideas from others. Because what might help one person work through grief, might help another. 

We can survive loss. We can survive loss of a … Read more...

Shirley Ramsey tells her story

My dear friend and co-facilitator for RVA Survivors of Suicide Loss Group tell her story on this podcast. Shirley started the Virginia chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. She has stepped down from that role although she is still on the board and serves as head of Loss & Healing.

She lost a son to suicide, Jackson at 15, her mother, her uncle, her nephew, and her grandmother. And yet she has found a way to move forward, give back, and be at the forefront of this conversation. It will be worth your time.

Imagine living with a
Read more...

In April 2020, my life almost came to a halt

by Jessica Donovan Amend

Sitting in my bathroom, with my then fiancé asleep in our bedroom just a few feet away, I sat with tears streaming down my face. I literally fell to my knees praying that God would help me figure this out, help me through this agony that I felt so deeply in my soul.

Now I’m not going to say that YOU need to believe in God and I’m also not going to say that I know anything for certain, but what I do know is that this night, God showed up for me. That night I … Read more...

Coping strategies for extreme emotions

Whether you’ve lost someone you love, your are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or you are suffering under the weight of any extreme emotion, there are strategies for managing the tsunami.

Here are four responses to extreme emotion.

  • Change in temperature
  • Intense exercise
  • Paced breathing
  • Cheerleading

To employ any one of these strategies, you have to create a pause. That’s a mindfulness technique of stopping yourself and taking one deep breath. There are times in life you don’t have time for a deep breath.

Change in temperature

A change in temperature, usually cold actually has an effect on your body … Read more...

One Teacher’s License Plate Mental Health Project

Written by Anne Moss Rogers from an interview with Tammy Ozolins, Middle School Teacher, Pocohantas Middle School in Henrico, VA

3D printer plate from student design- Image from Tammy Ozolins
This was the student design. Since the original images were too small for publishing in the book, designer Carolyn Tye McGeorge rendered these in high resolution for publication.

Tammy Ozolins, also known to her middle school students as Ms. Oz, is lucky to have the full support of her principal and the school counselors in her efforts to have open conversations on mental health topics. For her students’ school projects … Read more...