Hello all! I have added a “category” tag titled “Once Upon A Mind” to my blog. I find it very important to learn from others and to share in each other’s experiences relating to mental health topics. This week I have a very special guest blogger. Wrae, is this week’s guest blogger whom I had the pleasure to connect with. She has been working in the mental health field and has written a blog post for my blog about a very true and devastating mental health topic: Suicide. I will link all her social accounts as well as more personal info about her at the end of this post. Please check out her blog if you like this post and if you would like to connect with her. So here we go… This is Wrae’s post about suicide and suicide awareness.
The Things We Don’t See
by: Wrae Sanders from www.wraemeredithblogs.wordpress.com
Like many others, I thought I knew the signs of suicide. I thought even if someone didn’t leave a note, there was at least a sign that it was coming, so that those left behind had an idea of what may have been going on. I am not an attempt survivor, but I have close childhood friends that are and so is my father. I’ve lost and uncle and a handful of friends to suicide.
My thoughts were proven terribly wrong on September 1, 2015. I lost one of my favorite people on that day. Jake and I met in 2013, and things went wonderfully from there. He literally brought me out of one of the darkest times of my life- I was lost in the world of caring for a special needs kid minus my husband’s support, because he had become emotionally abusive towards me. He, at the time, refused to deal with Julian’s issues. Over time, that changed, but nothing else did. I was ready to file for a divorce, and I was eight days from meeting with my lawyer when Jake died.
Nobody is perfect, and Jake would be angry with me if I ever made him look that way. He had his own demons that he didn’t deal with very well. Everyone has their own way of dealing with the deeper thoughts that we have, the painful things we never fully deal with. I’ve been told the story of what happened the night he died, and while it is heartbreaking, it also doesn’t sound like Jake at all.
He didn’t leave a note. He had lost a brother to suicide before we met, and none of us close to him ever thought he would die that way. None of us saw this coming. His death wasn’t planned. It literally happened before anyone could stop him, probably before he could stop himself.
I wish every day that Jake had taken the time to think again. I went to his visitation and funeral. Both shattered my heart in a way that I cannot put into words. His family has been left to move forward without him, and this includes the two children he left behind. Living in a world without Jake has been one of the biggest struggles I have ever been through, but I am doing it.
While moving forward, good things have happened. I decided not to divorce my husband. This took some serious thought and therapy, but it was a decision that I am happy with. I know Jake would be happy too. One of the biggest things he wanted for me was to not leave, and fix what I had. I have been able to stay friends with his oldest brother, Josh. We have been friends since before I met Jake, and he is literally one of my favorite people. Josh has his own struggles, and he knows I’ll always be there for him. I met one of their cousins, Sara, and we have become best friends.
I decided to turn this pain into something good. Jake loved helping others, and I have chosen to carry that on somehow. I started volunteering with the American Federation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness walk. I’ve met some very nice people while doing so. The Louisville chapter had a booth at the Kentucky State Fair and I did two shifts. It’s heartbreaking knowing that so many people have lost people they love to suicide. It was an interesting experience and I will do it again next year.
Suicide awareness isn’t always an easy topic to discuss. Many people are uncomfortable with it. Losing Jake brought me out of my uncomfortableness with the topic and it’s one of my biggest passions. I use the hashtag #SpeakNow when I discuss it online. Many of those struggling with suicidal thoughts don’t speak up or if they do, it may be too late. There is such a stigma where one doesn’t need to exist. I firmly believe that if everyone that does struggle has someone to talk to, it may help save their life.
There are many ways to get help- you can even text. You can text HOME to 741741. It will connect you to someone trained to assist anyone in a crisis. There are apps and websites to help with mental health issues. In an emergency, you may need to go to the nearest ER. (I work in an emergency psychiatry unit in a large hospital, this option is not as well-utilized as you think.) If you are currently seeing a mental health provider, they can also be utilized.
As Josh (Jake’s older brother) said in a Facebook post this morning, life can get better. If a man who has lost two brothers to suicide can say that, then it must be true, right? Suicidal thoughts hide for so long until actions are taken, and that’s where tragedies happen.
About the Author:
Wrae is a mental health and parenting blogger in Louisville, KY. She is married and has three children, who are 12, 11 and 9. She has a BA in Clinical Psychology from Spalding University.
When she is not writing, Wrae spends time with her family and friends, or is reading and/or listening to a true crime podcast. She also enjoys coloring in adult coloring books.
Wrae’s Social Account Links
Like Wrae mentioned there are many ways to seek help so please do not be afraid to use these resources.
-Text HOME to 741741
– National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
-Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454