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Suicide is Painless

This is not an easy blog post to write. I have started over multiple times as the subject is not one that people want to hear about. It’s one that many feels belong in the shadows, that the problem is all in someone’s head. The fact is, it is in their head. Their emotions are all over the place from any form of issues which includes, and not limited to, the short list below:

  • Grief
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Shame

The four simple emotions I listed above can lead to some of the most dangerous results in a person with DEPRESSION.  You will find that as I continue this I will be putting DEPRESSION in all capital letters, for the simple reason I want to draw attention to the word. I want people to realize how deadly it is not just to the person, but those around them.

You see contrary to a song that was popularized by a Movie and a TV Show, Suicide is NOT Painless. It impacts so many people in a person’s personal circle, but also those outside that circle. You see at one time many professionals thought the sphere of impact from suicide was on average six people. I have begun seeing new studies that say that the impact is much larger and I really do believe that is the case.

There are tons of arguments on what may be going on when someone commits suicide. They can be called selfish, heartless, loners, and even (by some) losers. The fact is that they let those emotions get to them and decided that was their way to end the pain. I will never attempt to get into the mind of someone who committed suicide as they all had their own personal reasoning’s.  All I can do is keep living and find a way to deal with those emotions.

Now I understand not all who commit suicide are doing it due simply from some behavioral issues, but some have diseases, mental or physical that causes them to feel that is the way out. Again, I will not attempt to get into their heads.

The fact is that many who do commit suicide are often deeply DEPRESSED and were unable, or unwilling to search out help.

I put a lot of the rise of DEPRESSION and suicide on our modern culture. We correspond over electronic devices without actually talking. A small pixel filled image, emoji, cannot take the place for a real smile, a real frown, or more importantly real tears. There are those who have gotten so used to this type of communication they cannot carry out a simple conversation if they had to.

We then add in the fact that many are told to hide their emotions. Keep them hidden do not share with each other.  If there is a problem, it’s probably all in their head. We adults can be just as horrible because who wishes to admit a child, a loved one, someone they care about has a problem. Very few as it can seem like it’s a reflection back on them for being such a horrible person. I got to say that’s bull crap.

You see, I’m going to get into my own past personal dark space here. I first and thankful for the help my parents was willing to get me. If not for them, and even my future, fiancé/wife, I may not be here to write this post. I can even say thank you to the great psychiatrist’s, and counselors I saw during this struggle.

You see I was in college, away from home for the first real time for a prolonged period. As I was away I was surely missing my family, and although a few hours away by car, they were away. This was also a period before computers where everywhere and texting was actually costly. I lost not one, not two but three dear family members within a year, and a couple just months apart. I started to struggle with my grades, fell into a deep DEPRESSION and at one point had a knife in my hand by the bathroom sink of an apartment I was living in. I looked at myself in the mirror, did not recognize the face looking back at me and realized, WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING!

So I ended up flunking out of college for a term. I was able to get some help during that period off and it was due highly to my parents pushing me to get that help. I got back into college and even attended therapy sessions while in school. I was put on medications, I took them, and I beat it. I beat the DEPRESSION and I’ve done all I can to keep that specter in the back of my mind.  I know it tries to emerge at times and really tried when Multiple Sclerosis came calling. I, however, have really changed the way I view my life and will NOT let DEPRESSION take me down that rabbit hole again.

What I learned out of that experience is that the male myth of not showing emotions is bull. Men can certainly show emotion and talk about their emotions. If someone sees you as weak, then they are truly the weak ones for not being able to handle the truth and who you are. We have to find ways to get a circle of people who care for us, and do not let petty disagreements come in the way of true friendships.

I now go back to that song, Suicide is Painless. I surely disagree with that title as it may be to the person committing the act, but those left behind it is a pain that may never go away. The pain of being a survivor, wonder what happened, blaming first the individual, and then maybe turn it back on themselves helps no one. What can really help is to stop and be there for those fighting DEPRESSION so it does not lead to suicide. This may mean you have to admit your own failure, but isn’t that worth saving someone’s life?

I’m going to end with that open question and hopefully my own story, and this article is found to be helpful.  I have a list of Helpful links below and I do want to add a caveat on one of those links. The link on Suicide Risk Factors and Civil Liabilities is from a law firm in California that reached out to me about collaborating on a link share. I am being honest as it took time to think on if I wanted to do it, but considering the topic I felt it was worth it. If they can help get my blog post out, and I can help them then why not.

Also, I own no rights to the song, “Suicide is Painless” is written by Johnny Mandel (music) and Mike Altman (lyrics).

Useful Links

 

Two Final notes

  1. The image above is owned by me. Anyone wishing to use the image should reach out to me as it is a photo I took during a trip to Upper Michigan.
  2. I am not a counselor or phsycologist. I do not claim to be one, and suggest people use the above links for help. If you wish to know more about my struggle you can reach me by email on my About me Page.
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Posted by on July 26, 2018 in Personal

 

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March Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

MS RibbonI know I promised more book reviews and those are coming. I just know that if you use Facebook and know anyone else with Multiple Sclerosis you may have seen posts stating that March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. I can honestly say I am not sure if that is a national event, or not, but I want to do my part and bring some awareness to MS.

I have not seen much in the way of awareness being brought to the disease other than those images. I realize at the time I am writing this the month has already started but I’m sure you know by now MS is something I deal with daily and want to get people to understand it more. I also want people to understand it’s not a death sentence, don’t hide, and most importantly NEVER give up.

MS is often called an auto immune disease and there is no known cause. There are theories out there that it could be genetics and environmental factors or even something from an infectious disease. I do know it’s more prevalent for those who live up North where they may not get enough sun. It’s why many doctors push Vitamin D when they are diagnosed.

I personally like to call MS the “Chocolate Store” disease as your average box of chocolates does not hold enough pieces to handle the differences possible with MS. I do believe I read an article sometime back that state there are at least 50 different problems that can lead to a MS diagnosis. So, this is why I believe the “Forrest Gump” analogy of, “Life is like a box of chocolates” doesn’t work here.

When it comes to my personal diagnosis story it started just over 10 years ago. I had just begun a new job and had instances were my arms just started to flex without me doing anything. Flexing is probably the wrong term but my arm muscles would tighten and this forced my arms to bend in toward my chest. I got to say scary and when it happened in the car as I drove to work it was time to get serious. I also had issues with severe cramping like feeling in my legs. I had thought maybe a potassium deficiency but I was wrong.

These problems required me to get all types of medical testing. The hooked up sensors to my scalp, and that glue not fun to get out of your hair. They pushed needles into my arm to test nerve reactions. The final major test that proved everything they thought might be going on was an MRI. I will say I’m not a fan of those and today need some meds to relax me or it is not happening. Either way the results came back there were these white blotches in the MRI results on the brain and even the spine. It was official I had Multiple Sclerosis.

I believe I have shared this in a past writing but I got to say I took the diagnosis in stride. I did not see it as a death sentence. I was told I had relapse remitting which is a type of MS that will come and go and for many of my years I believe I am in remission. The point is I knew I had to be positive that getting down on myself, even contemplating my funeral would not do any good. I had to think of how I want to spend my life, and I decided on staying positive. I am sure family members took the news worse than I did but I hope by staying positive and explaining to them what may or may not happen it helped them.

You see that is why we need an awareness period with MS. It’s sad but as a recent actress showed people hide the fact they have the disease. They are afraid of how people will react, how their employer may react and more importantly their family. I should avoid this analogy but it seems that people are much more willing today to come out as gay, or transgender, than to say they have MS. I realize that statement is a stretch but look around the world is accepting people’s different sexual orientations more and more. However, there is a stigma with disease like MS were people are afraid to admit they have it. I get many reasons on why that could be, but as in anything in life when you have a problem you must admit to it. As for MS I love to say, “I have MS, it does NOT HAVE ME”.

The positivity that you can find by connecting with people with MS through support groups, either online or through MS organizations are huge. They can help you find others in similar situations but not always the same. I did mention my chocolate store analogy for a reason. The key is do not be sorry, upset or give up on anyone who gets a MS diagnosis. The medicine and treatments have come a VERY long way since the disease was first found.

This is also a disease that will hit anyone from race, creed, religion, ethnicity, and celebrity status regardless of who you are. So the key to tell someone with MS is no matter what you think you are not alone and just be their friend. Reach out to those you may know who have the disease and instead of saying sorry ask them how they doing. Even better ask if there is something they want to talk about, do for the day and just be there for them. I for example do NOT want to be treated like I’m made out of eggshells.

You will find people that are ignorant, who say they care, and do not back those words up. I have seen this myself but well I like my job so will not go further. I will say my immediate supervisor, and coworkers, have been very understanding and backup what they say. Now, back to the point, those negative folks need to be cut out of your life as negativity breeds depression, and depression is a major side effect. (Mental note that sentence was really long) Ok so by now as you have been reading you have noticed I am mixing some humor within this post as that is who I am. I want people to see I am me and I have my up and down days just like anyone else with MS. I for one just want people to understand that and be there regardless of the type of day.

I hope this long post opens up some of your awareness to MS and I will close by saying much of this is based on my experience and observations of others with MS. I cannot speak for all as there is just too many versions of the disease and how it may impact someone. I will close by listing just a few of the celebrities that have MS and still are alive and kicking now and working in their trade. I’m doing this to help show regardless of who you are it’s your mindset and how you react that, to me, is the biggest help when dealing with MS.

Celebrities Past and Present

  • Jack Osbourne (Reality TV Star)
  • Annette Funicello (Actress)
  • Neil Cavuto (Fox News)
  • Montel Williams (TV Personality)
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Actress)
  • Trevor Bayne (Nascar Driver)
  • Clay Walker (County Singer)
  • Teri Garr (Actress)
  • David Lander (Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley)
 
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Posted by on March 9, 2016 in Multiple Sclerosis, Personal

 

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