According to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention: “41,149 Americans took their lives in 2013, the most recent year for which full data are available. Suicide accounted for 12.6 deaths for every 100,000 people nationwide, making it the country’s 10th leading causes of death, suicide continues to claim more lives each year. An estimated 1 million suicide attempts occur each year, many requiring medical attention.”

As most of you may know, September is National Suicide Prevention Month. According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), nearly 3,000 people on average commit suicide daily. Among veterans, suicide rates are at an all time high. Additionally, for every person who commits suicide, 20 or more others attempt to end their lives. To some of you, this information may come as somewhat of shock.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. The overall goal aims to: raise awareness that suicide is preventable, improve education about suicide, spread information about suicide awareness, and decrease the stigma regarding suicide. So I hope that you are able to take time to today to educate yourself about all the aspects of suicide, even if you feel you have a pretty good understand of the issue. Here are some good websites to check out if you are really interested in reading about suicide and/or information related to:

Your other option(s) would be to go to google and do a simple search on suicide prevention or suicide awareness. I would also like to mention that if you are having a personal crisis regardless of what problems you are dealing with, there are phone numbers you can call. The goals of these phone numbers isn’t something you should be afraid of, they simply just want t-o give you someone to talk to and to help you find a reason to keep on living:

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255): you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area,  anytime 24/7.
  • (Lancaser, OH) Fairfield Crisis Serves Information & Referral (24/7): 740-687-0500

There are many free resources out there available to educate and/or help individuals on suicide. I highly urge everyone to take time out and look at a few of these resources to join in the goals surrounding what this day officially stands for. There are too many people out there who have lost their lives to suicide. There are just as many, if not more, who have had suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide at one time or another. If you are considering suicide or think you might need help for this, please do not hesitate reaching out to someone! Don’t become another statistic.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! I know that isn’t something that is necessarily easy to understand when/if you are in the middle of this type of crisis but that doesn’t make this fact any less true! On a personal level, I have fought suicidal thoughts ever since I was an adolescent. I have attempted suicide multiple times as well. Over the last 10+ years I have tried different types of treatment and medications in an attempt to overcome depression. Nothing has ever completely taken it away, because even to this very day, I still suffer from it.

There is something I want to say to those of you who suffer from depression and/or suicidal thoughts:  As long as you are alive, depression hasn’t won! This may be hard to believe, but as long as you are alive, you are still beating depression. Even if that means you often feel so lousy that you end up staying in bed as much as possible and sometimes don’t even walk outside. None of that matters! YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOUR ILLNESS! Believe it or not, but when it comes to depression, if the only thing you accomplished today was eating something sustainable and using the bathroom, you did good! I say that because regardless, you gave yourself the chance to see a better tomorrow. Even if tomorrow only ends up in you eating, using the bathroom, and maybe taking a shower (just to put on pajamas). It might sound ridiculous, but remember, I have been where you are, and everyday that you keep yourself alive, is a good day!

Suicide isn’t “the easy way out.” Whatever idiot came up with that phrase, obviously has never been in that position. The reason I say this is because when someone is contemplating taking their own life, a lot of thought goes into it! You think of all who might be effected from you taking your own life. You think of who might find you or who might have to clean up the mess. You think of all the things you might miss out on life if you go through with suicide. You think of absolutely everything. Meanwhile, all these things weigh in on any final decision that result from these thoughts. By no means is suicide “the easy way out,” because deciding to take your own life and following through, in my own opinion, is probably the hardest decision one would have to make.

To any of my friends or family out there, if you are ever in the position where you need to talk, I am that person who will always be ready to listen to you! Doesn’t matter the circumstances, I’m available, day or night! Don’t ever forget that there are people out there who can related to your feelings and thoughts. You are not alone! If anyone out there is considering suicide as the solution to all your problems, please please, take the time out to ask for help from someone, anyone! Because at the end the day, your life matters to someone, even if at the time, you are convinced that no one cares! BECAUSE I CARE!

10 Supportive Things You Can Say To Someone Suffering From Depression

Depression is a road we all have been down at one point or another in our lives. Some people can “have a sleepover” with depression, and wake up perfectly fine the next day. But if you are anything like me, depression will come over unannounced, stay for a couple of weeks, eat up everything in the house, keep you up when your body is physically tired, and then eventually will leave, almost as unexpectedly as when it showed up completely unannounced.

The going back and forth between this emotion and that emotion can almost be a bit too much at times. Unfortunately, at that time, the situation more than likely feels completely out of your control, and you’re left to seriously wonder how you can possibly make it through another day feeling the same way. During this time, hopefully you have someone close you can reach out too that is capable of being a reliable support system for you. Having someone that is at the very least, available to answer a phone call from you, can mean the difference between day and night for someone suffering from depression.

If you know someone who is depressed, or you are a regular support person to someone who regularly suffers from depression, I want to remind you of few positive things you could say to someone who is depressed. By all means, I’m not insinuating these phrases will be a cure all for them, but it could help enough to get them through that moment or even that day.

  1. “I’m here for you:” Having the reassurance that somebody is there for you is kind of like an emotional “safety net.” A lot of depressed individuals would rather be alone during this time rather than talk about it. Having that comfort in knowing that someone is just a text or phone call away if you them, sometimes can make things a little more bearable for the time being.
  2. “What can I do to help you?”: Don’t be surprised if you do not get an answer on this one. That individual in all reality, may not really know what would help them at that moment. Again, but having someone who is willing to do what they can to make sure you see happier days again, is all that that individual may need at that given moment. That person may just need to know that someone cares.
  3. “You are important to me”: This is another one of those phrases that has great potential in giving someone reassurance and comfort for the time being.
  4. “I love you (and mean it)”: This one might take a little more courage than the others, but those are very powerful words that could mean so much to the individual that is struggling. Don’t just say it just to say it though. You really should mean it. Maybe even follow those words up with a hug if that individual is okay with doing so.
  5. “You’re not alone in this”: From personal experience, feeling alone during this time never ultimately makes anything better. It definitely doesn’t make it go away any faster. Having someone around, maybe trying to get you to go eat or even just take a walk, can make a huge difference in a short amount of time.
  6. “I believe in you…you’re awesome!”:  This is something good to say too. They may not believe it themselves at that point but it doesn’t mean you can’t remind them that you think highly of that person in some way.
  7. Nothing at all: sometimes, just having someone around without necessarily being made to talk, is a pretty comforting feeling too.

Striving To Become A Better Listener

For whatever the reason may be, I always find that people open up to me about issues or situations that they are experiencing in their personal life. I have been given a variety of explanations over the last several years for why this occurs. Recently, a friend told me that the reason she can open up to me is because she doesn’t ever feel like I am ever sitting there judging her or anything she says. The truth is, I hate it when people judge me, so I would never intentionally do it to someone else.

On the flip side of this, I have gotten myself into little disagreements with family or friends, over the fact that sometimes someone will tell me something I am expected to remember, and every single time I will forget. Matter fact, I can’t even recall the situation or conversation that took place when that piece of information was given to me. It really sucks walking around feeling like a total moron or like you are loosing your mind after this happens!

After spending time thinking about what could be causing this to happen, more or less I have concluded that I need to do some things differently when I am actively listening to someone talking to me. Mind you, every situation or conversation is different for me, I tend to mostly tune someone out when I am either uninterested in what they are saying or going to say, or sometimes I can just get so preoccupied with other things running through my mind, that I forget I was even involved in someone else’s conversation in the first place. Anyways, I am going to share with you some of the things that might help you too if you are trying to become a better listener in you own life:

Find A Way To Be Curious About What Is Being Said To You: Like I briefly mentioned before, part of my problem is simply the fact I get bored with the direction of the conversation. So instead of tuning that person out until they stop talking, listen to the emotion behind the words they are saying. Watch their body language or any gestures they do while talking to you. Maybe even try to relate something they are saying or expressing to something you are familiar with when they are finished speaking. Pretty much, do anything it takes to keep up with the conversation, even if it is painfully hard to.

Check Your Assumptions At The Door: If you dive into a conversation with someone, and act as if you know exactly what is going on inside that person’s head, your brain will literally tune out, or in my case my brain just totally rejects, any new or pertinent information. On the other hand though, if you can manage to show genuine interest that pertains to the conversation, you sort of make an environment for you and that other person that benefits you both. You will actually hear what is being said, and whoever you are listening to, will actually feel like he or she is honestly being heard and not ignored.

Refrain From Judging: This is probably sometimes one of the harder ones for some people. This requires you to let the other person talk, without you interrupting him or her. Also, do your best to take in everything that person is saying and do your best to understand every bit of it while you sit there quietly listening. If you succeed in doing this, you will probably realize that somewhere along the way, you both might share some sort of common ground or goals. Eventually, this leads to being able to empathize with the other person, because you are more or less able to put yourself in their shoes to some degree.

Listening isn’t always something that is easy to do, that’s for sure. But if we can all put a little effort into trying to do things like this, differently for the sake of someone who is important to us, eventually that relationship will become stronger because of the willingness we had to try to fix the occasional flaws we might exhibit from time to time.