Posts Tagged ‘Suicide’

Inspirational Song Of The Day

First you hear the melody and your fingers start to tap… Before you know it, your head is nodding in rhythm and you start to smile as the first line of your favorite song is blasting through the speakers!

As you sing along, every word of every line seems to have been written just for you about your life. In that moment you know that you are not alone! Whatever you are going through, someone else has also been there and they survived to sing about it. And so can you…

We had this amazing friend Lacey Crawford who was incredibly talented and loved pouring her heart out in we music and we will always remember her laugh… Sadly she was suffering from depression and her internal loneliness overwhelmed the love surrounding her, which prevented her from seeing her options clearly and in November 2010 she took her own life. We have dedicated the Don’t Lose Your Grip account to reminding everyone (including ourselves) that life is worth living and there is always someone who loves you, you just have to hold on a little longer…

If you ever need to talk, just message us on twitter and will be there in a heartbeat

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Sticks and Stones

Just snap out of it! You lazy so and so! You’re all dangerous! You’re making it all up, just get a grip! <~ These are just a few of the things that the people in our world believe about the mentally ill… This is a stigma! This is hurtful and dangerous. More alarmingly is the number of people who believe it…

We all know the old addage: “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” But this is sooo NOT true! Words are extremely powerful! Every sylable carries the weight of a thousand thoughts and every letter the judgement of those who do not notice the pain. We really do not give words enough credit. We use thousands of words every day; we express exactly what we intend and we do it so carelessly… Half of the time it’s like our mind has a direct line to our tongue that bypasses all logic or filters or even compassion. Most of the time we can get away with it because calling a pen that won’t write “stupid” doesn’t really matter… slamming a door while muttering hateful things under your breath can go unnoticed but when these words come out without a compasion-check, that’s when everyhing starts falling apart. At first you may not notice… you may not see the dissapointment or fear of judgment on the face of the person whom you’ve just hirt more than any stone ever could. And then again, maybe you do. Maybe you notice their sadness and regret the words that fell out of your mouth but then what? What do you do about it? Pride gets in the way of most apologies. Shame prevents us from acting honourably and admitting to our mistakes outwright. So instead we change the subject saving ourselves from the awkward moment while the other party is left to ponder the words that we just dropped on them; the words we were too afraid to apologize for; the words we can never take back.

But we can always try. Always! It is up to change the weight of these negative words into something more managable… something caring and heartwarming… something we can actually be proud of. You and I have the power to filter our words and change those little voices in our heads into positive ones. To be confident enough in our own abilities to see the best in others and not feel the need to use their weeknesses against them. It is up to us to change the way we perceive those who are different and those who are asking for help. Instead of seeing each other as attention seeking competition, we need to see each other as support in this hectic struggle known as life.

We are the difference…

Love Never Fails

I’ve been suffering from depression since the age of 7. But I didn’t realize this because well, I was 7 and back then people didn’t talk about it.

I barely understood emotions, let alone the fact that they affect each of us differently. I had a good home: both of my parents loved me; I had a dog; I got A’s in school and I had friends and played sport… but I couldn’t understand why I was so sad all of the time.

I tried to distract myself… by playing with my dog; always doing my homework and dragging my friends outside to play sports. It worked, sort of… I had enough reasons to pretend to be happy. I had enough excuses to hide my pain and fear behind smiles. But then I got a little older and at 14 I realized that all of my friends were in that constant giggling phase and how much it annoyed me. At first I thought it was just because it’s sort of annoying but then I realized it’s because I couldn’t. I couldn’t giggle or laugh out loud. I actually became one of those people who would substitute a laugh by saying “Ha, that’s funny”. I couldn’t remember what my laugh sounded like and to make it worse, all of the things that I was able to use as distractions were no longer working. Instead of giving me a momentary relief, they were just reminding me of the fact that I needed a relief from being me!  And so, I had to find new things to help me find or rather fake ‘happy’.

I changed sports; took up drama and debating and I was even a cheerleader for 3 days before I came to my senses – I have no rhythm and I am not flexible! I changed subjects and my career path and I secretly hoped that it would get better. It didn’t really. I mean, I had a lot of fun and made really amazing friends and experienced things that I will remember forever but when I was alone, I was still me and I was still sad and it still hurt.

But I was finally old enough to understand psychology and with the help of some older therapists I got to take a closer look into my life and figured out a few things that I could make peace with and let go and a few months after my 15th birthday I had an amazing revelation of forgiveness that helped me breathe a little easier. And for a while I was only sad sometimes. It was around this time that one of the therapists who’ve known me for quite a while mentioned to me that she noticed that was suffering from manic depression and that she wanted to help me. The thing was, I didn’t want to be suffering from manic depression and I was scared of what helping me would entail. So I brushed her off and said that she was overreacting and that I was fine.

That’s when I realized that my hiding techniques needed to be updated. I filled my schedule to the extent where I would pretend to have watched TV shows that my friends are talking about when in fact all I did was spend 15min reading TV guide between all of the other activities… Thinking about it now, it seems really crazy but to me, it was the only way I could ensure that I had no time to think by myself or about myself. The distraction was great, ok not really. It stressed me out a lot! I was so busy all of the time and never slept more than 3hours a night and as productive as that part of my life was, just thinking about it exhausts me. And when High School came to an end, that’s when my little plot went up in smoke…

I was really stressed and lost and couldn’t figure out how to ‘be normal’ or at least calm.  I spent a summer getting back to family and nature and that was pretty cool. I found a couple of reasons to smile and it made the bad times seem not so bad. And then my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 Cancer, my dad died, my life changed and I moved to London. I started a new life and hoped that I could run away from my depression. That didn’t work… As much fun as my new environment was, depression was creeping back in and this time its hold was a lot stronger than ever before. When I finished studying I started to see my life flash before my eyes and I was that confident that I was where I needed to be anymore. So, there I was: lying on the bathroom floor hoping that something would happen and magically it would all make sense again; that everything that I had been through would not have been for nothing; that I was strong enough to go back and face my life. Sadly that was not even close to what my mind wanted. I would spend days not sleeping and then crash by sleeping for 30hours straight. My eating habits were, well erratic to say the least and getting out of bed was a massive effort let alone getting out of the house. I did have a few friends who never gave up on me and kept dragging me out. I’m really thankful to them, because without it I would not have been able to make it through those years. But just like before, none of those mini distractions were able to ‘fix’ my depression and the thoughts that were stuck playing on a loop in my mind…

So once again, I changed my surroundings and moved to the other side of the world. I thought that maybe simpler would be better and that if I could just go back to the basics, everything else would make sense again. That’s not exactly what happened. Instead I just had way more time to myself and the loop of negative thoughts in my head just became louder. It was also during this time that one of my friends committed suicide. This rattled me a lot! More than most of the people in my life realized. See, to me, she had so much more to live for than I believed I did. And I was so close to the edge myself. Push the thoughts of ending all of it out of my head was getting harder. If Lacey couldn’t cope, what chance would I have of living a happy life? Or even just surviving?

But once again my friends came to the rescue. One simply talked to me about his problems and allowed me to realize that I was not completely alone in my misery, plus it gave me the opportunity to put my painful experiences to good use by giving him a little bit of advice. Then there was Chrisselle, after everything that she has lived through, she managed to turn it into something productive. All of her pain and anger channelled into making a difference. This life saving difference goes by the name of Don’t Lose Your Grip.  It saved my life. Chrisselle saved my life.

Not only did I have a way of coping with the loss of a friend and a reason to give a positive meaning to this pain but I also had something to do when being stuck in my head got too much. And one day as I was talking to all of these people on the DLYG twitter page, people who were also going through the things I was feeling, I realized that this was a great opportunity to talk about our fears and fight stigmas publicly. One thing lead to another and that’s how #TopicsToDiscuss was born. It’s an open platform that allows all of us and the DLYG followers to share their views and opinions on everything from Mental Health issues on Monday to Eating Disorders on Tuesdays and Self Injury on Wednesdays.

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about these things openly and honestly but the way I see it, if we don’t, who will? We have the opportunity to educate those who have experienced our thoughts by sharing the thoughts we have kept secret for far too long. Occasionally we ask questions we do not even have the answers to and every once in a while someone new will join the conversation and we’ll be able to change their negative perception of mental health or eating disorders or help them see beyond the scares of selfharm. That, to me, is a victory.

Every conversation we have brings us one step closer to an accepting world. One without judgement.  One where love never fails…

Love Never Fails

So… it’s been 2 years and a day since Lacey took her life.

It feels like just yesterday we were all on Skype and yet it also feels like a lifetime has passed. I remember finding out and not believing it at all! I remember the shock that followed and resulted in me almost withdrawing from social media forever. I remember the comfort I found talking to Chrisselle about it and being able to go through all of the steps of grieving including anger, without feeling guilty. I remember the first time I felt like I could smile again when someone mentioned her name. I remember when I could finally watch Lacey’s videos on YouTube without completely breaking down. I remember when Chrisselle first suggested Don’t Lose Your Grip and I finally had something proactive I could do to find a way to deal with this loss.

See, loosing someone you love is always hard but when you lose them to suicide it is so much harder to deal with. Are you allowed to feel guilty about not being able to save them? Are you allowed to be angry because they left you? Are you allowed to feel sad when society judges them as cowards? Are you allowed to celebrate their life, when the world only sees how it came to an end? Are you allowed to bargain for a life that was not yours? Do you deny the way it ended or do you accept it? With all death: there are no real rules and with suicide you also have all of these unwritten rules that are based on ignorance and stigmas and you have to fight through all of that pain and sorrow just to get to a point where you can breathe again. To me, that is exactly what Don’t lose Your Grip is.

You have to make a choice to remember the person that you knew and not allow the world to force you to only see them for the last decision they ever made. You have to stand up for them and defend the person that you loved without others thinking that you are promoting suicide. You have to find a way to help others understand something that you barely do… Two years later, I still do not have all of the answers. I don’t think I ever will but in the meantime, there are people out there who have the same passions that Lacey did; there are people out there who share her amazing laugh and there are people out there who are also feeling the pain she did and too scared to talk about it or ask for help because of the fear that they might be judged or cast out. And that hurt me almost as much as loosing Lacey. The fact that someone out there could use a friend or just someone who is willing to listen and here I am, able to do both, yet I’d rather sulk and feel sorry for myself? That was not acceptable to me. Lacey would not approve.

I truly believe that all of us are capable of changing the world and ending the stigmas surrounding mental health, all we have to do is open up. Every conversation we are willing to have about our experiences, brings us one step closer to a world that we can actually be proud of.

So, if you’ve lost someone to suicide then you will understand that it is not easy and that final act does not take away from all of the amazing moments you shared with that person. It does not suddenly destroy your love for them or diminish the effect they had on your life. Remembering the person is not always easy when all society wants you to remember is that “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” clichés do not always bring comfort and time does not always heal, sometimes you need to share and talk about it… And that is exactly what Don’t Lose Your Grip is: a massive support group where you can talk about your experiences without worrying that you’ll be judged.

We have the power to change the way people remember our friends and our family members who forgot for one moment in time that Love Never Fails… And all we have to do is talk about it.

Love Never Fails

Don’t Lose Your Grip Zimbabwe

Those of you who are crazy enough to read my blog on a regular basis will know that I moved to Zimbabwe this year because I’ve loved the amazing culture of hope since I was 12 years old. You’ll also be aware of Don’t Lose Your Grip and our friend Lacey Crawford.

For those of you who might have missed it: Don’t Lose Your Grip is a charity concert and fashion show aimed at raising money [along with much needed awareness] for eating disorders, self injury (aka cutting aka self harm) and mental health issues such as depression. We’re relying on Musicians to volunteer their music for a good cause and to help us show that charity really doesn’t have to be boring. Our models are ALL normal people who want to help us promote positive body image or simply those who are recovering from / trying to live with an eating disorder. DLYG is aimed at ending the judgement and rebuilding self confidence.

We live in a tough world where you are criticized for believing in yourself and told you are a failure because your hair is the wrong colour or your figure doesn’t resemble Barbie or whatever the latest super model’s name is. In Milan this year, they were using MEN to model WOMEN’s clothes!!! So now we’re supposed to look like men in order to look attractive?! Come on!! This mess the media and our society has created over the ‘perfect image’ is not just leading to total confusion and terribly dangerous eating habits, it is also causing a lot of self hate and building on existing depression.

Cutting, eating disorders and suicide, very different symptoms of the same problem are gaining on us. The problems being alienation and depression; the symptoms: cutting and suicide. Personally I don’t know one single person who does not at least know of 2 such victims. This is a global problem and we are ALL affected! Chrisselle started DLYG because she’s tired of seeing her friends suffer in silence and feel so helpless that they take their own life. And so am I!!!

That is how DLYG Zimbabwe was born. This global problem of ours needs our attention right now! I know that Zimbabwe has a lot of other issues that some may say take precedence and to some extend I agree but that doesn’t mean we can ignore mental health and wellbeing. If we are dumb enough to ignore these problems right now, it will lead to devastating affects we, as a country, have no means to defend against.

Living with disrupted power supply; limited communication with the world outside Zimbabwe unless you use technology from down South; driving down roads where there are more potholes than actual tar left; looking at fields that use to be known as Africa’s breadbasket only to see wild flowers and dirt there instead of maize; walking into any shop in the country and seeing the face of The Man who has forgotten what the word ‘president’ means and being the last of your family still remaining in a country most of the world has written off can be very depressing!! You cannot honestly tell me that you are not saddened by what you see. But the amazing thing about Zimbabwe is its people! The hope that exists in their hearts is second to none! Zimbabwe is a rich country not by monetary standards but by heart!

So I urge all of you, to stand with me and acknowledge that you see the person standing next to you; that you see their suffering [depression]; that you see their cries for help [cutting, eating disorders] and that you help me raise awareness so we can help each other.

Keep your faith in humanity strong,

AM

Messed Up

Hi, I’m messed up. In my opinion we all are.

The whole world is upside down and instead of supporting each other, we are breaking each other down; we are judging everyone around us and not settling until they have lost all belief in themselves and their faith in humanity… Sounds like a killer plan! Literally!

With attitudes like these it’s no wonder suicide cases have gone through the roof; depression has become part of everyday life and if someone actually still has the courage to believe in themselves, we call them arrogant. Our system of self loathing is designed so that we are all doomed to fail! But every once in a while someone stands up and overturns the applecart.

Someone whom, without meaning too, ends up changing the world. I find myself in this exact overpass; this moment when change is taking me by the hand and asking me to join in, this change goes by the name Chrisselle. This amazing 19 year old is the heart behind the Don’t Lose Your Grip project. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you really need to check it out! In short a friend of ours, Lacey Crawford died by suicide and we were shook by her death but at the same time we realized that there were many more like her on the edge of losing their grip on life…

Chrisselle didn’t want her death to be in vain and neither do I. So this project is for all those people who have been told by the world that they are not worthy; who’ve been forced to believe that ‘normal’ is wrapped up in the number of your  waistline and that you’ll never be beautiful enough to be loved. So this project is just a way for Chrisselle to fix the world one conversation at a time.

My biggest hope is that this will allow people to talk about things that really matter again, not just the silly superficial stuff. Let’s put focus back on human connection and caring about each other instead of looking for ways to tear each other down. It couldn’t be simpler: just be nice! Look at all the feelings inside and see the true potential. Be the difference; help save a soul…

Sharing my view,

AM

A friend of ours died before we had a chance to meet her

A friend of ours died before we had a chance to meet her… You’re probably re-reading that sentence to try to make sense of it and to be honest it’s been 4 months and we’re still having trouble making sense of it too.

Let me explain: her name is Lacey Crawford. I met her on Twitter through some of my amazing friends there including Chrisselle and Hammy. Twitter is an amazing place because everyone is equal! There is no age barrier or cultural divides, the only thing that defines you is your manners and your opinions. So we all started talking because we had one simple thing in common, generally that would be the same free time. If you’re wondering how I can call people my friends even though I have never shook their hand, then you really don’t understand the concept of twitter.

Yes, it is a social media site but it is so much more than that. It is a place where you can practically run your own news network and talk to people experiencing history in the making as it happens! It is a place where there is always someone awake and willing to talk or listen. Most of us first turned to twitter purely out of curiosity or maybe a bit of boredom but we all stayed because while we were exploring the world at our fingertips, we discovered that someone on the other side of the world understood us; faced the same problems we did and believed in the same things we believe in.

I didn’t know Lacey as well as I would have liked to… I don’t think anyone really got the chance to see everything she had to offer this world. Sadly she felt so desperate for a change that she could not figure out how to make, that she chose suicide.

There is no way I can even pretend to try and explain what she was thinking or defend her reasons for feeling that taking her own life was her only option. All I can do is remember the conversations we shared and the short time it took for us to connect. I’m also supporting her friends who are recording songs to honour her memory. The other thing I have found great comfort in is the Don’t Lose Your Grip project that Chrisselle has initiated to help prevent others from having to suffer the same type of loss we are trying to deal with.

Basically this project is not just designed to raise money for suicide help lines; it’s also there to help us fight the causes behind it. People don’t just commit suicide… it is not that simple. Generally it is a series of events that lead to that one moment when they just feel so numb they can’t help but give up. Chrisselle has always been one of those people who’ll reach out to anyone having an off day. She is still doing this but now she’s trying to do it on a bigger scale too. She’s organizing a charity concert that will help raise awareness and much needed funding for suicide help lines so that they can help more people. Another aim with this project is to change the stigma around suicide. It is not something we should ignore or sweep under the carpet; it is a real problem that won’t just go away. We need to talk about it and we need to start reaching out to the people in our lives again!

One of the main causes resulting in suicide is low self-esteem. We have trouble believing in ourselves and quite frankly I’m not surprised. Just look around you or turn on the TV and most of the time you’ll see this image of ‘normal’ being portrayed and this image the world is describing is not something we can actually live up to. Normal is not a word anyone has ever used to describe me and personally I take it as a compliment. I can honestly say that I have never felt the need to be on a diet, although when I was diagnosed with this liver thing, I did go on a total health kick and refused to drink anything with bubbles in it but that was more pain-oriented than actual food-oriented. Yet, my oldest friend was on a diet when she was only 12 years old and so was one of my little cousins who are only turning 13 this year. We live in a world where kids are being made fun of for the things they wear and the shape of their bodies to the extent that eating disorders are becoming ‘normal’. Calling kids names and making them feel like they are worthless has become part of everyday life! And we call this evolution? Think again!

We can have all the right intentions but until we actually stand up and say: “Love your body the way it is! Love yourself for who you are! And you are perfect in your own right!” we won’t have a shot at living peacefully. There is so much hatred in this world of ours and all we are doing is spreading it! You need to open your eyes and realize that you are killing our kids; you are killing yourself and all the people you love with these judgements. Sadly Lacey was just one out of millions of people who felt they were out of options; who felt that the world would never accept them and that they could never fit in. So I am begging you: for all the people you may know who have ever had even a single thought resembling this helplessness and all the people who’ll need someone to tell them they are not worthless in the future, please support Don’t Lose Your Grip.

There are many symptoms of depression and alienation: it could be cutting yourself off from the world or literally cutting yourself and resorting to self harm in order to feel something ‘real’; something to make you forget that there are mean, hateful people out there. Well I don’t want you to forget. I want to help you change those people’s minds. I want to help you realize your full potential and for me the best way to do that is to talk so [in the words of the amazing Alecia Beth Moore] if you ever feel less than fuckin’ perfect, just call me. It’s really easy to reach me on twitter so just come and hang out and talk to us, we’d love to get to know you! The best thing about social media is that we get to see the real you and we are most definitely not blinded by the silly things the rest of the world is looking at.

If you have ever had a moment when it felt like life has gotten you down, then please get involved with Don’t Lose Your Grip! And don’t even try to pretend that you’ve never felt overwhelmed: we’re all in this fight together.

AM

Also if you need help dealing with Self Harm please visit TWLOHA

Be The Difference

I would like to introduce you to an amazing woman. It’s actually hard to believe that she’s still only 19. She’s just a kid but she’s already doing great things.

Maybe that’s the point: she’s still a kid. It seems like as soon as we cross over to our twenties we stop caring. I mean, obviously we care about our families and our jobs and stuff but it becomes very much centred on ourselves. We stop trying to change the world the way we wanted to when we were little kids. It’s like we lose that drive and start thinking small. Well Chrisselle isn’t there yet and considering the amazing team she and Hammy makes, I don’t think either of them will ever end up like most of us: forgetting about the fight for world peace.

Now before your mind starts dwelling, I’m not suggesting that they have found the answer to world peace but then again maybe they have… By doing everything they can to promote happiness. So let’s get back on track: this post is about one particular act of spreading happiness to those who need it most. Check out Chrisselle’s blog post about the charity concert she’s planning in aid of Suicide Help-lines “Don’t lose grip”.

So if you are anywhere in the UK, make sure you get involved! This is good and this is important. If you can do anything, anything at all to help someone else: just do it! I know I’m not doing a whole lot at the moment but I’m still that little kid who wants to change the world. I honestly don’t know one single person who is completely happy with everything in the world, so why have we stopped trying to change it? Why does it seem like we’re all waiting for someone else to do it for us?

Recently I moved to Zimbabwe and since I’ve been here I haven’t really done a whole lot to promote change but I haven’t given up yet. I’ve spent the last 9 years talking about change and how beautiful this country is, which is why I felt it was time for me to move here and do something to make sure my children will one day be able to experience its beauty. If Chrisselle can go big and focus on more than just her personal life, then what’s stopping the rest of us? I’ll tell you: nothing!

Ghandi said: Be the change you want to see in the world. So you, yes you reading my ramblings, get off your butt and be the difference! Don’t complain about this hectic world we’ve inherited, find a way to fix it! Don’t just sit back and watch as people you care about give up on life and themselves, get active! We have this amazing advantage over all things bad: numbers! There are more of us in this world who believe in peace and love and happiness than those who don’t, we just have a tendency to forget that. This is just one project out of hundreds that you could get involved in, why this one? Because this one is right at your doorstep, actually it’s just a click away! Why are you still reading my blog?! Go to http://Chrisselle.com/?p=137 already! I really won’t mind…. Go!

We have a shot at being the difference in someone’s life. If this event benefits just one single person by providing them with someone to talk to when they have lost all hope, then it’ll be so worth it! If you have any free time what so ever, why not get in contact with your local help lines and go be the difference. Start an after-school chat group and give someone else the opportunity to talk about their lives to someone outside of their life. Get involved; don’t let more people lose their grip on life. You have no idea how much a hug or smile or just a few kind words mean to someone who feels all alone in our messed up world.

Please be the difference! You know you want to…

AM

Thought About It Once

So a lot of people have been talking about depression and suicide and how close they’ve come to ending it all. I know I’ve spoken about this before but the fact that so many people I barely know have come up to me in the last few days and just opened up, made me think it’s time for me to open up a bit more too.

Now I never actually got to the point of holding a gun to my head or buying those pills but mostly I think that’s due to my procrastination tendencies… Even when a few of my friends were discussing it in High School, I always brushed it off saying, sure I’d do it if I didn’t have to finish this project or have that meeting next week. It’s like I’ve always had more important things to do than take my life. I was always more concerned about the people I left behind and what they’d have to deal with if I wasn’t here… So I never quite managed to process the thought.

Besides, I always thought I’d never live to see my 19th birthday anyway… However, in London I had a lot of time [mostly on the trains and busses] to think and maybe only out of boredom I did derive a plan to fake my own death. It’s not exactly the same but it’s as close as I can get… Honestly I just love my life way too much to consider giving up on it. I wake up for the challenges and couldn’t imagine leaving the amazing people I share my days with.

However, there is a history of severe depression in my family. I only heard about this after my dad’s death, mostly because the family was concerned about my grandfather going in the same direction… Oddly none of those people ever worried about me or my dad’s brother sinking into a depressed state.

I was never an overly emotional child so laughing out loud wasn’t exactly a trait people associated with me but then again, I’ve always been an optimist so they never really saw me on my sad days. Being in London with my uncle brought up a lot of memories and we had a few discussions about how the weather can make a bad situation seem even worse and how giving up can seem so easy when you have the cold to use as an excuse for staying in bed. We made each other this promise to never stay in bed more than 20hours without calling the other. Just in case…

The hardest thing I’ve noticed about depression is that you usually don’t even realize you’re depressed until it gets to the point where you’re too upset to leave the safety of your bed and getting a drink of water seems like too much of an effort so instead you just go back to your shattered dreams.

I had s while in London when I really couldn’t figure out what I was still doing there and my pillow became my best friend. But one of my house mates wouldn’t let me sulk and crawl into my dark corner. I didn’t make it easy for him! I’m one of those people who could stay inside my room for a week without letting in fresh air. So he really had to work hard to get me out of my concrete bubble, luckily for me he didn’t take ‘No’ for an answer… He got me to do things I forgot I liked. We made memories I will cherish to my old age and according to him, he did it to save himself.

Apparently he was struggling to find meaning to life and ready to give up but the fact that I took time at work to talk to him and expect more from him than just the bare minimum, made him want to spend time with me and return the favour. He saved both our lives with a bucket of KFC and the Leon Schuster DVD Collection.

I don’t know what to say to anyone contemplating taking their life or even someone who is self mutilating. Who am I to judge them or their lives anyway… But I do know the thoughts that use to run through my head 24/7. I also know how tough the world can be and what it’s like to be so overwhelmed by depression that you feel utter alone even when you are surrounded by love. When dark clouds prevent you from seeing the hope, there will be one person who forces their way into your life and won’t leave until you can stand on your own two feet again, no matter how many times you push them away.

If you don’t have at least one person in your life that’ll be willing to drag you out of bed and take you to a rock concert when all you want to do is die, then make it happen! Find that someone; reach out to the people in your life or if you don’t think you can muster that, then give me shout on Twitter @am_mf or reach out to the people from TWLOHA

Everyone deserves to feel special! Go find people who let you know that you are their entire world and when you do, don’t let them go. Share the love!

Sharing my view,

AM

I see you

Since the release of P!nk and Dave Meyers’ F***in’ Perfect music video, there has been a lot of talk involving suicide and the sheer hopelessness many people feel every day.

Unfortunately we live in a world where practically no one can say that they have never known someone who contemplated giving up on life. We live in a time when there is so much pressure, not just from the outside world but even from the family who’s suppose to be your corner stone during times of doubt. And what’s worse is the pressure we place on ourselves… you rarely hear someone say: “I’m awesome!” and actually mean it and in the unlikely event that they do, we tend to label them as arrogant and obnoxious. It’s almost like we designed the world so that we can’t win.

Then one day a musician takes the time to look at her fans and see that they are terrified; terrified of being no one; terrified of letting themselves down; terrified to let their true colours show. Instead of just ignoring it, this amazing person who has a great talent for writing and an even greater one for getting people to listen, decides to upset the apple cart once more: she writes a song about alienation and depression. She’s not arrogant enough to believe that she has a solution but she’s willing to give it a shot… Her goal: “That it promotes awareness and change, or at least some discussion”. So far that’s exactly what’s happening!

In my final year of high school three of my six closest friends wanted to commit suicide. Actually to be fair the one guy was just severely depressed and refused to eat or move and he only talked about suicide. It’s that ‘only’ word that sends shivers down my spine. Like thinking about giving up on your life and yourself isn’t bad enough? Well it is! And believe me, I have spent many a day since then worrying about my friends because I missed ‘the signs’ the first time around and I said ‘only’. My friends who went a bit further than just thinking about it tried it, thankfully for us they didn’t know what they were doing so we found them in time but they still spent months [some of the best months of anyone’s life time] in hospitals and clinics. They still have to make that choice everyday: choose life. Every time they face a challenge they have flashbacks to that moment they felt so absolutely powerless that they couldn’t see any way out of it… And then they remember that they made it through. It wasn’t easy and this challenge ahead of them won’t be easy either but they’ve made it once so they can survive anything. When we talk about those years in High School now, they don’t remember the millions of little things that kept piling up on them, they remember us, their friends, huddling around them. They remember the strength they got from knowing that we are there for them.

It’s just sad that they couldn’t realize that we have always been there ready to tell them that they are amazing and a simple conversation with them about the weather would make us smile. It’s tough knowing that we came so close to losing our friends to the insecurities of feeling unseen and unheard. It’s something that has altered my perception of showing emotions: I always preferred being stoic and showing emotions only when I really had to but the fact that my best friend could be standing next to me laughing and joking one minute and attempt suicide the next shook me to the core. To think that behind that laugh was thoughts of feeling utterly alone and numb… Since that memory still haunts me, I now live by the rule that ‘I call them as I see them’. If I get even the slightest inkling that you are not 100% alright, then I’ll tell you that you’re fuckin’ perfect to me! Remind you that you make me feel more alive simply by allowing me to be in your presence. I still wonder if one line of approval or that one hug could have saved my friends this entire trauma… but we can’t dwell on the past, all we can do is help others walk a different path.

Loosing someone is never easy! Losing them to suicide or depression is a lot harder because the guilt is so much worse! We see so many friends and acquaintances every day and instead of telling them that their tie looks awesome or that their hair due brings out the blue in their eyes, we just walk by. We keep it to ourselves thinking they already know or that someone else will tell them. What if no one ever tells them? What if you could make their day simply by acknowledging that you notice them? In the traditional Zulu culture they don’t really have a word for ‘hello’ and if you translated what they use instead it would akin to “I see [the real] you”. They’re pretty much saying they see your spirit and the person you really are. So next time you think about walking past someone without a word, just think about seeing them and say hello. Let them know that they’re not alone and more importantly remind yourself that you are not alone!

A song and a video won’t reduce the number of suicide attempts but maybe the people who listen and watch them will.

Please,

AM

*If you or someone you know needs help, please visit TWLOHA

*If you ever want to talk the quickest way to reach me is through twitter @am_mf