Suicide Awareness Month 2020

     The understanding and care of mental health are more important now than ever in a time of political strife, the fearful influence of a pandemic, and uncertainties of the future. A declining mental health is able to influence the possibilities of suicide. Thus, in the month of September yearly and nationally, suicide awareness has been instated. 

    According to Suicidology, Suicide Awareness Month is meant to promote awareness and education of mental health and suicide, as well as understanding the warning signs of suicide. The month also emphasizes the use of resources, research funding, and overall compassion for helping those with mental health needs thrive mentally and emotionally. These tactics are crucial due to how impactful mental health and suicide are on individuals and their loved ones. 

   As stated by the World Health Organization, close to 800,000 suicides happen yearly, with more than 20 suicide attempts for each suicide. Additionally, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have further increased mental health needs and suicide ideation. As surmised by the CDC, many have reported an increase of anxiety and depressive symptoms, as well as an increased use of substances to cope with the influences of the pandemic on their jobs, health, finances, schooling, and interpersonal interactions. Furthermore, many more have contemplated suicide due to the struggles and stress they’re experiencing from the pandemic. 

    Therefore, the importance of taking care of mental health has increased dramatically. For those affected by mental health needs, being surrounded by loved ones is emphasized; likewise, loved ones should be educated on any warning signs of declining mental health, as well as how they are able to support and love their loved ones, according to NAMI. Additionally, local support groups are implemented to assist individuals in coping with their mental health needs healthily and collectively. 

   No one should feel alone or hopeless, especially in this time. Therefore, understanding and building compassion towards mental health and those affected are more important than ever.

References:

https://www.nami.org/get-involved/awareness-events/suicide-prevention-awareness-month

https://www.who.int/health-topics/suicide#tab=tab_1

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htm#:~:text=Overall%2C%2040.9%25%20of%205%2C470%20respondents,reported%20having%20started%20or%20increased

We’re Meant to Live Lives of Freedom

    Many of us live trapped in a box, so to speak. We feel as if we’re not able to use our voices. We feel like we may never be seen by those around us. We feel as if we’ll never be understood. We’re told repeatedly to be independent, productive, strong, and happy; yet, we constantly seem to be miserable, insecure, bored, and lonely.

    We were never meant to live in a box. We were never meant to feel trapped within our own skin. We’re meant to live lives of freedom. We’re meant to embrace who we are as individuals and positively impact the world around us.We’re meant to have thriving relationships with emotionally healthy individuals. We’re meant to have a fulfilling purpose in how we lead our lives. We’re meant to have a healthy unity between our body, soul, and spirit.

   Our purpose in this life was never meant to be entrapping or hopeless; it is meant to be joyful and fulfilling.

Broken Familial Ties-Poem

Broken Familial Ties

I was always

More than the 

Mold you tried

To keep me in.

 

I may not

Be a perfect

Child, but I

Always tried my best

 

To make you

Proud of me

In all I

Said and did.

 

I always felt

Like a stain

That you could

Not remove from yourself.

 

I always felt

Like a failure

Because my success

Never seemed good enough.

 

I always felt

Like a mistake

In how you 

Would insult my character,

 

Making me believe

That I had

No hopes of

Changing for the better.

 

My mistakes are

Thrown at me

Like stakes of

Fire at my heart,

 

But God forbid

If anyone gave

You advice on

How to give compassion.

 

I always craved

Acceptance, but instead

I received shame

From my own blood.

 

I always craved

Love, but instead

I cultivated more

Self-loathing for myself.

 

I always craved

Attention, but instead

I felt more 

Invisible within these walls.

 

I no longer

Crave anything from

You, for I

Found my worth elsewhere.

 

I know my

Father above is

Better to me 

Than you could fathom.

 

I know who

I am as

A person, even

If you are blinded.

 

I know I

Have a lot

To offer, even

Though you did not.

 

My familial ties

May be broken,

But my heart

Has long since healed.

For When I Find Love Again-Poem

For When I Find Love Again

For when I find

Love again, I hope

He will show the 

Bravery you never did.

 

I hope he has

Strength in his eyes

And not the weakness

To surrender so easily.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope

He will stand up

For his own opinions.

 

I hope he will

Not cower in the

Face of adversity when

Misfortune comes across him.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope

He will not listen

To poor advice like you did.

 

I hope he will

Be discerning towards those

Who attempt to sweeten

Him with unfaithful lies.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope

He will not see

Me in the eyes

Of strangers who don’t know me.

 

I hope he will

Not allow the influence

Of others to bleed

Into what we have.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope 

He will be appreciative

Towards all my efforts.

 

I hope he will

Not waver in giving or

Receiving gratitude, no matter

The days he endures.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope

He will not make

His love a secret.

 

I hope he will

Grace me with all 

His affection without shame

Or fear of peers.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope

I will be validated 

In ways you never could.

 

I hope to be

Given the respect I 

Deserved that you didn’t 

Know how to give yourself.

 

For when I find

Love again, I hope

That this one will

Stick and not wear.

 

I hope he will

Be a better man

Than what you were

For me-or yourself.

An Update on Life a Year Later

     Hey, everyone. I hope all is well with everyone! I greatly apologize for not writing recently. I became extremely busy with school and other things for the remainder of May and all of June. Today I have time to write, and here we are. 

     I wanted to write this post as an update of sorts on my life. I’ve discussed here and there in past posts having a rough time from July of last year to about this past January. Now that it’s been nearly a year since things have happened, I wanted to talk about it more in depth.

    I was not in a good headspace at all from July 2019 to January 2020. I was constantly stressed, triggered, depressed, and hopeless. I experienced interpersonal conflict that caused me to lose some people close to me due to the unnecessary and inappropriate involvement of others. I received much speculative news and rumors that worsened a particular situation that honestly caused me much heartbreak and stress. From all these factors, my mental health began to decline rapidly. 

  Because of some of the negative people I discussed, as well as a situation in which I was stalked and harassed by someone who was dead set on isolating me even further, I became increasingly paranoid and sunk deeper into my depression. I was genuinely unhappy with both my academic and professional careers, which worsened the stress and anxiety I was already feeling in my personal life. I wasn’t eating or sleeping well. I was constantly crying and having panic attacks. I deleted all my social media accounts because I truly couldn’t handle being on social media emotionally and mentally. I felt stuck and defeated; I felt hopeless with how my life was going; I felt like I was a shell of a person. 

   After my 25th birthday, I realized I needed to stop being stuck in my pain and depression. With the love and encouragement of God and healthy people in my life, I began to allow myself to heal and to let go of the hurt, bitterness, and loneliness I had allowed to infect me for so many months. Furthermore, I needed to change for the better. I was not going to continue down a good path-or any path at all, rather-with the rate I was going emotionally, physically, and mentally. I needed-and wanted-to be a better person to God, to those around me, and to myself.

   I wasn’t doing too well again in the beginning of the pandemic due to having to be stuck at home. However, the pandemic ended up helping me confront myself-and confront any lingering pain or issues I was still grieving. From this self-reflection, I became more willing to forgive, to let go of any anger and frustration I felt. I became more willing to apologize to others for my issues, and became a more intentional friend-something I unfortunately stopped being for a while, and something I truly regret. I became more confident in myself and less fearful of the world around me. 

   I thankfully grew to know some wonderful people in my life-past and present-who have truly given me healthy encouragement, accountability, and compassion, and for that I’m completely grateful and humbled to have such excellent people around me. Lastly, I’m thankful to God for bringing so much healing and love to both my soul and spirit, and putting the broken pieces of my heart back together.

  I still experience bad moments, and that’s a part of life. But ironically, even in the middle of the pandemic, the past six months have been truly great months of healing, good friendships, and growth. I don’t know for sure if I can completely say I’m happy that things happened the way they did…but I also can’t say I’m sorry things happened the way they did.

You’re Not in Control of Other’s Actions

     You will meet a lot of people in this life. You will meet some of the kindest, funniest, smartest, and bravest souls who will treasure you as a person, and who will fight for you and alongside you when life has its rough moments. These people will exist in your life, and they will touch your heart positively. Unfortunately, not everyone in your life will be like these beautiful souls.

    You will meet some of the cruelest, manipulative, ignorant, and hateful beings who will demean you and attempt to snuff out the right in you. These people will make your life bad or worse than it already is. They will pour pain into your life, and will often leave you feeling at fault in some capacity for them barraging you with misery. However, you need to know something: you did nothing to deserve anything they did.

    We all have flaws and imperfections that require work to help us be a better person. But, no one deserves abuse. No one deserves to be ignored. No one deserves to feel less than who they are as individuals. Anyone who goes out of their way to make others feel small is someone who feels small in their own lives; yet, their harmful choices towards you and others are never justifiable. You may have flaws, but you did nothing to deserve cruelty, rejection, or pain from someone else-no matter who they are.

    I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I was responsible for others’ actions, often blaming myself for the abuse and rejection I experienced by their hands. I believed the lie that I wasn’t good enough for those around me for a very long time; I still struggle in rejecting that lie. But, I know deep down that I deserve good, healthy people around me. I know I deserve love and respect. I know that I deserve those qualities even from myself. I’m still learning that, while I can’t control how others behave, I am able to control my response to their words and actions. I am able to make the choice to accept or reject their cruelty and lies.

   You have the choice, too. Whoever is reading this, I want you to know: You are brave, you are smart, you are kind, and you are good enough. I hope and pray you will be able to break the influence of those ugly lies over you and see yourself in a better light. I hope and pray you will embrace how deserving you are of love and compassion-from God, others, and yourself.

Mental Health in a Pandemic

     The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world. State and country lockdowns and quarantines that were implemented to stop the spread of the virus has affected people physically, financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Therefore, the emphasis of mental health is all the more important.

    Many people’s mental health has been impacted negatively by the pandemic. Many have become distressed and discouraged from the lack of financial income, in-person connections, and established treatment for the virus. Many are stuck in abusive situations due to being unable to leave their homes. Furthermore, for those who are essential employees, they are risking their lives while dealing with the cruel and ignorant portion of the population. 

   The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. While a month dedicated to mental health is great, mental health must be emphasized every day and every month of the year. When our mental health suffers from overwhelming neglect and stress, we are unable to function well; in fact, we become a hopeless shell of ourselves. Therefore, more resources and avenues need to be implemented to help those suffering emotionally and mentally.

   The world is able to repair itself from this pandemic. However, our mental health deserves more care now than ever.

Business Does Not Equate to Fulfillment

     Hey, everyone, I’m back with another blog. In the past three to six months, many of us may have been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of you-like myself-may not be able to work at this time, or you’re an essential worker and may need to work in distressing circumstances (if you are, thank you so much for your sacrifices and services in this chaotic time). Life either has slowed down or sped up for you throughout the quarantine procedures your state or country has implemented. Yet, even in such a rough time, we are able to learn things about others or ourselves.

     As I’ve said in past posts, the middle of last year to the beginning of this year was unbelievably rough for me, with my mental health declining to very low points. I lost a lot of relationships in this time-due to situations or my own decisions to end these interactions-and had numerous academic and professional stressors. Fortunately, by the grace of God, as well as the presence and increase of healthy, positive people in my life, I began to improve mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. 

    I also started to incorporate and embrace moments of alone time; this has helped me to not only learn more about my character, flaws, and goals, but it helped me to become more comfortable with being alone and still. I started to feel peace in not being busy and accepting my thoughts and feelings for what they were, and letting them go. All this information brings me to something that has been cemented for me in this quarantine: business does not equate to fulfillment.

   For most of my young adult years, I was around busy people. I was friends with them, I dated them, and I went to church with them. I often felt insecure with my own life and myself in seeing everyone constantly on the go, and seeming to have productive days, weeks, months, and years. I attempted to create a busy life for myself because I honestly led myself to believe that a hectic schedule was normal; furthermore, because of past hurts and fears of my own depressive and anxious thoughts increasing, I didn’t want to allow myself too much space to rest.

    Here’s where my lessons begins to form: I realized that I was excruciatingly miserable and exhausted in trying to be overly busy. I neglected important relationships, obligations, and my own self-care. Partially why I think I was able to overcome that painful time period I discussed earlier is because I had no choice but to sit with myself and evaluate myself; I had to allow myself to rest, recuperate, and reflect. From these painful circumstances, I truly developed healthier relationships with God, with people who matter, and with myself. I grew in self-love and appreciation towards those who truly cared about me. I was able to clearly think about my academics and career without overloading myself with plans and activities that were genuinely draining and fruitless.

  I think often, we live in a society that has the idea of, if we do more, we show others we’re living fulfilling lives. We convince ourselves that packed schedules indicate happiness and success in our lives. In reality, we’re burning ourselves out. We barely have time to create and deepen bonds with wonderful people and with God. We barely have time to focus on projects and duties that are actually able to benefit others and ourselves. We barely have time to give ourselves care and love.

  I look back on the memories of those “busy” people, and I realize that a lot of them were probably upset and tired in their own lives; they constantly seemed to run on fuels, and couldn’t provide deep connections with those around them, as well as cultivate self-care and self-love towards themselves. Instead of being jealous of them, I feel empathy for them. I hope in this quarantine, they have been able to rest and reflect on the goodness of rest and self-love, as well as the importance of cultivating deep relationships with healthy people and God.

  My final piece of advice: create a balance between productivity and rest. Some business is necessary for our lives in order to advance our careers, academics, and interpersonal relationships. However, business does not equate to fulfillment in life; too much business will only lead to burnout.

Know Your Limit with Others

     (Hey, all! I’m sorry for not being active and for not updating my blog. I’ve had a busy month with completing my second semester for my master’s, as well as dealing with a lot of new changes academically and professionally. Now that I’m finished with my semester, I’m going to be returning to blog at least once a week. So, with that being said, let’s go to the topic of today.)

    I want to discuss the importance of knowing your limit with others. Too often we burn ourselves out in attempting to help or please people with our time, energy, and resources. And while selflessly helping your loved ones and others in need is commendable, you have to make sure you’re not at risk of being emotionally and physically drained. 

    Likewise, when you attempt to please others through giving them what they want and shaping your identity in their values, you’re going to experience emotional and physical depletion. Your time, energy, and resources will not be used for the right reasons. Furthermore, you begin losing pieces of yourself in an endeavor to receive acceptance and affection from those who most likely don’t deserve either. 

   Therefore, we need to know our limits with others; we need to create boundaries in our relationships that assist us in being able to love those around us while protecting ourselves from potentially avoidable hurts and weariness. We’re not able to help anyone if we’re too empty emotionally and physically in our own lives. Additionally, we should not be willing to lose ourselves for people-especially for those who don’t care about us for the right reasons. 

   Boundaries are able to take time to cultivate, but they are worth creating in order to help those who genuinely deserve our assistance, as well as taking care of our own needs. If these boundaries aren’t respected by those around you…well, then you have a clear understanding of who truly deserves your time, energy, and resources.