Lets Talk. (Triggers, Suicide)

Lets talk about suicide. No really. Lets talk about suicide. The statistics of how often we lose people in our lives to this tragedy is mind numbing and staggering. We don’t talk about it. A short time ago, a very young person committed “suicide by cop” in our area. The only reason we knew it happened is because it was initially an officer involved shooting and it made the news. It was later determined to be a suicide and it very quickly went away.

There are reasons that are given for why the media does not give coverage to non-celebrity suicides and I understand them. There are also reasons why we need to talk about this. This needs to be a safe topic. This needs to be an out in the open, breast cancer, diabetes, irritable bowel, type topic. We talk about that stuff all the time. That stuff needs its platform. Suicide needs a platform too. Suicide desperately needs to be taken out from the shadows and into the spotlight.

This needs to be a topic that a young person can bring to an adult, any adult. They need to be able to say “ I don’t feel safe about me right now. I feel like hurting myself and I am scared. Help me.” We need to take it seriously when a young person asks for help. This needs to be a topic and middle aged man can bring to his friend or family. He needs to be able to say he is hurting and desperate and has a plan but wants to stop it. It doesn’t matter, age, gender, color of you skin, this needs to be a topic that we can talk about. Anyone should be able to say “I don’t feel safe. Come get me. Come be with me. Come and take me to help. I am in a bad place and bad things are about to happen. Help me.”

What do we do when someone tells us they are thinking of hurting themselves? What do we do when someone calls to say they have done something and are dying? What do we do when someone says help me? What are the things to look for in someone who is “at risk”? How are we supposed to show up to the person in pain?

We should be able to talk about suicide. We should also be able to talk about things, conditions, illnesses, states of being, that lead a person to believing that taking their own life is a rational decision. Some people say that we have become too soft and everyone just needs a hug and a blankie and we just need to get over ourselves. On a very real level I understand that and in a certain light I would actually agree. In another light, I completely disagree. I think that yes, there is a tendency towards a “fashionable illness” in some circles and we do need to own up to our situations and our lives but at the same time there are real problems, real illnesses, real situations that are out there that are literally killing people. I am not going to take my time to figure out if you are attention grabbing or if you are deep in the shadow world. If you say you are hurting, you are hurting and it should be OK to talk about this.

Can we talk about suicide, please.


A New Question

I have just spent a little more than a month pretty deep in my own head, never a good idea to do. I have been dealing with pretty large anxiety attacks, bipolar depression and a few medical issues that have sidelined me from some of my favorite activities. Even the suicidal thoughts have been creeping back into my head. No I have no plans to act of them and in reality they never really go away, but lately they have been more present and have had more energy. All in all 2016 has not been a good year, health wise, for me and the people around me.

When we reach our low points, it is easy and all too common to ask why. Why is this happening to me? Why do I have to go through this? This has happened to me during this series of episodes, up until yesterday. Yesterday was not good. I was feeling drained and tired and frustrated with everything that is “wrong with me”, that is until the questioning started. It was the same question. Why is this happening to me, except this time it came across different.

This time the questioning was coming from self pity or any kind of space like that. It came from a space of service. I have bipolar disorder. I have generalized anxiety. I have severe back problems. I am agoraphobic. I have a significant list of things that are “wrong with me”. I am also relatively speaking, a high functioning person. I also have a spiritual philosophy of a purposeful life and universe. So the question was, why is this happening to me? There is a purpose and reason that I have been placed in this specific situation. There is a purpose to being who I am. What is the reason for the way my life has manifested? What is mine to do with this?

I am an ordained minister. To many I am a life coach or mentor. I have mental illnesses and physical challenges that I have by and large managed quite well. I am a person who needs a great deal of support but I am also a large portion of other people’s support system. There is a path. There is a way. There is work to be done. I need to find it. I need to be open to receiving it.

I am not sure what is in front of me but I am open to it and am looking forward to the journey.


Rev J

Missing in Action

I have been away from writing for far too long. I managed to get myself into a very dark place emotionally and couldn’t seem to move through it. On most days I can look at what is happening and how my being is reacting to the environment and make adjustments to my thinking and my reactions and keep moving in a pretty positive direction. This time some of those imaginary problems crept up at the same time as some very real, real world challenges and things got ahead of me and I basically crumbled. Serial anxiety attacks, self loathing, depression and all that other stuff that was more or less parked away all came rolling back into my life.

Then some physically illnesses and an injury that took me out of an Easter production and stuff just got weird. I totally lost my coping skills and thought my way into a corner. Luckily I have an amazing wife and partner who has learned so much about the weirdness that is my brain pan. She was able to get me back on track and point me in the right direction again.

I am back to looking at the world through the lens of gratitude, love, and hope. It is when I look to those three emotions, feelings, or states of mind, however you label them, that I am at my best. She also taught me a lot about some of my triggers and visual cues that bring on or give warning signs to my anxiety attacks. That was the most amazing part of this experience, seeing her demonstrate very solid understanding of what was happening.

So now I feel as though I am getting back on track and will be writing my blog on a regular basis again. I am not sure exactly what that means but I am thinking weekly at this point, but we shall see. I am also working on a book-ish project and a video documentary about mental illness, what it looks like from the inside and some coping mechanisms that I use. There is also talk of a photo shoot attempting to visualize some of my mental and physical health issues, triggers and reactions.

Add to all of that, festival rehearsal season is underway so all of this may be a very slow moving process so as to not overwhelm me or my family and support system. I am excited about these things and am really hoping that they all come to pass.


Rev J