Acceptance, AR, Blog, Depression, Dreams, Help, hope, Strength, Suicide, Writing

September on the Horizon

I’ve been jokingly referring to this week as my College Tour.

I trekked two hours, to Russellville, Arkansas to teach a safeTALK course to 20 Arkansas Tech University Career Center instructors. There I met an assortment of people and professions. We had hard discussions about how close to home this issue was for them, and the difficulties we face when trying to navigate the many situations we can have thrust upon us. The world seemed small when several in the room shared a single tragic encounter. No matter how small the world may feel, this problem is devastatingly large. When I left my new allies, I felt hopeful as we made plans to continue these conversations and expand our net of compassion and education. Tired but determined, I headed to my next stop.

An hour down the road, took me to Conway, Arkansas and the University of Central Arkansas early the next morning. We went in five allies deep to teach 150 resident advisors, peer coaches, and resident coordinators suicide prevention, the process of seeking mental health help, how to increase their knowledge of community resources, and last but not least resilience and coping skills.

I kicked off the day by sharing my story. It is all too often a shared story many know in a deeply personal way. The room was filled with tears, laughter, of course, my awkward jokes, and a sense of why it is vital that we encourage people to be educated around the issue of suicide.

Rainy mornings don’t make for the best settings, but we faced the day full of passion and purpose. By the end of it, we changed some minds, found new allies, and left many feeling less alone in this sometimes isolating world.

Days like this bring my heart solace. Maybe, just maybe, one person can be reached.

 

The conversation has begun.

#suicideprevention #speak #thankyou #uca #arkansas

Arkansas Tech University

University of Central Arkansas

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Writing

Return to Normal…

I accidentally woke my grandfather from a nap when I went to visit him. I brought my favorite burger with me to eat for a late lunch. We went into the living room and started our silent chess game of who will make the first vocal move? I’ve played him and won this game for years.

I eat my burger without saying a word and finally he jokes, asking if it’s “that same” burger place. I laugh and say of course it is, because I am a creature of habit. I tell him they screwed up my order. That’s the second time in a year. He asks how they screwed it up. I say, they screwed it up. He accepts my non-answer answer. 

He mentions how he read in the paper that suicide is up 30% in the nation and he didn’t realize what a problem it was. It’s his way of acknowledging my work and also accepting that it is okay that it happened to us, too. We often mean more than what our words say. It’s just the way we’ve always communicated with one another. 

I tell him it’s even higher in youth, rising 70% over the past 10 years. We talk a little about my work. He asks if I get a company car since I travel so much or if I get mileage. Mileage, I say simply. He nods his head. He asks me how long I stayed at Nanny’s service. I tell him 45 minutes. He said, it was a beautiful service, wasn’t it?” I say yes. He asks if I made it to my friends service and I tell him yes, but I was a bit late. He nods.

Two funerals in one day. Two losses in twenty-four hours. It’s been a long and emotionally exhausting few weeks. I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. Myself, seems odd that we expect to return to normal after experiencing such abrupt changes in such a short amount of time. I feel like sometimes we put too much stock in normal.

If only we could be abnormal for just awhile when life calls for it most. If only. 

I miss them dearly.

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