Disclaimer: This article contains sensitive subject matter about my own personal experience with suicidal ideation and may not be suitable for people who struggle with mental illness. This article is intended as informational only; and is no way medical or psychological advice. If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-784-2433. If you have an emergency Call 911. All information and resources found on thebeardlesscoffee.com are based on the opinions of the author. By using this website, you accept this disclaimer in full.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared an update on my mental health journey on my blog. Those who follow me on Instagram usually know when I’m struggling, but it takes me a while to gather my thoughts and feelings enough to share in a way that I hope helps someone in need. In case you’re new here, this is my journey to understanding my mental illness and learning how to prioritize my mental health.
Around March of 2017, after my worst experience with suicidal ideation, I experienced a feeling of complete emptiness and loneliness that was triggered after watching a show that was narrated by the first-person perspective of someone who died by suicide. From beginning to end I heard racing thoughts and heartbreaking feelings that I’ve felt myself… I spiraled into a depression so deep I no longer… felt anything. I once described it as being anchored under a body of water. I see the surface and all of my friends and family are up there. I want to swim to them – they’re all so happy… but I can’t. No matter how much I try, I’m anchored to the ground.
I made the call early April. I was given a list of providers for cognitive talk therapy that accepted my health insurance. I called every number they gave me and received 4 calls back. They gave me 10 numbers. I left 10 messages.
The first appointment I went to did not feel right at all. I tried for about a month before I realized I wasn’t getting anything out of my therapist. So, I not only stopped seeing that therapist, I stopped going to therapy all together.
In December of 2017 I was finally introduced to a place that came highly recommended as I was looking into mental health services for my daughter. When I got to our first appointment, I saw that they offered adult services as well. I had loved everything about the office, so I decided to try at therapy once again.
I really see December 2017 as the beginning of my journey not only to understand my mental illness, but to my commitment at making sure I fight to end the stigma of mental illness and suicide.
“Suicidal thoughts are scary—and very isolating. It can really make a difference when people check in and really listen. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought in someone’s head. Asking could be what saves them—especially when you take the time to listen and connect them to help,” says Providence Portland Walk Team Captain Dr. Robin Henderson, who is also the Chief Executive of Behavioral Health for Providence in Oregon and the clinical liaison for Well Being Trust.
AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHANGE THE CULTURE SURROUNDING MENTAL HEALTH AND HELP THE COMMUNITY
I was recently introduced to Providence St. Joseph Health and wish I had known about them sooner. With a vision of Health for a Better World this non-profit organization has been advocating for vulnerable populations and health care reform for 100 years. They understand what it means to connect to the communities they serve (AK, CA, WA, NM, TX, OR, MT) to address wellness, mental health and social needs.
Since announcing their commitment to improving mental health in 2016, Providence St. Joseph Health knows it will take everyone working together to make a difference. One example of that is their partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). They are leading by example and employees have formed teams over 7 states to participate in the Out of the Darkness Walks to bring awareness to suicide prevention and encourage others in the communities they serve to join the cause. Although suicide prevention is important to address year-round, these walks provide a dedicated time to come together in the fight against suicide.
“This is a great opportunity to show our communities they are not alone when dealing with mental illness and suicide.” – Erin Wesen, Seattle Walk Team Captain- – Providence St. Joseph Health
This year like many others, teams of passionate caregivers at Providence St. Joseph Health, the nation’s largest health system, are walking in the Out of the Darkness Walks. Kudos to the Providence St. Joseph Health teams (650 walkers strong) for raising over $40,000 in this effort and making mental wellness and suicide prevention a priority and making a meaningful difference. Watch this video to see their impact: https://vimeo.com/361376859/1ac57749aa
According to statistics more than 40 million adults across the United States have a mental health condition. More than half go untreated because of stigma and lack of support. That is approximately 26,400,000 people suffering in silence or without the support they need-depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that can lead to suicide. According to the Centers for Disease suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 and that, to me, is just heartbreaking. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can change a life.
Learn how you can make an impact by walking with Providence or supporting the cause with a donation at afsp.org/PSJH
Providence St. Joseph Health and their efforts are building exciting momentum and I, for one, am so grateful to their sense of urgency and the understanding of complexity that needs to go into making sure that no one suffers in silence.
How Providence & Well Being Trust are Transforming Clinical Practice to Better Treat Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
#WhyIWalk: Out of the Darkness Walk Team Captain Testimonials https://blog.providence.org/mental-health/whyiwalk-out-of-the-darkness-walk-team-captain-testimonials
Teen suicide: Know the warning signs https://blog.providence.org/mental-health/teen-suicide-know-the-warning-signs
This post was created in partnership with Providence St. Joseph Health. All opinions are my own