As I Begin To Love Myself

As I begin to love myself

Yvonne McGaha

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The other day I read something that was purportedly written by Charlie Chaplin back in the 1940’s.  Although his authorship of the poem is sometimes disputed (some say it was written by a woman named Kim McMillen), the fact remains that it is very moving and inspiring.

Here is the text:

“As I Began to Love Myself”

As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.  Today, I know this is “AUTHENTICITY.”

 As I began to love myself, I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me.  Today, I call it “RESPECT.”

 As I began to love myself, I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment.  So I could be calm.  Today, I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE.”

 As I began to love myself, I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.  Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.  Today, I call it “SIMPLICITY.”

 As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that is not good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself.  At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.  Today, I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF.”

 As I began to love myself, I quit trying to always be right; and ever since, I was wrong less of the time.  Today, I discovered that is “MODESTY.”

 As I began to love myself, I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future.  Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening.  Today, I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT.”

 As I began to love myself, I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick.  But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.  Today, I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART.”

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations, or any kind of problems with ourselves or others.  Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.  Today, I know “THAT IS LIFE!”  (end)

IMG_1439I’m struck by how every sentence begins with “As I began to love myself. .” because it isn’t meant in the arrogant, unhealthy way of thinking you’re better than other people.  It means beginning to have a healthy respect for yourself and to understand that you have a purpose in life and a potential to do good in the world.

He reminds us that our mind is a powerful thing.  If we don’t learn to control it, it will control us.  But if we make use of its awesome power, there’s almost nothing we can’t accomplish.

He also illustrates how we are all growing and learning in this life.  How when “stars collide” it’s just part of life, part of the journey.  Good things are on the other side of what appears to be bad at the moment.

So, no matter where this poem originated, the message is poignant and the wisdom is timeless and real:  We are all learning to love ourselves and we all have lessons to learn on that path to self-love.  We just need to understand that, and take joy in the journey.

And as I “begin to love myself,” I will remind myself to listen to my heart, and not just the voice of my ego.  I’ve decided to take one stanza of the poem each week and use it in my writing and in my life.  I think it will be a great catalyst for self-exploration.

chaplin

 

 

Survivors Of Suicide Attempt Support Group (SOSA)

why and howThe time after a suicide attempt can be very confusing and filled with lots of conflicting emotions. Typically, the pain and problems that lead a person to consider suicide are still present and are compounded by reactions of family and friends.  Many attempt survivors feel embarrassed, ashamed or guilty about their attempt. Some feel angry that they are still alive.  Others are grateful that they survived and are determined to find the reasons they are still here.

Because of the stigma associated with suicide, many suicide attempt survivors feel very alone and don’t know where to turn.  Talking with others who have similar experiences can be an important part of healing after a suicide attempt.  Brigham Suicide Prevention’s Survivor of Suicide Attempt Support groups offer a safe, non-judgmental place for people to talk about the feelings that led them to attempt suicide and to talk about the impact that their attempt had on their lives.

Groups are typically composed of five to eight people who have survived a suicide attempt or who are struggling with persistent thoughts of suicide.  The same people will be in a group for the entire eight weeks; it is not a “drop-in” group. This allows group members to develop safe, secure bonds with each other, thereby improving their healing process.

Group meetings provide a time for members to discuss the challenges and successes that they are facing following their suicide attempt.  Members can share stories and strategies for survival.  The facilitators will lead discussions to help members better recognize what led to their suicide attempt and incorporate other ways to relieve the pain that may have led to their attempt.

Our Survivors of Suicide Attempt Support groups are free of charge.  Members must be at least 18 years of age. To attend the support group potential members must complete an intake interview prior to attending the support group to allow the facilitator to and the participant to learn more about each other and determine if the group may be an appropriate resource.

For more information, or to schedule an intake please contact:

Carrie Rutherford (435)720-3174

Nicole Kaae (435)720-3239

Tara Roche (435)225-5903

 

A Teenager’s Perspective of Depression

A Guide for Parents and Guardians to Understand What Their Teens are Feeling and How to Help.

By Shayna McGaha

The Signs

Signs of depression can sometimes be easy or sometimes hard to spot, depending on the severity. Mental illness is a sneaky little bastard who tries to slip by others so they don’t detect its presence. Fortunately, I can help you recognize and snuff out the intruder invading your teen — because I’m a teen with depression.

 The top five signs:

2

Excessive Sleeping or Not Enough:

 Is your teen looking like he/she barely gets enough sleep even though they stay in bed hours on end during the day? That’s one of the major signs of depression — but it can also link to insomnia and other sleep issues, so be careful making accusations. If your teen is in bed all the time and barely comes out of his/her room, then it’s time for a talk.

For me, sleep is an escape mechanism from the troubles of reality. It makes things easier because you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to think, and you don’t have to feel. Your teen can sleep all day, but at night they can be plagued by negative thoughts about himself/herself.

Another reason why sleep is a common symptom is because of the fact that it’s the closest thing to death anyone is ever going to get in the living world.

3

Weight Gain/Loss:

Indulging in food is a coping mechanism almost everyone is familiar with. With depression comes weight gain because of excessive eating to feel those happy hormones your teen misses. That or your teen experiences weight loss to the point their healthy body barely weighs more than a hundred pounds. Depression can lead to a feeling of emptiness where your teen might not be able to tell the difference if they’re hungry or not.

If you notice this, try having a talk with them; but try not to make them feel self-conscious about their eating habits.

4

Self Isolation:

Your teen might be spending more time alone. Maybe in his/her room, a park, the backyard maybe? Either way, depression makes the affected feel that isolation is the safest route to protect him/herself from rejection from family, friends, and even peers. Try nudging them out of their safe place once in a while and try to make them feel included.

 5

Excessive Anger or Self Loathing:

Does your usually calm teen express more anger than he/she used to? Does he/she seem more unhappy with him/herself than you remember? Depression will do that. Your teen’s perception of how the world sees him/her changed, and this will make them angry at him/herself and the world. If your teen is angry all the time or more often than normal, it’s time to sit them down and have a chat.

6

Cutting or Self-Mutilation:

Now things are getting serious. At the high school, a new fad has gone around called “cutting.” Some people do it because they think it’s cool, while others do it because it’s an emotional outlet. If your teen is trying their best to hide their arms or legs, it might be time to ask them to roll up their sleeves and pant legs to check what they want to hide. Sometimes emotional pain can be enough to make it so we want to hurt ourselves. If your teen shows any signs of cutting, get him/her help IMMEDIATELY.

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What is Depression? What causes it?

I have read that depression is a mental illness which can be caused by various things ranging from emotional trauma to not enough serotonin in the brain. Being a part of the second group (not being able to produce enough serotonin), I can tell you that it makes a huge impact on one’s life. From my own experience, it included never being able to feel happiness like everyone else seemed to be able to feel.  It affected my school work, my family, and social life.

Emotional trauma can be much worse, though. If your teen recently lost a loved one, went through a huge change, or had an accident they blame him/herself for, it could have affected the brain enough to introduce depression into their life.

Depression can even be genetically passed down from one parent or both to the offspring. There can be something that triggers the illness or it can show up randomly.

If you see a drastic change in your teen make sure he/she knows that no matter what, you’re there for them — because a depressed teen feels like everyone is against you. Knowing that you’re there for them will make a big impact on how mental illness will affect them.

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What Exactly Does Your Teen Feel?

Depression causes many different emotions and sensations besides just sadness. The thing many people believe is that people who deal with depression only feel sadness and they can’t feel anything else. Well, there are many different things that contribute to the sadness.

The feelings of isolation, guilt, self-hatred, anxiety, and hopelessness are some of them. People who deal with this mental illness pretty much have the emotional equivalent of a raging earthquake and it won’t stop. It feels like the world is against you. At least that’s what your teen’s brain is telling them. They are their own worst enemy, and they need help realizing that what they believe is wrong and it will take time to change it.

If they’ve had depression for some time they might not want to get rid of it. Because of how long they’ve had it, it’s become comfortable for them; and without it is a change they won’t want at first. There are others, though, who want to get as far away from depression as possible. They want help and they want it N-O-W.

Both types are different, but dealing with them the same way will help. Listen to your teen when they come to you; be their safe place when they need one; and never expect them to toughen up the moment they need you.

Depression is a leach and it can take months, maybe even years, to get rid of. Or it might take that long just to make it so it doesn’t affect your teen as badly as it did.

Your teen doesn’t want this and dislikes it just as much as you do, so don’t take it out on them.  As a parent of a depressed teen, the best thing to do is be there for them no matter how angry or disappointed you feel. Mental illness has never been, nor will it ever be, a choice — but how you and your teen cope with it is.

Together We Can Make a Difference

cropped-img_2920.jpgMAKING A DIFFERENCE IN BRIGHAM CITY, UTAH AND SURROUNDING AREAS

The Brigham City Suicide Prevention Coalition is a positive and forward-thinking group. We are in the midst of educating many groups of people on the standards of QPR training in Box Elder County (Question, Persuade, Refer) with the hope of increasing awareness, building skills, and offering support to those in need or those who are mourning a loss.

Our volunteer group based in Brigham City, Utah has mixed backgrounds in mental health, domestic violence, grief services, juvenile justice, educators, law enforcement, suicide survivors, and community members who just want to make a difference. We operate with volunteers with only fundraiser money.

FIND US ON FACEBOOK!

The group at highest risk for suicide are those in middle age, contrary to popular assumptions. With these statistics in Box Elder County, we aim to educate all groups and have focused recently on this age group by completing training at Nucor and Autoliv.

“Why would I need this training, I’m not mourning anyone? Suicide doesn’t affect me”

Answer: No one is affected by suicide until they are. The goal of our group is to educate people to watch for warning signs and to learn how to engage with those at risk. This could be a classmate, coworker, family member, or friend.

Our efforts toward education cost money so we are working hard to reach out and complete fundraisers to assist with this effort.

Please help by letting us know if you would like to donate funds, volunteer, or if you have a group OF ANY AGE that can be trained in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer).

Donations can be directed to Carrie Vincent at the New Hope Crisis Center by calling 435-723-5600.

I Cry in the Morning (a poem)

I Cry in the MorningWhether you have a child who is an addict, or who has completed suicide, or both, you will appreciate this poem that sheds empathy on your pain. Remember to care for yourself and be strong for all those who need you even when you feel you can’t make it one more day. You are here to be strong for someone. It’s okay to cry in the morning, but you must keep moving forward.

I Cry in the Morning

I cry in the morning; that’s when there is time,
To mourn for the child I once knew as mine.
As time has passed I still cry for your choice,
A game of chance in a world full of noise.

Just know that I’m here for you, body or soul,
Though the innocent child I knew is no more.
The memories used to haunt me, but now I can smile,
Knowing I got to hold you awhile.

I cry in the morning, I suffer every day,
You decided to leave us and go away.
Your story may inspire someone still living
Though empty inside, they might find a way to keep giving

Your shell may be walking, an addict inside,
Or you may have chosen to end your life.
For the parents with loved ones struggling deep,
Just hold your baby and allow them to weep.

Whether in body, mind, or soul,
Your loved one is with you, wherever you go.
The kindred spirit once full of life,
Can be restored from the hell, desperation, and strife.

I cry in the morning before the world is awake,
Wondering what new challenges this day will make.
I cry in the morning and run the rest of the day,
Falling exhausted at night, come what may.

I cry in the morning.

Would you like to share your story of survival as an addict, a suicide attempt, or as a parent, friend, or relative or someone? Contact me to send your story in for review. You may right steps to survival, tips to keep moving, or share an actual story, etc. Contact us anonymously. 

FAMILIES ARE FOREVER (video): LGBT Questions to Expect

Brigham City LGBT Community AwarenessRegardless of your age, being honest with your loved ones about your sexual identity can create crisis. Your family may not understand, or think you’re going through a phase, or their religious beliefs may be rocked to the core.

Many parents wonder what they did wrong. Give them a break and let it soak in. You may be surprised to know that your parents have suspected something different all along and by telling them you are simply making it known.

BE PREPARED FOR LOVED ONES TO ASK THESE QUESTIONS:

  • Are you sure?
  • Are you rebelling or experimenting?
  • Will I have grandchildren?
  • What will our church think?
  • Did I fail?
  • Can this be fixed through counseling?
  • How will I tell my friends and family?
  • Why are you doing this to our family?

Regardless of your age, it is important to be prepared for this line of questioning. Do not take offense or be defensive if your parents/loved ones need to be alone for awhile. But make a time with them to finish the conversation.

FOR PARENTS:

If your child of any age is struggling to come out with a sexual identity other than heterosexual, you may already have suspicions based on years of observance. Putting off the conversation doesn’t make it go away–it causes them more distress, isolation, and fear.

They may turn to drugs, alcohol, or suicidal thoughts/actions due to their belief they would never be accepted or for fear of abandonment. Perhaps you shouldn’t wait for them to come to you, but offer a loving and kind conversation instead. You may be the person that saves your child’s life.

FAMILY ACCEPTANCE PROJECT INTRODUCTION VIDEO:

Shattering the Image of Perfection

#suicideprevention #BrighamCitySuicidePrevention

Thank you for sharing, Anonymous.

Perfect

            I was 7 years old when my father decided he wanted to divorce my mother.  I was the oldest child of three, a Daddy’s girl, and I was devastated.

I remember being upstairs in my bedroom when I heard my parents talking in hushed tones downstairs in the front room.  It sounded like my mother was crying.  As quietly as my little, slippered feet would move, I tip-toed to the landing above them where I could see them, and listened.

“Please don’t go,” my mother was pleading with him.  He was sitting on the couch, and she was on her knees in front of him, tears streaming down her face.

“You’re a good wife and a good mother,” he told her.

“Then why do you want to leave us?” she asked him.

“Because I just don’t want this,” he explained.  “I don’t want to be married anymore.”  Then he gently took her hands off his knees, stood up, and walked out.

My mother collapsed into a heap on the carpet and cried, huge sobs racking her body as she tried to be quiet and not wake us kids up.

Just as quietly, I crept back upstairs and climbed back under my Raggedy Ann and Andy sheets.  Then I cried, too.  Why does Daddy want to leave?  What did we do wrong?

Fast forward ten years.  I have a boyfriend who is a straight-A student, he has a good job and a cool car, and he’s getting academic scholarships to college.  We’re both seniors in high school and I am president of the dance troupe.  I am an over-achiever, a perfectionist, taking as many advanced placement classes that I can manage so I can get college credit.

And I’m pregnant.

He wants to get married.  I don’t.  He wants to keep the baby.  I don’t.  None of the things he wants to do to “remedy” the situation will work for me because then EVERYONE WILL KNOW.  And that’s not acceptable.

Everyone will know that I’m NOT perfect.  They’ll think I’m a slut.  They’ll look down on me.  And my mom – oh my God!  My mom will KILL me!

She always told us kids that if we had sex before marriage, it was sin and we’d go to Hell.  In fact, if we girls even thought about sexual things, we’d go to Hell.  So I pretty much figured that’s where I was headed for SURE now!  And there was no way, NO WAY, I was going to raise a child in that home.  After my father left, my mother had become physically and emotionally abusive toward us kids.  I wouldn’t subject a child to that environment.

So, with my boyfriend’s reluctant cooperation, I had an abortion.  I had convinced myself “a fetus is not a person yet,” and so I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  Besides, I told myself, I was actually “saving” a baby from having to live in an abusive home.  Now I could hide this “mistake,” this evidence of my imperfection, from the world and go on with the perfect life I had planned.

Fast forward two more years, to my second year in college.  It’s day 2 of my 3-day stint in the mental ward at the hospital.  I had attempted to overdose on Tylenol and Southern Comfort.  Luckily, I was dramatic enough to call my boyfriend (not the same one from high school) to tell him he “wouldn’t need to worry about me anymore” (we just had an argument the day before when I found him in the bedroom of another woman).  Worried by my cryptic message, he came to my place and found me in the backyard where I had vomited and passed out behind some hedges.

Still attempting to put on an image of being perfect, I didn’t tell the ward’s therapist about anything from my past.  I told her I didn’t know why I was so sad, but that it scared me that I would want to hurt myself.  I agreed with her that I had a lot going for me, and that suicide isn’t the answer when things get difficult.  Yes, ma’am.  You’re right.  It won’t happen again.  I’ll be okay.  I’ll get help.  I told her whatever I needed to say to get out of there.

Ten self-destructive years later, I find myself talking to the police officer who responded to my 911 call.  I’m telling him that I’m fine, and that the argument between my husband and me just got “a little out of hand.”  We’re fine.  Everything’s perfect.  I can handle it.  No one will know.  No one can see.  Hide the black eye and the fat lip.  Lie.  Again.  No one can know.

Another ten years pass with me hiding my pain, hiding the abuse, hiding my shame.  I keep smiling.  I have to look happy.  I have to show everyone that I’m okay.  I’m good.  Everything’s perfect.

Then he hits me again, and this time two of our kids are home and hear us.  He had stopped caring if the kids could hear us arguing a while ago.  As I lie on the floor, I tell him he hurt my neck and I think I need an ambulance.  He tells me it was my fault and that I deserved it.  I can hear the kids crying downstairs.

I finally manage to stand up and tell him I’m done.  I don’t want to be married to him anymore.  He has threatened in the past to hurt me, to bury my body in the desert, to do something to the car so I would wreck and it would look like an accident.  He has locked me in the house, he had locked me out of the house.  And his last threat was to make the kids hate me if I left him, no matter what it took.  That threat made me stay another year, but then I finally left.

I had met someone else, someone who made me feel good about myself.  I felt like things were going to really be perfect this time.  I wouldn’t have to fake it.

I tried everything I knew to be what this new man wanted.  I gave him all the sex he could want, plus some; I cooked for him, cleaned his house, babysat for him; I was always there for him.  I was, what I thought, the perfect girlfriend.

Then I lost my job.  Then he went back to the wife he had left.  And I finally had a breakdown.

The “perfect” new life I had been building, all of my “perfect” plans, came tumbling down around me, and I didn’t know what I was going to do.  I was broke, trying to raise my son, and I felt utterly alone in the world.  I felt like a failure.  I felt lost and broken and dirty.  I felt like I had been used in life and then thrown to the gutter like trash.

No matter how “perfect” I tried to be, no matter how hard I tried to paint this picture for everyone to see of what a wonderful, happy, perfect life I had, it just wouldn’t stick.  I couldn’t make it perfect, and that wasn’t acceptable!

Then one day during the “breakdown phase” of my life, as I call it now, I was driving my son to school.  I gave him my last three dollars so he could eat lunch (unbeknownst to him), smiled and waved at him as he walked into the school, then drove away wondering what I was going to do.  I was so panicked and so distraught that I had to pull my car over for fear I would wreck because I couldn’t see through my tears.  I turned on the radio and put my head in my hands and cried.  And I pleaded with God– please help me!  I feel so lost!

Then I noticed the song playing on the radio.  I didn’t recognize it, so I looked at what station it was on.  It was on a Christian radio station.  I had NEVER put my radio on that station before.  The words to the song touched me to my very core.  Touched me in a spot I had kept hidden in a very dark place, hoping no one would ever touch, no one would ever see.

The words I heard were:

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

And in that moment, I knew what I had been doing wrong, what I had been thinking wrong.  It was like the song spoke right to my heart and told me, “God already knows you aren’t perfect.  He sees you, and He loves you the way you are.”  And that dark, hidden place burst open into a million pieces and was replaced with love and peace and the knowledge that everything was going to be okay.

You see, I hadn’t learned that mistakes are a part of life.  I didn’t know that I am supposed to grow from the things that happened in my life.  No one had taught me that God didn’t expect perfection, or that he put us here to learn from the things that happened in our lives.  Or that things happen for a reason.  I didn’t realize that as humans, it is those very imperfections that make us unique and beautiful.

No one has had the exact same life experiences as someone else.  Even if someone else was in the same room with you, in the same situation, they would get from it what they perceived, not what you perceived.  The lesson they learn could be totally different from what you need to learn.

So no one has lived the life you have.  And it’s your responsibility – no, your opportunity – to share what you have gained from it with others, to help them grow.  To help them know that they are already exactly where they need to be and who they need to be at this moment in their life.

It took me many years to realize that my life has been rich with opportunities to learn and grow.  I saw many of my experiences as mistakes and things to be hidden from the world. . . and from myself.  But now, with God’s help, I have realized that I am the person I am today BECAUSE of the things I have been through, and that I have amazing lessons to share with others.  I was perfect in my imperfections all along – I just didn’t know it.

Use Your 5 Senses to Prevent a Suicide

#suicidepreventionENGAGING YOUR FIVE SENSES

Another suicide completed and a community devastated. Was it divorce, bullying, desperation, addiction, or isolation? Is there anything we could have done? “He never told anyone he was going to attempt suicide; he seemed fine!”

Preventing suicide takes more than listening for someone to say they want to die. We must engage all five senses to help prevent suicide in our loved ones.

Your loved one may be 15, 40, or 65. They may be experiencing bullying or self-esteem issues or a horrible divorce or financial crisis or may have had a child or loved one commit suicide recently. Engage your five senses as follows and never be afraid to discuss suicide with someone you love. Talking about suicide does not cause suicide. Use your five senses:

  1. Touch: The power of touch is astounding. Chances are you’ve known someone who was struggling and you grabbed them to give them a hug and they just broke down crying. Much of the time, a simple touch on the shoulder with a sincere positive comment is all it takes to get through.

  2. Sight: Give a compliment on the physical presence of a person. Do not put them down, but build them up. You may also use sight to watch for objects used to self-harm, notice your loved one withdrawing and/or completely isolating from friends and family. Visual cues are there if you watch for them. Also, notice if they are getting rid of their prized belongings.

  3. Taste: When your loved one is secluding themselves, encourage them to spend time with you—go out to eat at their favorite place, engage in conversation, and ask about their future plans or make plans with them in a few days; give them something to look forward to.

  4. Smell: When your loved one is not caring for their hygiene they may be depressed and lack the energy to care for their physical appearance or surroundings. Encourage them to clean up and offer help to clean up their environment.

  5. Sound: This is the most obvious sense to engage, but the one you will need the least. Most people that complete suicide don’t talk about it. If you do hear someone talking about it follow through by discussing it with them and getting them help. You may hear them talking about giving away possessions prior to an attempt. Listen for “I’m leaving” talk or out-of-the-norm affection. Above all, listen.

For more information and warning signs, Read this Factsheet

Help is on the way!

Continuing Life

With an increase in both suicide attempts and suicide completions in Box Elder County, Utah, a coalition of both professionals and volunteers is available to help educate all ages. When you are in the depths of depression it’s hard to see a way out.

Perhaps you’ve lost a job, experienced infidelity, suffered illness, financial devastation, lost your home, a parent, your spouse, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or even a child of any age. When immediate pain and anguish takes over, it can be hard to see tomorrow. But I promise you, tomorrow will come, and there is a solution to your issue that does NOT involve the permanency of suicide.

Over time, this site will be built with educational articles, uplifting content, and resources for help in Brigham City, Utah and surrounding areas. If you would like a speaker to visit your school, university, or business to speak on resources and preventative measures available, please contact us. You may also text LISTEN to 741741 anytime for confidential help.

Help get the word out by signing up for email alerts for new blog posts and sharing this on your social media pages. You never know how one share could impact someone in need.