#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – Here’s How To Help A Loved One Struggling With #SuicidalThoughts

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Heather Loeb

Two weeks ago I wrote a column about #suicide and how silence surrounding it and #mentalillness can be deadly. Three people emailed me that day, one who was suicidal and didn’t have a support system. After discussing resources and what to do, I started thinking back to when I was suicidal, when I made a plan and how terrifying it was to feel that way.

I was abusing benzodiazepines, taking way more than I should. I was cutting myself. I was hopeless. I was binge eating. I had awful #anxiety. And I couldn’t see how bad it was. Eventually, I told my husband what I was doing, admitting that I was hanging by a thread. Even though I’m in recovery, I still have those thoughts on bad days.

Obviously I’m not alone. It’s overwhelming to me that three people would reach out to a virtual stranger because they thought they were a burden or that nobody cared. We have to do better.

Friends tell me that they aren’t taken seriously when discussing their #mentalillness. One friend was called attention-seeking when he admitted he was suicidal. How awful is that? I’ve been there, and nothing scares you more than your own brain telling you to kill yourself. It’s hard to see the truth. You start to believe what your mind is telling you.

More than 47,500 people died by #suicide in 2019 — that’s one death every 11 minutes, according to the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention.

And what’s outrageously wrong is if someone does die by #suicide, they’re called selfish. That’s unbelievable. Some may even say they wished their friend had reached out, when really he did but was ignored. #Suicide is not selfish — all anyone in crisis wants is for the pain to stop, and the pain is all-consuming. It feels like breathing is too much work, your body is heavy, and it feels so lonely, like nobody else has ever experienced that kind of pain and dying seems like the only solution.

It’s tragic, but it doesn’t have to happen.

#JamesDonaldson notes:

Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.

Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.

Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Order your copy of James Donaldson’s latest book,

Celebrating Your Gift of Life:

From The Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy

#MentalHealth Matters: For some, staying silent about personal struggles can be deadly

To change we must adjust how we react to our friends who confide in us, even if we don’t understand them. Listen and be open-minded. Withhold judgment. Suggest support groups (you’ll find a ton online).

Help find them a #psychiatrist, research #mentalhealthconditions, check on them consistently and ask how you can help. Let them know they can talk to you as much as they need. If it’s a #child struggling with suicidal thoughts, find help immediately.

#Suicide is 100 percent preventable. Compassion and understanding play a big part in the anecdote.

To put things in perspective, more than 47,500 people died by #suicide in 2019 — that’s one death every 11 minutes, according to the #CentersforDiseaseControlandPrevention. #Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death among those 10-34 years old. These numbers are two years old and will certainly be higher because of the #pandemic.

It’s crucial that we talk about it to save lives. We must be able to remove the #stigma surrounding #mentalillness and #suicide now.

HOW TO GET HELP

If you are suicidal, please call your #doctor or go to the nearest emergency room. You also can call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You also can text 741-741, a crisis text line.

To those struggling, I see you. You are not alone, and I honor your pain. I’m reminded of a quote that helped me in my darkest days: “If you believe breaking is possible, believe fixing is possible.” (Rabbi Nachman of Breslau).

Just hold on, friends.

Heather Loeb

For more than 20 years, Heather Loeb has experienced major #depression, #anxiety and a #personalitydisorder, while also battling the #stigma of #mentalhealth. She is the creator of Unruly Neurons (www.unrulyneurons.com), a blog dedicated to normalizing #depression and a member of State Rep. Todd Hunter’s #SuicidePrevention Taskforce.

MIND MATTERS

Now more than ever we need to take care of our #mentalhealth. Guest columnist Heather Loeb discusses why and explores other important #mentalhealth topics in this special series.

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