I continue my monthly blog series based on US Figure Skating’s popular “Get Up” campaign which shares the message that life, like the ice, is hard, and we can certainly fall on it. But the more times we get up and persevere, the stronger we become. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, my May installment focuses on the very serious issue of suicide.
There is such a stigma around suicide; that somehow people who contemplate ending their lives are seriously beyond repair and that this is something to be very deeply ashamed about and not discussed. However, continuing on the theme of “Getting Up;” with the appropriate assistance and resources, those who consider or attempt suicide can “Get Up” from this low to move on to healthy, productive, fulfilling lives.
Let me share one story from 25-year-old Lacie Childers from Forest City, NC. Lacie had struggled with mood disorder with frequent chronic thoughts of suicide since puberty. Then at the age of 15, things came to head in one day: someone made fun of her from having a speech impediment, she heard that her boyfriend was seeing someone else, and she failed a test. Fortunately, her suicide attempt that day was not successful.
It would have been be very easy for Lacie to just give up on life and continue falling into despair, but instead she “got up” from her situation to move ahead into a promising future. She recently graduated from nursing school and is a newly pinned RN, is the mother of a very active 4-year-old and is the Walk Chair for the Rutherford County “Out of Darkness” Walk.
Here are several helpful points that Lacie shares with others who may be having these same struggles:
• Lacie realizes that having a support team and a safety plan are her most critical tools. Her support team is aware of her stressors and triggers, and when they may be needed to help Lacie take precautions to keep her safe.
• That self-care is very important in “getting up” and that includes complying with medication and therapy regimens.
• That people do indeed have options when it comes to their care and that they can be their own strong advocates. For example, if you do not like your doctor or therapist, you can find a different one. Or you can reach out to a peer support specialist if you don’t feel you are getting the assistance you need.
• Having this mental illness in no way means that Lacie is inferior or incompetent, or that she cannot have an exciting fruitful career and life ahead. In fact, her own experience may even better prepare Lacie to provide the best nursing care for her future patients.
Thank you, Lacie, for “Getting Up” and sharing this inspiration!
And I would like to close this blog with four actions that my own church denomination (Metropolitan Community Churches) encourages during Mental Health Awareness Month:
1. Learn more about the facts of mental ill health and related issues.
2. Challenge our own and other’s negative attitudes and stigma.
3. Talk and reduce isolation.
4. Become more aware of local sources of help and support.
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Link to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for more info and resources.
Link to my skating blog page which contains links to my first four “get up” blogs.