Some people dread a certain day of the year and others feel stress during a particular week marking an upcoming painful event. I find that the month of September seems to be a pretty tough month for me because September is set aside as “Suicide Prevention Month.” The day that haunts me the 10th of September, “World Suicide Prevention Day.” Yes, apparently I was unable to prevent one loss, as my 33 year old daughter died by Suicide.
I notice the pain and heartache in my family a bit more this month. Articles, memes, billboards, books and stories focusing on mental health, suicide and emotional pain, help bring awareness and education surrounding this critical issue, causing me to flashback to the moment of realizing Dani is gone forever. Lives lost is the predominant theme, sprinkled in with a life saved, and an occasional story of hope. This is slowly becoming the norm in September and, as a suicide prevention advocate, this is exactly what my family, 33 Forever, Inc. and those of us who dedicate their lives to ending suicides are striving so hard for. Shouting “talk about it” and “break the stigma” from the rooftop, encouraging groups to “chalk about it” for more awareness and sharing our story are obvious actions to commemorate this month.
Rightly so, I vividly remember the very first “World Suicide Prevention Day” after losing Dani. It was a Monday morning, September 10, 2019, and my husband and I woke up after having a somewhat relaxed weekend at our “happy place” near Lake Erie, knowing it was the first of all the rest of the suicide prevention days that we would acknowledge. We made a short video sharing our feelings of the day and encouraging everyone to check on their people. Prior to 2019, I honestly had no idea that was a day set apart from others or that it would affect me so much in the future.
As my 3rd World Suicide Prevention Day approaches, it consistently reminds me of the struggles, loss and the 18 years of sleepless nights I had since Dani’s first attempt at the tender age of 15. But, as I now learn about the pain, suffering and struggles in our own circle of life, with so much sadness relating to depression, anxiety, PTSD and mental health disorders, I can’t help but imagine the pain outside of our circle – in your circle – and your extended circle. It is heartbreaking cycle that must be broken.
If I had someone to talk to during those early years, someone who wouldn’t judge or think of Dani (or our family) as “damaged” because of the acute stigma related to mental health issues, depression and suicide, I may have talked more about it, felt more secure in my pain and may have began this crusade a bit earlier. If love could provide an answer to this tragic crises “our people” are experiencing, there would be so fewer hearts hurting and so many of “our people” feeling a bit less alone. If there is one point I want to make loud and clear it is to please listen to those you love, to what they are saying and what they are NOT saying, ask key questions and reach out to help those struggling.
Suicide is unfortunately a tangible option for some and a “plan B” that may be lurking in the back of “our peoples” mind. It was lurking in my daughter’s mind on February 11, 2019 and I never admitted to myself that it could be there until she was gone.
You may never know how YOUR love and YOUR voice may help prevent someone from a future without their loved one. Suicide Prevention Month, no matter how sad or stressful it can be for me, is worth promoting if it saves just one life. 33 Forever, the non profit started in Danielle’s honor, and so many other life saving foundations, work to break the stigma of suicide and mental health challenges. It takes so much strength to open up but I encourage you to do so. Please be aware, get help if your thoughts are unhealthy and help promote suicide prevention and awareness – not only during September, but always, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.
#danileedy #33forever #reachout #suicideawareness #youmatter #depression #breakthestigma #talkaboutit #ourpeople