Friday, May 13, 2016

To the New Survivor of Suicide, an Open Love Letter

An "open love letter" I wrote has just been published by The Mighty, an online magazine that addresses disability, disease, and mental illness.
I was inspired after reading another "open love letter" titled, "To the Person Sitting in a Hospital After a Suicide Attempt". It's very powerful, and I encourage you to read it.
We are all malades in our own way. We are loved. We will be OK.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How to deal with anniversaries of major events

At midnight on New Years Day, I watched the ball drop in Times Square from the TV in my friend's apartment in downtown Washington, DC. Surrounded by great company, we had been celebrating all night, and I was caught off guard when I spent the first several seconds of 2016 battling an internal force to breakdown and cry.

I didn't look at New Years 2016 as a hurdle to overcome, so I was surprised by my immediate reaction. The door had closed on one of the most difficult years of my life, and I wasn't mentally prepared for it. After a few hugs and cheers, I excused myself to the bathroom to take a minute to process my feelings. 

In one of my first SOS group therapy sessions shortly after Andy died, one of the other members had mentioned that anniversaries of major events -a birthday, holiday, wedding anniversary, anniversary of death- were actually more difficult to deal with in the days leading up to the event, than the actual day itself. With the exception of New Year's Day, that has held true for me. I had some anxiety leading up to what would have been our 8th anniversary, which recently passed. When the day itself came, I devoted my energy into becoming one of my most productive days at the office ever, and before I knew it, the day was done.

After I had been in bathroom for a few minutes, a friend knocked on the door to check on me. I quickly cleaned myself up, and when I opened the door for her, she smiled and asked if I was okay. I could tell that we had a shared awareness of the effect of New Years. I was glad she had checked in. A few minutes alone had been a healthy amount of time for me to digest my grief before returning to the world and to the present.

That said, I am okay. The anniversaries of major events will continue to come and go, and I'm sure that as time goes on they will become easier to handle. For me personally, distractions and good company, combined with a healthy dose of time to process my feelings, is the best cure.

Happy New Year. Here's to a bright future.