Tuesday, September 10, 2019

It Doesn't Matter.

NYC, New York, World Trade Center, 9-11, memories, moments, community, loss, grief


It doesn't matter how many years have gone by.

It doesn't matter how some memories have faded.

For those of us who have walked that walk.

For those of us who have seen those skies.

We remember. 

We never forget. 

====

It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter how many people share their "where were you on -?" posts.

It doesn't matter how many moments of silence we take.

For those of us who felt the earth shift that day.

For those of us who wondered how we'd make it home.

We remember. 

We never forget. 

====

It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter how many messages we send.

It doesn't matter how many hugs and hearts and I see you-s we receive.

For those of us who looked up at the sky.

For those of us who listened for the silence.

We remember. 

We never forget. 

====

Each year I write something a little bit different.

Each year I ask those of you who consider sharing memories to avoid sharing those horrible photographs. The videos. The clips. Images. With sound. Without.

The flames. The soot. The ash.

No. Please. Don't. Thank you.

Because.

For those of us who smelled the air.

For those of us who saw them fall.

We remember. 

We never forget. 

And we never will.

====

2017: Today I Remember.

2015: My New York.

2014: New York Will Always Be Home.

2013: Where I'm At.

2012: Why I Write.

2011: It's Been Ten Years.

2011: The World Stopped Turning.

2010: Then and Now. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Closing Doors.

life, relationships, dating, life after divorce, love, friendships, connection, pain, emotions


Y'all.

I am so tired this week.

I have plans this weekend that will bring love and joy and support back into my world and my heart, and I can't wait for them.

But in the meantime?

This week.

I just can't get out of my own head.

I just can't get out of my own way.

I know you do it, too.

I've had so many people express how very much they can relate.

How very much they understand.

I am tired.

Of the news?

Yes.

Of course.

Of the news.

Of politics?

Yes.

Of course.

Of politics.

Of people?

Huh.

Yes.

Somewhat.

Of people.

That's the part that I'm stuck on.

A loop.

I extend myself. I'm true to myself.

I. Am. Me.

To people I meet.

People I talk to.

People I hope to meet.

And then.

What?

What happens?

Doors close.

I am so in tune with myself and the people I surround myself with, that I know they're about to close before they close them.

Did you follow me there?

If I know you - and you're closing the door on me? On us?

I know it before you do it.

I don't have to know you well to know.

I'm good at this shit.

* Also, hi, I'm a therapist, I read people for a living - though let's not talk about that one time I was pretty effing blindsided - I consider that to be my weak spot, and have improved my abilities there beyond description. So. Moving on. *

But. Y'all.

I'm still tired.

I still question.

Maybe it's my own history.

Have you ever seen a friendship vanish? A relationship disappear? And thought - what on earth did I do that made them ...?

It's not that.

It's not you.

Those words - it's not you, it's me - they're 110% true.

It. Is. NOT. You.

It's THEM.

They. Are. Closing. Doors.

People have their own fears.

Their own weaknesses.

We know our own. We know when we are the ones closing the doors. When we walk away from people who have hurt us, or have the potential to hurt us.

But when we watch people walk away from the truest versions of ourselves we have given them? Shared with them? Shown them?

They. Are. Closing. Doors.

And yes. Goodness, yes. It hurts like a mother.

Friend. Family member. Spouse. Potential lover.

Whoever they are.

It hurts.

But remind yourself.

Prepare yourself.

Because you know.

You sense.

You see.

Closing doors.

They're closing in front of your face. Behind your back. You slam them. They do.

Either way.

It's okay.

Because, as the saying goes, when one door closes ...

Now walk through that next one.

Head held high.

I'm there, too. Right beside you.

Closing doors.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Mental Health: Suicide in the News

suicide, mental health, news reports, suicidality, ideations, loss, grief, pain, emotion, safety

I wrote a post this morning on my Facebook page.

I explained the importance of paying attention to what we share about loss of life to suicide, especially when it's all over the news.

I explained how triggering these types of shares can be for the general public. General, every day people in our lives who read these things, watch the commentary and think to themselves, wow.

My own feed was full of speculation, judgment, biased observation, and links to articles filled with much of the same. And me, a therapist who has not experienced thoughts of taking my own life in any manner, has not experienced this kind of pain, *I* found it quite triggering. Painful, even.

I shook my head a lot.

Thought of my clients, people I've worked with over the years, who have experienced thoughts of harming themselves. Thoughts of ending things.

Thought of friends who have had these thoughts. The many women in my life who have experienced perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, where thoughts of suicide were as every day as waking up when their baby cried.

And I considered what they [the collective they, any of them, all of them] might be experiencing, might be feeling.

Suicide is one of the least selfish, least cowardly things those suffering feel they can do. 

Read that again.

The act of suicide is not done with a selfish heart.

I also indicated that we never know how triggering these kinds of reports will be to those in our lives who have lost loved ones to suicide, or who have experienced thoughts of suicide, suicidal ideations, as we call them in the field of mental health.

We need to have this conversation in public spaces.

We just must.

Social media is where we find our news these days.

It's where we read about the horrors happening all across the globe.

It's where we see birth announcements.

Birthday parties.

Entertaining memes.

It's quite often like our very own living room.

And we need to keep it that way.

When we can. As best we can.

A safe space for US. It's our space.

(Well, really it's Zuckerberg's space, but you get me, right?)

But I call to you anyway.

And I ask you to consider your guests.

Now, no, not the people peeking in through the blinds.

It's their own fault if they see something that upsets them.

That's completely different.

But if you invite someone over to share in your space - as we tend to on social media - you want them to feel comfortable, too, right?

I'd go as far as to say that you probably wouldn't invite a vegan to a pig pickin'. (This is so southern of me, seriously.)

So try to be aware. If you have friends, family members, people in your life who have either experienced thoughts of suicide or have lost loved ones to suicide - consider them before you share that latest conspiracy theory about the life that ended. Or before you share the coroner's report. Or the mass speculation and so much more.

Just do as you do when you're speaking to people face-to-face. Or as each of us SHOULD do when speaking to people face-to-face.

Stop.

Think.

Speak.

Observe.

It's a four step process. We need to observe the people we're speaking to. If someone is uncomfortable it's not that hard to read them and see the signs. Take the time to do so.

And please. Stop sharing without thinking. You just might support someone in your life you didn't even know needed you. And sometimes that's the best kind of support we can offer.

Remember that if you or someone you love is struggling or needs someone to talk to there is help.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. 

You do not have to be contemplating suicide or considering hurting yourself to reach out to them. Call them if you need to talk. Call them if things are too overwhelming and you don't know what is going to happen next. Call them if you're terrified and alone. Just call them. Please. Reach out to a loved one. Don't go through this alone. You're not alone. People are out there, ready to listen. People who love you. People who care. Please make the call.


For posts on similar topics:

How To Protect Your Mental Health in Today's Political Climate

Mental Health Matters

Ten Truths About Mental Health

Ten Things To Know Before Your First Therapy Appointment

To see the actual Facebook post, click below.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Talk To Your Kids About Lockdown Drills.

active shooter, lockdown drills, school preparedness, talk to your kids, love your children, parenting, motherhood, fatherhood, teachers


If you haven't had this conversation before?

Have it now.

It's impossible to avoid it.

Many of us in the south have started school already.

My daughter had her first fire drill today.

My first question after she told me that was ...

Did you have a lockdown drill yet?

She said no.

But it's coming.

I know it's coming.

It has to.

School years start with the basics.

Lists of school supplies.

Meetings with the teachers.

Perhaps a copy of the syllabus.

And.

Lockdown drills.

Most of our kids know the drill, as it were.

Most of our kids, if they've been in school at least once before?

Know exactly what to do when the lockdown drill begins.

But if this is your child's first year in school?

You need to bring it up.

You need to prepare them.

And either way, old student or new?

You need to be able to talk to them about lockdown drills.

It's scary. Terrifying. Heartbreaking.

All of it.

But we still need to talk about them.

They're not going away.

America is not safe.

Schools no longer represent a safe place for our children to spend their days.

Teachers are now prepped in ways to keep our kids safe. All while staying alive.

Read that again.

The adults who teach our children.

Some of them new teachers, seemingly children themselves (I'm in my late 40s, I'm allowed to say that!), are taught how to both, stay alive AND keep our children alive during an active shooter situation.

Goodness.

This is horrifying.

Talking to your children about lockdown drills will not make them any less horrifying.

Nor will they become any less necessary (I'm looking at Congress here, and the voters, and some of y'all, for this).

But they might become a touch less scary for the kids.

Just enough so that the same way we explain what a doctor is going to do to check a child's eyes, ears, nose and throat, to make sure that the child is healthy and okay - is how we can explain what these drills are for.

Talking through the scariest of scenarios isn't entirely necessary, depending on the age of your child. But explaining to them that similarly to a fire drill (only not similar, not similar at all), kids are required to listen to the teachers and other adults in the room with them. They're to follow instructions and ensure that they do as directed.

And stay very very quiet.

So quiet that they're impossible to find.

It's like the biggest game of hide-and-seek, only the entire school is involved. And it's not a game. Explaining to your child about the importance of staying safe, and the importance of saving all questions for later, or for another time, or for the moments when they've returned to their desks and the teachers are maybe, possibly, (hopefully) reviewing the experience with them.

These. Ways.

These. Things.

These are the best ways to keep them safe.

So please. Recognize that lockdown drills are not going away.

And talk to your children about them.

Continue to discuss the ways the school and its teachers work towards keeping them safe.

Until the day comes when we don't have to any more.

Until the day comes when we finally move forward.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

We Move Forward.

domestic terrorism, America, current events, community, loss, grief, pain, culture, white supremacy, toxic masculinity
When?

When will it end?

How many lives need to be cut short before we see change?

How many people need to check in with their loved ones to report that they are safe?

That they were 'far from' the latest incident of domestic terror?

That's what this all is, you know?

Domestic.

Terrorism.

What do we do?

We move forward.

So many people.

So many lives lost.

So many white men with access to guns.

Weapons beyond what any individual should have access to.

Military grade weapons are NOT needed.

We are not a military nation [hold on - stay with me].

We HAVE a military.

THEY have access to military grade weapons.

We should not.

What can we do?

We move forward.

I will not share the shooters' names here.

Will. NOT.

Yes. Multiple shooters.

More than one incident in 24 hours.

What. The. Fletch?

What is happening?

What is going on?

What - what - what?

Oh, you know.

The same exact things we've been dealing with for-what-seems-like-ever.

The same exact things that break our hearts over and over and over again.

What do we do as our hearts shatter?

We move forward.

My own heart breaks.

My own body flinches.

My own throat closes.

My head hurts.

My eyes fill.

Let's stand up.

Let's call it what it is, friends.

TERRORISM.

Mass shootings do not occur because of mental illness.

Say it with me.

Mass shootings do not occur because of mental illness.

Mass shootings are acts of domestic terrorism.

Mass shootings happen when someone (statistics show that more frequently than not a white male) decides to take action. To get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction. And to establish a plan and make that plan a reality.

Mass shootings = massacres.

How do we respond to these massacres?

We move forward.

But do we really?

Do we really move forward?

No.

We don't.

We're stuck.

We stay where we are.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

How many more people have to lose their lives before we take action?

How many more tears will be shed before we see change?

How many more lives will be lost before we move forward?

Please.

America.

I beg of you.

Move forward.