Monday, October 9, 2017

This Is Why I Write

One of the most important things you can do on this earth 
is to let people know they are not alone. 

― Shannon L. Alder

You eloquently put into words so many thoughts in my mind and on my heart....thank you for giving a loving voice to it all. - Teresa Macaluso Celli, Oakley, California

I just read your blog about suicide. You have power in words for others. A mighty survivor who can help many with your thoughts and knowledge. - RC, Birmingham Alabama

You always manage to say everything I have never been able to put into words. Please continue to document your journey because it is a voice so so many who have grief caught in their chests. There is dumbfounding value in all you write. - Mimi Tati Ottobani, Walnut Creek, California

I want to say thank you for loving and supporting John and for sharing that with the rest of us.
Bipolar depression comes with a deep self loathing that can be impossible to override... Your writings remind me that even if i don't want to be here for me, it is really important that I stay here for them. - AT, Berkeley, California

You have an expertise on the topic of suicide that I'm sure you wish you didn't have. It's great that you're using your experiences to help others. Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW

You've opened my mind to a different view. Of course it's not a sin if someone dies of cancer and I can see how this line of thinking relates to mental illness. I will think differently about this in the future. Thank you for your perspective. - TF, Colorado Springs, Colorado

You are able to help me understand more than any other person has been able to do. Thank you for sharing your heart. Keep doing what you are doing! We definitely need your voice!Joy Macaluso, Willmington, Ohio

Being blamed for a suicide is a very familiar story. I hate that so many of us have experienced this.  All I know is that it’s messing with our own grieving process to be dealing with this unnecessary burden. Che Broadnax, Brooklyn, New York

You are courageous for walking through the pain and sharing your experience so openly. I don't talk about this often but I tried committing suicide when I was 16. My mom made me promise that we wouldn't ever talk about because people would think I was crazy. You are helping a lot of people by bringing awareness to something that's painful to talk about. - SM, Lafayette, California

Once again you have put into words emotions that would seem impossible to explain. You are shedding a light onto mental illness and describing what so few people actually see and that in fact is a way of honoring John. - HM, Martinez, California

Thank you for your honesty. One issue I have with placing blame on others is that it detracts from addressing the actual causes of suicide and it perpetuates stigma. (Suicide is the 'fault' of a person, instead of the result of illnesses that we need to understand better.) - Shelly Sover, Albuquerque, New Mexico

It is very hard to live knowing our loved ones will never be coming back. Your blog can help many people that are experiencing what you have. Nami Nakamura, Illustrator, Remembering Dad: A Coloring Book for Grief, Loss and Comfort.

Your writing Is a gift - awareness is much needed for all whether it be those affected or not. - JN, Lima, Ohio

I feel guilty because I should have been able to save him. I should have seen the signs, they were right there in my face. I wish he felt he could have come to me about his underlying issues, and he didn’t think he had ANYONE. That is the guilt that eats at me. I was his person, he should have been able to come to me. We were the person closest to the one who died, so naturally people expect the answers from us and we don’t have the answers so they instantly shift to blame. - Kristi Burke, Fort Worth, Texas

Keep journaling in your blogs and keep reaching out to us. I know this is a hard journey without them but we can get through this together. - RC, Birmingham Alabama

I admire the beautiful way you tell your truth. It is tremendously moving and I hope that others may feel able to share their feelings, knowing that they are not alone. - LM, Pleasant Hill, California

Thank you! My heart is with you. I'm proud of what you do. - Bernice Estalilla, Quezon City, Philippines

Always, always, thank you for sharing! - Roxane Arnett, Camino, California

Love your truth. Hate thinking of the pain but love the compassion and beauty that you have opened the window to. You are braver than you know.  - Ann Mccolgan Tomaselli, Pleasant Hill, California

Unfortunately, like so many survivors, I can relate to being blamed. Grief can bring out the worst in some people. - JK, Michigan

Thank you so much for sharing. This is so personal and helps tremendously. -  Michelle Cook, Detroit Michigan

I have had suicidal ideation since I was about 10 years old. I almost never share it with anyone because there is no right reaction - it is either dismissed as dramatics, smothered with concern, or creates an awkward black cloud of silence. It waxes and wanes, and as I get older, there seems to be more waning. Your chronicling of your loss is helping me to focus on the people around me who would be left in the wake of my self destruction, who actually care. TA, Berkeley, CA

Blame really isn't helpful. I see it though as one of those things that people do to not to look at their own feelings. - HM, Lafayette, CA

Thanks so much for posting this. The last few weeks the guilt has been excruciating. In my head I know all the things you say but my heart is another story. Jenny Cain Folkerts, Covington, Georgia

I saw your post on FB with the link to your blog. You captured all the feelings I'm going through, but so far have not been able to get from my head to paper. I'm going to start a journal, I think I'm ready now. - TJ Walnut Creek, California

I'm sure so many people have benefited from your sharing of your raw feelings. I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles and losses. It sucks that there are so many of us. I have been open about my loss of my son, and was amazed to find so many others who wanted to confide about their losses from suicide. I find it helps in my own healing. CS, Moderator, Sharing Our Stories, Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group

Thanks for all your posts about suicide prevention. As someone who spent a lot of his life with suicidal tendencies, I appreciate your efforts. I'm a survivor and know how unbelievably hard getting through those times are. I'm grateful to be alive today and do my best to live life to its fullest each day. Your efforts are important and valuable. - Rick Eckert, Concord, California

I appreciate learning more about how mental illness is a disease. Even though I know and love many family members and friends with mental illness, I too still fall into the ignorant thought processes at times that people who suffer from mental illness have choices. It's good to be reminded to check my biases.- Melissa Brown, Canaan, New York

Thank you for walking us through your stages. It gives so much hope for resolution. - AL, Berkeley, CA

As someone who has loved a person who struggled as it sounds like John struggled, I am very familiar with the responsibility and guilt you are feeling. I add my name to those who thank you for your breathtaking honesty and the beauty of your writing. Josh Room, Berkeley, California

Your writing has helped me navigate through the roller coaster ride of feelings & emotions that I now go through. By sharing your journey , you help countless others. In times of loss we can be surrounded by loved ones yet still feel all alone.... hearing from someone who has/ is going through it helps on a whole different level. - JT, Walnut Creek, California

Your writing is so clear and in many ways makes me and others understand many of the things we do not talk about. Know you are contributing tremendously to all of our well being.  - Elsa Guerra, Oakland, California

Absolutely, phenomenally, and endlessly brave to write these words that express feelings that no one should ever have to feel.  You are changing the world Chelise, mark my words. - Maddi Grady, Sebastopol, California

I work in adult mental health and appreciate your words and efforts to educate and decrease stigma. Jena Nawy Tunis, Berkeley, California

Beautiful, sad, painful and raw. Thank you for sharing this. Your words will make a world of change for you and others. I'm so happy you have such a positive spin on past tragedies and pain. It so important for people to know they aren't aloneBrandy Anne Martin, Encinitas, California

Guilt seems to have the strongest hold on everyone who goes through this.AF, Colorado

You are a gifted writer, able to put down emotions and thoughts on a page, that many cannot even manage to vocalize. - Lynne Wright, Fremont, California

You are someone who gets it. I am sure he needed that. I hope that this horrible disease gets the true help it needs. - Beth Hall,  Orlando, Florida

Thank you for so openly sharing your story. The world needs you. I fully support you and the gift you are giving by openly sharing your story. - Francesca Bunnin Cavanaugh, El Cerrito, California

Thank you for being so authentic. I admire your strength, honesty and bravery. Your words are powerful and bring hope to many. Amy Moore-McDannald, Portland, Oregon

I continue to struggle daily - some days are worse than others. It does help to hear about others who have lost someone they love to suicide. - Nancy Varella Lendway, Dublin, California

Thank you again for this raw and beautiful writing and for protecting your John. I will protect my partner Diana, who died by suicide, too. - Landon J. Woolston, North Miama, Florida

I’ve often wondered what would bring my 20 year nephew who was in the prime of his life to make the decision to end his life. I still cry at the thought of what kind of pain he must have been in to think that life was no longer worth living, that the world would be a better place without him.  Of course, it is not. People don’t understand why he would do it - they either don’t know he had clinical depression or don’t understand the reality of how severe depression can be - and did try to find someone or something to blame.  The questions will never go away. You just carry on and sometimes get misty eyed thinking of what you shoulda, coulda, woulda done, had you known how deep his pain went. As they say, you don’t “get over it” but you do learn to live with it, sadly. - CG, San Pablo, California

Survivors are not victims; anyone who thinks sharing our stories means we can't get past them doesn't understand one doesn't equal the other. - Rachel Thompson, Author/Advocate

From the Survivors of Loss of Loved Ones to Suicide (SOLOS) website:

Research has proven that through connecting with others who have experienced the same traumas as ourselves, individuals can truly do something amazing and open the door to healing -whether that be connecting with others who have struggled with depression, anxiety, self-harm or who have been through a suicide loss.