What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
I was 9 and close to my deaf aunt. Part of her struggle was trying to live in a hearing world. She always told me that she could understand me better than anyone else because I would take time to pronounce my words. So we bonded. And at age 9, I found out that she had taken her life. That was one of my first real run-ins with abandonment because I was very close to my aunt. I just accepted it at that point, but only recently have I realized that I never really actually accepted it at all. What I did was I transitioned her fight into why I should give up too. I never really understood that before. I was finding myself dealing with a lot of issues related to suicide.
I’m 59 now. I was 9 then. Fifty years later, I only recently honestly, truthfully came to terms with what happened when I was a child. I still had to go through the valley. I still had to go through the issues related to suicide. And it’s helped me personally to realize, “Wait a minute. I’ve got the dynamic wrong.” I’ve got to shift the dynamic, that whole dichotomy. That has helped me to change a lot of things in my own.
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
My faith, prayer, and studying the Word of God.
Think about the system that affects our mental health in our society, including aspects that are damaging to mental health and aspects of the system that improve mental health. Based on your experience, how might we improve that system to build resilience and better address the mental health needs of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities?
By offering more connective loving support for all rather than alienating those who do not fit into your own defined expectations of humanity.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
That there is a God who cares and that God has a Son who died for you that you might live for Him.