When I invited Ash Grunwald and Lissie Turner (aka Mel Bampton) to come and sit on the Gratitude Bench in Byron Bay to talk about what they're most grateful for, I had no idea they'd share so deeply, authentically and passionately.
I know -- intellectually -- that I am a good person. But the disorder skews this perception, making everything about the shame of my outer appearance. How can I be a good person when I do this to myself?
The Crisis Text Line is important to know about, especially this time of year. It's important to know that you're not alone and that there are lots of folks out there who want to listen to you, and who want to help.
Something is obviously going badly wrong for young people, even among some of the most privileged students in the world, and schools are scrambling to put programs in place to help them. But could these programs actually be making things worse?
Being able to talk about my issues and feeling like I had a support system were the keys to me getting completely mentally healthy again. I'm hope by telling my story I can reach someone who might feel like they're crazy, too, realize they're not, and get the help they need.
It would be prudent as well as a wonderful legacy to those who have lost their lives to suicide to turn our focus out of the darkness and into the light, from focusing on the details of death and disaster to our potential to provide support to those who are out there right now and need our help.
Looking back now, my story is kind of funny. It always gets a laugh out of people. But when you stop and think about it, it's actually horrible. You place your trust and affection in someone only to find out it was all a lie.
Mental illness is insidious. It's a monster that buries itself deep in your brain and rears its ugly head when you least expect it. And just when you think you've gotten to know the game it plays, the rules change.
Altruistic or not, it is of great benefit to our friends, family and community to gain insight into what the person in crisis is thinking and feeling -- whether we understand them or not -- in order to intervene in a potential life-threatening situation.
I am slowly beginning to accept that I can make my life look however I want, but under no circumstances can I sit back and wait for things to get better. Life is what you make of it. You have a choice.
The increased emphasis on suicide throughout DSM-5 will lead to more effective recognition of individuals with symptoms and behaviors that put them at risk. With improved diagnosis and care, the nation may finally be able to turn the tide on this loss and grief.