STRENGTH…

We all have different views on what strength is. Everyone has a back story, but not everyone knows another persons trials and tribulations.

Many of my newer friends know I lost my youngest son Jaie, to Suicide. But the back story before all this happened, is in many ways, out of a horror book for my children and myself.

‘Strength through Adversity’ I keep telling myself.

Do you want to know what strength is?

  • Strength is having someone you love, threaten to kill you and their unborn baby, yet you stand tall in the face of this.
  • Strength is having this person stalk you for years afterwards and 20 years later, you can stand up to them without blinking.
  • Strength is admitting when you are struggling and need help. Any help. From family, friends, workmates… literally anyone.
  • Strength is, after finding out a person you literally trusted with your life (children), has betrayed you all in the worst possible way, you do what is right. Even though, in that moment, it is the most difficult path.
  • Strength is having to teach your children that life is unfair and cruel and sometimes, bad people either fail to get any punishment or they receive minimum punishment. (Though I’m a firm believer that karma will catch them).
  • Strength is having your daughter disclose sexual abuse at 15 years of age and keeping your shit together, long enough to get her and her brothers to safety, while still being in the presence of evil.
  • Strength is doing things in a way that keeps everyone close to you safe from harm, until it can all be spoken about with them.
  • Strength is being judged for doing things in a way no one else can comprehend, but you still do it because you know it protects those you love.
  • Strength is talking your little brother out of suicide.
  • Strength is the very next night, realising immediately that your little brother is literally fighting for his life and calling the emergency services to try and help him.
  • Strength is calling your mother at 4.20am in the morning to let her know the police had found your little brothers body and that we had lost him.
  • Strength is living alone with the demons in your head, for over 10 years and telling no one just how horrifying they truly are.
  • Strength is convincing yourself that your family and friends are better off without you (this is not true. We love you and will always want you with us.) Suicide is not selfish or cowardly.
  • Strength is having to lie to your daughters about the death being confirmed, until you can be with them to break the news face to face.
  • Strength is wanting to help your mother cover the costs of your little brothers funeral.
  • Strength is mothering the child of your deceased fiancé, while feeling like you want to die too.
  • Strength is being able to wake up every single day and to choose life.
  • Strength is being able to comprehend that your life is never going to be what you thought it would be, but still making the most of it anyway.
  • Strength is knowing that by helping others, it is helping yourself.
  • Strength is finding a reason to smile everyday.
  • Strength is sometimes simply getting out of bed and taking a shower.
  • Strength is recognising what worked for you in the ‘Before’, no longer works for you in the ‘After’.
  • Strength is practicing self care and leading your children by example.
  • Strength is withdrawing when everything is too much.
  • Strength is telling people you have major depressive disorder (or bipolar or schizophrenia or any form of mental illness).
  • Strength is sometimes simply waking up, taking a deep breath, then rolling back over to return to sleep.
  • Surviving IS strength.

If you’re not walking in another persons shoes, how would you know what burdens they are carrying?

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

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Kate Spades Sister – Making Sense of ‘That’ Email

As a Suicide attempt and loss survivor, I understand the sisters words.  And in many ways her action of emailing the media.

Since losing my youngest son and child to Suicide in 2014, I have done nothing but research mental illness, health and Suicide as my second job.

I do recall telling my eldest son when the police were searching for Jaie, that if his little brother was serious about taking his own life, then until or unless Jaie accepted professional help, it was not an ‘if’ that he would kill him self. It was a when.

This is after working with various clients suffering from mental illness and having the opportunity to observe the difference between a client accepting help and one who refuses to and just thinks they can cope alone.

I also realised immediately, by what my eldest son was telling me, meant he was already starting to blame himself for what his little brother was about to do.

These comments are not made to remove hope. They are to create an environment of where people understand that research and education are invaluable to people helping loved ones through their struggles.

It tells survivors that their efforts to help are being recognised, but that there comes a time when the person who is unwell needs to step up and accept that they need to get professional assistance of some form.

I don’t understand why a family member speaking from a place of shock, loss and trauma would not be understood and recognised for their efforts to help their loved one.

The media are portraying this Suicide of Kate as a ‘shock’ and unexpected by everyone.

Well apologies dear media, but just because a person is famous, does not automatically give you rights to all of their personal issues and private struggles.

Kate’s sister is in shock.

She’s struggling to comprehend that her sister is deceased. She is struggling to understand why the media have to list who found Kate, where Kate was found and what method Kate used. She is trying to make some sense of an event which she had worked hard for years, to prevent.

So now, not only will Kate’s sister be overwhelmed with emotions of self-blame and guilt, the poor woman is now facing intense scrutiny from millions of strangers who will be making uneducated and judgmental statements about her immediate reaction in the face of immense shock, trauma and grief.

This poor sister is struggling to fathom that not only is her sister dead at her own hand, but the media is sharing every single detail of Kate’s death. The how, where and who found her.

The media should once again be the group being judged here, not a grieving family.

I now say to my eldest son, you did whatever was humanly possible with limited resources and experience with mental health skills.

Ask yourself, “Was there any malice in what you did? No there wasn’t because you know and I know that you would have taken a bullet to save your baby brother. There was no malice on your part.”

It appears now, that Kate’s sister is taking a rhetorical bullet for her sister, by sending out this email.

Kate Schuster from The Mighty also wrote and article on this email. The link is below.

https://themighty.com/2018/06/kate-spade-suicide-interview-sister/?utm_source=newsletter_digest&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_digest_2018-06-08

‘Sometimes Love Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

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Rising From these Ashes

“I lost myself, when my sister died.”

Words from a newly discovered friend tonight.

“I’m sure you understand what I’m trying to say. You lost your son.”

I had begun to cry at her words.

This lady actually saw it and got it. Her loss and grief has taken her to a place where now, she too is fighting to return to the land of the living.

I explained to this friend that I’ve been trying to explain for 4 years how grief has changed me. I tell people that if they’re struggling to cope with the stranger I’ve become, imagine how difficult it is for me!

I look in the mirror every. single. day. And have little to no recognition of the ‘person’ staring back at me.

And it is a terrifying thing. For ones life to go from ‘normal’ issues and woes, to a parents and family’s worst nightmare.

Then there are the people who use your loss against you for their own spiteful, immature and selfish reasons. So you wonder why you still bother trying to be that change in this messed up world.

To all those soul survivors out there, please believe that your departed loved one is still around you. They are still showering you with love.

May you find the grace in yourself to practice kindness to your own soul.

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

Dedicated to A.L.

Accepting ‘tiredness’ into your life.

I used to believe i knew about tiredness in years past, but I was simply kidding myself about what tiredness actually was.

Since Jaie killed himself, genuine tiredness/weariness is now a true constant in my life.

Constant, in the sense that I never wake up after a decent nights sleep, feeling reenergised and refreshed.

Instead I fight against opening my eyes and reentering reality and the everyday struggle for survival. Now it’s as if I have to brace myself prior to becoming fully awake and aware, that the hollow pit of pain in my chest, was not a bad dream. That this nightmare is one in reverse. Where sleep is an escape from the horrors which await me.


Jaie’s first photo for 2018 😭💔😭


Our Nightmare is one that will recur everyday and night, until we too become nothing but atoms of energy around our remaining loved ones.

Being cleared of having bipolar today, was a massive relief for me. Major depressive disorder and anxiety are cruel enough to cope with. Didn’t stop me crying though.

I wonder what 2018 will bring us?

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare

So Called ‘Recovery’.

Since this horrific journey began, so many unknown elements are being exposed to me.

Elements that seemed so acceptable and ‘normal’ (most disliked word now).

I read so many lived experience blogs and medical articles, some times, it feels as if the top of my head will lift off.

Professionals and non-professionals speak of ‘recovery’ for those of us who suffer mental illness.

I beg to differ strongly in the description of our individual experiences.

For many suffering mental illness, there will never be ‘recovery’.

It’s time society stops making these naive and, at times, patronising assumptions and statements.

We need to start treating mental illnesses as a cancer of the soul and mind. Not as if it is some mystical, untouchable, imaginary condition.

Robin Williams (may he rest in peace), is a prime example of a person with ‘soul and mind cancer’ (aka: mental illness), utilising many different methods of therapy and treatments, throughout his life. All of which most definitely contributed towards his life being extended to 63 years of age. If he tried coping without professional intervention, the educated assumption would be that his life would have ended many, many years (possibly decades) earlier.

 

I know of many friends who have been on medication for a long time and will probably be on them for the rest of their lives. I’m coming up to 3 years on my medications. They are keeping me alive, no doubt about it. If I stop taking them, my chances of dying increase greatly.

Now if we had Cancer and were taking medication or attending treatments to help us fight to remain alive, we’d be looked at as battlers and heroes.

But those of us with mental illness are looked upon as ‘weak and naive’ because we take medications which help us with our respective illnesses.

Also, just as Cancer can go into remission, so to it appears can depression and other mental illnesses. The treatments worked to give the sufferer a time of respite.

Then later something may trigger the mental illness and the fight is back on for survival.

Society needs to stop placing unrealistic expectations on people with mental illness (severe or otherwise). We already struggle with our inner demons enough, without having society expecting us to one day, ‘simply get better’.

I’m in the process now, of accepting the fact that my mental illnesses will be my lifelong companions. And as such there will be days we get along well and other days we hate each other desperately.

But recovery is a false dream for many of us, so stop shoving it down our throats.

 

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

Purgatory is Real …

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I struggle at times to explain how the loss of my child has impacted me, until this week.

I was looking recently into signing a contract for something which spread over several years and in the back of my mind, all I could think was this;

“Oh no! I cannot live that much longer without one of my children!”

This threw me for several days, however I do know that other mothers, sisters, brothers, fathers and partners totally comprehend what I am saying/thinking.

Purgatory is what every parent lives through once they have lost a child. Every single day requires a conscious choice to not only survive, but to thrive. No easy task when a portion of your soul is no longer with you physically.

Purgatory is when you simply wish to sleep (so long as there are no nightmares) to escape the nightmare that your life has become.

Almost 3 years since Jaie died and I still say to people, “I just do not understand how we got here? How it all came to this?”

I force myself to not cry because it is almost impossible to stop once I start. I just wish to find a dark hole to crawl into, curl up and never come out.

Medication can only do so much and the rest is on ourselves. Therapy helps as well, but I am certain that if I ever let anyone into my mind, they would run screaming from me and never see me again.

I would no longer be allowed to walk within the community. But then again I see what our so called justice system allows to remain around our communities so maybe I would still be  able to remain mainstream?

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

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Child Loss Echoes on Forever …

‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’

This quote was used on Jaie’s ‘Deed of Service’ at his funeral. Because indeed it felt, and still feels, this way. A child is meant to be a cause for joy and future preparations. Planning of weddings and family gatherings, not of choosing a casket and where to have their funeral.

Two years, 19 months and 9 days since Jaie died by suicide. Sometimes I do wonder how it would be to grieve for the loss of a child, without the added complication of suicide as the cause (please I am in no way trying to compare our grief with anyone else’s, it is simply a thought which occasionally passes through my mind)? 

Would I have coped ‘better’? Or just differently? Or is it truly what I believe in my heart that the manner in which Jaie died, while important in the grief journey in some ways, is irrelevant in others? Child loss is just that! LOSS!

It is this huge, gaping loss of someone who we have expected to share all of our past, present and future moments with, in one way or another. But we then feel the loss of our others children’s grief. We feel our hearts begin to bleed when they say or write how much they miss their ‘little brother’ or their ‘baby’s daddy’.

So we do wonder if there will come a point where your lives will begin to settle into a routine. A routine which shall always have that door which is slightly ajar, allowing thoughts of our loved one, to sneak out into our everyday lives. See this is also bittersweet, because while it hurts us, we have every right in the world to think and speak of our lost loved ones. No matter how they died. We are the Rememberers’ and that is what we shall continue to do.

The thoughts never stop racing through my mind, some days they are worse than others. Just as some days the triggers are far worse than others. No one understands the amount of energy it takes to just be ‘functioning’ in society. To be able to work and interact and talk and focus on my work load. But I will do it all happily, if it gives me just a few moments where I am not focused on how Jaie died and that he is actually dead. I take pride in producing top quality work and I want my participation in a job, to ensure that it makes someone’s life a bit more enjoyable or less stressful.

I am just rambling now. It is almost our 3rd christmas without Jaie and I am truly dreading it. Reality is like hindsight. A cruel and merciless beast. It shows no discretion or diplomacy, it simply is. We have no choice but to accept it or at least make out that we do, so the rest of the world can keep functioning as if nothing has changed. As if no one has had their ‘chain of life’ broken and discarded.

I am so tired and tortured and these are a non-stop battle. I am always both, to varying degrees. My pain never stops, it simply morphs occasionally to give me a moments respite.

Stay safe everyone <3.

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‘Love Sometimes Comes Like a Dream & Leaves Like a Nightmare’