Mental health

Ugly Truth 015: Suicide Rates Soar in the Spring

Trigger Warning: This post makes mention of suicide. Good Morning Readers, Welcome back to Deskraven’s 100 Ugly Truth Series! If you know me personally, you know that suicide awareness is close to my heart and something I advocate for regularly. It is among the leading causes of death, and yet we refrain from talking about it openly. Perhaps most troubling, this phenomenon is almost impossible for those who have never juggled the suicidal impulse to understand. This is because suicidal ideation is not always a decision, but often an irrational mood state similar to that of depression, anxiety, or euphoria. This is often exacerbated by the endurance test that is mental illness isolation. When viewed in this light, the suicidal impulse becomes slightly easier to understand. I say “slightly” because there is just no preparation for the untimely self murder of a loved one. My story as a suicide loss survivor begins 3,652 days ago, or roughly 10 years. Inside 48 hours I learned of the suicide of my maternal grandfather and a close family friend on my father’s side. In a very small time frame, my family was shattered and continues to refracture with each passing year as a direct result of suicide. If you’ve been touched by suicide or have survived an attempt yourself, please know that I am glad you’re here, and you’re not alone. The truth is, this is something I may always grapple with due to the endless collateral damage left in the wake of suicide. You can read my story in greater detail by visiting A Suicide Survivor Story – Part I. I have coped with this traumatic loss by diving into the scientific data of suicidality and seasonal patterns of affective disorders. Aside from a morbid preoccupation, I am genuinely fascinated by the academics of someone being driven to the brink. In my research I have found many factors including socioeconomic status, gender, resource access, mental health, genetics, exposure to trauma, and substance abuse to play a significant role. Additionally, this avenue has provided a path for language and conversation in a space where only acknowledgement, acceptance, and time can heal. For more information on these trends and to see inside the suicidal mind, I recommend reading anything by Kay Redfield Jamison, M.A., Ph.D. I have dedicated myself to understanding suicide because I find liberation in psychology. Likewise, it serves as an adequate deflection that has allowed me to process my losses slowly without avoiding it completely. While poring over my books I noticed a trend in the data that was supported by additional publications. I noticed an increase in suicide rates in the spring and summer months. This overlap fascinated me when I noticed that my own losses took place in April. This was supported by examining my own neuroses during these months where I did in fact notice an increase in my own self destructive and depressive episodes. Some psychiatrists attribute this to the increase in the length of daylight, the link between pollen and brain inflammation, and a general increase in energy and task execution. Read more at The Inquirer, Suicide rates rise in the spring. Here’s what you need to know, by Aneri Pattani, Updated: March 29, 2019 This seasonal influx remains a mystery swaddled in the misconception that the darker winter months produce increased suicidality. However, it isn’t until the sun shines and the flowers bloom that we find the ability to act on our grief. Furthermore, this is a subtle yet steady increase rather than a sudden spike. The truth is, we don’t have a full answer as to the why just yet. Suicide is a world-wide, year-round crisis that should be addressed more frequently. However, with a noted increase in the spring and summer months I encourage you to check in on your friends and loved ones this season. Ask them how they are doing – really. Listen when they speak. Offer support and solutions. Offer love and kindness free from judgment. Offer a wedge between clinical sadness and isolation. While the reasons are many, loss is universal and no one should walk alone. Please comment below if you or a loved one is in need of support. Share your story. Suicide Prevention Resource Center Become a Suicide Prevention Advocate Free Online Counseling and Peer-to-Peer Support **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health, Relationships

Ugly Truth 014: Relationships are Hard

“A strong relationship requires choosing to love each other, even in those moments when you struggle to like each other.”

– Dave Willis, The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles

Good Morning Readers,

There are many kinds of interpersonal relationships, but for the purpose of this ugly truth, we will be talking about romance.

Even the healthiest relationships encounter blunders from time to time. No matter how much you love someone, you may find that their quirks don’t always mesh well with your own. Relationships are hard because communication requires practice, patience, acceptance, apology and maturity. You can not demand your partner be on the same page as you, but if you’re lucky you will find yourself in the same book. No matter the discourse respect should never be lost, and settling should never be mistaken for compromise.

Take a moment to consider the difference between hearing and listening. It is important to learn the signals of your loved ones while also maintaining boundaries. There are certain things I wont tolerate, and that’s not a bad thing. Likewise, I try hard to be more flexible toward others whose common sense may not match up with my own. I delight in the joys and successes of my partner as if they were my own, as well as the grief and the sorrow.

If your relationship is going to be successful then you need to put the work in. Anyone who says they don’t want a relationship they have to work on is being delusional. Sharing time, space, and life with other human beings is tough, even with people we really, really like.

What has brought you the most success in your relationships?

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Mental health

Ugly Truth 013: Self-Sabotage Slows Progress

“What is required for many of us, paradoxical though it may sound, is the courage to tolerate happiness without self-sabotage.” -Nathaniel Branden

Dear Readers,

I have been a self sabotager all of my life. I believe this is a facet of my childhood abuse and abandonment. Self sabotage is a function of imposter syndrome, control, fraudulent thinking or familiarity in a seemingly powerless universe.

As an adolescent my false beliefs blossomed into fundamental distortions such as, “I am not good enough,” or “Who am I to think I can…” or “I am unworthy of love.” This left me with nothing more than a gaping hole at the center of myself, and a personality partial to self-loathing melancholy.

The truth is, children of abuse or abandonment have a unique ability to blame themselves for the shortcomings of their environment. Likewise, they are made to believe the worthlessness that is instilled in them, indirectly or otherwise, because the message comes from the source of those promised to love and protect them most. However false, we find it naturally credible at the time.

As an adult, my inherent worthlessness clashed with the elevated speeches my father used in attempt to build me up. Likewise, my foolish romantic choices did not match up with my intellect. After a series of uprooted relocations and exposure to multiple severely traumatic events, I grew deeply weary – which shifted my distorted thinking from poor self worth to suicidal indifference.

The truth is, I often resent the fact that my life has been saved. When you’d rather be dead you tend to become complacent, counting your days as blessings rather than practical opportunities. However, I remain deeply discontent. When I combine my restlessness with my resentment – and throw in a dash of fear convictions – I achieve only paralysis. Unfortunately, insight isn’t everything.

After years of therapy, I still find it incredibly difficult to set and execute life goals. Aside from episodic mental illness, the only excuse I have is a fear of success.

The truth is, anguish can be an excellent catalyst for change, or it can hold us back from that which we are easily capable of by swallowing our personhood and keeping us warm at night. Likewise, when you have suffered a traumatic event you may find that excitement feels dangerously close to anxiety or panic, thus you avoid it completely. You may be familiar with this if you know what it feels like to be “too happy.”

Catastrophic thinking holds us from our own potential despite the sense of self preservation we may feel. Perhaps this is why motivational speakers or perspective adjustments like those found in spirituality can be so powerful. Afterall, not all lessons on how to harness human ambition are hocus pocus. Sometimes, it is exactly the healing affirmation you need to hear. Sometimes, it is mind over matter.

I have released my need for control, re-defined my personal truth, and no longer trigger seemingly meaningless conflict in my relationships. This has left me with only one stone unturned: familiarity.

As an extremely stubborn individual, I find a no-nonsense approach to self development is best. So, what can you do if you’re getting in your own way by engaging in problem behavior such as self-harm, substance abuse, stress eating, interpersonal conflict, or procrastination?

Additional Reading: 8 Ways to Stop Self-Sabotaging Your Success from Entrepreneur Magazine

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Lifestyle, Mental health, Parenting

Ugly Truth 012: Comparison Kills

“I looked through others’ windows On an enchanted earth But out of my own window– solitude and dearth. And yet there is a mystery I cannot understand– That others through my window See an enchanted land.”
Jessie B. Rittenhouse
Good Afternoon and Happy Weekend Readers, Welcome back to Deskraven’s 100 Ugly Truths about mental health! In my last post I talked about the social perceptions, comparisons and partial truths we tell each other. From that sprung an endless well of my own woulda, coulda, shoulda’s – and it wasn’t long before I was feeling guilty. You see, we all want what we don’t have. People with straight hair want curls, people with light skin want tans, people who stay home wish they could work more, and people who work wish they could stay home. It all depends on the needs of yourself and your family dynamic. Many women find their identities in motherhood while others thrive in career environments. Still more, some women – and men – juggle both. Personally, I have always had a heart for being a stay at home mom for many reasons – but I have never been fortunate enough to do it. My first and only son was not planned, nor were the circumstances that soon followed, so I found myself in a young age of adaptation more so than any heartfelt sense of romance or family planning. It got me wondering about how different life might be had I been mature enough to carve the path for myself. There is much research that indicates the value of a stay at home mom. To start, full time stay at home parents offer children a rooted homebase rich in resources. They are free to attend the social-emotional needs of their children, accompany school and sporting events, run last minute errands, make doctor’s appointments and maintain the home while loved ones are away. I find endless value in this! Likewise, the stay at home mom offers balance to a sole provider by running the home and all that it entails. Families with a stay at home parent sometimes make less, but they also spend less in my opinion. Having worked in childcare for ten years, I can tell you that it is grossly expensive and leaves much to be desired depending on your parenting style. Many families find that at least one of their salaries goes almost solely to childcare which easily begs the question, What is the point of that? Children in centers are more resilient and socialized, yes, but they also tend to be more anxious, uncertain, and ill. On the flip side, career mothers offer glowing demonstrations of provision and multi-skilled strength for their children. They teach the importance of education and contribution in a different way, although that lesson may come at an unspoken cost both culturally and personally if not balanced carefully. The sad reality is growing your family well is extremely expensive no matter how you do it, and many women never have the luxury of choice to begin with. That said, our choices, environments, and maternal roles definitely push and pull on our mental health. The decision to have a child is a momentous one, at least it should be. The truth is, I have always dreamed of a big family – but I can not afford one in more way than one. The truth is I worry about my physical, emotional, and psychological capacity – but I can also hear my biological clock ticking as my only son grows closer to eight years old. The truth is I had severe Post-Partum Depression the first go around. The truth is my finances are mine alone and I rely on no one – on purpose – for fear of losing it all again. I put great pressure on myself as a maternal human being and endure the pros and cons of my choices. In my ideal world I would be a full-time stay at home mother and student. This would allow me to nurture my children at my preference while still growing myself. My children would have access to me, the bills would be paid by a supportive partnership, and by the time they reached an age of less need I would be equipped to re-enter the workforce. I deeply envy women cut from this cloth, so I assign value to the things I successfully do manage to demonstrate for my son, as well as give myself grace when I catch myself in a moment of wishful thinking. What many people forget to remember is that the stay at home mom is only a temporary animal, and we must not lose our identities when faced with difficult decisions. What’s more, being a stay at home parent comes with a different type of stress and responsibility, but it is one that allows you to practice self care through labors of love. This is an opportunity the working woman must carve out for herself, meaning it may take a greater toll on her mental health. When reversed however, the stay at home mom may become more susceptible to mental health conditions due to a lack of purposeful exertion, genetics or meaningful socialization. The truth is, working women and stay at home women have different needs, obstacles and priorities – and one may not necessarily be better than the other. All I know for sure is unplanned pregnancy and family planning have entirely two different outcomes, and it breaks my heart. Maybe the most important thing familial relationships can teach us is tolerance, love and forgiveness. The truth is, different doesn’t mean better. Are you a stay at home parent or working parent? What brought you to your decision and how do you feel about it? How has it impacted your mental health? **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!