Tag Archives: Suicide

Get involved: Your Holiday Mom

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I went to high school in North Carolina. Being located at the heart of the United States Bible Belt, my home state isn’t known for it’s hospitality towards the LGBTQ community. However, my last two years of high school I went to a public residential magnet school which became sort of a liberal bubble set apart from the conservative influence of our outside community. Our head of residential life actually made a promise that he’d lose his job before he ever made a student come out of the closet to their family, so besides being a place where nerds could actually live at school, it was a safe place for those teens who felt persecuted or unsafe identifying their sexuality in their home schools. Thus, we had a much more vibrant LGBTQ teen community at our school, with alliance clubs and leadership positions created specifically to create healthy dialogue for students questioning or coming to terms with their sexualities.

It created a unique experience that most southern kids don’t get to have. Of course, growing up in a “Will & Grace” era I did horrifying things like try to collect gay friends like Pokemon cards – because to my 16 year old mind having gay or lesbian friends was a novelty and I hadn’t fully figured out that people are people, no matter who they like to sleep next to at night. I am so thankful for the experience and the open mindedness it provided me going into adulthood and that I now have many great friends that just happen to be gay.

However, we still live in a world where that kind of attitude isn’t adopted by everyone. And the other day when I was scrolling through my own blog dashboard I was reminded that there are thousands of kids out there who don’t have a home or school to go to that encourages, and embraces, them to be who they are. Each year we hear of teens who feel so outcasted and lonely because they’re LGBTQ that they self-harm or worse – take their lives. The pressure and depression over this can get even worse around the holiday time when these young people don’t feel safe or welcome in their own homes.

Then I discovered “Your Holiday Mom” – an outreach effort by moms and supportive LGBTQ allies from the internet who are trying to give those teens something to make them feel warm this holiday season. The virtual support group collects letters from moms and allies alike from the internet with messages of love, acceptance and hope and publishes them for anyone struggling this holiday season around family members or friends who don’t support them. The letters each remind the reader that they are loved and they have the place in more progressive hearts, so they’ll know someone is thinking about them and caring about them during the season.

I love this idea because it’s a small thing that can mean the world to someone in trouble. Sometimes charity or giving isn’t always about dollar bills, but opening our hearts to help others. Last year the campaign posted over 40,000 letters. This is the second year and they hope to get even more. Will you help? Here are the submission guidelines. Tell a stranger that you love them this holiday season and you could save someone’s life.

VOD: Twin Brother Asks Santa to Save His Sister From Bullying

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 11.15.25 PMAre you already thinking about what you want for Christmas? When 8-year old Ryan’s mom asked him and his twin sister to write their letters to Santa early (so she could get a head start on saving up for it) the only thing Ryan asked Santa for was to stop the kids at school bullying Amber. “She doesn’t do anything to them,” he says before adding “I’ve been praying for it to stop but God is busy so he needs your help.”

His sister is overweight and suffers from a few mental health issues, their mother admits to “Good Morning America.” So the kids at school taunt her to get her to do different things. “They call me fat, and stupid, and hideous,” the little girl confesses to cameras in one heart breaking part of the video. To make things worse she’s admitted to her mom she sometimes wishes she could die to make it stop.

Luckily for Amber, she has a family that loves her unconditionally and reaches out for her benefit. Her mom had a meeting with the school principal to see about stopping the bullying, and “Good Morning America” surprised Amber with one early Christmas miracle thanks to her brother Ryan’s good will.

Warning: This video will absolutely cause tears, but is definitely worth it.

Share this video if you know of any special child being bullied. What do you think of Ryan’s selfless request for his sister? Tell us in the comments below! 

Brave Teenager’s Manifesto on Depression and Why We Need to Talk About It

DISTRESS

Kevin Breel has been living two lives for years. In one, he’s a smart, accomplished young man with friends and family who love him. In the other, he is someone who suffers from depression, and has for the better part of six years.

This may come as a shock, Kevin says, to the people who know him. After all, on the surface his life is great. Everything is fine; everything is going well. But underneath the surface, he “struggles intensely” with a condition that many of us know all to well and yet no one wants to talk about. Why is this?

Depression is stigmatized in our culture, Kevin says, and yet it is a massive issue. According to the World Health Organization, one person in the world dies by suicide every 40 seconds. Worldwide suicide rates have increased 60% in the last 45 years, and it is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-24. On top of that, suicide attempts are 20 times more frequent than actual suicides, which means there is a staggering number of people in the world who are hurting, suffering, and desperately needing help.

Kevin uses a powerful analogy: When you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast. When you say you’re depressed, everyone runs in the other direction. This has created a world in which we don’t understand mental health, we don’t understand our emotions, and we certainly don’t understand depression. Watch Kevin’s poignant TEDx talk:

In order to heal our hearts and our communities, Kevin entreats that we speak up, speak out, and learn to love ourselves. In the spirit of Suicide Prevention week, let’s not waste a minute to reach out to our fellow humans and spread the love.

Have you or someone you know suffered from depression? We would be honored for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Survivors of Suicide

NaseknanThis week is National Suicide Prevention Week. It is heartbreaking to think that suicide is that pervasive of a problem in our society to warrant such a week. And yet it is. Suicide takes the lives of over 30,000 Americans every year. There are twice as many deaths from suicide as there are from HIV/AIDS. It is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year old Americans. And there are more than 800,000 attempted suicides every year.

Those are the statistics.

And then there are the stories.

Perhaps the worst thing about suicide is the pain it causes to those left behind. These people are known as the survivors. And telling our stories can help us to heal from the trauma of this experience.

When Gia Allemand, the reality television star, took her own life last month, the topic of suicide became a part of a national discussion. Gia’s distraught mother spoke with Dr. Phil about her feelings, which echo those of many survivors.

Sometimes there are warning signs. And then sometimes the incident seems to come from out of nowhere. That’s how it was when I found out that my friend Ophir had died. I remember getting a phone call from our mutual friend Curt. He was in a state of disbelief as he had just gotten the news. It took a few phone calls to figure out exactly what had happened. Ophir had committed suicide.

I knew Ophir as an extremely talented and creative composer. We worked together on several music projects. We had a close friendship and a great respect for each other. Ophir helped me bring my songs to life. When Ophir had a hernia operation, I had him stay at my home while he recovered.

I was aware that Ophir used drugs. I spoke with him about it many times, offering him alternatives, and suggestions for a more healthy way of life. But he did not want to hear it. He did not want to talk about it. He always functioned perfectly well when we were working, and he assured me that he did not have a problem. When I heard that Ophir had died, I assumed it was an accidental overdose. But there was no accident about Ophir’s death. He planned it. He put a rifle in his mouth and shot himself.

Like most people do in this situation, I started asking myself all kinds of questions. What could I have done to prevent this? Why didn’t I see this was coming? What was so terrible that he had to do this? I felt awful, not only for myself, but for his family, everyone who loved him. Suicide is such a violent act. It is terribly hurtful to everyone left behind with so many unanswerable questions. I don’t know what brought Ophir to his decision. I do know and recognize that although our relationship has changed, he is still very much a part of my life. I have the songs we wrote together on my websites. He taught me so much about music and the creative process. When certain songs come on the radio I am reminded of him, and his amazing energy, sweet smile, and sly sense of humor. His words still influence me. His music still moves me.

I know the agreement Ophir and I had was complete even before his death. There was no unfinished business between us. We learned from each other, both creatively and personally. At his funeral I met many others who felt the same way.

This was the second time that I had been affected by suicide. When I was around eleven years old, shortly after my parents’ divorce, my mother’s brother took his own life. He was a Vietnam veteran, and he became hooked on drugs while he was in the war. When he got home, he couldn’t handle normal life after seeing everything he saw in combat. His drug problem got worse, he would have hallucinations, and he overdosed to escape the pain.

I saw how this shattered my mother and grandmother. He also left behind a wife and baby daughter. It was tragic. As a child I could sense how awful this was for everyone. And now as an adult I can see how my uncle’s life mattered. Even in the short time he was with us, he brought joy to his mother and love to his family. He struggled with life, and he chose to die. But while he was here he lived, and he had the opportunities and experiences that allowed him to learn and grow. He may not have made the best choices, but they were his choices. In situations like this you have to get past the blame, and the guilt, and know that there is nothing you could have done to change the outcome. For whatever reason, this person took his own life. It is not rational, or logical, or right. But it is irreversible. And we learned by going through all of this together as a family.

Chaim Nissel, PsyD is the Director of Yeshiva University’s Counseling Center in New York City, and an expert with the American Association of Suicidology. He has this to say about coping with the loss of a loved one from suicide:

The death of a loved one by suicide has all the trappings of conventional grief plus a host of other intense, difficult, and confusing emotions. These include feelings of guilt and responsibility, anger and blame and often a disconnect with the individual who killed himself. When we lose a loved one to cancer or AIDS, we accept the reality, feel the loss, grieve, yet we don’t blame ourselves. Following a suicide, it is hard to accept the reality that the individual chose death. We feel responsible and wonder “if I had only…..” he’d be alive today. We would rather blame ourselves because it is difficult to place the responsibility where it belongs, on the individual who killed himself.

One who experiences the death of a loved one to suicide is fittingly called a “survivor.” They must now learn to cope and survive their loss. Most survivors experience anger, guilt and emotional turmoil. There is often anger at the deceased for taking their own life, it is seen as selfish, because their pain ends, but the survivor’s pain begins. Guilt over what they could have and should have done to prevent it (although if the loved one wanted to die, they would have despite your interventions). We like to think that we can control events, but when another person is in such emotional pain that they want to die, the choice to kill themselves remains their choice, despite everything that you can and did offer them.

There is still tremendous stigma and shame associated with suicide and when the fact that one died by suicide is hidden or denied, it becomes so much more difficult to come to terms with it. When we try to “cover” or pretend the death was accidental, it takes its toll on the survivors and will impact them the rest of their lives.

To help us find closure, Dr. Nissel has this advice:

  • Talk about it! Find supportive people in your life who you can share your feelings with.
  • Focus on the person’s life, and the good memories you have of the person. Know that you will never truly know why he killed himself.
  • Recognize that the person’s pain is over, now it’s time to start healing your own pain.
  • Have answers prepared for when people ask questions. This will help reduce your anxiety and emotional reactions. You can say “He took his own life” or “died by suicide” or even “he suffered a long illness.” If someone is persistent, blaming or insensitive, you can say “it is too difficult to talk about right now” and end the conversation.
  • Know that you are not responsible for your loved one’s death, in any way. Only the individual who killed himself is responsible.
  • Know that the likelihood is that the person was in such pain, for so long and now the suffering is over. 90% of those who die by suicide suffered from some form of mental illness, most commonly an affective disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Seek resources such as professional counseling, support groups, and books.
  • Being exposed to a suicide makes you somewhat more susceptible to suicidal thinking. If you are having thoughts of killing yourself, get help immediately by contacting a local psychologist or psychiatrist. If you feel you may act on these suicidal impulses, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) helps survivors of suicide. Actress Michelle Ray Smith, who played “Ava” on the daytime drama “Guiding Light,” talked about her father’s suicide in an interview with Soap Opera Digest magazine a few years back. She said that participating in AFSP’s “Out of the Darkness” event, an overnight 20 mile walk, helped her connect with people who had been through the same thing. “For the first time since he died – it’s been three years in September – I feel at peace.”

Talking with people, sharing our stories, is one way that we can help each other to heal.

For more information about how to find closure go to http://www.closurebook.com

11-Year-Old Nada Al-Ahdal Narrowly Escaped Child Marriage – Here’s What She Has to Say

Nada Al-Ahdal is an 11-year-old Yemeni girl who recently risked everything to run away from home and seek refuge with her uncle after learning about her parents’ intentions to marry her off to a much older man. Nada knew that her teenage aunt, trapped in an arranged marriage and abused by her husband, had committed suicide to escape her fate. Nada did not want to be forced down the same path.

“I would have had no life, no education. Don’t they have any compassion?” Nada says in a video posted on YouTube. “I’m better off dead. I’d rather die.”

Thank goodness Nada has an older relative there to take her in and stand up for her, but many girls her age are not as lucky. The World Health Organization reports that 39,000 girls around the world are forced into child marriage every day. “Child marriage” is defined as marriage before 18 years of age, but many are even younger when they are forced into matrimony. The many dangers girls face in early marriages include premature pregnancy, maternal mortality (girls under 15 are five times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than older women), infant mortality, poverty, illiteracy, abuse, and more.

The best defense against practices like this, which endanger women and make our global community weaker, is education. We must raise our voices and empower women to change their communities.

Here are several resources working against child marriage and in support of women and children everywhere:

The Most Powerful Suicide-Prevention Ad You Will Ever See

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 11.26.55 AMYou’re walking through a crowded subway station on your way to work or school when something catches your eye. It’s a moving poster/screen showing a girl sitting in a bathtub, tears streaming down her face. She picks up a telephone and starts dialing – and miraculously at the same time, the payphone next to the poster starts ringing. What do you do?

The above describes a real ad-campaign run by Samaritans, a charity and confidential support group that offers phone-based counseling and suicide-prevention in the UK and Ireland. According to the organization’s website, every 52 seconds they receive contact from someone considering suicide. The organization trains volunteers –  more than 20,000 in a given year – to take these calls and offer the compassion and deep listening that often makes the difference between life and death. Because of the urgency of this work, though, there are never enough volunteers to fully make the impact Samaritans would like. Thus they initiated the “Let Us Not Miss A Single Call” ad-campaign with the hopes of spreading awareness and recruiting volunteers.

Take a look at the remarkable video that captures this powerful campaign:

In 2010, 38,364 people committed suicide in the United States. That’s roughly 105 people a day, 1 person every 13 minutes. Imagine how many of those lives might be saved if there were greater awareness about the organizations out there providing support and scores of volunteers at the ready to take the crisis calls. Samaritans’ ad isn’t subtle at all, and for good reason. Obviously some situations are more nuanced than others, and more support is often necessary. But the organization’s message is that in so many cases it really is as simple as answering the phone to prevent someone from committing suicide in that crucial moment.

What do you think of this poignant ad-campaign? Would you answer the phone?

Elephant in the Room: Fighting Depression for My Daughter’s Sake

Distant (#63457)Dear Cora

Most of my life I’ve suffered from a form of depression stemming from a profound existential disappointment with life, the world, and especially with humanity which makes it nearly impossible to participate in the every day world of work that most people take for granted without getting even more down and depressed. With a daughter who I want to be able to support and do fun things with (ex. Disney World), I really need to get over this problem so I can handle working full-time – even if at a job I don’t like so I can have money for every day needs and save money for the fun stuff. I wish I could get real help with this but have little hope that any other person can really help. I’ve been disappointed too many times, every time I’ve given myself a chance to hope. But I still do foolishly feel hope that I’ll find something that will get me past this depression. I just don’t know what will work. The more I learn and study, the more doubtful I become that anything will. Have any ideas for me?

-G

~

Dear G,

I’ve started and deleted a response to your letter about three times because I want to make sure I get the words right, to not push or pull you in any certain direction – especially a wrong one – but to say that I understand. I think that’s what you need most.

A few years ago I felt like I was drowning. My family was falling apart, long time friends had suddenly excommunicated me from their circle due to a misunderstanding, and up until this point had hinged my identity on my ability to perform academically but found myself in a place where my intelligence seemed menial at best. I felt stupid, lost, and alone and though I scrounged for lifelines, I couldn’t find anything to pull me out of the dark hole in which I was trapped.

I don’t like to say that I was suicidal because there have been many people more desperate than I was, who have come a lot closer to taking their own life, and I don’t want to lighten the severity of their struggles. However, I spent a lot of time contemplating what it would be like if I didn’t exist anymore. Would it hurt less? Would anyone even notice? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone? Those thoughts circled my mind until one night I found myself standing in the dark by my bathroom sink pressing a razor blade to my right wrist, not breaking the skin but just enough to remind me the metal was there – that I could do it if I really wanted. Every so often I switched the orientation of the blade from vertical to horizontal and back again, remembering a phrase I heard an older neighborhood boy say when I was younger “You cross the bridge for attention. You go down the river for a funeral.” The fact that I could tell the difference between being depressed enough to take my own life and making a sick cry for attention told me that I had the wherewithal not to do either. So I put the blade back down, washed my face, and went back to bed.

I’ve never told anyone that story, and I rarely think of that night, but as I read your letter I could almost feel the cool metal of that razor pressed to my wrist again, switching directions from vertical to horizontal and back again. I feel the same darkness in you that I felt then, but even more than that I feel the hope. You see the light behind your dark cloud, and you’re reaching for it even if you aren’t sure you’ll ever get there. You will. What you don’t realize is that even by trying you’re much closer to feeling that warmth than you think.

What do you mean you don’t think you can get real help? I’m not in the business of giving medical advice, but I think a counselor or a support group could work wonders for you. It would give you someone dependable to help you sort through the darkest days and find the good things, or give you people in your life who understand what you’re going through without judgment. They can support and encourage you when you lack the strength to pull yourself up. Try your local community center or sometimes churches will have secular meetings for people dealing with a variety of issues.

Those are long term solutions that often take a while to see the effects. In the right now I want you to keep thinking of your daughter, her smile, and your favorite things about her. Create a list of all of your favorite things – books, foods, activities, quotes, etc – things that make you feel safe and light and keep it in your purse or your phone, anything you keep with you on a regular basis. Pull the list out whenever you need help thinking of something positive, even if it’s just for a few moments. When we generate positive energy we tend to attract positive energy.

Set short-term goals. Disney World is wonderful, but may be a bit grand to start off with. Maybe a day at Chuck E. Cheese with your daughter or a mani/pedi for yourself. Setting shorter goals that you can reach more quickly works as re-enforcement to push yourself forward. There is no magic wand to wave and make all of the depression go away at once. It was a slow, tedious process for me to make new friends who believed in me for me, to realize there was more to life than being the smartest person in the room, to understand that while I love my family dearly I can’t take all of their problems for myself. It’s a step by step, day by day battle and every bit of light is fought for, but I believe you have it in you. I can see the hope.

I hope you keep seeing it too. Keep reaching for it. It’s yours, lovely.

Best wishes,
Cora

* * *

avatar-NO-BKCGRNDSubmit your questions, troubles, and predicaments to Cora via editor [at] intent [dot] com or in the comments section below. The Elephant in the Room advice column will be published every Friday – a blend of humor, compassion, and wisdom specially tailored for our Intent audience.

photo by: mark sebastian

Suicide: A Perspective Beyond Time and Space

Loch Duich from Eilean DonanThe dark night of all dark nights is the hopelessness of wanting to die.

In this state, you can see no promised land beyond depression.

Over the years, several of my patients have attempted suicide. One did die: a heavy metal rocker with a sapphire-blue Mohawk and a sensitive soul. But super-stardom could never allay his depression or persistent back pain for which none of the many specialists he consulted could locate a medical cause. Legions of fans revered him, but he didn’t revere himself. He felt happy and pain-free only on stage, immersed in his music and adulation. When he killed himself, we hadn’t met for many months, but I was deeply saddened. I’d been his safe place for two years; we’d been very close. I did everything I could think of to help him, but he was on a runaway course. Plus, he was surrounded by shark-like managers who urged him to go on tour despite his precarious condition.

Intellectually, I realized all this, but still I lamented my inability to save his life. I’ll always miss him. I’ll always recall those days I’d visited him after a previous suicide attempt. He was on a locked psychiatric ward along with others who were psychotic, suicidal, and homicidal. To me, it’s a crime to put someone who’s depressed in with that mix. I wish I could’ve sent him to a peaceful retreat with sunlit porches and hammocks to dream on. But our mental health system isn’t organized like that. All those needing intensive care go to the same hellish ward in traditional hospitals. So I saw him there until he was no longer suicidal. Against my advice he went back on the road too soon. I was greatly afraid for him. Then, four months later, I got the call: he was found dead in his London hotel room after slashing his wrists.

Most suicides are preventable with skilled interventions. I know people–including those on a spiritual path–who at dark times have considered taking their lives. (Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death among Americans.) If you’ve had these thoughts, they’re nothing to be ashamed of. But I also know that suicide isn’t the answer. Freedom comes when you persist in searching for the light until it’s visible again.

In service to our growth, life asks an extraordinary amount of us. That used to anger me. Some situations seemed unendurable. Watching my ebullient, talented mother waste away from cancer, struggling to find strength to be there for her without disintegrating, I’d inwardly protest, “I can’t do it. I don’t have it in me.” But I did–and had to see that. So must you. Try to keep reaching beyond pain towards a greater power within. My spiritual teacher says, “Heaven is not a dead-end road.” With hope and the proper support, you will find it.

For years I believed suicide was an option we had the right to choose if things got rotten enough. I no longer feel this way except, possibly, with terminal patients in constant physical agony. From deepening my intuition, I came to realize that holding onto suicide as an out separated me from the essence of living. A commitment to staying in my body through it all was mandatory for being fully alive. Thus, to be more present, I’ve vowed to follow the wisdom of whatever life brings.

Weigh this critical point: Leaving your body doesn’t make emotional challenges disappear. The soul’s work continues. What I intuitively sense about its destinations is that who you are here is who you’ll be there too, albeit without the physical form you’re accustomed to identifying with. I don’t mean this punitively. I’m simply saying you’ll eventually have to face your demons. Personally, I’d rather do it now than drag out the ordeal. I prefer to go onto other things. For those who believe in past lives, facing the self is unavoidable. Whether now or in distant eons, you must do it. This is good. This is purifying.

I’ve had an ex-boyfriend and some acquaintances commit suicide when depression became unbearable. Two by overdosing, one with a gun. Though I wasn’t in regular contact with these people at the time they took their lives, I was notified by mutual friends the day each suicide happened. While I was shaken by both these losses and the terrible desperation that must have occasioned them, I was also curious about where these people went and their subsequent state of being. So I tuned in, simultaneously inquisitive and anticipatorily weary about the kinds of pain I’d encounter. What did I find? None of them were in places I’d ever want to be, and each felt utterly lost.

Always there was severe confusion, a swirling-through-limbo vertigo that made me nauseous. Where they were at felt like the alarming, abrupt plummeting of an airplane during turbulence–but cube that by the speed of light and picture if it didn’t let up. Still, despite the dire straits they were all clearly in, I also intuited a beneficent force surrounding them, though it didn’t seem as if they recognized it. They felt totally alone. When tuning into the lawyer who’d shot herself in the head, I found her disorientation was so jolting I could barely stay with it. This panicked woman had no idea where she was. Dizzying, disjointed memories of her life were bombarding her at such speed, “overwhelmed” didn’t begin to describe her condition. I suspect it took a while to find her bearings and proceed to a calmer place. From what I could intuit, the violence of her suicide made the transition even more chaotic. Once I got the gist of her experience, I wanted out of that vision so I didn’t risk absorbing such angst.

I share my perceptions with you to offer what I sensed about suicide. As you can see, it may not be a way out of anything, as many depression sufferers envision. Though the pain in question may be temporarily put on the back burner, suicide seems to create another set of problems and a tumultuous journey. Even so, I’m certain that the soul eventually finds clarity and gets all the chances it needs to master emotional obstacles.

My duty as physician and healer is to talk people out of suicide. I can be effective  because I absolutely know there’s hope for everyone and that depression is a distortion. It swallows the light, making misery seem like the only truth. But it is not. You must remember that. If ever suicide starts looking good, stop, regroup, and fight to find hope. Reach out for help. Don’t be seduced by the voice of depression.

*****

Based on Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff MD

Judith Orloff MD, a psychiatrist and intuition expert, is author of the new book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Harmony Books, 2009) Her other bestsellers are Positive Energy, Intuitive Healing, and Second Sight. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and has been featured on The Today Show, CBS Early Show, CNN, and in Oprah Magazine and USA Today.

Originally published in 2009

photo by: atomicjeep

The Lies We Bought as Love

The Lies We Bought As Love
By Piercarla Garusi

 

What are the lies we bought as love that are causing us to suffer?
What are the lies we bought as love that are causing us not to be happy?
What are the lies we bought as love that are causing us not to love ourselves?
What are the lies we bought as love that are causing us to put up with situations that are not good for us?
What are the lies we bought as love that are causing us to stay stuck in manipulative or abusive relationships or to be treated badly?
What are the lies we bought as love that cause us to be abusive?
What are the lies we bought as love that in the name of eliminating separation, are causing pain to people?
What are the lies we bought as love that cause us not to ascend?
If we look around, how many people are suffering of situations that can be avoided? And I am talking in families, workplaces, communities, and in the world at large.
There is so much judgment and bullying in society to young and adults, that is causing people to suffer from social anxiety, depression and even suicide. If we just found the statistics, I think we would be shocked.
Love and abuse are so confused and so much abuse is done in the name of love. And abuse might be not recognized or even justified by cultural or societal beliefs. How many lives have been destroyed by abuse?
There are so many rules and have tos on how to be loving, that are putting people in destructive traps thinking that that is care or communion.  
How right are we of the beliefs we are holding? And these beliefs might come from society, from culture, from religion, from education, from upbringing, from peers, etc., from the media.
Here are a few important points:
– awareness
We need to become aware of the lies we have bought as love, and see them as lies. They cause people, they cause you to suffer – would God/Source/Consciousness, however concept you have of Him/Her, ever want us to suffer? The answer is absolutely no.  These lies are preventing a positive change on the Planet. These lies also prevent our ascension.
– accountability/responsibility
How much denial or justification do we see of bad behavior, not simply from the people doing the behavior, but from society or culture? Until we become accountable, until we take responsibility for our behavior and we recognize it as such, we will not be able to change.
blame/guilt
Many people do not want to recognize how they have behaved because unfortunately the world is still functioning from blame, guilt and wrongness. We need to get out to that paradigm, because it is preventing people from changing, it is preventing the Planet from healing, and it is keeping the behavior in place. Yes, the behavior might be wrong, but we need to take away the label of wrong as judgment. It was a choice the person made out of their consciousness, probably out of the teachings they had received in their life.  As they recognize the lies they hold and let them go, they can make a better choice for themselves and for the whole.
respect
We need to enter in a paradigm of sacred respect for each individual, without exception, on this Planet. Once we recognize the uniqueness and truth of each person, much healing will take place.
And probably the best question we can ask ourselves is:
As the Infinite Beings we truly are, what does it mean to Love? And start from there …
Piercarla Garusi Copyright 2011
 
Piercarla Garusi is a spiritual coach and painter. Much of her coaching work is currently focused on improving the way we treat one another, with new workshops just being created. More information can be found on www.pgcoaching,co.uk. Her spiritual paintings ‘Art from the Soul’ are for healing and a shift in consciousness. You can find more explanation, view them, find information on exhibitions and healing projects on www.piercarla.paintings.co.uk.    

Growing Up Bipolar

“Were you bipolar growing up?” a magazine editor asked me the other day.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Do you think you were misdiagnosed back then as depressed?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

I wasn’t annoyed. I wasn’t rushed. I just really don’t know.

I can clearly say that something was wrong with me, but I’m very careful to throw the “bipolar” word around when it pertains to kids given all the debate today on the topic.

Friends of mine rant on another friend for medicating their daughter for bipolar disorder, who, according to the friends’ eyes, is perfectly fine.

And then I hear the sadness and utter frustration of another friend whose bipolar daughter was just expelled from school.

While I tend to be pretty conservative about meds myself (you’d never guess that, right?) — taking only what I absolutely have to — there is no way I would judge a mother who is trying to find the best possible treatment for her daughter, which may very well include hefty meds.

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PHOTO (cc): Flickr / apdk

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