Was the suicide a nightmare or real life: a True Story

A few years ago, I woke up and was unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Since it is September and this month is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month, I thought this would be a wonderful time to share this story with you.

The story goes like this:

One night I went to bed after a long day during my undergraduate years. I woke up sleepily from my cell phone ringing.

“Hello?”, I said.

“Hi, Brittany. I am calling to say bye.” Someone I hold very close to my heart was on the other line.

“What are you talking about? What do you mean by ‘bye’? Where are you going?”, I said from disbelief.

The other person stated, “I am going to kill myself. I can’t live like this anymore. I am sorry I have let you down”.

Tears began to stream down my face uncontrollably.

“What? What are you saying? You promised me you wouldn’t. Wait… Please DON’T!”

“I have to.” The phone hung up. My mouth remained open in shock. My heart felt like it stopped beating and time stopped.

The next moment I remember is waking up drenched in sweat and hearing myself scream. What just happened? Did I cry myself back to sleep after that phone call or was that phone call only a dream? A nightmare? It had to be a nightmare!

To make sure what happened was truly a nightmare, I called the person’s cell phone. The next five seconds seemed like eternity. The phone was not being answered fast enough. It must have been…

“Hello, Brittany.”

Oh my God! I heard the person say my name!

“Hello! Is that you?”

“Yes, are you okay? Are you crying? What’s wrong?” I attempted to explain for the next ten minutes what just happened as my tears of happiness overcame me. I then heard, “That will never happen. I promised you that I wouldn’t do that. And I plan to follow through with that promise”.

I began to cry again. “You promise?”

“Yes, I promise”.

 

Luckily, that phone call I experienced was only a nightmare. Unfortunately, some people’s nightmares do really happen in real life. Talking about suicide or discussing one’s thoughts about suicide is nothing to be ashamed of. Discussing the signs and concerns about a loved one or a friend is what can be done to prevent suicide from happening in the first place. For support, for either you, a family member, or a friend, please call:

The National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK
The Youth America Hotline: Counseling for Teens by Teens at 1-877-YOUTHLINE
The Trevor Project: Crisis Intervention & Suicide Prevention for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth at 1-866-488-7386.

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September is Recovery Month

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has supported September as Recovery Month. This year, 2013, is the 24th year of Recovery Month’s existence.

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If you have read my previous blog entries, you know that I believe in RECOVERY.

The term, RECOVERY, is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the process of combating a disorder (as alcoholism) or a real or perceived problem” & “the act of regaining or returning to a normal or healthy state”.  From these two definitions, gaining health after a physical ailment such as surgery or decreasing once’s addiction to liquor comes to mind. The definition can also be used when referring to mental health and mental illness.

RECOVERY, in so many ways, is the regaining or redevelopment of one’s ability to function fully in his or her environment through the use of therapy/counseling, the creation and establishment of positive interpersonal relationships, and the ownership of meaningful and important societal roles.

But how does one begin the process towards RECOVERY?
How and when does this RECOVERY process start?

The answers to these two questions are quite simple. First, a person begins the process towards RECOVERY when they decide to. RECOVERY is person-driven with a foundation in the strengths-based perspective. The strengths-based perspective is a building block of RECOVERY that enforces the belief that people are resilient and resourceful when they experience adversity, rather than the idea that people are deficient or inferior. Secondly, I believe that the RECOVERY process starts when the individual is ready and prepared to live their life optimally.

Below is an excerpt from SAMHSA’s Recovery Month webpage:

“Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for substance use and mental disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover”.

Whether you, a family member, or a friend has recently been diagnosed with a mental illness or has lived with one for years, know and believe that RECOVERY is possible.

Resources:

National Alliance on Mental Illness
http://www.nami.org

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
http://www.ncadd.org/index.php/recovery-support/definition

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association: Recovery Month 2013
http://www.recoverymonth.gov/Recovery-Month-Kit.aspx

United Kingdom’s Mental Health Foundation
http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/R/recovery/