Birthday Blues

Blue is my favorite color, the color of my birthstone, and the color of my eyes. So, it’s not all bad! 😉

Tuesday.  March 5th.  2019.  My 46th birthday.  And here I sit listening to my husband chew out AT&T because our internet is down.  I’m not blaming him at all; it’s a crappy situation.  Being without internet costs us money.  And they didn’t even bother to let us know.  WE had to call THEM to find out what was wrong, and, at present, they’re not offering to reimburse us or find an efficient solution.  Typical customer service these days.  Sheesh.  (UPDATE: After nearly two hours on the phone and several customer service agents later, my husband FINALLY was able to speak with someone in the states who offered him a reduced rate on our internet for next month.)

          Anyway, I have been home again today, mostly due to fatigue.  Not fun.  I miss my students, but the stress at work has become a big part of my health problems.  It’s killing us financially, but I can’t continue to hurt my health either.  I’m trying to find a work-from-home option that might keep us afloat, but it’s not easy…and the guilt doesn’t help.  Such is life.  Am I right?

          The good news: I’m alive; I’m loved; I refuse to let this temporary phase in life sink me.  I have survived worse, and I will continue to survive.  And, eventually, I will be healthy and happier again.  The “circle of life” – for most of us humans – just not the one we learned about.  The most disappointing thing is that this is yet another thing we’re not taught in school; no class prepares us for the physical, mental, and emotional ups and downs of life.  It seems to me that the majority of people I know thought that once they graduated high school, things would be better – once they finished college or job training and got going in their career, they would be happy and life would be good.  But this isn’t always the case, and many of us aren’t prepared for the drama that is “real life.”  So, what do we do?

          Some of us turn to unhealthy vices: alcohol, drug abuse, inappropriate relationships, etc.  Some of us seek out healthy coping mechanisms: therapy, advice and support from family and friends, self-help materials, exercise, etc.  One thing too many of us have in common though is neglecting to help each other through hard times.  (Guilty.) ☹ I believe that for most of us, this is not a matter of not caring or trying to hurt someone’s feelings, but rather, when you’re in your own “crisis mode,” you don’t feel capable of giving someone else the support they might need.  So, we don’t try (or we don’t try hard enough), and we often regret it…and sometimes, it’s too late for the other person in need.  They may have already developed life-long bad habits that they are unable to turn away from, or worse, they may have decided to end their own life, thinking the suffering was too much for them or maybe that no one cared that much anyway.  It’s tragic – heartbreaking.  I know; I have experienced such a loss.

          And this brings me to my point: what can we do, as a society, to change this?  I am not so naïve as to believe that we can “save” everyone; however, I firmly believe that we can do better – that we HAVE to do better.  Given the nature of our lives, in general, what can we change to make life more bearable – to save lives even?  The World Wide Web and smartphones are here to stay, and technology continues to evolve, which makes it easier to communicate effectively over long distances.  This is wonderful in many ways, but the entertainment side of this gets in the way of us humans, actually communicating, face-to-face in meaningful ways.  As easily as it can join us together, the internet can also isolate us, sometimes resulting in devastating consequences.  The question is how can we combat this growing problem?  How can we effectively encourage people to “feel better” or seek help, if necessary, using all of this technology, or even in spite of it?  Is that truly possible?

          In recent years, our nation has experienced several suicides of high-profile celebrities.  If even the most “successful” and “privileged” among us can fall victim to this tragic mindset, how can we expect the rest of us to fair in trying times?  Shouldn’t we, as a nation, be more concerned about the stigma that still surrounds mental health and seeking help for issues of the mind?  Isn’t it time we demand that insurance companies and our government do more to rectify this societal epidemic?  Are you aware that roughly 25% of combat veterans end up taking their own lives after returning home and leaving the service?  What is wrong with us?

Let’s spark a movement!

          Can you sense my desperation here, people?  Let’s start a conversation.  Let’s get educated.  I’m not going to pretend to know the answers.  I’m as clueless as many of you.  For instance, did you know that there’s a point in a person’s rehabilitation (from drugs and alcohol) when some are getting better almost too fast, and they get overwhelmed and often then become suicidal?  I didn’t either – until after my brother died.

          I’m asking you to comment, but I am NOT asking for hatefulness or criticism of others who comment.  This is to be a civilized discussion, the goal of which is to brainstorm solutions to a serious, and sometimes deadly, set of circumstances in hopes of raising awareness and “starting a conversation.”  (I will delete any unkind or inflammatory comments.)

A few things we already know about or have in place:

1) Suicide Hotlines

2) Support Groups

3) Therapists (for those who can afford them)

4) Checking on People in Crisis

5) Alerting Department of Health Services (for minors)

6) Anti-Bullying Campaigns

What do you believe are the pros and cons of the interventions listed above?  Can we improve these?

Here are a few resources/websites:

A) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

B) https://www.crisistextline.org/textline?gclid=CjwKCAiA_P3jBRAqEiwAZyWWaG4etWIR1TcfzqygnzguOL9UkOKuLVgAGYIN0e734s22gS9Ypn3eEBoChv8QAvD_BwE

C) https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/suicide-prevention

D) http://suicidehotlines.com/arkansas.html

E) http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/arkansas-suicide-hotlines.html

F) https://www.arcrisis.org/

G) https://www.sprc.org/states/arkansas

H) https://afsp.org/chapter/afsp-arkansas/

Thank you for reading this, and I pray that, if nothing else, it has made you think.