Healing After Suicide Loss

My son was 16 when he took his own life. His name is Michael Alfred. After my loss, I did not believe there could be healing. I ate and ate and ate. I gained 65 lbs. I saw no future. But slowly – very slowly, after counseling, therapy, and research with support groups – I came to realize this was my new life and I had to either embrace this or not. In the beginning, I sat on the couch and ate. I did not believe that there were other parents who had lost a child by suicide. I was living in Philadelphia/Delaware County. I found AFSP, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I was married at the time, for over 25 years, but with the death of my son, so went my marriage. The most helpful thing, I found, was to be able to talk. Just talk. This was back in 1993, so online support groups were not as available as they are now. But through AFSP and SOS (Survivors of Suicide), I was able to see that I was not alone. It really is difficult when you try to heal and your partner does not want to, however, heal I did. The most difficult part  for me was seeing others going on with their lives; seeing my son’s friends [...]

2022-10-17T11:18:52-04:00November 1st, 2022|Awareness, Suicide Prevention|

Screen for Depression Regularly

Depression – we have all heard the word many times. In the past three years, we have all felt sadness. Feeling sad, unmotivated, or hopeless is common in daily life.  But what is the difference between sadness and depression? Feeling sad does not last as long as depression. In depression, you might also experience things like not feeling hungry or feeling hungrier than usual. You may also be sleeping a lot or not enough, and feeling hopeless. Hopelessness feels like the things that you used to enjoy are no longer fun. These feelings are different from normal sadness when they last for long periods of time – from a couple of weeks to many months.  It is important to screen for depression regularly. You can ask your doctor about depression during regular care appointments, sick appointments, after scary experiences, or after childbirth. These are not the only times to screen for depression, though. You should always let your doctor know if you begin to feel the symptoms of depression. It is important to check in with your doctor or someone you trust about these feelings to prevent yourself from experiencing a more serious form of depression. Serious symptoms of depression can lead to fatal outcomes, such as suicide.  Depression screenings ask a lot of questions. You can expect to be [...]

2022-09-28T18:06:39-04:00October 1st, 2022|Depression, Suicide Prevention|

Hope, Help & Healing: Gambling and Suicide Prevention

Philadelphia is a city known for our sports teams and fans, who are the most knowledgeable and passionate. As an avid Eagles fan, I've noticed that every commercial break has sports betting advertisements for companies like FanDuel or Draftkings. Even sports analysts are promoting the apps and promising risk-free betting. We know that there is no such thing as risk-free betting. Not everyone who gambles develops a problem, but with the increased access (more casinos, online gambling, and sports betting) and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a higher risk of individuals developing a gambling addiction. Like many other substance addictions, those struggling with gambling addiction feel guilt, shame, and desperation from consequences of gambling including family strain, loss of employment, debt, and legal issues There is hope Recovery from gambling addiction is possible. Stevie struggled with gambling after being laid off from work. Going to the casino was a coping mechanism. Stevie's compulsive gambling caused her to have a strained relationship with her daughter and grandchild – and three suicide attempts. After a three-day binge at the casino, it was a wake-up call for her to call for help. She entered treatment. With the support of her daughter and professional treatment, she has been in recovery for 12 years. Stevie stated: "I still have good days and [...]

2022-09-17T15:05:51-04:00September 26th, 2022|Addiction & Recovery, Suicide Prevention|

Suicidal Ideation: A First-Person Account

I’m going to try my best to talk about my suicidal ideation and depression. Honestly, I still don’t completely understand how to explain. Let me start by telling you what I call my depressive and suicidal moods/episodes: “Moments.” I started calling them moments because it helps me remember that the way I’m feeling will pass soon. Even though I can’t understand myself during those moments, I can get through and overcome them. The word helps me build resiliency within myself.  These moments feel like heavy storm clouds surrounding my head. I'm sad, mad, lazy, unmotivated, and tired. Some days it’s one or the other; some days I’m all of those things at once. Then this thing called negative self-talk comes into play. Negative self-talk is very dangerous, it really can diminish a person and cause harm. If I am not able to speak positivity into my thoughts, I become stuck into a cycle of negative, intrusive, and harmful thoughts. During these stuck moments I feel blank, but my mind is going 1,000 mph. When I’m deep into my moments, it's hard for me to feel my worth. These don’t always happen in this order or simultaneously, some of these things exist on their own in my mind. I start to just feel a sensation of numbness and loneliness. I began to [...]

2022-08-22T20:52:13-04:00September 19th, 2022|Lived Experience, Suicide Prevention|
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