Need Help?
Blog

News & Updates from Live Through This

Lifted, or, the Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

by | 05/04/2015 | 0 comments

Wow, April was a whirlwind! I got back from the annual American Association of Suicidology (#AAS15) and National Council for Behavioral Health (#NatCon15) conferences—in Atlanta and Orlando, respectively—just two weeks ago and I’m still trying to catch up!

Craig, Misha, Sam, and me after our presentation at #AAS15 Craig, Misha, Sam, and me after our presentation at #AAS15

I presented three times over the course of that week. The first was a workshop where I teamed up with Dr. April Foreman, Amelia Lehto, and Tony Wood to teach attendees how to harness the powers of social media at conferences in order to more widely spread the valuable information shared there. The second was a reprise of last year’s historic panel at AAS—with Sam Nadler, Craig Miller, and Misha Kessler (the four of us make a fantastic team, if I do say so, myself)—on the wild ride that was 2014 in terms of the successes and struggles each of us encountered in our advocacy. The last was entitled, “Here There Be Dragons: New Voices in Suicide,” in which I gave an overview of my experiences with suicide and my mental health, alongside David Covington, Craig Miller (yes, again), and Dr. DeQuincy Lezine. They were each wonderful in their own ways. I still feel so lucky to be able to share my lived expertise with professionals in all areas of the suicidology and behavioral health fields.

The lived experience crew at #NatCon15: DeQuincy Lezine, Craig Miller, little ol' me, Kevin Hines, David Covington, Ursula Whiteside, Kevin Briggs, and Bart Andrews The lived experience crew at #NatCon15: DeQuincy Lezine, Craig Miller, little ol’ me, Kevin Hines, David Covington, Ursula Whiteside, Kevin Briggs, and Bart Andrews

What I’m really here to talk about, though, is this amazing thing that happened at the AAS conference: I entered the inaugural Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest (that’s a mouthful) and won first place! The purpose of the PGQ contest was in line with my own mission in my work with Live Through This: to encourage those of us with lived experience to tell our stories, because giving voice to our experiences makes for a powerful tool—not only to inspire hope in others who may be suffering, but also to educate those who need guidance (loved ones, service providers, policymakers, and more).

If you look really hard at the image on the left (with Dr. Foreman and Paul Quinnett, himself!), you'll notice two things: the first is that I totally made Dr. Foreman cry when I thanked her for being such an amazing mentor, and the second is that I'm holding the wrong award! Oops. If you look really hard at the image on the left (with Dr. Foreman and Paul Quinnett, himself!), you’ll notice two things: the first is that I totally made Dr. Foreman cry when I thanked her for being such an amazing mentor, and the second is that I’m holding the wrong award! Oops.

Here’s an excerpt of my essay, entitled “Redeemed“:

My story is not unique. There are so many others out there just like it, but the society we live in tells us that we can’t talk about suicide, that doing so is attention-seeking behavior, that it only happens to “crazy” people. The truth is, this can happen to anyone, and until we stop sterilizing it by talking in figures, stereotyping it, romanticizing it, sensationalizing it, or avoiding it completely, we’re not going to save any lives…

I’m not trying to normalize suicidal feelings. I tell this story and I do this work because I want people to know that this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The suicidal mind can’t be stereotyped. When we do it safely talking about these feelings can be empowering. It can create identification and breed compassion. It can heal. It can open us up to possible solutions, both for ourselves and the system at large. Maybe it can even save lives, but we won’t know until we try.

I wish I could say that I didn’t still battle my mind and the thoughts that I’d be better off dead sometimes, but I do. The difference now is that I’m not afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I know I’m loved even when I can’t feel it. And I know I will be able to power through any difficult moment because I know, without a doubt, that I’m not alone.

Wanna read the whole thing? You can do that here.

Thanks, as ever, for your support and encouragement. Big changes are afoot!

Upcoming Events

September 5, 2018
IARF & IABH Better Together Conference
Chicago, IL

September 10, 2018
Clackamas County Ask the Question Project
Oregon City, OR

 

Bring LTT To You

To inquire about availability for speaking engagements, please contact Ben Anshutz (ben@gotham-artists.com) at Gotham Artists. You can also find more information here.

 

Volunteer

Live Through This is a labor of love requiring a lot of time and care. I do most of the work myself, but do have a small team of volunteers taking care of tasks I simply don’t have the expertise to handle on my own. I am currently in need of long-term transcriptionists and a dependable social media assistant. As I have no budget, these positions are unpaid. If you are interested, please contact me.

Want to support us?

Live Through This is made possible in part by donations from incredible humans like you.

If the project moves you and you have even a single dollar to spare, please consider donating. Every dollar donated goes straight back into the project. These funds allow for gear, web real estate and hosting, travel associated with the project, professional fees, conference attendance, and more.

For more ways to support us, be sure to check out our merchandise, subscribe to our mailing list, and join the #STAY campaign by sharing a picture of you and your Live Through This gear!

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *