Does anyone care?
I do! I care.
My friend, Kelli Karlton, posted this orange image on her Facebook page today about World Suicide Prevention Day. Kelli works hard to raise awareness about this issue and I admire her dedication to educating the public.
Heart-breaking statistics you should know about
As I headed to our Laughter Yoga Club this evening I carried the significance of World Suicide Prevention Day with me and thought about the heart breaking statistics and quote by Brian Mishara, President of the International Association of Suicide Prevention.
More than a million people worldwide die by suicide each year. More people kill themselves than die in all wars, terrorist activities and homicides. Many millions more make suicide attempt severe enough to need medical treatment, and over six million people are affected each year by the disastrous impact of the suicide of a close one friend or family member. Source: Hindustan Times
WIIFN, What’s in it for me?
Before we began the Laughter Yoga session tonight, one of the members of our club asked me why I was helping to lead the group. She specifically asked “What’s in it for you Christa?”
This woman met me only once. She knows nothing about my “story” or what motivates me to help others get their Giggle On. I don’t wear the word “suicide” on my collar nor do I tell people in casual conversation that I am a “survivor” of my friend’s suicide or I spent years depressed and suicidal. First off, I dislike the word survivor. In my mind it labels me as a victim. I am no victim. Secondly, I don’t dwell in the past and I am mindful not to get “stuck” in my story of past woes.
I confess, when she asked the question I hesitated for a moment.
Would I tell her the truth, the ugly truth about how my friend’s suicide motivated me to help others?
People HATE hearing the word suicide. It makes them cringe. It also makes me uncomfortable making other people uncomfortable but the truth sometimes does that – the truth pushes people off balance and out of their comfort zones. Being pushed out of your comfort zone is part of life. I call it a tough shit-ski. One can’t escape a tough shit-ski.
Would I tell her I spent years depressed and on medication and hated my life and wanted to die too? Nobody wants to be handed that bag of hot potatoes without first grabbing a pair of oven mitts and scoping out the nearest escape route through the exit door, usually stage left. It’s always stage left in the cartoons.
Instead of hiding behind some warm and fuzzy filled BS story of fairies and lollipops about why I volunteer my time to our Laughter Yoga Club, I told her the truth.
I told her in a short, sweet, Christa fashion why I devote my time and my money to this cause. I told her I am damned lucky to be alive and I am grateful for every moment I have on this earth. It is my self-appointed job to reach out to anyone who will listen and share my “Don’t Give Up! Giggle On!” mantra with them.
- Do some people in my life still shun me for speaking my truth? – ABSOLUTELY.
- Are some of those people blood relatives? – YES.
- Am I disappointed my own family seems to be repulsed by my mission to encourage people to live and not hang, shoot or poison themselves? – SURE but again, that’s another tough shit-ski, another one of those things about life.
I am no pillow, no mattress
But, you know what? If my life’s mission was to make people feel comfortable all the time, I’d be a pillow or a Tempur-pedic mattress. I am no mattress!
Suicide sucks. There’s no sugar coating it. People all over the world struggle and suffer with mental illness.
I am committed to eliminating the stigma of mental illness, helping to prevent suicide by raising awareness, supporting people who lost loved ones to suicide and encouraging people not to give up on life or their dreams. People can transcend the struggles and pain and life and seek joy and laughter in all things. I Believe!
My job is to help lift people when they are down and coach them back into a smile, even if it’s a fake one. We fake it until we make it in life. We fake it until we make it in Laughter Yoga.
I am doing my best to keep it real here – to stay true to my mission – to honor myself – to educate and to spread bits and pieces of hope.
Remember and honor those who lost their lives to suicide. Remember Them!
Giggle On my friends. Life, although challenging at times, is very beautiful!