Category Archives: Awareness and Education

Knock Knock (Trigger Warning)

Suicide is coming too close lately. I hear it’s death rattle knocking at my door.  No, I’m not suicidal; but it wasn’t that long ago that I was.  So when the news of suicide comes into the little bubble I occupy in our vast universe, it has an effect on me like never before.

A couple of months ago, a person sadly took their life by jumping into morning traffic from one of the higher freeway overpasses in town. That overpass is such a familiar part of home and it instantaneously became the site of an incredibly tragic moment. I pass by that overpass on my daily commute. I have passed by that same overpass so many times in my 32 years of life, that I can’t even count them for you. I was a barely permitted teen that white knuckled through rush hour traffic in that portion of the freeway, terrified of the towering levels of vehicle filled concrete and the median whizzing by immediately to my left, with my dad sitting to my right (probably even more scared). It happened so close to home.

I learned about the suicude before it hit the news because one of my best friend’s husband’s watched it happen on his way to work.  Of course, it wasn’t long before reports spread like wildfire.  The comments on social media varied wildly between understanding and compassion, insensitivity, and obnoxiously offensive and callous (from good riddance, to attention grabber, to should have thrown themselves off the Dam, with a side of eff you for ruining my commute folks – yeah).  The suicide was shocking enough, but the responses from people in my home town were worse (way to further stigmatize mental illness, Vegas). While I was shocked and saddened by it all, the day moved forward. 

The next morning, shock turned visceral and physical as I made my way to the office.  I took the same route as always, on auto pilot as I mentally prepared for the day.  I was not prepared for the way that my breath caught in my throat as I rounded that short stretch of road and imagined a body falling from the sky.  I was not prepared for the overwhelming anger as the vilest of the vile comments came flooding back to my mind. I was not prepared for the incredible anxiety and sadness that I felt being so close to where that poor soul left this Earth. I couldn’t help but weep for them, their family, and myself.

More recently, a very dear friend of mine reached out to me as she dealt with a mixture of shock, grief and guilt after a high school friend’s husband committed suicide. I didn’t know the gal that well, but my friend and I are soul sisters; we have known each other for 20 years; I came back to my relationship with God in the small church she planted in Delaware; we have shared our darkest demons with each other; and I just plain love her.  So, her hurts are my hurts and she’s been going through a lot as it is.  While I have not had the same reaction I had to the last suicide, it’s still too close to home because of how it affected someone I care so much about.

I never thought I would be able to relate in an almost intimate way with a person that ended their own life.  But as my life fell out from under me a few years ago, I became quite familiar with the level of sheer desperation and despair it takes to legitimately contemplate suicide.

When I had a psychotic break after the fraying rope that held my sadness and terror at bay for 29 years finally gave way, when I relived all of the abuse in vivid detail for the first time in my life, when I finally realized that my own mother molested me, I wanted to die.  When I also lost the two most important and supportive people in my life at the time – my boyfriend who I thought I was going to marry and my best friend – because of how I acted as my mind failed me in the worst way, I simply couldn’t stand the thought of being a part of this world anymore.

As I sat for what felt like hours with a steak knife to my wrist, all I wanted was for the memories and emotions to stop. I needed relief, peace, an escape from all of the pain. I had tried everything, I thought and I just couldn’t see any other way out. 

Thankfully, I had hastily saved this adorable little fur face from the pound in a brief moment of (slight) sanity that month.



Okay, so getting her was also kind of an eff you to the ex boyfriend, because we had talked seriously about getting a dog when he moved in, but I digress. 

Little did I know, my crazy freckled dog would save my life that night.  I’m convinced that, even as young as she was, she picked up on what I was feeling because right as I intended to dig the blade into my skin, she forced her little muzzle between my hands and sat at my feet, insisting that I love on her with an immediacy she had never shown before. The debilitatingly dark trance I had put myself in was broken just long enough for it to dawn on me that it really wasn’t just about me; I had a responsibility, if to no one else, but that little face, not to kill myself. 

I put the knife on the table.

The feelings I had been having that night didn’t go away automatically. I still struggle with all of it, and will continue to struggle. But had it not been for The Spotted Freckledog, I would have given in to my demons.  I would have, in an instant, become an (unreported) abuse statistic.  Though life really is worth living, I was immesurably close to being the jumper.  I was this close to making my own friends and family experience the unfathomable shock, grief and guilt over my death.

I’m eternally grateful that my dog saved my soul. 

Nowadays, when my darkness resurfaces and interferes with my life, even a little, I’m terrified of returning to that hell.  It’s why I stick with therapy, why I write, why I create.  It’s why I have finally decided to have weight loss surgery to free myself of the chains of morbid obesity brought on by the abuse. It’s why I’m here sharing this with you right now. I’m afraid that if I don’t let it out, it will consume me again. 

I know this post might make you uncomfortable, and I’m sorry for that, but I was truly lost and felt like I had no one to turn to (I wish I had been a part of this wonderful blogging community at the time). My hope is that if someone chances across my blog in their own desperation and sees that, although it’s not always easy, life can go on, that there can be joy despite suffering, and that they are not alone in this world, it will break their dark trance just long enough that they, too, put down the knife. Maybe my suffering won’t have been for nothing.

Maybe no one will ever needs my words in that way (I certainly hope that is the case).  But if you happen to be that person, please know that you are not alone.  I am here thinking of you and I am here to talk to.  I can’t make it all better, but I can listen without judging. Please don’t give in. Please keep fighting. Please reach out, spill your guts, and live this oddly magical life with me.  It’s worth it.  You are worth it. 💛

Check out my art and follow my journey on Twitter, Instagram., and in my Etsy shop.

How Much Is Too Much?

I’m learning that inner child therapy attaches significance to things that, on the surface, are innocuous. My first session was drawing myself with my non-dominant hand and my homework was to add color to my drawing.  So I added various colors of red for the hair, brown freckles, blue eyes, and I colored my pants blue.  They were blue jeans.  I wore blue jeans at that age, I wear blue jeans now.  But in inner child therapy, they weren’t just blue jeans.

The color blue was significant.  Obviously, saying you’re blue can also mean you’re saying you feel depressed.  Check.  But blue is also the color of water.  Which my therapist used to remind me about a traumatic childhood event involving water (I’ve written about it before).

Oh.  There it is.  There’s the door to that memory.

I’ve kept that door locked, under constant security surveillance, for a long time.  Interestingly, that door always had a window on it.  I mean, I’ve been able to tell people about the drowning incident for a long time (usually without much emotion).  Now I can barely think about it without wanting to cry.  Thanks, Dr.

In all seriousness, what my therapist did was help me open a door inside myself.  A door to real, raw, emotions that I haven’t allowed myself to feel.  That I couldn’t allow myself to feel, really.  I didn’t want to even unlock the door.  But before I knew what he was doing, he helped me unlock and open it.  The emotion hit me like a freight train, but in a good way.  He was there to help me manage it.  Then he helped me shut the door before we said our goodbyes.

Unfortunately, the door was more like a pressure valve with an old warn out gasket.  Now that the seal is broken, the steam that has been building up for the last 24 years (I was 7 in the drawing, remember) is seeping out around the cracks of the door.    So, a few other things have came out since hanging up the phone with my therapist.  I’m handling it surprisingly well, but I’ve been pondering an important set of questions.

How much is too much?  Can finding significance in something as normal as the color blue go too far?  Could it be risky business to see meaning where there really is just a pair of blue jeans?

When I was losing my mind a couple of years ago, I did something similar.  As I was trying to reconcile the unending terror I felt after she threatened me, my life, my career, I attached to the color red.  It was pretty natural, I think.  Red hair.  My dad always called me Red growing up.  But then I kept seeing red things everywhere.  I kept searching for it, attaching profound meaning to it.

Scary noise outside?  Look out the peep hole and a red truck drives by.   Panic.   I find a little red thing my dad gave me.  Anxiety.  I knew it was irrational, yet I could do nothing to stop it. This was at the peak of my psychosis when I was completely powerless over my mind.  Words can’t describe how awful it was.

So, yeah, your mind can do crazy things when left unchecked.  I suppose that’s why it’s great to have a good therapist.  I didn’t have that at the time and it cost me.   Now, as the week comes to a close and the weekend begins, I have to admit that I’m still way more anxious than I’d like to be.  But behind that anxiety is a layer of excitement to learn what else is behind this door number one.   I was 7 when I shut this door and I sense that there are others to come.  In fact, I almost feel like there was a wall behind the door that has to be busted down first.  Hey, I warned you that there was more to deal with when I started this process.

I’m still terrified of what lies in wait for me.  That feeling isn’t just miraculously gone like I had hoped it might be, but it has lessened.  And I at least can acknowledge that, with guidance, I can handle (and almost look forward to) figuring things out about myself.  Progress.


She always required perfection, especially in education.  It has served me well, I can’t deny it, because I ended up loving school more than I ever loved being at home.  However, her demands for the highest grades came at a price.

Under the guise of “encouragement,” she forced perfection in school down my throat every chance she got.  To be stupid like my brother – an entirely untrue belief ingrained in me from a very young age – meant you would be beaten mercilessly for seemingly innocuous and normal childhood behavior.

Perhaps it is no wonder than when I finished the second grade with one B out of all of the skills we were graded on back then, I couldn’t bear the weight.  It was one B, out of countless.  And I was a second grader.  Yet it was made clear to me that getting that B was wrong.  As I’m sure you can imagine, it wasn’t a fun experience learning that lesson in my house.

I was able to maintain my grades until sixth grade, when I finally stopped giving a fuck.  I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t be perfect.  I just couldn’t.  So I screwed around and nearly failed a few classes.  I loved my music class, though.  Needless to say, the D I got was not received well.  But it doesn’t matter now.  My sixth grade grades never mattered as much as she led me to believe.

Getting that B in second grade was the very moment my childhood was irretrievably lost. I was finally a target for her wrath. She would no longer spare me.

A Thank You Note…

I have a serious love affair with Hulu Plus (and Netflix).  Who would pay $55+ for cable when you can get some of the best programming and movies out there for $7.99/mo? I mean, really. But my television habits are neither here nor their.

As I was watching the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (with Tina Fey!), one of the ads was Adam Levine for I was pleasantly surprised to see an ad about ADHD after Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon did a hilarious rendition of My Endless Love (YouTube it).

I don’t have ADHD, but my brother does; so it’s another very personal subject for me.

For those of you that might not know, ADHD is (very) generally characterized as an inability to pay attention, focus, etc. combined with hyperactivity.  As if one wasn’t enough of a sucker punch to the gut, having both must feel, well, I can’t even imagine how hard it must be – for everyone in the family.  If it’s anything remotely like having anxiety and depression together, it’s not fun.  Anyway.  For obvious reasons, ADHD inhibits learning, comprehension, and behavior, among other things in affected children. While ADHD has, unfortunately, been misused as a diagnosis for the highly energetic youngster over the years, it is a legitimate medical condition that continues into adulthood.

The ad was refreshingly compassionate and understanding.  It was direct, yet personal; without being dismissive (all very important to those of us with mental health issues). It didn’t offer miracle drugs or programs or anything else. Instead, the ad simply encouraged people to take a quiz to find out more.

Finally, a campaign focusing more on education! Knowledge is, after all, power.  Not only that, but putting a recognizable and relatable face like Adam’s to such a serious topic like ADHD  makes me feel just a little bit more empowered about my own mental health problems.

Thank you. Truly.