When Do I Share My Story?

When I started this blog, I intended to stay away from things that were “too heavy” and “too personal.”  I immediately found that my style doesn’t lend itself to being anything but personal, so that was a fail.  Too heavy? That’s something for you, the reader to decide.

I wanted this weeks post to be funny.  I tried to force a funny story to happen.  Ya know what happens when you try to force a funny story? Awkward happens.  The kind of awkward that makes others cringe in that “I can’t believe she just did that” sorta way.

The truth is, for some of you, this post might make you cringe. You might say it’s too personal, too vulnerable, not “LinkedIn” appropriate. But I couldn’t get past the story that I knew I needed to share today.

I got hit with some serious whatifabouts when I sat down to write this.

(watch this  to learn what whatifabouts are).

But I needed to share this story…

You see, I opened up Facebook on Saturday and found this picture in my newsfeed.

My mom’s hand, with the scar from her suicide attempt and the tattoo she has now to remind her that life is worth living.

With the loss of two celebrities to suicide this week, and countless others who will never make the news, she decided to share her story in the hopes that it would help someone else.

This part of her story isn’t news to me, but I wasn’t prepared to see it on social media; that’s for sure.

It made me cringe.

The first thing I wanted to do was hide it.  It made me uncomfortable. I didn’t like the vulnerability mom was putting out there for the world to see. I didn’t like thinking about how difficult that event must have been for her or how difficult it must’ve been to share it now.

I like positive, funny, and inspiring things.  I want to see puppy videos and silly memes about eating too much ice cream.

I had to take a huge step back and some very deep breaths to process it.

What do I  tell my daughter, my friends or my clients about sharing their stories?

I say this…

“Our stories are the most powerful connection tool we have; use them.”

“If you only help one person with your story, isn’t that enough?”

“Is that one person enough to get past the potential naysayers, doubters, haters, etc.?”

The answer is yes; one person is enough.

I put aside my doubts and shared her story on my social media account, and I’m sharing it again here;

MY SUICIDE STORY: Look closely and you’ll see a thin white scar, a reminder of my teenage attempt to end my life. Fortunately I failed, but my parents were horrified and afraid that someone might “find out”. We made up a story about my “injury” and for years I hid my scar. I felt guilty and ashamed. Decades later, I added the tattoo, which includes the initials of my 4 children, children that remind me how thankful I am to still be alive. But as an attempted suicide survivor, I want to tell people how much pain a person has to be in before they decide to try to end their life. This week, 2 public figures died by their own hands, a reminder that we can never really know what kind of struggles someone may be dealing with. A reminder that mental health is every bit as important as physical health, and that depression can be a silent and deadly killer. My hope is that by sharing my story, someone might reach out to help or to ask for help and to let anyone who feels life is not longer worth living know that “yes it is”! We need to talk openly about suicide and always be willing to listen to others. I’m willing to talk, listen, or pray with anyone. Feel free to message me if I can help in any way.

I’m sharing it because if it helps one person, then that’s enough.

People ask me “How do I know when to tell my story?”

The answer is simple;

Tell your story when you know it will help someone else.

 

According to CNN “Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%.”

 

Please, if you are feeling lost, scared & like there’s no one in your “tribe” know that you can call me, message me, or call the suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255. People will help. We aren’t meant to do life alone. 

 

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