Monday, August 31, 2020

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Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 + Giveaway

Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Authors, readers, and bloggers are uniting again
this year to fight stigma, spread mental health awareness, and support the prevention of suicide.
To encourage participation, we're giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite
for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt to one lucky winner.
Two kinds of stigma continue to persist: public stigma and self-stigma.
Public stigma occurs when other people view a person with a mental illness in a negative way.
Public stigma feeds into self-stigma when people with mental illness internalize the negative talk
they hear from others.
Well-meaning people say things like, "Suck it up," "Choose to be happy,"
"Turn that frown upside down," or "Focus on your blessings," as if mental illness were a mood,
a frame of mind, or an attitude that can simply be overcome at will.
Often, people who suffer from mental illness blame themselves instead of seeking help.
Just as a diabetic needs insulin, a person with mental illness may need treatment.
People who contemplate suicide don't want to die; they just can't fathom how to live because they
are so miserable. They can't see past their pain and misery, and they see no point in going on.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention,
"Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages.
It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds."
IASP explains that "[e]very life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague.
For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected.
This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour.
Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide."
If you're contemplating suicide, please don't do it! Instead, seek help. You might be suffering now,
but you never know what tomorrow brings. Reach out to a friend or family member. See a doctor.
If that doctor doesn't help, try another. Please don't give up.
If you're in crisis, please reach out to the toll-free hotline in your region.
You can find your hotline here: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/.
If you are grieving the death of a victim of suicide and need help, here are resources that can help:
https://www.iasp.info/resources/Postvention/National_Suicide_Survivor_Organizations/.
If you suspect that someone you know may be contemplating suicide, please reach out.
We often hesitate because we're afraid we might make things worse by saying the wrong thing.
According to IASP, "Evidence suggests that this is not the case.
The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress,
as opposed to exacerbating it."
Warning signs to look for include severe anxiety, agitation, hopelessness, rage,
feelings of being trapped, a strong urge for vengeance, engaging in risky activities,
excessive alcohol and/or drug use, withdrawing from people, trouble sleeping,
and dramatic mood changes. 
MY STORY
I've never really talked about this with anyone, but I'm sharing my story on my blog
today in case it helps someone else in some small way.
I was in middle school the first time I had an experience with suicide. A classmate who kept
to himself ended up committing suicide, and it was something I remember not really
understanding at the time. I couldn't imagine why someone would want to end it all.
Why would he do that? Why didn't he ask for help? My teenage brain didn't really, fully
grasp the whole of it then. It wasn't until years later that I finally understood.
In 2006, I became a mom for the first time. I was 21 years old (going on 22), and I had no
idea what I was doing. At all. Now, that's a common thing among new parents.
Especially young parents.
But add to that postpartum depression, hormonal changes due to starting birth control
(Depo shot), and an unhelpful/demanding group of people (baby's father and grandparents),
and I became a mess very quickly. Lack of sleep. Severe depression. Hair loss. Weight gain.
Feeling like I was drowning in a sea of responsibilities. I was expected to get up at night
and feed baby all the time. I was expected to take care of cleaning (boyfriend's mom's house,
since we lived with her at the time) instead of being allowed to nap when baby napped. 
I was expected to just be happy and content now that I was a mom. I was expected to just "suck it up and deal" with all of the other issues
plaguing me at the time. I had no one I could talk to. No one who would listen. I felt alone. So I bottled up my emotions and kept them all tucked inside. I suffered in silence.
I sunk even further into depression. I didn't want to be around people. I didn't want anyone
to look at me, talk to me, or touch me. And I started wishing I could just end it all. 
At least then, I wouldn't have to be responsible. I wouldn't have to deal with a baby on my own.
I wouldn't be a burden to so many people anymore. I wouldn't feel useless and worthless anymore.
I got it into my head that ending things would be better than carrying on. I clearly wasn't doing anything right as a mother, or as a woman with someone else's household to clean.
I was failing everyone. I clearly wasn't worthy of the life I was living anymore. 
I started to think about how I would do it. Should I just take a bunch of pills? Maybe find a razor blade and cut my wrists? Or maybe I'd take the "easy" way out with a gun. I spent quite a few nights curled up, crying because I felt so alone even though I had people around me. They just weren't the types of people I needed around me. I spent those nights contemplating suicide, trying to decide the best way to do it. The best time. All the little details. 
I eventually decided on the razor blade. I knew I could handle that. I'd just spent a couple of months recovering from a C-section, so what was a little more pain to end an even bigger pain? 
But then, a night or two before I planned to do it, I was trying to get my son back to sleep after feeding him when something in my brain just sort of clicked. As I looked down at this tiny little human, I realized he needed me more than anyone else did. He needed me to be strong. He needed me to be there for him, because no one else would (at least that's how my brain worked at that moment). I couldn't leave this poor, defenseless little baby without a mother. I knew, at that moment, I couldn't go through with it. I had to stick around. And so, I did. But it was hard. There were times when I regretted not going through with it. There were times where I hated myself for being weak. But, eventually, things changed. They got better. And now, I'm finally surrounded by the right types of people. The ones who offer love, support, and caring. Sure, I still suffer from bouts of anxiety and depression. I still have moments of doubt where that dark, evil voice whispers, "Wouldn't it be better if you weren't around anymore?" But I now have people who will listen. People who will help. People who won't say, "suck it up and deal." And because of that, I am able to work through those dark, negative times and find the light again. 
I never asked for help. I never reached out to anyone. I suffered in silence, because I didn't know what else to do back then. But know that there are so many options out there now. Please reach out. Please ask for help. Find support. Find that lifeline and don't let go. We are all in this together. Please know that you are worthy. You are deserving of life. You are loved.

THE TOUR
Book lovers from all over the world have joined together to share their stories and spread mental
health awareness. Please follow this tour guide to find our posts and to enter our giveaway for a chance
to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020
t-shirt:

THE GIVEAWAY
From September 1-10, enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite
for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt. There are lots of ways to enter below--choose one or all.
You can also tweet daily for extra entries. We'll email the winner by September 11th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
1. On September 10th at 8 p.m. your time, light a candle to remember all those we have lost to suicide
and to represent the hope of preventing suicide. People all over the world will be participating.
You can send an ecard in 63 different languages to invite others to participate. Find the ecards here.
2. Purchase a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 for $20.
For every shirt sold, five dollars is donated to the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Order yours here.
3. Spread the word about this giveaway, to encourage more people to read our posts and tweet about
overcoming stigma. Use the share buttons at the bottom of this post, and
OTHER RESOURCES
Here are videos on suicide and mental health that I have found to be helpful:


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