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SUICIDE ANNIVERSARY

Hello Friends,

I don’t normally do this, but today I was reminded that last year on this day, my brother committed suicide.  So I am going to re-post the post I wrote last year for any who may have never seen it.

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  If you are feeling lonely, discouraged, or severely depressed, call someone…please.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Hello Friends,

I have been feeling a little reluctant to write about this, but honestly, I don’t see how I can NOT write about it.  This will be long; bear with me, please.

On the morning of May 5th, 2017, I learned that one of my brothers committed suicide on May 4th. In a way, I wasn’t surprised when I thought back on the last time I had spoken with him.  He called me out of the blue about a month before this and asked me if I knew where his daughter was.  I thought this was a strange question since I have not seen her since she was three years old!  She and her mom left California in the early ’80’s when her mom and my brother divorced.  Anyway, I asked him why he needed to find her.  I asked him if he was sick.  He said he wasn’t sick, but he couldn’t hardly walk anymore. He said he wanted her to be able to have all of his part of the financial investments that our parents left us “just in case something happens to me.”  In the back of my mind I had a flash of what he may have been planning.  However, I did not ask him if he was feeling suicidal.  I wish I had.   I was actually surprised that he even called me.

My brother and I had a very rocky relationship for most of our lives.  I never really understood why.  I am the youngest.  He was the middle sibling.  We were four and a half years apart.  He would have been 61 this July.  He always seemed closer to our other brother.  However, throughout our lives we all really went our separate ways.  The closest I ever felt to either of them was when we went through the death of our mother in 2006.  Our father died three years later.  So our eldest brother had to handle all of the inheritance stuff.  It was a very stressful time for all of us.  Since then, we have all lived separately; my oldest brother left the area and my other brother and I never knew where he was until about three years ago.

That was when my middle brother decided to call me and apologize for everything he had ever done to hurt me.  He was crying and truly sorry.  This was something I had been praying for since 1987 when God had turned my life around.  I had tried many times to make amends with him, but he was just not ready.  Needless to say, I was thankful for that call.  I told him I had forgiven him many years ago and had been praying we might be able to have that conversation someday.  I told him I had always wanted to know him and I loved him.  I asked him if we could just start to have a relationship then, but he said he didn’t want to.  He was addicted to drugs and couldn’t get clean.  He was living in a trailer park where he had been for the last 20 years.  He didn’t know how to change, and he didn’t ask anyone for help that I know of.  I felt helpless, but I let him be.  I called him a few times just to see how he was doing, but he just didn’t know how to connect with me.

I believe he suffered from mental illness his whole life; most likely anxiety and depression, just as I have since I was at least 15.  Looking back on my childhood, I now believe my dad suffered from depression and this was why he drank.  I also think my mom had anxiety issues not just because of his drinking, but because of her own chemical make-up.  She was always worrying about everything and everyone.

I went through my drug and alcohol abuse days from about 1980 to 1987.  That was the year I quit everything and got help through counseling and an ACA (adult children of alcoholics) meeting every week for a couple of years. However, both of my brothers kept using drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives.  My brother who died was hurt on a job many years ago and was getting pain medicine through the veterans hospital.  He was in the Navy for four years when he was right out of high school.   Apparently, though, his back became so bad, he could hardly walk anymore.  I believe that he just chose to die to escape the pain that was consuming him.

I have been that low many, many times myself emotionally.  However, I am thankful to have a loving husband and two children who love me and would never ever want me to make that choice just to escape any pain I may go through in my life.  It doesn’t solve anything, and it leaves those whom the person left behind in shock, angry, and sad.

When I learned of my brother’s suicide, I was definitely shocked.  Then I was angry for a few days. Then I had to begin dealing with the aftermath of what would happen to him and his stuff.  At the time I didn’t have a clue as to where his daughter was.  Then his best friend found my brother’s ex-wife’s phone number.  She was contacted and then my niece was.  Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my 37-year-old niece whom I do not even know.  It was strange, but good.

Hopefully, just getting in touch with her will be the blessing that comes out of his sad choice.  My brother and his daughter were estranged from each other for most of their lives as well.  I always felt sad about that, but hopefully she and I can build a relationship with one another now even though we live very far apart.

To this day I have no clue as to where my other brother lives.  We became estranged after our parents were both gone eight years ago.  He left the area and has never wanted to come back. However, our brother who died did have a best friend who knew where our oldest brother was.  So the same month that my brother called and apologized to me, he also went and found our other brother to make amends with him as well.  However, I have no way to find our eldest brother to try and do the same.  He is living off the grid which is what he always wanted.

I know this has been a very long post; if you stayed with me, thank you.  I wrote this to encourage anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows anyone who is, to tell you to please reach out for help.  There is lots of help to be found!  First, try to talk to someone you know.  If that doesn’t help, call a local suicide hotline.  Or call 1-800-273-8255.  This is the number for Suicide Prevention Services of America.  Their website is http://www.spsamerica.org if you want more information.  I have never used their services, but I am sure there would be someone there to talk to.

Well, friends, I am definitely going to be reaching out for some help myself in dealing with this.  I have talked with someone locally whom I am planning to meet this afternoon.  Perhaps this is going to be the start of something good.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

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SUICIDE: Don’t Make That Choice!

Hello Friends,

I have been feeling a little reluctant to write about this, but honestly, I don’t see how I can NOT write about it.  This will be long; bear with me, please.

On the morning of May 5th, I learned that one of my brothers committed suicide on May 4th.  In a way, I wasn’t surprised when I thought back on the last time I had spoken with him.  He called me out of the blue about a month before this and asked me if I knew where his daughter was.  I thought this was a strange question since I have not seen her since she was three years old!  She and her mom left California in the early ’80’s when her mom and my brother divorced.  Anyway, I asked him why he needed to find her.  I asked him if he was sick.  He said he wasn’t sick, but he couldn’t hardly walk anymore. He said he wanted her to be able to have all of his part of the financial investments that our parents left us “just in case something happens to me.”  In the back of my mind I had a flash of what he may have been planning.  However, I did not ask him if he was feeling suicidal.  I wish I had.   I was actually surprised that he even called me.

My brother and I had a very rocky relationship for most of our lives.  I never really understood why.  I am the youngest.  He was the middle sibling.  We were four and a half years apart.  He would have been 61 this July.  He always seemed closer to our other brother.  However, throughout our lives we all really went our separate ways.  The closest I ever felt to either of them was when we went through the death of our mother in 2006.  Our father died three years later.  So our eldest brother had to handle all of the inheritance stuff.  It was a very stressful time for all of us.  Since then, we have all lived separately; my oldest brother left the area and my other brother and I never knew where he was until about three years ago.

That was when my middle brother decided to call me and apologize for everything he had ever done to hurt me.  He was crying and truly sorry.  This was something I had been praying for since 1987 when God had turned my life around.  I had tried many times to make amends with him, but he was just not ready.  Needless to say, I was thankful for that call.  I told him I had forgiven him many years ago and had been praying we might be able to have that conversation someday.  I told him I had always wanted to know him and I loved him.  I asked him if we could just start to have a relationship then, but he said he didn’t want to.  He was addicted to drugs and couldn’t get clean.  He was living in a trailer park where he had been for the last 20 years.  He didn’t know how to change, and he didn’t ask anyone for help that I know of.  I felt helpless, but I let him be.  I called him a few times just to see how he was doing, but he just didn’t know how to connect with me.

I believe he suffered from mental illness his whole life; most likely anxiety and depression, just as I have since I was at least 15.  Looking back on my childhood, I now believe my dad suffered from depression and this was why he drank.  I also think my mom had anxiety issues not just because of his drinking, but because of her own chemical make-up.  She was always worrying about everything and everyone.

I went through my drug and alcohol abuse days from about 1980 to 1987.  That was the year I quit everything and got help through counseling and an ACA (adult children of alcoholics) meeting every week for a couple of years. However, both of my brothers kept using drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives.  My brother who died was hurt on a job many years ago and was getting pain medicine through the veterans hospital.  He was in the Navy for four years when he was right out of high school.   Apparently, though, his back became so bad, he could hardly walk anymore.  I believe that he just chose to die to escape the pain that was consuming him.

I have been that low many, many times myself emotionally.  However, I am thankful to have a loving husband and two children who love me and would never ever want me to make that choice just to escape any pain I may go through in my life.  It doesn’t solve anything, and it leaves those whom the person left behind in shock, angry, and sad.

When I learned of my brother’s suicide, I was definitely shocked.  Then I was angry for a few days.  Then I had to begin dealing with the aftermath of what would happen to him and his stuff.  At the time I didn’t have a clue as to where his daughter was.  Then his best friend found my brother’s ex-wife’s phone number.  She was contacted and then my niece was.  Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my 37-year-old niece whom I do not even know.  It was strange, but good.

Hopefully, just getting in touch with her will be the blessing that comes out of his sad choice.  My brother and his daughter were estranged from each other for most of their lives as well.  I always felt sad about that, but hopefully she and I can build a relationship with one another now even though we live very far apart.

To this day I have no clue as to where my other brother lives.  We became estranged after our parents were both gone eight years ago.  He left the area and has never wanted to come back.  However, our brother who died did have a best friend who knew where our oldest brother was.  So the same month that my brother called and apologized to me, he also went and found our other brother to make amends with him as well.  However, I have no way to find our eldest brother to try and do the same.  He is living off the grid which is what he always wanted.

I know this has been a very long post; if you stayed with me, thank you.  I wrote this to encourage anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows anyone who is, to tell you to please reach out for help.  There is lots of help to be found!  First, try to talk to someone you know.  If that doesn’t help, call a local suicide hotline.  Or call 1-800-273-8255.  This is the number for Suicide Prevention Services of America.  Their website is http://www.spsamerica.org if you want more information.  I have never used their services, but I am sure there would be someone there to talk to.

Well, friends, I am definitely going to be reaching out for some help myself in dealing with this.  I have talked with someone locally whom I am planning to meet this afternoon.  Perhaps this is going to be the start of something good.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Art and A.D.D.

Hello friends,

I wanted to address an issue that may or may not have crossed your mind about my blog.  I have realized that sometimes I say in my posts that I am going to be working on certain projects for a while and that may be what some of you expect to see until I say I am finished with it.

For instance a while back I was showing you parts of my picture book, “Larry, the Lonely Leatherback,” but I never said whether I had finished it or told you anything about it.  Update:  it has been put aside because….

I get bored sometimes working on long projects.  So I find new things to do or learn.  The next thing I was working on was learning to draw and paint new sea creatures besides just sea turtles.  So I did an octopus and was planning on doing several more.  But I just hadn’t found any really good pictures to learn from in how to draw them in different positions.

Then I became interested in Chinese brush painting.  So I got a kit to learn how to use Chinese brushes and ink.  I painted a few things with those and am still doing it.  And as mentioned in my last post, I have been working on learning East Asian calligraphy.  I am using my Chinese paint brushes and ink for that and am learning from the book called “The Heart of the Brush” by Kazuaki Tanahashi.

I also said in a post a few days ago that I want to paint more Pokemon characters.  I do!  I realize there is a story about Gracie the Green Sea Turtle on my blog that is unfinished as well.

You may wonder if I ever complete any of these long projects.  I do.  A couple of summers ago I painted seven huge sea turtles.  It took me all summer long to complete that project, but I did!  I have A.D.D.  I was tested for it back in about 2002 and the woman who tested me said I definitely showed many signs of it.  I also take medication for anxiety and depression.  My life has been pretty crazy in the last ten years or so homeschooling my two children, and trying to teach myself art and keep in shape amongst all the other trials and stress we have been through in the last few years.  I keep hoping maybe this tendency I have to start things and get distracted so easily will go away, but honestly I believe it is a part of who I am.  No medication, religion, exercise, etc. is going to “fix” it.  That’s okay!  I feel I have accomplished a great deal in my life in the area of art even if I am not out there selling it or promoting it very much.  I do art because I am a creative person, I love it, and it relaxes me.

So if you ever wonder when I’m going to get back to something I say I’m going to be posting about, please just be patient with me.  I am a work in progress.  But if you don’t care one way or the other, please keep coming back!  It is nice to know there are people who are encouraged by what I think and do.  I appreciate it more than you know.

Here’s a short explanation of ADD even though they are referring to ADHD.  The “H” stands for hyperactivity which I do not have!  I don’t think I have ever been called hyperactive.  Not everyone with this condition has the hyperactive component.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Creativity and Depression

I’m sitting in my air-conditioned home on this 100 degree day thinking about creativity and how people who desire to express themselves artistically – whether through writing, painting, playing music, etc. – can become depressed at times, even for long periods.

I remember back in June of 2005 how anxious I was for summer to come. I wanted my kids to be out of school so I didn’t have to get up early and drive them there. (Obviously, I wasn’t home-schooling them yet.) I was relishing the idea of having large chunks of time to sit and paint. I had lots of ideas bouncing around in my head like a rubber ball that needed a place to land. I also considered doing some writing if I had time for it. And I had a stack of books that I wanted to read.

By July of that summer I had made some progress on some of the unfinished books finishing a few. But for reasons I still don’t understand, I woke up each day, stared at my easel, thought about starting a watercolor painting, but then left the room only to have my day become consumed with my children’s needs, dishes, laundry or the super time killer – television.

I still struggle with this problem. I have depression/anxiety issues. I have friends who are talented, creative people who face this ongoing problem every day also. So what is the solution? I have a few suggestions that have worked for me.

1. Counseling. That works for some people. In the past I went through a great deal of counseling for various reasons. But I haven’t needed to go since 2001 except occasionally, like when my parents died.

2. Write in a journal. I have kept journals on and off all of my life. But when I first went into counseling, I started with poetry, just getting my feelings out on paper. They were self-centered, but it was like looking in a mirror when I read them which then gave me things to work on. I also wrote about my day and things I was trying to deal with at the time.

3. Exercise. When I am not doing something physical, I tend to crave sweets, which are not bad in and of themselves, but I feel like a slug when I indulge too much. I have been challenged in this area greatly since December when I had foot surgery. It still hurts to walk a mile like I used to. Then my stationary bike broke! It is a constant challenge for me to find something I can do to relieve stress.

4. Become more sociable. This is a tough one for me. I have always been an introvert and on the shy side. Playing sports when I was a kid was fun but difficult for me because of all the people watching. I have to force myself to go visit people, and having people over or going out with anyone but my family feels like someone is getting ready to pull out my tooth without anesthesia. Recently my husband wanted to have an old friend over while he was visiting family in town. I said okay, but I felt instant anxiety about meeting someone new. I don’t know when I became so bothered by these issues; I often wonder if I am “normal”! And although I can sing and play piano, I hate to do it in front of others. But in this past year, God has pushed me out there so I can help my husband lead worship at our church occasionally. In fact we have to do that this Sunday. And my anxiety level is high right now!

5. Medication. Never be ashamed to take medication for depression or anxiety. I have been on medication for both of these for years. I discovered long ago that my brain is wired to have racing thoughts and difficulty focusing on one thing at a time. In fact, I experience frustration while writing with other noise in the room, like music or television (which I am facing right now). But it is something I am working on overcoming. Anyway, if I were to go off of my medications, I’m sure my brain would want to take a swan dive into a pit of despair.

I have learned that expressing myself through painting, drawing, music and writing is the key to keeping me from plunging into depression. I hope you are encouraged through the sharing of my struggles.

Flavia Vinci

Here, Now and Somewhere else

Elan Mudrow

Smidgens

Bitsy Kemper

Writing for children. Worth Reading!

ashby_i’s blog

The blog of an Art Foundation student, aspiring Medic and Artist trying to combine both Science and Art.

Weirdo Creates

I’m the quirky person who can somehow create cool stuff. - Creative and Lifestyle Blog -

Moda-Creative thinking

Moda-Creative thinking

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