When Suicide Pulls at You. Stay Alive.

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My suicide story is not something I share very often. Not because I’m ashamed but because it’s often irrelevant as I go through my day.  However, I do openly speak about it when I’m prompted.  Suicide is real.  Thoughts of suicide are real. The way the mind gets twisted is overwhelming. I want to bring awareness and hope to those who are silently suffering and let them know they’re not alone.

I didn’t get to the point of action but the suicidal ideations were making more and more sense. I was convinced my family would be better off without me. I didn’t want attention or give anyone an opportunity to talk me out of it.

Go. Get. Help.

I was so terrified to tell anyone because in my mind I was going to lose my daughter and never see my husband again. Interesting, right? I wanted to kill myself, which would result in losing my husband and daughter but I did NOT want to go to a psychiatric unit. The whole point of committing suicide was so I would not have to suffer anymore and my family could move on. Being in a psych unit would cause me to suffer more and my family to worry about me. These are the stories that played in my head.

I pictured padded walls and crazy people trying to kill me, straight jackets, doctor’s shooting me up with narcotics, and being on lock down.

Heck, maybe all of this would have happened, but the main reason I didn’t tell anyone is because I was living every day scared, full of fear with no hope. Psychiatric hospitals scared me. I didn’t want to be scared anymore.

I wanted to share this in case anyone is considering suicide and is too scared to get help. I was terrified years ago but I see the truth about mental health now that I work in behavioral health. It’s not scary and it’s not uncommon for people to have a list of mental health disorders and get help for them.
Working in behavioral health we deal with psychiatric hospitals all. the. time. It’s a normal part of the work we do in substance abuse treatment.

Drug abuse and mental health go hand in hand. I call it the ‘underbelly’ of the world. It’s the place where all the shitty stuff happens that no one wants to talk about. Where dad’s rape their daughters (and this is common, I’ll have you know), where church leaders molest the youth (common as well), where people sell their body for drugs, where mom’s are numb and say, “this is no longer my child. He stopped being my son years ago. I’m simply calling for a stranger – in hopes that you may help save his life.”,

The underbelly – where grown men lie in the street so oncoming traffic can run them over. Where people drive under the influence, wreck, and wake up to the fact that they killed their best friend who was also in the car.

People who are filled with trauma and pain. They don’t know how to properly process pain, guilt, shame, anger … so they turn to chemical substance. And it helps. It works for them. Until it wears off. So they use again. The thing that is killing them is the thing that keeps them alive.

It’s such a vicious cycle.

So, all that to say … mental health disorders and psychiatric units don’t scare me anymore. Working on the inside, I can see that these places are here to help and it’s actually common for people to go there for help – just no one talks about it.

No one talked about it in my circle. The church absolutely has no idea what to do with it. Your options are to pray more, read the Bible more, and confess your sin/repent more.

I’m here to tell you – GO. GET. HELP.

Pray, read your Bible, confess sin and repent, fast, get oil poured on you, ultimately this is what saved my life. Jesus did save me. He did pull me out but I suffered far too long, to the point of suicide and I didn’t have to. So … do the things listed above but freakin’ go get professional, clinical help!

Your life is valuable. You are valuable. I’ve never regretted staying alive.

Your mind is lying to you.

Get help.

Stay alive.

Live Full

 

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Life is fleeting.  It just lasts a short time.

I think fear of death is actually just fear of living, in disguise. Because those who are fully living life are prepared to die at any moment. There is no fear when you’re living, taking risks, making time for the people and things you love most.

There’s no regrets when you’re living a full life.

But when you’re not living … when you’re just sitting around doing the same ol’, same o’l. That’s when you feel fearful.  When you hang out with the same people who have been dragging you down for years – KNOWING you were made for more. That’s when you’re fearful.

When you’re too afraid to live your own life so you let others dictate it for you, afraid you might piss someone off if you do your own thing. That’s when you’re fearful.

As another day passes by, you find yourself lying in bed thinking of all the things you should have done.

You think of all the people you should have been with.

You think of how you were too distracted to really give dedicated time to your kids.  I mean, they were there throughout the day but you didn’t really acknowledge them.  You weren’t present with them.  Too distracted by cleaning, laundry, maybe even a TV show and even worse, Facebook or some other app on your phone or tablet.

Passing up quality time with your children or spouse or someone else who you love because you’d rather scroll Facebook and peek through the windows of someone else’s life – all while yours passes you by.

That’s when you feel fearful of dying.  That’s what gives you anxiety.  That’s what makes you wake up the next morning grumpy and roaming through your day aimlessly … just to do it all over again the next day.  And the next.

I know, because I’ve been there.

But I’m writing this because I know you can press forward through wondering aimlessly through life.  I know you can press through fear and live life abundantly.  Fear doesn’t necessarily go away – but this really cool thing happens when you press forward and don’t let fear stop you. The fear becomes fuel.

Just like surfing in the ocean. The waves can be extremely dangerous but if you can get your board atop the wave instead of under it, the wave will launch you forward.  This is how I view fear.

If we resist it – anxiety, panic attacks, numb, shut down, cry, no patience, anger, boredom.

But friend, oh.  What if you rode the fear? What if you used it in your favor?  To launch you into greatness?  To launch you into all you were created for in this very short, fleeting life?

Lately I’ve been waking up at the crack of dawn. Literally. I’ve made it my mission to get outside before the sun rises to watch the day enter. There’s just something about it. It’s incredible.

Getting up early before everyone else – including the sun, makes me feel like I have control of my day instead of being reactive all day long. I’m stubborn and I don’t like being told what to do. Ha! So this is just another way to ensure I’m not in a box.

I get up. Early. I take control of my day.  Even when things don’t go as planned, I’m able to navigate easier and get back on track to what my overall goal was for that day. It’s lovely.

But by getting up early and watching the sun rise, I’ve noticed something.  I see the sun rise but later that evening, I also see the sun set. I watch a day come and go. And I realize … the day is incredibly short.

Now, hour by hour it felt long because I accomplished all I had set out to do that day (most of the time) but something strange happens when you see the sun rise, live the day, and watch the sun set. It’s eery and fascinating all at the same time. You realize life is not playing around with you. You get one shot. Just one.

One chance to live this life to the fullest. One chance to love those around you.  If you were on your death bed who are the 8 people standing around your bed as you enter into eternity?

Imagine those 8 people.

Them.  Those are the ones who need your first and foremost.  Make time for them.  Love them well.

Life is fleeting, my friend.  But you get an opportunity today to wake up and live the shit out of it!

You get to choose your attitude.  You get to choose your perspective. You get to choose your gratitude.

Live well today.  Live full.

Be the change,

AP

 

 

 

Scar-Marked Wrists

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“I realized I couldn’t even die right. I was so angry.”

These words were shared with me by an incredible new Treatment Specialist on my team.

Pride came before the fall, for sure…for both of us. We swapped pieces our stories of pain wrapped in redemption today.

He was struggling silently with addiction. He was someone who would sit beside you at church or even moreso- someone who would have spoken from the pulpit. He was in the place filled with those who claim to live out the love of Christ and yet no one knew what to do with his cocaine addiction when he asked for help.

“I tried to end it all.” He held out his scar-marked wrists for me to see. “I woke up 2 days later, still alive, in a hotel bathtub, all alone. I couldn’t even die right.”

I sat across the table, looking at him, taking in the details of his face. As he talked, I watched his chest move up and down as he breathed between words.

Life. Enduring life. Right in front of me.

Beauty from ashes in the flesh.

It is our pain that connects us most. It’s the understanding and “me too” moments that give us hope.

Tonight I’m reflecting on the lives that have been lost around me. Due to addiction or suicide mostly. It hurts to know that such valuable people have gone too soon.

Yet, I look at these scarred wrists and am grateful for life.

I’m grateful for second chances. And third chances. And fourth chances…and so on.

I’m grateful for people who are using their stories to help others.

I’m grateful for the team I get to link arms with at Addiction Campuses.

But right now. In this moment. I’m most grateful that this guy couldn’t even die right.

There is hope.

Liberty is comin’ for ya!

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Those who know me, know that I frequently talk about boundaries. That’s because when I realized I was depressed and not living the life I wanted was due to my lack of boundaries – I got serious about change.

In order to change you’ve got to do something different, right? Well, I knew I couldn’t go on living the way I was and expect to have this amazing new life.

The first change I experienced was setting proper boundaries. I had way too many people pushing me around. It’s as if I was the puppet and they were the puppeteer. My life was exhausting.  A friend recommended I read the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

I was glued to the book. It wrecked me.  In order to set boundaries I had to first dig through my past and discover the root.  The root was an obsession with people pleasing.  The root of my addiction to people pleasing was FEAR.

Damn that fear. It’s always up to something.

If you are feeling like your life is exhausting and you’re tired of everyone else living your life for you – maybe it’s time to get serious about setting boundaries (and ultimately pissing a lot of people off) as you journey to TAKE. YOUR. LIFE. BACK.

People do get mad when they can’t control you anymore but WHY would you want people close to your heart who want to control you?  AND if they can’t control you they’re going to be mad at you? Who wants that?

Whoo! I feel liberty comin’ for ya, girl!

Why do we need boundaries? Well, for starters, healthy people set boundaries. Healthy people also respect other people’s boundaries.

Boundaries: I mostly talk about 2 major boundary zones. Emotional and mental.

What are boundaries? Well, I’ll let Psych Central tell you:

Emotional: distinguish separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else’s. It’s like an imaginary line or force field that separates you and others. Healthy boundaries prevent you from giving advice, blaming or accepting blame. They protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. High reactivity suggests weak emotional boundaries. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries – knowing your feelings and your responsibilities to yourself and others.

Mental: apply to your thoughts, values, and opinions. Are you easily suggestible? Do you know what you believe, and can you hold onto your opinions? Can you listen with an open mind to someone else’s opinion without becoming rigid? If you become highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive, you may have weak emotional boundaries.

Have you signed up for the 8 week course we offer through Point Her Journey for Setting Healthy Boundaries? I’d love to hear your feedback if you’ve signed up and completed the course.

If you haven’t signed up and are interested – it’s free! Sign up and let me know how it helps and or challenges you.

There’s a lot of noise on the internet. It is never my intent to say ‘look at me’ or ‘here’s some more junk to read.’ I’m extremely passionate about seeing women thrive in the here and now – with the life they have while creating the life they want!

I know what it’s like to live a life of bondage. I also know what it’s like to live a life of freedom. So, if there is anything I can share with you to help you live a life of freedom, I’m all for it! Let’s start with boundaries.

Click the here to get started with the 8 week course.

 

For those of you who already set boundaries, what was the most challenging part for you?

For those of you who have not yet set boundaries, what are you most afraid of?

I’m curious to hear your feedback about this complex subject.

– April

A Better Story

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I can’t even bring adequate words for what my heart is feeling right now.

My friend, Alisa Turner, had her album release tonight.

I’ve seen her face, followed her story, and known her for a few years now.
I’ve literally been able to watch her dream for music come alive. And here she is… standing strong, powerful, and beautiful on the night of her album release concert.

I’ve always felt a strong connection to her. Not only because I admire her courage and vulnerability… but because (from the details I know) she’s literally living out the dream for music that I had in my head since I was a little girl.

The one that no matter how hard I tried to bring alive- never came alive. I was so pissed because God gave me a voice but wouldn’t let me do anything with it.
Years ago, The Lord gave me a word. “You’re a balcony singer.” Meaning, I’m the one meant to stand in the crowd while someone else is on stage. I’m the one encouraging and giving those in the crowd “permission” to be free in worship. Not holding back.

Then He gave me another word (because I’m hard headed and OFTEN require more than one word from God). “You’re a writer, not a singer.” I took His words and surrendered my dream. My plan. My story. And traded it for His.
Tonight I watched my former dream play out in this girl. It was right where it needed to be- with who it needed to be.

And I, I cheered her on from the crowd with so much joy and excitement in my heart for her and for everyone who gets to hear her.

She sealed the evening with these words – with this promise that I cling to and believe deeply in my heart: “He’s writing a better story than I ever could have.”

I’m so, so proud of you, Alisa.

You were made for this.

God was surely glorified through your obedience tonight.

He is faithful.

PS – Go get this girl’s EP. Follow her on Instagram, get her music and be prepared to fall in love.

https://www.instagram.com/alisaturnermusic/

Be the change,

April

Pressing Forward

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I’ve been thinking lately. Just thinking about how often we overcomplicate the simplest things.
I wrote a book over 5 years. 18,000 words. It took forever to send to a publisher because I was too fearful of rejection.
Well, the book was accepted by the publisher. After talking with him further about holes in the writing, I realized I needed to make major changes to the book. So I scratched 5 years of work and started over. 2 weeks and 28,000 words later – book completed.

We stop ourselves from reaching our highest potential. We do it. No one else. Just us.
Then we (I) ramble on and on about the reality of fear – placing it front and center stage in our lives, relating to each other based on how we experience the same kinds of fear… sharing our brokenness, being authentic and vulnerable and all those other words that ultimately bring healing. So needed- but I’ve noticed we seem to be getting stuck there in that place.
We are beauty from ashes. Meaning we emerge. Constantly in process, yes. But still moving through. Still pressing forward. Because ultimately, Jesus has paid the price. Has He not?
So, if we are going to claim Him, let’s claim all that comes with Him.

Healing. Sight. Belonging. Forgiveness. Victory. Freedom.

Writing those 28,000 words seemed so much easier this time around. What had changed? Nothing but me. I wasn’t hindering myself anymore. I was pressing through fear (even though I felt fearful) and writing. Doing it regardless. Pressing forward.
God does tell us not to be afraid… but He doesn’t tell us we can’t feel fear. I think because He wired us and knows we will feel fear when we step into new, unfamiliar territory.
He makes us brave. Bravery and fear can coexist. So, just ’cause you’re shaking in your boots doesn’t mean you’re not being brave. In fact, that’s probably a sign you are being brave.
Standing in the deep. Far from safety. Wondering why in the hell you came here.
And yet you’re right where you’re supposed to be.
This is the place where His strength meets your weakness and the miracle happens. It’s the breeding ground for Him to do what He does.
Don’t you stop. Keep pressing forward.

-April

Follow Me.

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Jesus said “Follow Me.” He didn’t say “Follow those who follow me.”

On my journey of following Jesus I found myself submerged in Christian language, disciplines and ideas … but felt very far from the heart ofJesus. “How did I get here?” Discouraged, I asked Him.
“Who are you following?” He responded. “Come. Follow me.” As I read the scriptures and followed Jesus throughout the Word, I realized that a lot of what my life reflected was not what His reflected. When was the last time I had ever sat with someone who was going through a real shitty time and not try to fix them with scriptures but actually listen and be present in the discomfort with them? When was the last time I listened to understand and not to respond with some Christian cookie cutter response? Because that’s exactly what Jesus did. He pulled up a chair with the messy and broken.

I was convicted. I was humbled.
So, if you’re feeling really far off from the heart of Jesus I just want to encourage you by asking you the same question He asked me. “Who are you following?”

May our hearts always long to aline with the heart of Jesus. <3

-April