I'm sad to think that too many of you can relate to these stories, but the reality is, we ALL know someone, in less than two degrees of separation, who has tragically lost a loved one to either overdose or suicide.
Our hearts ache daily, not only in sadness for past situations, but for how much threat continuously lurks around our daily lives! Some we openly know about, and some without a clue! Especially with a social media facade, someone's true darkness- too often -comes as a surprise. We are learning a common thread that weaves through these souls, is the lack of SENSE OF BELONGING.
Katy White was 17 years old when she took her own life.
This picture was the last image she created of herself... colorful and with a big heart. (Katy is also pictured above)
I've had the blessed opportunity to spend some time with Katy's mother, Susan, who is passionate to share their experience in hopes to help prevent another situation like Katy's. Susan has allowed herself to be spiritually open to conversation with Katy and has been journaling their talks.
MESSAGES FROM KATY
"Mom, I love you so much! I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to be permanent. Please know that now I am ALWAYS with you."
" The more we talk, the stronger both of our energies become".
" Please know I am always trying to keep you safe."
" Always be kind. Forgive everyone! No one down there really knows what they are doing. Find those people who truly love you and keep them close."
" Love life even when you might not feel that there is much to love. You have the greatest gift of LIFE- living and building positive relationships with others. I can only watch and try to guide with messages that not everyone can hear. You know how much I love you, but not everyone else feels "Love"."
" Be supportive- life is so precious and short spread. Gather as much love and kindness as possible. All that stuff comes with you. If you do not have enough, it will take you longer to get into the light".
Susan asked Katy: "What have you learned from this experience?"
Katy replied: " I am beautiful. Kindness needs to be everywhere. Help others. It's not about US, but about the relationships we have with others."
THE HERE & NOW
This time of year, coming off of January & February... before the sun starts to shine full time, warm and bright, some even call the end of Winter "Cabin Fever", is when most of us struggle the most. We lose touch of surrounding ourselves with other LIGHT- the people and places we connect to. We have more time to speak to ourselves, in which many cases, we're our worst critic and own enemy. We attempt to financially rebound from expensive Holidays only to greet our slowest season. We miss our loved ones that are no longer with us- after have spent the Holidays without them. We give ourselves New Years resolutions to ignite motivation, then at this time, realize 99% of us already failed ourselves and our commitments, and are just outright, hard on ourselves!
Overall, this time of year is often the toughest. We lose site of the Holiday Glow, where just love and family is all that matters. Our New Year- New Beginnings mindset fizzles out and the other chance of "New Beginnings" through Easter or Passover, cant't come quickly enough... We're off "Auto Pilot" of the Holidays, yet not emerged into Spring. We are in true reflection mode!
So now what?
In times like this Pre-Spring Season, where what we enjoy and love is still only on the short horizon, we have to dig deep for that extra strength to keep our head up and remain positive, as we're in the Annual- Calendar- homestretch. The Sunshine is only right around the corner!
BE YOUR OWN LIGHT!
I personally have had a few set backs, even in recent days of feeling under the weather. With feeling physically weak, upsets, fears and concern was quick to follow and started to snowball, now feeling emotionally and mentally weak as well. When that happens, it's easy to start feeling disappointment with ourselves. I had to allow myself the "space" enough to feel those feelings, come to terms with them, and then realize I was facing me vs...ME! I had to move out of my own way!
In those moments, I remember my 5 friends. For all the things I could tell myself, the greatest messages I need to let ring in my head over and over again is from my father: "Each each day is a gift, enjoy the present" and my mother: "This too shall pass."
I had to stop when I had those thoughts, and remind myself to Hit The Reset Button! I did something as simple as listen to my favorite music to help me shift my over-thinking thoughts to musical romance instead. I reached out to a few friends who always "get me", just to hear a smile over the phone. I was over the top goofy with my teen kids who just did a (smh) "shaking my head" at their mother - and claim who is sometimes just "nuts". I was actually trying to convince myself (or remind myself) that I am cool and funny, not trying to impress them. (so there! lol) All, somehow, trying to find laughter and enough energy to get me through one day, and on TO the next.
I forgave myself for (temporarily) feeling weak and vulnerable, and came out the next day with even more understanding and connection to others. I am also now able to look back and say: "See! That wasn't so bad!". Like a parent forcing a child to take their medicine, or getting back up on a bike after their first fall!
We are all human. And something we forget, we are all still that child inside. We all experience weakness and vulnerability. The challenge is to now be grown up enough to flip our own switch- to turn the LIGHT on, and not stay alone or crying in the dark.
Flipping that switch, that split second of decision making, is what I call hitting the dang Reset Button! The shift of your mindset, from negative to positive.
Because I have experienced my own struggles, search for connection and a sense of belonging, I have created #RESET, the reminder to SHIFT your thoughts from negative to positive. In a split second of any moment or situation, what you tell yourself, how you respond to people or situations and actions you take, YOU have the power to always favor a positive outcome. A positive outlook will create a positive outcome.
OUT LOOK: Look out- for something better! OUT COME: Come out with a different story!
Take that moment, day, week, month, or year and RESET your thoughts! Remind yourself that YOU are the driver to your own destiny. And reaching your "destiny" does not always have to be in warp speed, or quantum leaps, it could be baby steps, as long as you keep moving forward.
It might be too late for many of our loved ones to hit that Reset Button, but it's NEVER too late for YOU! Give their destiny purpose, by re-writing yours!
So go ahead, take advantage of the HERE & NOW and hit your Reset, then go "Rock it" to help others to do the same!
- Christine DerOhannesian