Monday, May 24, 2010


Over the past two weeks, my life got completely derailed. I thought I could hold it all together despite going out of town two weekends in a row, then teaching a 16-hour training class on the following weekend. During this time I slipped up in my fitness routine, too (a combination of traveling and losing both teen sitters I was using weekly to fit in more workouts).

I'm pretty good at staying on top of things even during hectic times, and I almost made it through.

Then I learned that one of my ex-boyfriends died by suicide almost 2 weeks ago. I hadn't seen or heard from him in over eight years, but the situation was a very sad and tragic one, and he left his wife and two very young children behind.

Despite the fact that I hadn't been in touch with my ex, I still found that I needed time to process and to grieve for his passing. I didn't realize this right away, rather the need to think about and talk about his loss grew in the back of my mind while I continued to hold everything together and navigate through my weekend training class.

The irony is that the class I taught is called ASIST: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, otherwise known as training in suicide first aid. As I learned more about what had happened to my ex-boyfriend and how long he had been in crisis, it was painful to think that maybe I could have done something to help him had I known he needed help.

It takes time to process all of these thoughts. A lot of time mulling over the past, present, and what the future holds for my ex's family and friends. I felt the need to pay my respects at his memorial service and to help connect his family with the postvention services offered by my organization. I was even moved to reconnect with some other past friends by activating my account on a social networking site. (I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm happy to report that I've connected with some friends and exes from the past and everyone seems to be doing well.)

It got to the point that I was having trouble physically keeping up with everything that was happening. I was moving in slow motion, my energy level like a slug's. Our household came skidding to a halt as all of my energy was burned up to bits.

I did make it to a doctor appointment and learned that I am in good health and have a nice slow heart rate, which probably contributes to my lack of energy sometimes. I am also in the middle of reading a book called The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. I've learned that my great idea to eat salad every day is partially to blame for my energy crash, in addition to breaking my mild caffeine habit cold-turkey. Oops.

I've been taking things one day at a time, focusing on thinking, talking, resting, and protein, protein, protein. I think I'm ready to hit the ground running again, and to take up all the projects and tasks I've neglected over the past month. (Ask me how much decluttering I've done this month, for example!)

I'll be honest: part of me is not thrilled to have lost so much productive time over the past few weeks. It was tempting to just push my thoughts and feelings aside and distract myself by keeping busy. I think that most people find that this coping method only works temporarily. I owed it to the memory of my ex-boyfriend to take a time-out on my own life to grieve for the loss of his. To carry on as usual would be to devalue the meaning of his life and death. I only wish that I could have done something to help before it was too late.

Help is out there! Our hotline answers the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK. Please consider calling if you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis or thinking about suicide. Break the silence.


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