As an Army wife, and soon to be a battalion command team, I want to make suicide prevention and suicide awareness for soldiers my priority.
Once I started sharing my story about my suicide attempt (full story), I was overwhelmed by how many people reached back to share their stories, or offer support. I feared for several years that I would be looked at like a social pariah. Up to that point in my life, I had spent several years isolating myself from making friends. When I finally met my friend Kerry, I realized I was not alone and I finally shared my story for the first time to someone who didn’t know me before, during or after my overdose. I truly felt like an albatross had been lifted off my heart that night. The move to share my story in its entirety still took some time. It took a rocky road of fumbling through an Out of the Darkness Walk, drinking a little too much and frightened of fully opening up this new chapter. Well, I did and I am very grateful that I did. Not just the friends and connections I have made through this journey, but the opportunities.
I was asked by Nancy Deeley, who works for the State of Hawaii, Department of Health, if I would be willing to attend a story telling seminar. I wasn’t sure what all that meant, but as I read through what she sent me, I saw a great value to learn to effectively share my story.
The facilitator Jay Golden wanted to know more about me and I directed him here to my blog, and he further asked to speak to me on the phone. Okay, at this point I am okay sharing to a crowd of over 300 at the 2014 OOTD Walk (video of my speech), but talking to someone directly on the phone was a whole different situation. I finally had to step back and see there has to be a reason, there must be value in the process.
Oh man was there ever!! We talked that first day for almost an hour, and the following day for about 30 minutes. He made me think of things I had not shared, vocalized or just plain pushed into the dark recesses of my mind. That 90 minutes was invaluable to me.
The seminar was very educational, but in a low-key way. I found out very quickly in talking to Jay on the phone he has this easy, calming tone to his voice and he just draws you into whatever he is sharing, all while helping someone better understand how to share their story, without feeling like you are getting a lesson. Honestly, he makes you feel like you are talking to a friend.
At the end of day one, each group (drowning, falls, traffic and suicide prevention) had to choose one person from their table to share a story, that would be recorded and used for educational purposes on the above subjects to help in preventing more of these accidents or incidents in the future. I was chosen by my group to share. That’s where those 90 minutes with Jay really helped me. I knew going into this that the my story would be critiqued by Jay and the rest of the attendees at the end of sharing, but before we went to record the actual story on film. For the three that preceded me for the most part, the comments were all made to better enhance the story by sharing more specific details. Well, I was the last to share to the group, and as I expected I was met by a room of momentary silence, then applause and one of the participants just said “I have to come and give you a hug”. I had a few additional recommendations from Jay, but the response was positive. The comments were from a perspective of thanking me for being brave. By the way, I don’t see myself that way, I find myself healing each time I am able to share in a new way, to a new group, a new audience.
So now was the time to go to a new room, stand in front of two people and share my story on film. I am happy to say I got through it in one take, and that story follows in the link below.
((There is one typo on the intro and when I have the final version, I will replace that)). +
For now, I wanted to get this up to share with my followers.
As always, Mahalo