2 Near Losses in 24 Hrs *

19 Jun 2011

Dang we are lucky. Two of us are okay when we could be hosting another funeral - well two actually. Thankful to NAMI training!

          Five months after Kaylan's death two of our family members became bereft and wanted to take their lives. One called us and we were able to get him help via our local crisis officer. The other ended up in the hospital for a few days. My "gloves came off" during these crises. I decided to jump right into the middle of the fight against ignorance and stigma. Since then I've learned that it's more of a prolonged wrestling match than a fight, and thus I've had to learn to pace myself.
          Afterward twelve members of our family took NAMI Family-to-Family class, two of us learned to teach NAMI classes and give training to others. Most of us joined NAMI in order to support the cause. One niece learned QPR at a NAMI community education meeting and saved her neighbor's life the very next day! My grief-fuelled rage against suicide lasted for years and now has grown into a determination so strong that it feels like it's part of my atomic structure. 

          What these near losses also served to do was make me think about my own mental illness. I'd never been particularly quiet about my anxiety or propensity toward catastrophic thinking, but I didn't talk about it much either. After NAMI classes I became a student of every free training I could get, and along the way I began to learn coping skills and strategies that have helped me develop my own wellness practices.
         I guess here is a good a place as any to list the ones I found helpful and why. After Family-to-Family I took Peer-to-Peer facilitator training and was blessed to facilitate a ten-week class here in my town. From Family-to-Family I learned how to advocate for loved ones with mental illness, and from Peer-to-Peer I learned self-care of my own. Through Peer-to-Peer I was able to see self-care as integral to any health condition, and indeed most of the people who attended that class have co-morbid conditions that benefit from basic self-care practices as well. Anyway, I may not ever save a life with all this learning, but I won't lose anyone through lack of trying either.
          I don't think anybody can get everything they need from any one source. My method is to use whatever works and leave the rest. I'll list some of my favorite learning sites below. I hope you find something that helps.

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance - Expanded to Anxiety/Excellent wellness tools!

HeartMath - recommended by both my GP MD and my arthritis MD.
Intentional Peer Support    
Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions
Mental Health First Aid
The Mindful Way through Depression
NAMI Family-to-Family
NAMI Peer-to-Peer
QPR Gatekeeper Training
What's Your Grief

Erica KitzmanComment