|Posted on January 13, 2020 at 2:45 PM|
Thanks to Ms. Becky Ebert, Editor for the non-profit organization ToWriteLoveOnHerArms (TWLOHA), today my first formal article sharing my 2003 attempt survival has been published nationally (#5). This is one of the most important topics I set out to publish. I cannot thank Ms. Ebert enough. Now, more than ever, safely sharing an attempt survival story cannot be underestimated - especially not at a time when suicide is such a serious concern. But there is hope.
Three years ago, after I finished blogging for 128 days to begin my advocacy website, I submitted my first mental health writing for publishing consideration. It was a non-profit organization I'd heard about from local community volunteers. My first impression was that it seemed quite reputable. Their blog was full of rich personal stories about a range of important mental health topics. Although I was declined, to be honest my writing was not well developed yet.
The non-profit was none other than TWLOHA.
Two years ago, I'd taken the training for NAMI's "In Our Own Voice" presentation program. Closer to the summer, I then took and completed the re-training. However, for reasons I cannot disclose, my affiliate either decided against having me involved or the program was not their priority. Perhaps NAMI's single best program, to proactively reach people all over an average community, left to help no one here by the choice to waste the training I'd been sent for. That year was also the summer when I was bullied for trying to pitch my recovery story, and stigmatized as a threat for asking about getting a vendor table.
Hence, why I refer to it as the "Summer from Hell".
One year ago, following my success of having two NAMI Blogs published in late 2018, I busied myself to write about the most important topics I wanted to advocate for. My efforts to branch out into my community had been met with immoral retaliation. I didn't just want to give up what I'd started. Though, I didn't know whether I would get any new writing published let alone to the people who need it. So, I didn't necessarily believe in the success. But I pursued it anyway. Through an incredibly deep passion I've developed for helping people, I set myself on the task because I felt it needed to be done.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” —James N. Watkins
In 2019, the Nat'l Empowerment Center re-published my anti-bullying article (#3). NAMI published my th;rd Blog with my stunning take on goal-oriented suicide prevention (#4). Unfortunately, in between them a forty-six-year-old local businesswoman, Rebecca Hoover, took her life as a result of being bullied. Her tragedy hit me like a brick wall. One year earlier, it could have been me ("Summer from Hell"). Now, I had a much clearer focus and increasing success writing about mental health. I also found my theme too.
Because it does. Prove me wrong.
The local Suicide Task Force refused to consider either article, despite Hoover's preventable suicide loss. Frankly, the excuses I have been given are shameful. It has been hard to tolerate the ignorance of just a handful of 'community leaders' protected in positions of influence. And no, it is not because now I know I have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. I have been telling it like it is all my life. I say what needs to be said, and some of what needs to be said about mental health awareness is what I have learned. If I am being honest.
What did I do?
Shortly after my suicide prevention NAMI Blog (#4), I finally found both the confidence and tact to try writing a formal account of my attempt survival. Much like when I write poetry, sometimes the momentum can drive me to write more. I knew I needed to be careful how I shared my experience. So, I made that my top priority. Several days later, I finished a draft and submitted it to TheMighty for consideration. They declined it two weeks later. I then revised the article into its final form. When I finished this re-write, to be honest I was awe-struck.
I knew I had previously blogged about parts of my attempt experience before. Though, I didn't exactly know how to safely discuss what I went through without revealing too much information. After all, what filters have I had but the drive to openly share my life? This time it was different. Somehow, I managed to not compromise anonymity or violate suicide reporting guidelines by discussing what my method was. Yet, I still included a surprising amount of detail about what was going through my mind.
I humbly believe I proved that survivors do not need to reveal what the attempt method was. Just share what you felt and why. I had potentially created a blueprint for other survivors to follow...
Loosely covering from 1997 to 2008, I successfully wrote about my attempt survival and incorporated one of the most empowering conclusions I have ever written. I took the confidence from my suicide prevention NAMI Blog and put it to the best use. What happened next was yet another surprise. Completely out of the blue, TWLOHA contacted me expressing their interest to re-publish the article. Honestly, it felt like after three years I had come full circle.
Thank you, Becky and ToWriteLoveOnHerArms (TWLOHA). Thank you for giving me another chance. Thank you for choosing to consider what a community leader once referred to as my "unwanted" recovery story. Well, it is not unwanted anymore. I look forward to writing some of my next submissions exclusively for your consideration. Here is hope you can take with you, and the reason...