Back to the books!

As I may have mentioned before, Daddy Shawn has been working towards his Bachelor’s Degree, enrolled part-time to Aspen University’s online program. He’s getting pretty close to achieving his goal of a degree, and I’m super-proud of him and all his hard work. However, sitting on the sidelines, watching him do such a good job, has been a little depressing for me. And I think that’s only because I’m a lover of learning, and always enjoyed continuing my education — in most any way possible.

So, what else was there to do but to enroll, myself!?! At the turn of the new year, I enrolled at Ashworth College. I chose this online college because I really liked its at-your-own-pace courses and economical price per credit (both very important for a busy Momma, you know!) …

I’ve been taking those ever-so-important-but-maybe-a-little-boring prerequisite classes to start, while my old transcripts were mailed and processed. I managed to complete the intro courses Achieving Academic Success and Introduction to Computers (which both, by the way, were not required classes when I was in college…)And finally, after a month of waiting, my transcripts were processed, and *BOOM* just like that, I went from 5% to a whopping 44% of my Program complete and well on my way to that Bachelor’s Degree, already!

And what Program is that, you ask? Well I have my Associates Degree in General Studies, and since I enjoy learning about so many different things, I decided to to keep the General Studies major. Doing this will allow me to pursue studies in several areas, while still working towards a degree.

So right now, I am taking two courses: Social Impact of Technology and Business Analysis. Both are prerequisites I have to take, however, I have found the Social Impact of Technology to be very interesting and intriguing.

Keep the love of learning alive, my friends!


That Moment…Part II

[…Part I…That Moment {I Found Out an Old Friend/Colleague Completed Suicide}]

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…as I mentioned, suicide is a very personal subject for me, and has touched, entered and affected my life in more ways than I can or care to count. So this subjected post had to become a two-parter.

When I read my friend’s message that Ru had taken his life, I was a stunned – I was surprised to see a message at all from her really, we aren’t that close, especially since I moved to Florida. And for the news to be about him. And for it to be that kind of news.

Let’s take roll the tape back twenty or so years.  And start my story where it really begins.  It was 1998, in the late summer after I graduated high school, that my own mother died by taking her own life.  That whole time period surrounding her death is a blur, I remember few specific details – I’m positive that’s my brain protecting itself from the trauma of it all.  I have a specific memory of standing in the outer hallway of the funeral home, next to the sign in book, but all the other memories of the funeral are vague and slight.  I specifically remember riding up to the burial site, behind the car my Grandmother was in, watching her golden hair swing as the car turned through the curvy back roads. And seemingly most painful of the reality bites moments at the time, I remember my two high school best friends, sitting on my bed, telling me, quite emotionlessly that they were sorry but there was nothing they could do for me because they were about to leave for college [in state, within 30 miles away, mind you], and goodbye.

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Obviously my mother’s suicide is a trauma in my life that has changed the way I am and who I am.  I always say goodbye.  I always say I love you. I’m sensitive, shy, keep many things and emotions to myself.  Everything we experience in life changes us in some way, minuscule or gigantic.

Shortly thereafter my mother’s suicide, in the winter of 1999, a best friend and someone who I also dated, Marc, jumped off the Bay Bridge.  We volunteered at the Maryland City firehouse together in Anne Arundel County.  That same jurisdiction had men searching the cold Chesapeake Bay waters for his body for days and never found him.  This time too, seems to be a blur, but I do remember walking into the Memorial Services, in this huge church, and it was packed with firemen, dressed in their blues, it was hundreds of people.13178978_10206358509498481_8081055669920174784_nI was heartbroken, I lost another best friend. Different terms, but again, how could I not see? I was a mere 19 this time, still naive as could be, especially because between my mother’s death and Marc’s death, I pretended like everything was ok, that nothing bothered me, that life was good.  Maybe this was part of being naive, maybe this was a strange part of grieving.  But I definitely still didn’t understand how complex suicidal behavior and mental health issues were.  I had always thought Marc was depressed, but looking back now and understanding so much more, I think he had a personality disorder, probably one of the Cluster B disorders.

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And lastly, because of many traumas, struggles, and my own depression, I too have attempted suicide.  So I personally understand the hopelessness my lost loved ones felt in those last moments.  In a way that makes a little easier, but in reality, it makes losing so many to suicide so much worse and more painful.

I share my story because I want others to know that if you feel depressed, if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. And it’s ok to reach out for help. PLEASE reach out for help. Call a friend. Call a family member. If you can’t any of them, call 911, they will help you.  I have also listed some resources below that are helpful if you are in need.  But please, don’t give up.  It’s always darkest just before sunrise.

NSPH

National Suicidal Prevention Hotline – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

 

afspAmerican Foundation for Suicide Prevention – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a voluntary health organization established in 1987. It funds research, runs educational programs, advocates for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supports survivors of suicide loss.

 

How my life changed three years ago…

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Three very short years ago, today, which actually seems like an eternity ago now, another lifetime, I awoke (well, I don’t think I really slept that night) at about three in the morning. At the time, I was staying with my parents. They got up early with me and we had a nice breakfast. If I recall correctly, scrambled eggs, a lightly toasted cinnamon raisin english muffin with a touch of butter, and sausage. We ate together quickly and got to work put the last bits of my important possessions into my little Chevy Cruze that was parked in the driveway. It was a chilly, misty, and drizzling outside.

By the time I was ready to get on my way it was about 0430. Annie’s face was misty too. I don’t think they were certain about my decision, but, as an adult in my thirties, there wasn’t much they could do. Many tight hugs were given and typical sayings of driving carefully were said. We all traded “I love you’s,” and I was off.

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I sent Shawn a text letting him know I was on the road, but since he was in the Central Time Zone, I had no expectation of him being awake. I just wanted a record on his phone so he knew I started my journey to him. To his arms. Where I belonged. I had prayed and prayed, and prayed about this decision, this move. And I knew in my heart it was the right move. At the right time. I’m pretty sure my friends all thought I was completely bonkers, an
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d that’s alright. I knew I was making the right decision.

The drive was about 900 miles. I didn’t wan’t to drive down closer to the coast, so I stayed near the mountains. For once, unfortunately, the weatherman was completely correct and the entire east coast was going to stay soaked with rain for the entirety of the weekend.

The drive was long. I stopped, many, many times. To top off my tank (ok – paranoia here, but I wanted to be sure that if something happened I had a full tank), to stretch my legs, to make sure I was awake, for potty breaks, maybe a snack, you know. And it gets lonely in the car by yourself.

I think I made it to 1600ish in Georgia before driving irritation started to kick in. Between just driving for a long time, the rain, and all the people who just straight up can’t drive in the rain, my nerves were feeling frazzled. So I found a good place to stop, and took my longest break of about 25 minutes, eating “in” at Chick-Fil-A.

Once it got dark, I was way out there, it was rural, and dark. I decided to talk to my dad for a bit via bluetooth for company and I have always enjoyed talks with my dad as an adult, and then just like that, the last hour just zoomed by.

And BOOM! I was there! It me a good nineteen and half hours to get there. Whew. But I was finally where I was supposed to be, in his arms, permanently. No more flights every three weeks. No more goodbyes. No more nightly skype sessions late at night. Because I listened to my heart, prayed hard, and took that wonderful leap of faith.

And I look around at my wonderful family, how God answered my prayers in incredible ways. My blessings, our blessings.

You are like no other, my Shawn. I find myself falling in love with you again and again, over and over. You will forever by my always.

I’m never looking back to the place I was, but keeping my eyes pasted to this family’s beautiful and bright future. I ❤️love❤️ you my Shawn, thank you for helping my make that leap and long drive.🌧️🚗

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