So today while I was sweeping my kitchen floor a lot came to mind. And for those who have never read any of my articles, I am a mother of 4 young adult children. So at times a lot of my thoughts have to do with them and their growth and development, among other things. Anyways, I was invited to walk with some people for Suicide prevention month and that happens next Saturday. So with that being said, this thought came to my mind as I was sweeping the floor. Why is it such an isolated topic? Knowing that the majority have probably entertained the thought at least once in their lives that they don’t want to be here or that they have sunken down so low in depression that their is no such thing as hope for the hopeless in those moments of crisis! By the way, don’t answer my question, it’s rhetorical. I know the obvious answers, shame, guilt, stigma, feelings that no one will understand and so on.
I will say this, until a person has actually been impacted by something that makes a significant impact in their emotional and social well being things such as this walk I’m doing will never hit home for them. Nor will they offer the sponsorship or support to participate because they just have no clue. But it’s when something occurs in their life that at the moment and moving forward they learn just what compassion and empathy is. Not to mention losing the loss of a close loved one.
I am writing this because I couldn’t help but reflect back to a couple weeks ago when I came across some news on my Twitter feed about a person who I followed during his time here on earth. He was a father, husband, mental health advocate and a Pastor of a church. And it was in his memoriam that another Pastor wrote:
“….Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.
At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day”. -Pastor Greg Laurie
And as I began to read about this man and all those who were intimately close to him, I began to weep and shed some tears for a man that I did not know personally myself on that level, only on social media. Yet he was still impactful and he was a person, a human being who for his own reasons decided he didn’t want to live anymore and that always hurts my heart. You see suicide hits home for me so much more than just a discussion and participating in a walk. It is because last year, in 2018 I nearly lost a extremely close loved one of my own and I will not disclose their name for privacy reasons, but I will just say that I am so glad that God kept this person when they felt so low that they couldn’t keep themselves. I hug this person often, I took a mental health training course, which taught me how to be upfront about suicide and asking a person in crisis, and what to look for as symptoms, and preventative methods. I wanted to get more educated on what to do in a mental health crisis!
That’s another thing… People sometimes ask me why I believe in a God who doesn’t care? They ask why do you think God rescues some people and others he doesn’t? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Here is my experience with God and my response to those questions. First of all I believe God cares so much more than we can allow ourselves to feel at times, or allow ourselves to believe. However, I do believe that while upon my Jesus journey that God has given us a thing called “free-will” and I believe that it is within ourselves that we often make choices outside of Gods will yet we will put God on it when it doesn’t work out and therefore we blame God rather than seeing that it was by our choice, our might, our persistence, our determination to continue forward with a free-will decision that sometimes falls outside of God’s will for our lives. You can disagree with me, I won’t debate. I am merely expressing my own experiences as I have been through various heavy trials and great tribulations. I believe that one of many reasons why people choose to leave God or not to believe at all is because they lack wisdom, knowledge and understanding about him. I know there have been moments I still fall under his grace and his mercy when I get out of God’s will for me, when I sin, when I’m in my I don’t care moments. But I don’t stay there. I won’t allow myself to stay down, or in those moments for too long because it’s literally dangerous to remain in such a state, and that’s just an easy target for the devil to come in and begin talking to your head. One other thing I will say, is that I believe every person is here only until they have fulfilled their God given purpose, regardless if they are a baby, young child, adult, or senior. I believe that God places people here to fulfill his purpose, whether it is to reach someone, or draw them closer to Him or to help them to believe once again or for their first time.
Now back to my earlier thoughts. I’m in a very different place in my life that I didn’t see myself in years ago. Matter of fact, I never would have thought that I would experience most of the trauma that I have upfront, close and personal. I have to admit it has had a severe impact on me but I have turned it around for my own good. I am the type of person to seek out more information, to ask lots of questions, and educate myself so I can pass it onto others. Suicide is real, and I have learned in talking with individuals that have attempted suicide that the majority of these actually don’t want to take their own life, and they are often scared, fragile, feeling hopeless, frustrated with life, or feeling unaccepted by people that they desire to be accepted and loved by.
I just wish that society would take more time to invest their time into people instead of possessions. And that we could practice operating in love rather than spite. If I could say something on behalf of those who have lost their lives to suicide and all those celebrities that the general public tend to put up on a pedestal as if they are not human, I would say this, “get to know me while I’m here, rather than learning about me once I’m gone”. Because this is often how I’ve felt. I remember being a teenager in high school and I was always hated upon by my female peers. That was a different age then but bullying has gotten worse and become more intense because now people have social media to say nasty things or post threats toward others.
Here’s a little history about me, I was adopted. I am full blooded Korean and I grew up in a very comfortable lifestyle, spoiled rotten and viewed as very wealthy back then. The majority of my friends were a mixture of different races and cultural backgrounds, mostly black though. So I had a best friend from the time I was in 5th grade until I was about mid 20s and then we went our separate ways. So I grew up having friends with black females and yet being hated by others that never took the time to get to know me. It was because of jealousy issues. It was because back then I always had the latest high end designer clothes, shoes, my own car at 16 and my license, and they didn’t. And of course because of the crowd I hung around, I was labeled as “a wannabe black girl” back then. When in reality I was just being me. I guess that label came because of my choice of words, dialect, slang, whatever you call it. And I met my husband in high school and he is a black man. So our children are biracial who are often mistaken for being Samoan nearly 99% of the time. So I shared all that to get to this point. I was bullied a lot as a teen and I had my moments of depression, anger, rage, frustrated moments and fist fights. Back then fighting was done with our fists and hair-pulling, not guns or shooting one another. I know what it is like to be picked upon at school, waking up and dreading the day ahead, all the meanwhile your mom is asking how your day is, and you lie and say “good” as you walked passed to your room. But then you close the bedroom door and blast your speakers to drain out how you really feel, searching for ways to mask how you really feel inside. I too had thoughts of suicide and wanting to end my life, but thankfully I never attempted what was in my head. And here I am today in my 40s and I can use my journey and experiences to try and help others who feel the ways I felt.
I have to admit though, it can be challenging at times trying to reach the youthful people. I feel that the reason why they don’t seem to listen or think anyone older understands is because they weren’t around in the times and age that the older, much wiser person suffered some things. So therefore they feel misunderstood or that there is no way that an older person like me could possibly understand what they went through. And I’m not naïve either, I know what it’s like to be at that age of adolescence and feeling that you know everything and you don’t need any guidance because you’ll figure it out yourself. I was young too and I was there before so I get it.
This article is kind of allover the place today. But I haven’t written a long one in awhile so I guess I’m full and I needed to put it out on here for others to read because I know for a fact that someone out there will be able to relate to something from here. And if you are reading this and you are a person who is super down right now and can’t seem to get out of the house or just feeling mad at the world or like no one understands, I’m here to let you know, you just met someone who does, and my name is Erika. And I just want to say, it starts with your mind, and what you allow your energy and your thoughts to carry throughout the day. Don’t feed the depression by listening to sad songs, watching sad episodes, or feed the anger by continuing to ruminate on the very things that frustrate you, instead shift your atmosphere. Open your curtains, let the light shine inside, or turn on your lights, remove yourself literally from being in darkness. Put on your favorite happy songs, treat yourself to a gift of any kind, call a friend that you know is inspiring and refrain from ones who are always bringing you down with them. Matter of fact, it might be time to cut them off for your own mental well being. Take a walk outdoors if your able, get some fresh air, buy some headphones, download a free music app and listen softly while you walk, I say softly so you can still hear what’s going on around you. Or get an animal for emotional support. Be honest with how you feel inside, and if at the least you have absolutely no one within your circle that you can turn to, than please put to use the crisis text line and someone on that other end will hopefully help you get through that rough moment, no matter how many you have. Stop beating yourself up about your mistakes or what you could have done differently, be encouraging to yourself. Change your thinking into positive. I know you’ve heard “fake it till you make it”, but how about “faith it till you make it”. Have faith in yourself. Just do your best today and focus on the right now. Let tomorrow go and all the what ifs. Stay focused on this moment and what you can do to make the best of this moment right now.
Thank you for being here and I surely hope that I said something to educate someone, something to inspire someone, and something to encourage someone.
“get to know me while I’m here, rather than learning about me once I’m gone” -Erika Brooks
Blessings to you all! And if you’d like to sponsor me here is my link for the upcoming walk for Suicide Prevention. Even if you don’t know me personally, but you want to sponsor me the funds go directly to the American Society for Suicide Prevention and it’s tax deductible. Sponsors have helped me meet 50% of my goal so far to raise $150. Any amount is accepted.
Thank you again & I wish everyone the very best in life! – Erika Brooks