Suicide awareness and prevention

The most callous response to a tragedy I’ve ever read. 

Mental health advocate and founder of Project Semicolon, Amy Bleuel, has been tragically lost to suicide. Even though I never knew her,I still mourn for her and her family. We need more heroes in this world, and Amy will always be one. 
Those of us with mental illness know that, even with the good days, we are never cured. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m certain that most people who have found themselves in that dark place would see where I’m coming from. 

If you recall my reference to social media as “anti-social” media in a former blog, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of why I make such a reference by the time I’m finished writing this one. 

One of my favorite parenting bloggers shared the story about the loss of Amy, along with his story about his own personal struggle with depression and suicide. Many people shared their experiences, as well as pictures of their semicolon tattoos. Most of these comments were inspiring, and I almost felt safe enough to open up about my own experiences–almost. 

That feeling of communal bliss came shattering down when I came across this comment: 

Really???? You start a positive movement and then kill yourself??? The exact opposite of what your trying to bring awareness to…… I’m not being rude or hateful, I’ve suffered from anxiety for 30yrs & I’ve been on meds all.izt as long. This just sucks all around…..

Not being rude or hateful until…this (in response to a person who was one of many to respond with a massive  WTF):

Too bad, Satan will be waiting for you and those that committed suicide

See, I won’t bother naming this person, and if you-the perfect one who spewed this bullshit while mounted on your high horse- happen to stumble across my words, I hope they clutch you by the soul and give you a change of heart, or at least make you think twice about saying that shit again. 

Regardless of her being overwhelmed by the darkness and taken from this world too soon, Amy Beuel will always be a hero. She never claimed to be cured, but aimed to provide hope to others who suffer just as she did. 

The semicolon that people were sharing pictures of were inspired by Amy as a reminder to themselves that their story isn’t over. It also helped to break the stigma surrounding mental illness that ignorant self-righteous people like you helped to create in the first place.  

You suffered from anxiety for 30 years, so that gives you a pass to say that shit? No. Your Christianity gives you a pass to assume that people we lose to suicide are in hell?  Absolutely not.  As a Christian and suicide survivor, your words made my heart so heavy. It made me wonder if you would have the audacity to say that to Amy’s family, or any family who has lost a loved one to suicide. I doubt you would. 

That is why I refer to social media as anti-social media. There is this disconnect in humanity which has created opinionated keyboard warriors.

 In honor of Amy’s work and memory, I challenge everyone to pick up their phone to call someone and see how they’re doing. Go outside. Meet people. Smile at strangers. Make the world seem less cruel. I stand by my original statement when I said that compassion and support to prevent suicide begins with each of us being  present in each other’s lives. 

Rest in paradise, Amy. You will always be an inspiration to us. Thank you.

PHOTO CREDIT: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


Heavy heart

Oh heavy heart

Why do you grieve so? 

You are loved by 

More people than you know. 

You are never as alone

As you may feel.

In fact, this empty loneliness 

Isn’t real. 

Your mind is playing tricks

It’s the devil’s game. 

He gets in the head 

To make the heart feel the same. 

So lift yourself up, 

Oh heavy heart of mine. 

This won’t last forever,

And one day,

You will be fine. 


I had the best mother in law.

For a while you were the mother I didn’t have. You introduced me to Christ, and taught me new recipes. You supported and prayed for me, and we shared tears and laughter. You understood how I felt when your son would upset me. You would apologetically tell me he’s “just like his daddy”.

In fact, the first piece of advice you gave me was to train him to not be like his father. I didn’t even know you for a week then, so I didn’t know what you meant, but now I do.

You’re still my mother in law because I’m still married to your son, but you aren’t the woman I remember…or maybe you are. 

I remember you standing up to your husband when he was being his narcissistic and abusive self. Maybe that was because you found strength to do so with me being there. I’ve seen firsthand how he plays the victim when people call him out on his shit. 

I thought you would believe and support me, now that I’ve come out about him assaulting me in my sleep. You came in the room when you heard me yell out “what the fuck?!”, when I woke up. Perhaps you are too afraid to speak out against him because you know how he tries to turn people against all who do. 

Whether you’re in denial or just afraid because you have to live with him, you aren’t the mother in law I remember. When you were, you were the best one anyone could ask for. 



While visiting the in-laws last summer, a sweet dog came wandering into the yard. He was a white pit bull mix, and we bonded immediately. He not only followed me everywhere I went outside, but he walked beside me, and liked to nudge my hand with his head. He was vibrant, playful, and affectionate–the perfect dog. 

Despite his affectionate nature, it was obvious that he had been neglected and most likely dumped out on the dirt road. He was covered in ticks, and had scrapes on his belly and legs. 

I gave him a bath and picked off every tick-I stopped counting after 30-and he didn’t once try to bite or attack me even though he was in pain. I cleaned the blood from his ears after removing all of the ticks, and he rested on the porch in the sunlight, relieved. 

I decided to name him Rocky, after the movie character, because like Rocky Balboa, this amazing dog was beaten and abandoned, yet he had a strong will and still managed to love relentlessly.

In the country, it is customary to kill dogs when they wander on the property, become sick, or kill an animal without the intention of eating it. At least, this is customary for my husband’s family. His dad didn’t want Rocky around. He said that if he didn’t leave, he would shoot him. 

I drove as far as I thought I could, with Rocky chasing me, down the dirt road. I felt like I was torturing him by making him run in the summer heat. Tongue hanging out of his mouth, and exhausted, he kept on running after me. In hopes that he would wander to a good home and rest, I sped up and turned the corner, hoping he would lose my trail. This was my heartbreaking attempt to give him a chance at a life he deserved. 

Several hours later, Rocky came back. He was so happy to see me, and I was happy to see that he was still alive. My husband’s brother said that he would take care of Rocky so that their dad wouldn’t kill him. I was hopeful, but knew deep down inside that he wouldn’t keep his word. 

One day, my husband and I were getting ready to take our son to a museum,and his mom was going to take our daughter to check out some yard sales. As I was in the bathroom getting ready, I heard my husband and his brother talking quietly. I didn’t have to hear what they said to know what they were talking about.

I came out of the bathroom and said,”He’s going to shoot him today, isn’t he?” Apparently it was rude of me to be eavesdropping…but yes, that was indeed their plan. His brother was going to help his dad kill Rocky while we were all out, and I felt helpless, angry, betrayed, and devastated. 

To this day, I still have the picture in my mind of the night before. I was sitting outside looking at the stars and Rocky had his head in my lap, occasionally putting his paw on my hand when I’d stop petting him. 

My husband and I argued the whole way to the museum. I was crying and he said the reason they didn’t want me to know was because they didn’t want me to make a scene. People who know me, including them, know that I’m not the scene-making  type. 

I made peace within myself knowing that even if it was brief, Rocky knew he was loved. My husband’s dad has the blood of a precious and innocent dog on his hands. I was angry knowing he got away with what he did to me (details on my site under “My Stories”) and he had the nerve to execute an animal whose only offense was being on his property. 

My husband tried to console me by letting me know that Rocky was shot between the eyes, and that he didn’t suffer. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the same kind of person to sexually assault their son’s wife would have the capability to look a harmless animal in the eyes and shoot him. 

Still, I see Rocky in my thoughts. I think about him every day, and I am stricken with a whirlwind of emotions and guilt. If my husband would have allowed me to take him home with us [if I had tried harder to convince him and put my foot down] Rocky would be here today. 

I was told that it was my fault he died because I paid attention to him, and that kept him coming around. An entire family worked together to try to hide Rocky’s premeditated murder from me, yet, it was my fault.