When Tragedy Brings Big Conversations
Photo courtesy of sir_twitch_alot Instagram
*Trigger warning: Suicide*
The tragic news of the loss life of Stephen 'tWitch' Boss @sir_twitch_alot, hit me very hard. When I shared the loss with my tween daughter, and specifically that this was death by suicide, it brought on a difficult, but very important conversation. Immediately after I shared the devastating news about the incredibly talented, bubbly, smiley entertainer we used to watch together on Ellen, she exclaimed,
“No, really? That’s so sad. He always seemed so happy.”
We talked about how at times we may not really know the very personal darkness that someone is struggling with. Smiles and laughter can be ways of coping in public or in front of others so they don’t witness the pain.
But we know that humans feel pain...
While the rest of our talk didn't necessarily directly apply to the loss of tWitch, I went on to share more with her in regards to mental health, crisis, suicide and suicide prevention.
We talked about how we must always do our very best to show kindness, empathy, love, and compassion for all people - and be attentive to all the humans that surround us - check in, listen, pass on resources (suicide/crisis hotline # 988). We discussed a friend of hers who had stopped contacting back and was personally going through a lot. I recounted how I encouraged her to keep contacting the friend, even if she did not hear back. When we see those big changes in personality and behaviors, we do our best to stay in touch and check-in.
I encouraged her to always tell an adult or peer if she ever felt any inclination of concern for herself or someone else - hopefully before in full crisis. While these actions will not always prevent death by suicide, they absolutely can be life saving.
We must give our children a toolbox of resources to support themselves and others.
Adults, you must educate yourselves, as well, know the signs, how to check-in, ask questions, provide support, and appropriate resources. Please head to Mental Health First Aid to find out more and sign up for their incredible courses.
Also, please read this article, Teen Suicide Risk: What Parents Should Know, from Healthychildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Be the bridge
Image and art courtesy New Happy Co Instagram
Check in on your loved ones and friends ❤️
Reach out. Show up. Offer support.
Build bridges to support one another.
Something for YOU and to PASS ALONG
Spend time to really consider how you are doing. Use these prompts in a journal or contemplate them mentally:
How am I feeling today, really? Physically and mentally?
What do I need at this moment?
What does my body need?
What are my emotional needs right now?
What’s taking up most of my headspace right now?
What am I grateful for today?
Who am I connecting with today?
What “expectations of normal” am I letting go of today?
How am I getting outside today?
How am I moving my body today?
What beauty am I either creating, cultivating or inviting in today?
How can I be gentle with myself?
What can I do to change the way I feel?
What am I tired of?
What can I do about it?
What can I let go of that is getting in the way of my health and well-being?
How would it help me if I contacted a professional who could help me feel better?
Am I prepared to offer support if someone asks for it?
You are not alone. I see you.
Be kind. Be compassionate. Give grace.