My Reason Why
As a retired Law Enforcement Officer who has trained First Responders all over the country, I am all too familiar with the impact suicide has on First Responders and their families. One of my goals is to keep names off the Law Enforcement Memorial in D.C. I do that partially through teaching First Responders how to stay safe on the streets, and now I also get to do that by helping them with their mental wellness, particularly in times of crisis. I’m also a suicide survivor having lost my oldest child to suicide. If I can keep one other parent from experiencing that kind of tragic loss, then I’ll have done well.
I try to inspire hope by sharing my story; a story which didn’t end because I found a way to keep moving forward. I’ve experienced lows so deep that it felt like the pressure would surely crush me, yet I remain. I did that by learning to ask for and accept help from those around me and by finding a kind of strength I never knew I had. I did it. Others can do it. I can tell people about loss, but I’d rather tell them about resilience and perseverance, which have helped me to continue this extraordinary life and all that it offers.
Today, my understanding of recovery is holistic. I rely upon the guidance of professionals and peers, and I understand that my own recovery is strengthened by helping others. I also no longer view mental health as separate from overall health and vice versa. I attend support groups, therapy and rely upon medications as needed. I also understand that to give those things the best shot at working well, I need to get plenty of exercise and sunlight, take in high quality nutrition and consume positive material regularly. In this way, I set myself up for success, and I am able to seize upon opportunities for growth to be the best version of myself for me and for the people I love. I still struggle, as we all do, but now I’m better equipped for that struggle than I ever have been before. #carryingon
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