August has been one helluva month for me. My Dad turned 70, I turned 40, my youngest kids started First Grade and I’ve struggled terribly with my team. This is the business that had brought me great joy over the last 3.5 years. But now, I’m questioning it all. Do I want to keep doing this? Is this my path? Am I fit to be a leader or am I suppose to keep it fun and stress-free? Do I go back to work now that my people McNuggets have started school full-time? What do I want my future to look like? So many questions swirl my head on a daily basis. I often wonder if I have too many irons in the fire and if I continue to be the jack of all trades and master of none, will I really be happy? I suppose because I am afforded the luxury of not really needing to go back to work, I’m not forcing my decision too quickly. Is this what people mean when they talk about having a mid-life crisis? Is this mine? Hope is real, help is real, my story is important.
I’m Starting Over
It’s now the last day of August and I have been 40 for 6 whole days. The months leading up to that dreaded birthday really got the best of me. I couldn’t even THINK about my birthday without crying. Silly, I know. Way back in January this year I bought concert tickets to see one of my favorite bands, Zac Brown Band. It just so happened they were playing in Wrigley Field (GO CUBS!) on my actual Birthday. No way I was missing that! My mom and brother came to town for a quick 2.5 day visit and I spent 4 whole days surrounded by loved ones and friends who made my birthday amazing. I received gifts, cards, text messages, voicemail’s and so much Facebook love, it was amazing! I felt all the love and well wishes from what I like to call, my people. Honestly the best birthday yet and guess what, I didn’t cry once! I have spent the last few days getting over a hangover, resting these old bones and thinking about my future. Today, as I laid in bed with a fever and what felt like razor blades in my throat, while watching a never-ending marathon of Law & Order SVU..I was scrolling Facebook. I came upon a friend and fellow Posh Misfit teammate’s post for a party she is having in September. Me, being nosy, I clicked on it to see what it was about. It hit me as I read her words:
“Just got my World Suicide Prevention Day kit in the mail! Gonna rock this shirt out everywhere 👊🏾👊🏾 Stay. Find What You Were Made For”
It hit me. Might as well have smacked me right in the face. This is what I am going to do with my business. This is what I am going to do going forward starting in September. I am going to dedicate my business and my earnings to fundraising for non-profit organizations that need awareness. I immediately texted my son. I asked him for permission to share his story via my blog and on social media to bring awareness in September. He gave me a prompt “Yea”.
My Son’s Journey
See that little boy right there, that’s my son, my oldest. He will be 25 years old this weekend. I had him when I was a sophomore in high school, one week after my own birthday, I was 15 years old when he was born. I grew up, REAL QUICK. His dad and I stayed together for a year after he was born and I broke up with him. I was young and dumb and I ruined a good thing. He was so in love with me and he swore if I ever left him, he would move away and go live with his cousins in Florida. He did just that. I was in school and working and raising my son with the help of my family, my friends and his dad’s family. Several years went by and his Dad moved back. We tried to get back together, we were on again, off again, young and dumb still. My son was 6 years old and spending the night at his grandma’s house when his dad was murdered right outside the front door of her apartment. My son, inside, hearing everything. We started healing and moving on with our lives as best we could. When he was 10 years old, another tragedy stuck our family that he was witness too. We lost my grandfather, his personal hero and best friend in a tragic accident. My baby boy never healed. Years went by and he hid his depression so well. It wasn’t until he was in high school when it all started falling apart for him, his world was crumbling around him. Unbeknownst to me, he was battling depression and extreme anxiety. Although he had been in counseling for sometime, but it was beyond what that guy could do for him. How had I let all these years pass and not know he was hurting and so broken? He hid it so very well.
8 months pregnant with twins, alone, no family within 1000 miles, I had to walk out of the hospital two days before Christmas without my only son. He was being admitted on suicide watch. It was absolutely THE hardest thing I have ever had to do. I drove home, crying the entire way repeating to myself, “I’m his cheerleader. I’m his cheerleader.” I was all he had. I had to be strong enough for both of us. My husband didn’t understand it one bit. We fought, nasty. He couldn’t wrap his brain around mental illness. I knew it was time for me to bring it to light with the rest of our family and let them know what was going on. The only people who really knew anything were my sister and my mom who would alert me of things he would post on social media. But they were in Florida, I had no one physically close enough to lean on. I couldn’t do it on my own anymore. I was so scared the stress was going to cause early labor for me. My blood pressure was becoming a problem. I not only had to fight for my son I had to fight for my twins who were being put at risk. To say the coming weeks, months and years were rough is a major understatement. That ended up being his only hospital stay. He battled. He fought. He was scared and came to me a few years later and I was prepared to take him and admit him again. I was his cheerleader. I battled. I fought. I wasn’t giving up. I was going to do whatever I needed to do to keep my son alive.
This is him now with his high school girlfriend. This is the handsome young man he has become. He is now older than his dad was and I think about that every year on their birthdays. Many, many times over the years I have envisioned having to bury my son. This is the reality of my life. My heart stops every time my phone rings and he is not home. It’s not something you can ever prepare for. You can only fight and keep fighting and never, ever turn a blind eye to signs. He is currently coping and living and doing well. He battles the demons in his head every damned day. He will never be cured. Depression, Anxiety and Mental Illness HAVE NO CURE! It’s a daily struggle to feel normal. I know this personally as I also battle with depression and anxiety. Very few people in our lives know the intimate details. There are plenty that I specifically left out. With his permission, I am sharing his story for all to read.
Suicide Awareness and Prevention
“Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Behind these statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.”
“People who have lived through a suicide attempt have much to teach us about how the words and actions of others are important. They often talk movingly about reaching the point where they could see no alternative but to take their own life, and about the days, hours and minutes leading up to this. They often describe realizing that they did not want to die but instead wanted someone to intervene and stop them. Many say that they actively sought someone who would sense their despair and ask them whether they were okay.
Sometimes they say that they made a pact with themselves that if someone did ask if they were okay, they would tell them everything and allow them to intervene. Sadly, they often reflect that no one asked.”
My Posh New Journey
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month—a time to share resources and stories in an effort to shed light on this highly taboo and stigmatized topic.
“To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.”
As the months go on, I will be selecting new non-profits to Fund-raise for. I will select them with much care and thought and do one a month. I will also be taking suggestions from my customers and if you want to share something close to your heart, please share it with me to consider. My family is fortunate enough to not have any major health issues that are usually in fundraising spotlights. I will be looking for full-time work outside of my home and my new journey for my Posh business is to start bringing to light the less recognized non-profits and donate my commissions there. I currently earn 25% on all sales on my website. 100% of that will be donated.