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May 2, 2012

2 Life-altering Events Starting this month!

I have been an avid advocate for suicide prevention and know what to say and how to talk to people when they are in a state of crisis.  I have had multiple conversations with people that brought the thoughts and suicide INTO THE LIGHT.  It seems like lots of people treat suicide as the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

When I got my diagnosis of Lyme about a-year-and-a-half ago I learned that Lyme can be a fatal illness, but most often people do not die of the disease, instead they choose suicide because the treatment is too hard and so many people don't understand it.  It feels like the only solution to end the pain.  Suicide is real and hurts everyone.

For me, I have had really bad days where I feel like I am drowning and no one is around to rescue me. I've crawled into bed hoping I would never wake up because I feel so awful.  For those of you who are there right now, today, I want you to know I GET IT. I understand it and I do not take it lightly.  Your feelings are VALID! 

I found out this morning that an acquaintance of mine took his own life.  This man will never know that he made me smile every morning when I would run into him at work or at a stoplight in his fancy bright blue sports car.  He will never know how much respect I had for him while he cared for his very sick wife who passed away a couple of years ago.  He will never know because I never told him.  This is just another reminder to tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. This man does not have Lyme disease or any health complications that I am aware of, but there are so many people who need love and suicide can't be the only answer and I want to be part of the solution. 
It is my goal WHEN (not if) I beat Lyme disease I will be doing some sort of work to help prevent suicide.  I really believe it is a gift from God to be comfortable talking about suicide and to people who are in crisis situations. In my city there is a Crisis-call center that needs volunteers and there are many more paths in life that I can take my goal when I am stronger and more independent. 

This is a poppyseed muffin...can you find the tick on it?
Until then, I can share with you what I am learning.  It's May again, which means Lyme Awareness Month!  So make yourself aware by learning about it. Learn about ticks and how tiny they are. Read up on the mass increase in the tick population due to warmer weather. Watch the documentary Under Our Skin (I think its on hulu and netflix)  Most importantly, if you come down with flu or cold-like symptoms within days of playing outside in sagebrush or woodsy areas or even up at Lake Tahoe....GO TO THE DOCTOR and tell them you want to be put on two weeks of antibiotics because you suspect you were bitten by a tick.  If your doctor tells you "we don't have ticks/Lyme"...find a new doctor!  This will save you and your immune system from being compromised by the new bacteria that made it's way into your bloodstream.  Lyme takes over each persons neurological systems differently...you could wake up tomorrow unable to walk. This is serious. Do not wait for a bullseye rash (only 30% of people get them).  Just be proactive and take some antibiotics to protect yourself from this deadly disease. Trust me, two weeks of antibiotics compared to months and years of being sick and paying for treatment...seems way easier to be on the lookout and go to the doctor right away if something isn't quite right with your body. Okay, my lecture is over....in lighter news....

My sister, Amy, also shares this passion for bringing suicide into the light.  She has organized, fundraised, and invited (along with her psychology club and others) To Write Love On Her Arms to come to Douglas County this month and spread their movement to Northern Nevada!!  TWLOHA 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.  So, if you are nearby, May 18th TWLOHA will be at the local mega-church (LifePoint Church) ...event starts at 6pm but we expect to pack the place out so get there early.  This event is not a church event, it is actually through Douglas High School, but the church can seat a lot more people so it was only logical to have it there. Students are $3, Public is $5 and there will be a merch booth so you can shop for clothing, bracelets, and stickers to help spread and support the mission.

Links for things for TWLOHA and Crisis Call Center:
MINDEN, NV - DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL PRESENTS AN EVENING WITH TWLOHA1095 Stephanie WayMinden, NV 89423 6:00 PM | $3 Students / $5 Public
Crisis Call Center24-hour Crisis LineThe Crisis Call Center provides intervention, prevention, referral, and education services to the community and supports those individuals in crisis by helping them to make constructive and productive choices.Crisis Line: 775-784-8090Toll-Free: 1-800-992-5757Web site: http://www.crisiscallcenter.org/ 

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