May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Last November, there was a shooting in downtown Seattle. It was five feet in front of me. Afterward, I became more anxious than usual, with every waking moment and many sleeping ones filled with fear. I went to the doctor: PTSD. Aha.

The majority of my experience with mental health issues stem from childhood years of coping with adults and their untreated or unacknowledged issues. My father would always encourage empathy, emphasizing how difficult it could be to live with a mind that didn’t “mind” you, and that mantra has permeated my life. I found some understanding in books like An Unquiet Mind and I Hate You… Don’t Leave Me, and by attending lectures such as the In Our Own Voice presentations by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (#IntoMentalHealth). I’ve also started following some great resources online like End the Stigma, The Mighty and the People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project. And vocal celebrity mental health advocates like Carrie Fisher, Princes William and Harry, and these guys speak out and start conversations surrounding mental health and healing.

Most recently, I’ve been following different library groups to learn about their resources. One of the most thorough ways of learning about someone else’s lived experience is to read their story, so here’s a list of some fiction and non-fiction titles from those library discussions. Please comment below with additional titles and resources you believe showcase a deep understanding of mental health.

Mental health issues can manifest themselves in so many ways. Now… the hardest part… recently, I found out my friend who has been missing since last December is dead. The preliminary finding is he died by suicide. He fought his demons of addiction and depression and was succeeding in school … and then the fight was too much. We are devastated and heartbroken and full of what ifs.

These are issues that are also being raised and discussed around the popular TV show and novel 13 Reasons Why. The recent death by suicide of Chris Cornell, of Soundgarden fame, is also bringing the issue into daily discussion. I’m turning to #ProjectSemicolon and my counselor for support. If you or someone you know is in crisis please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. (From the American Federation for Suicide Prevention website).


You are important. We need you here. You are loved.

~ posted by Meadow P.

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