Finding hope, life, and self-awareness. Time to check-in
My life has been touched by suicide twice, first with the lost of my brother 20 years ago and February 2016, the lost of my partner, friend and another piece of my heart, my boyfriend Clay Watson.
For suicide survivors, you play back in your head no more than a hundred million times, seriously a hundred million times how could I have prevented this, what could I have done, what could I have said, what if I was there to stop it? Honestly, I can’t really tell you when I found a place of peace or those questions have or will ever really stopped and for survivors it's a part of your new life that often feels confusing and unwelcome. But, for me I had to come to the bottom world of mental health illness to be able to reach the peak of understanding.
For the love ones living after suicide, it takes complete understanding of depression and other mental health disorders to even began the path of healing and understanding. To learn with an open heart what my loved ones were facing daily, if not moment to moment. By allowing myself to open my heart and my mind, I was able to take a journey down their depth of darkness, both my brother and Clay and understood the hurdles they faced daily. For a short period of time, I felt like I had taken on their pain, but I realized it was my pain of sadness of losing them to which I was feeling.
With the lost of Clay, this put me on a new journey, a new life with a ton of uncertainty, roads unexplored and a space of sadness that may never go away. After the death of my brother, it took many years of counseling, some life shaping skills and letting go of the lost of my brother, but for Clay, I was forced to go down this path of healing and deeper understanding, yet once again. For me, seeking out an answer of all the “whys” didn’t feed my soul, but to work on living, moving forward and understanding mental illness. It’s taken months of being in the woods of darkness at times and feeling the pain of loss which honestly never really leaves you, you are forced into a new life with out them, that no one would choose to be a part of, not by choice anyways. But, I continued on the path of hope.
As I look back, there was something inside me, that said, everything would be okay, that there is a greater purpose here. I often felt like I was lying to myself, and lying to myself was okay during my grief process just to get through the day, week or month. Then I realized, it wasn’t necessary a lie, but more of truly believing that I would be okay. There were days where just the simple reminder that I was breathing gave me the purpose to share this story, to help others find a place of peace and support. The ones who battle the everyday fight of mental illness. To provide a community of no judgments, but of hope, love and understanding for those who believe that ending life is the only way out.
This was the birth of the Check-In Foundation. A new beginning of hope, not only for others who desperately need it, but for others after suicide.
As the Founder of the Check-In Foundation, our mission is to help navigate the challenging journeys we travel with suicide, help in finding peace, help in building a community of support for individuals in the mountain bike and sporting communities who battle daily with mental health and suicide. We work on educating our communities and spreading awareness to break down barriers on suicide.
We encourage one another to Check-In daily with family and friends, reach out, listen and help support loved ones. We uncover the beautiful madness of mental health, work to break down the barriers and challenges within society. Together we tear away the isolation one feels, which in part paves a new path of hope. This is not a battle to be fought alone, but together with compassion, love and understanding.
And so our journey together to remember our loved ones, but also to keep suicide above the darkness. For additional resources please check-in http://www.checkinfoundation.com/outreach-programs.html
April’s Check-In Foundation