And I Wrote This Book.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Out of the Darkness for Suicide Prevention

Dears, 
  Here's my short article that was published in the Chico News and Review on 10/13/16:
    It took me nearly two decades to talk publicly about my brother’s death by suicide. He’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia and ended his life at age 20. The shame, guilt, and sense of secrecy I carried all those years poisoned an already indescribable pain.
    But I don’t need to describe that pain. You’ve likely lost loved ones to suicide. You’ve probably wrestled with your own suicidal feelings. Mental illness in the form of severe depression is the world’s No. 1 mental health crisis. A main risk factor for suicide is having lost loved ones to suicide. It’s a vicious cycle for which there’s no simple solution. But the more we break down the shame and secrecy, the more likely we are to keep ourselves and our loved ones alive and glad to be.
    . . . All proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Let’s come Out of the Darkness as a strong, compassionate, united community. And that we did (on Saturday, 10/15)! I didn't Chair this year's event, but I recited my poem for our closing ceremony.
Photo by Jodi Rives 
Please Believe
Please believe we know your pain
Your broken soul. That smile you feign.
You say "I'm fine," but that's a lie.
You dare not share your urge to die.
We know your rage, your hate, and shame.
We know the burn that set your heart aflame.
Consumed by grief - your life, a curse.
Cold lonely days; still
Nights are worse.
Please believe us when we say
Keep holding tight. You'll be okay.
Monstrous ills you cannot halt.
Go gentle now. 
IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.
Mental illness has no cure.
You're human with a heart that's pure.
We know not how. We know not when
You will reclaim your life again
Embrace a faith you never knew
You'll be so glad you wrestled through.
Please believe, and hold on tight
As strands of pain fade into light
And tender hues transform your sight.
You're not alone.
Please know it's true.
We're right here
Holding tight
With you.
-Robyn Alana Engel 2014

Please take gentle care and know that you're not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1(800) 273-TALK
Text # 741741

49 comments:

  1. Thank you.
    Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring.
    We are told that more than a hundred people are affected by every loss to suicide. We really, really need to turn that tide.

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    1. Thank you for all you do to save lives, EC. All we can do is do all we can. And so we shall, for as long as we're able. Hugs.

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  2. Robyn, thank you for this excellent article and poem. It's too easy to forget be kind to ourselves (my therapist says self-compassion is something that must be relearned, reinforced) when we have trouble accepting ourselves as we are. You're an angel.

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    1. Thank you, Geo. I wrote Woman on the Verge to underscore that point about self-love and self-respect. I want to teach it. Nobody taught me. Nobody's teaching the masses.

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  3. I'm glad there's a phone line, Robyn. I hope it's saved lives. It ought to come up whenever anyone googles 'suicide'.

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    1. It does come up quickly, GB. I'm glad for that and the text line too. A local man who lost his son to suicide founded the Alex Project, which is the text line for youth who are feeling suicidal.

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  4. Both the article and the poem are moving. Keep spreading the word, Robyn.

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  5. Great that there is help out there and people like you helping any way you can.

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  6. You're doing such important work, Robyn. It's such a tribute to your brother and your own indomitable spirit.

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  7. Thank you, Robyn. I hold your words in my heart.

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  8. Your poem made me cry. Suicide hits home because a dear dear family member has attempted twice and barely survived. Its sup important for them to know that their life is important and God has them on earth for a reason. Then there is the horrible stigma attached because they tried and failed. They cant win. I am so sorry about your brother. Thank you for making a stand and a making a difference by doing something!! HUGS!

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    1. I'm very sorry, Holli. It's incredibly painful and worrisome to have a loved one on the brink like that. Hopefully, they are connected with professional help and have a strong support network. HUGS to you.

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  9. Such a powerful poem. Those considering suicide do indeed feel so alone.

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  10. poignant poem and big hugs to you for sharing this and working for the cause. Suicide prevention should be out of the darkness, indeed

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  11. Hugs, Robyn. You're doing a wonderful thing keeping your brother's memory alive and helping others.

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    1. I appreciate your kind words, Elizabeth, Joanne, and Diane.

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  12. Your poem should be read in schools!!

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    1. I'm grateful for the suggestion. I work in schools these days and would love to get this out to the schools. Will keep that in mind. Thanks, Fishducky.

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  13. Thank you, Robyn, for all that you do.

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  14. You bring awareness to a powerful topic that too many people are uncomfortable talking about.

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  15. An excellent article and your poem is outstanding. Quit making me cry.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Tears are a beautiful thing.
      Thanks Janie, Stephen and Jono.

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  16. Thank you for this, Robyn. I am one of many people in this world who has lost a loved one to suicide. We must talk about it. We must talk about mental illness. We must get rid of the stigma. And we must find solutions and provide the necessary help.

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  17. I just cannot fathom the inner demons which drive a person to this state. Thank you for shining a light into that darkness.

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    1. Thank you and you're welcome, Al. Sadly, many of us can imagine feeling suicidal. It's impressive that you can't - especially because you're a military vet. A solid, strong one at that.

      Thank you, Chris.

      Martha, I know. I'm so sorry that we share the experience of having survived the same type of suicide loss.
      Hugs to you.

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  18. All teary eyed cause this hits close to home. I have my own bouts of severe depression where I just want the pain to end. It's a struggle to keep going. I'm so tired.

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  19. Moving poem, Robyn. It's good to know that help is out there. I hope more find their way to it. Hugs to you, my friend.

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  20. Sending you enormous hugs, gratitude, love, support and admiration.

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  21. I really needed this today. My physical therapy is slow going and often depresses me. Still, I'm keeping on. Thanks, Robyn.

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    1. Oh hon, I'm glad to have met your needs.
      I'm also glad you're keeping on. It's the best we can do.

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  22. First of all...so sorry for your loss.

    That is a wonderful poem. You are so right that suicide affects most families. My husband's bother and our niece both committed suicide and it's a complicated and painful process for a family.

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl.
      I'm very sorry for your losses.
      Wounds from suicide losses never heal. We do find our way through the guilt and pain, to kindness and forgiveness, yet this takes a tremendous amount of work. Compassionate people have saved me in many ways. Hugs to you.

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  23. Powerfully written , I work for Samaritans in the Uk
    I understand exactly what you have written...l thank you

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    1. Thank you for your work and your words, John.

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  24. What a co-incidence that we both publish articles about this within hours of one another, a subject close to us, and sadly, close to many. Love to you dear and all youre doing. xo

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  25. Cheers to all of this excellent work you're doing. We need more people to be open about this, be vocal, and above all, be loving. The sooner it's not a stigma to talk about it, the sooner we can help each other heal and prevent these kinds of things from happening.

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  26. oh dear really sorry for your brother .

    you are doing great job to spread this positive message around .
    hugs

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  27. I love this poem. Suicide is such an awful thing. Thank you, Robyn. <3

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