Why You Have So Many Reasons to Live

If you are a person being bullied and are considering suicide, this message is for you! Please hold on. Stay strong. Continue the fight.

Know that you deserve love and friendship just as everyone else does. Know that you are just as good as everyone else. Above all, rest assured that life will get much better! Instead of thinking of reasons why you should take your own life, think of reasons why you shouldn’t. There are so many reasons to keep living.

Let me put this another way. If you resort to suicide, you will cheat yourself out of the possibility of one day overcoming your present circumstances and out of so many exciting firsts. You will cheat yourself out of so many wonderful years that lie ahead.

If you’re under 16, you will cheat yourself out of driving a car for the very first time!

And let me tell you! That feeling of sliding in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel of a car and your hands on the steering wheel for the very first time? There’s nothing like it! It’s one of the most liberating experiences!

You will also miss out on prom and high school graduation!

This is another one of the most exciting and hopeful times of life.

You will also forfeit the magic of falling in love and the joy of marrying your soulmate.

And I can tell you that love is one of the most intoxicating and fulfilling experiences life has to offer!

And lastly, you’ll forgo the beautiful experience of having your first baby!

I want you to imagine yourself, five or ten years into the future: You’re married to your spouse and you’ve become a new parent. You’re holding that precious little life in your arms for the first time and gazing into that precious, tiny face!

You now able to have a life beyond your own! You’re holding that soft, tiny body against your chest and watching it sleep against you! I can’t explain what that feels like or the love and joy that goes with it!

You have so many firsts…so many magical and beautiful moments yet to experience and enjoy, so much beauty yet to behold and so many awesome people, potential friends and family yet to meet!

motivational inspirational

Please don’t cheat yourself!

However, if you die by your own hand, you’ll cheat yourself out of all of it! On the other hand, if you’re patient and you keep fighting, life will reward you with such beautiful moments!

Another thing I want you to consider is that if you give up, the bullies will automatically win! That’s right! Your bullies will win and you will lose! Do you really want to let them win? Do you really want to give them such an easy victory? Think about it for a minute. Really think!

As long as you’re alive, there’s always a chance things will improve!

As long as you are alive, there’s always a chance that things will improve…and improve drastically! But once you’re dead, that chance dies with you and there’s no coming back! Death is final and there are no do-overs! So, if you ever consider suicide, I beg you! Talk to a close family member and if you can’t talk to a family member, talk to someone! A loved teacher, a trusted friend, a stranger- someone!

And give yourself a chance! Give the people who love you a chance! Give love a chance! You won’t be disappointed!

I promise you that you’re worth it! If you continue to fight for yourself, I can guarantee that there will come a day when you will look back on this moment and thank yourself. You will look back and be glad that you fought the good fight and stayed alive. I’m living proof! You are worth fighting for! You are worth living for!

With knowledge comes empowerment!

I Could Never Find the Right Words to Comfort Anyone Affected by Bullycide

positive peace candle

Since I’ve been advocating for the bullied, I’ve met and talked to so many families- parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouses, children, cousins and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. I’ve read, heard about, and listened to their heartbreaking stories. I’ve watched them cry, and I’ve often struggled to find the words to tell them how my heart breaks for them. What are the right words to say to someone who has suffered so significant a loss?

I’ve listened to stories from grieving parents who have lost a child to bullying and suicide. While they told me the story of the events which led up to their child’s death, I could hear the anguish in their voices. I could sense the many questions which continue to flood their minds that may never be answered! I could feel the injustice of it all, and let me tell you; it shook me to my core!

I can’t help but feel a wide range of overwhelming emotions- heartbreak and empathy for the surviving parents and family, intense anger toward the bullies who pushed that child over the edge and disgust at the school and school district, who did nothing to help, or worse, only intensified the child’s suffering. I feel nothing but rage and contempt for a system that failed this young person and their family and at the people in power who were in a position to help the poor young man or lady but didn’t!

Although I have lost a spouse to suicide and know what it is to experience the loss from it, I realize this: The loss of a spouse is terrible and heart-wrenching. Yes. But it isn’t quite the same as losing a child.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

I try to put myself in the parent’s shoes, but it’s unbearable. I cannot imagine what a parent goes through. The unanswered questions, having dreams of their child’s future, disappear! Not long ago, I looked into the eyes of one grieving mother, and I wanted to cry but managed not to. I wanted to be strong for her because she needed me to be!

My oldest son went through a period of bullying, so I know this could just as easily have been him years ago. And I honestly don’t know if I could have held up as well as this mother has!

Try to imagine having that baby you once carried for nine months- the baby you felt move and kick inside your belly- ripped from your life forever! Imagine losing that precious, tiny creature, you once held for the first time in the hospital, whose sweet little face you gazed lovingly on, and were unable to take your eyes off of!

FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, pallbearers wearing anti-bullying T-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home in Bartow, Fla. One of two teenage girls charged with stalking Rebecca Sedwick, a Florida classmate who complained of being bullied before her suicide no longer faces any criminal counts, her attorney said Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

I cannot fathom the despair of having to bury the child I was sure would someday bury me! Understand that this goes against the natural order of things! I cannot imagine the total shock and disbelief- that feeling of being kicked in the gut that goes with such a loss! And I struggle to find the words to comfort any parent who has lost a child to bullycide!

What are the right words? How do you communicate to a grieving family member how much you hurt with them and how much you long to ease their suffering and wish you could? And how you wish that there was some way- SOME way you could bring that loved one back to them.

If you have a heart as I do, you want to reach out and hug that person! You want to hold them. You want to console them. You want to take away their pain. But anything short of doing the impossible, you know, will never be enough to ease their suffering.

Sympathy card with burning candle and rose on open book

Like me, you try to imagine how you’d feel if it were your child, but you can’t. You can’t bear the mere thought crossing your mind. But these families have lived it, and they continue to live it every day. Understand that this is a massive loss that this mother, this father, this sibling, this grandparent will carry for the rest of their lives!

Nothing will ever be the same for them again. Realize that this is a new normal (if that’s what you want to call it) that they will never be able to adjust to. Every day from here on will be another day of struggle- another day of fighting to keep it together- another day to act like you’re okay because you’re afraid of overwhelming the people around you. How long can these broken parents keep up the charade?

Again, words can never say how my heart breaks for them. All I can do is be there for them and listen as I struggle to find the words of support and compassion they so need to hear.

Maybe the reason I struggle for the right thing to say is that there are no words! There are no words that could ever quell the grief of a loss so heavy and so devastating! No words can ever provide complete consolation or comfort. And no words can ever bring justice to the loved ones left behind.

To all, who have lost a family member- a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, especially a child, to suicide or bullycide, know that I’m here for you. It doesn’t matter if we know each other or are total strangers. And even though I struggle to find the words to tell you, rest assured that I care. My heart cries with you, and I have the utmost love, sympathy, and compassion for you!

You are always in my thoughts and prayers!

What You Should Say When Bullies Try to Convince You to Commit Suicide

There have been many cases where bullies have tried to convince their targets to commit suicide, and many have succeeded. It’s a shame that bullies are this heartless and cruel but it’s heartbreaking when their targets are brainwashed by these monsters and finally surrender, under pressure, to do the bullies’ bidding.

I’m sure most of you remember hearing on the news, a year or two ago, about the case of Michelle Carter, the 23-year-old who was convicted of manslaughter in Massachusetts after convincing her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III to commit suicide by text.

Several days before this young man took his life by rigging his car with a hose to fill with carbon monoxide and sitting inside it until he was dead, Michelle Carter sent numerous texts to him, urging him to go through with it after he planned his suicide. In a few texts, she is reported to have told him, “Just do it, babe, “and “Put up or shut up.” She also reportedly told him to get back in the car and do it. These texts were the evidence that got her convicted.

Now, I don’t know the circumstances surrounding this or why she did what she did, however, I do believe that what she did was murder. But realize that bullies will the same thing to their targets, and they have done it. In my not-so-humble opinion, they too should be tried and convicted of murder. Not manslaughter, but murder!

If nothing else, I want you to understand this! Anytime you are a target of bullying and your bully or bullies either tell you to take your own life one time, or repeatedly try to urge and pressure you into suicide, they want you dead. They want to kill you but they’re too chicken to do it themselves because they know they’d land their butts in prison for the rest of their lives.

Again, they would love nothing more than to kill you but don’t have the stomach nor the balls to do it themselves because they know that, if they went to prison, they wouldn’t survive there.

I want you to see these people for what they are- cowards!

More importantly, I want you to realize that you have value and that your life matters just as much as the next person’s. I also want you to realize that you deserve to live on this green earth just as much as the next person does.

Remember that bullying is abuse, which means that your bullies are abusers! Never allow an abuser to convince you to take your own life! Never give an abuser that kind of power because it’s not theirs to have. Only God can determine whether you should live or die. A bully can never have that power- the power of life or death over you unless you allow them to have it.

So, when a bully or bullies tells you to “kill yourself,” here’s what you say to them:

“You first.”

I love this little two-liner comeback because it’s short, sweet, and to the point. It mat stun the bully into silence and also has the potential to make the bullies to do a little back-peddling.

Know your rights. Moreover, know your worth. Your life matters. You matter! You are loved and you are a great person. You have a right to life- to live. Never forget that.

With knowledge comes empowerment!

“Where the Trail Ends (The Kenny Suttner Story)” By Angela Suttner & Lindsay Schraad

May be an image of text that says 'YOU'VE READ THE HEADLINES. NOW IT'S TIME TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY TRAIL THE WHERE THE ENDS TRAR KENNY TORY'

Over the weekend, I read “Where the Trail Ends.” For those who don’t know or don’t remember, it’s the story surrounding the bullying and resulting bullycide of Kenny Suttner that made headlines across the globe in the following months of that heartbreaking night in December of 2016, when the Suttner family of Missouri tragically lost their son, brother, nephew, grandson, and cousin.

This beautifully-written but heartbreaking book should be an eye-opener to every parent, every grandparent, and to every teacher and school official! As I read this book, I could hear Angela’s voice and feel her gut-wrenching pain as a mother of sons myself.

As someone who endured bullying and mobbing for six long years in school and a stint of workplace bullying and mobbing, I felt Kenny’s heartache. While reading this book, I even cried for Kenny and for Angela several times. I’m not only a survivor and overcomer of school and workplace bullying, I’m also the widow of suicide due to possible workplace bullying.

Losing a spouse to suicide is horrific enough, but to lose a child? A child that you carried in your belly for nine months and felt move and kick inside you? A child that you rocked to sleep every night? A child that had a great future ahead of him and that you knew would make a positive difference in the world? I can’t even imagine!

Everyone, even those who’ve never been bullied should pick up this book and read it front to back because if you’ve never experienced bullying in school or in the workplace, you’ll never comprehend the damage- the pain, anguish, and exhaustion the target feels! It is as if the person is held hostage and being tortured night and day. Not only do you endure the torture of bullying, but after each incident, the voices of your tormentors and their insults replay in your head over and over again.

Each incidence of bullying cuts a little deeper and a little deeper. It builds over time until it culminates to such an emotional climax that the target feels that death is the only way they can escape the torment and make it stop.

Bullies also need to be made to read this book because I don’t think they have the empathy to care until they read this book and realize that it could one day be their child. I’ve already walked in Kenny’s shoes, having been horrendously bullied myself. But, as a parent I try to put myself in Angela’s and Michael’s shoes and knowing it could’ve been one of my children just shakes me to no end.

In this book, Angela Suttner expresses her grief and how this heartbreaking tragedy has changed her forever. And she does it so powerfully.

I don’t believe Kenny really wanted to die, he only wanted for the pain and continuous torment to stop and he saw death as the only way he could finally be left in peace. I hurt for him so badly. My heart is breaking as I type this and tears are welling in my eyes. Bullies must be taught empathy and to realize that other people have the same thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, and desires as they do and that their targets are human beings who are also deserving of safety, respect, and dignity.

I commend Angela and the entire Suttner family for keeping the memory of their loved one alive and for the tireless work they do to spread awareness of bullying, the damage it does, and it’s deadly consequences. And I encourage Angela and the family to continue to spread their message to every man, women, and child across the globe.

Paperback:

Kindle:

Why an Outside Supoort System Is So Important When You’re Being Bullied

When bullies target you at school or in the workplace, a support system can be the difference between suicide and the will to live, and I tell you this from experience.

During the time I went to school and was bullied there, people didn’t consider the damage bullying did to its targets because it just wasn’t talked about. It wasn’t talked about because society was under the misguided belief that bullying was “a right of passage” – a “normal occurrence that all kids went through.”

But! If your were a target back then, I’ll bet that even back then, you knew that there was nothing normal about it. Even then, you knew that most kids didn’t endure bullying but only a certain few.

And because of this widely held belief, you were ashamed to talk about it and were forced to suffer in silence. Why? Because you knew that you’d be shamed for it – told to toughen up. So, you toughened up – you started fighting back amd defending yourself, only to be blamed and accused of being the perpetrator and either suspended, expelled, or fired (if you were an adult in the workplace).

In a nutshell, there just wasn’t much support for targets of bullying behavior in those days. I look back now and wonder just how many teen suicides in those days (and yes, there were many teen suicides back then) resulted from bullying.

Unfortunately, that’s an answer we’ll never know because those kids aren’t alive to tell their stories today. I can only speculate that it was more than likely well over half of all suicides under the age of 21. And I’m confident in that guess.

If you’re a parent or guardian, listen to your child and take steps to support and protect your son or daughter.

If you’re a teacher and a child or teen comes to you and opens up about the bullying they suffer, please do not trivialize their pain or rebuff them. Reach out to them and give them a listening ear. Let this precious human being know that you’re there for them.

If you’re a supervisor or manager, please, listen for the sake of not only the target, but for that of your company. Companies lose millions per year as a result of workplace bullying. Therefore, it’s much more profitable to do the right thing than it is to ignore it or to blame the target.

The more you know…

 

The Day the Laughter Died (In Memory of Robin Williams)

Robin Williams Graffiti Tribute

Robin Williams was one of the best comedians of all time. My first memories of him were on the sitcom, Mork & Mindy before he went on to star in some of the best movies in the business. During interviews and appearances, he seemed to be happy and chipper, always having a good one-liner on hand to brighten any mood.

I remember exactly where I was, and I was doing when news of his death first broke. It shocked me to my core as it did millions of fans around the globe. Because of his happy and upbeat demeanor, he was the last celebrity I thought would ever commit suicide, and it only goes to show that this manner of death often comes with no prior warning signs.

Unfortunately, outward appearances can be deceiving, and just because someone may look happy, confident, and outgoing doesn’t mean that they aren’t privately battling the evil demon of depression.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, which equals to one person every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-29. However, the elderly have the highest suicide rates, more than 50% higher than young people (www.factretriever.com/suicide-facts)

(www.who.int/mental-health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/)

One reason for the high suicide rate is that people frown upon mental illness. Because those unlucky enough to battle it fear others might judge them negatively and unfairly, they don’t admit that there’s a problem and refuse to get treatment.
Robin Williams was no different.

I can tell you that despite his fame and fortune, he was afraid of being judged. Being a man, came with the fear that society would revoke his proverbial man-card, as men are conditioned from infancy to be the pillars of strength, which is why suicide rates are much higher with males. Being a comedian, he was afraid of being discredited and possibly losing his career.

Because there is so much stigma which surrounds depression and mental illness, these were very legitimate fears. I have found that people judge those with mental illness worse than they do thieves and murderers, and it’s a shame.

What’s even more mind-boggling is that many of these finger-pointers also have some mental illness themselves or in their families. They only live in denial and point fingers to distract others from their own issues.

Yesterday marked the seventh anniversary of Robin Williams’ death. If someone as talented, vibrant, wealthy, and famous as Robin Williams can be stricken with depression or any form of mental illness, then anyone can at any time.
People suffering do not need your criticism or your pity. They need your support!

It’s time to stop hiding, stop passing judgment, and remove the stigma!

In Memory of Robin Williams

(July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)

I Can’t Find The Words of Comfort for Anyone Affected by Bullycide

positive peace candle

Since I’ve been advocating for the bullied, I’ve met and talked to so many families- parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, spouses, children, cousins and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. I’ve read, heard about, and listened to their heartbreaking stories. I’ve watched them cry, and I’ve often struggled to find the words to tell them how my heart breaks for them. What are the right words to say to someone who has suffered so significant a loss?

I’ve listened to stories from grieving parents who have lost a child to bullying and suicide. While they told me the story of the events which led up to their child’s death, I could hear the anguish in their voices. I could sense the many questions which continue to flood their minds that may never be answered! I could feel the injustice of it all, and let me tell you; it shook me to my core!

I can’t help but feel a wide range of overwhelming emotions- heartbreak and empathy for the surviving parents and family, intense anger toward the bullies who pushed that child over the edge and disgust at the school and school district, who did nothing to help, or worse, only intensified the child’s suffering. I feel nothing but rage and contempt for a system that failed this young person and their family and at the people in power who were in a position to help the poor young man or lady but didn’t!

Although I have lost a spouse to suicide and know what it is to experience the loss from it, I realize this: The loss of a spouse is terrible and heart-wrenching. Yes. But it isn’t quite the same as losing a child.

Child abuse with the eye of a young boy or girl with a single tear crying due to the fear of violence or depression caused by hunger and poverty and being afraid of bullying at school.

I try to put myself in the parent’s shoes, but it’s unbearable. I cannot imagine what a parent goes through. The unanswered questions, having dreams of their child’s future, disappear! Not long ago, I looked into the eyes of one grieving mother, and I wanted to cry but managed not to. I wanted to be strong for her because she needed me to be!

My oldest son went through a period of bullying, so I know this could just as easily have been him years ago. And I honestly don’t know if I could have held up as well as this mother has!

Try to imagine having that baby you once carried for nine months- the baby you felt move and kick inside your belly- ripped from your life forever! Imagine losing that precious, tiny creature, you once held for the first time in the hospital, whose sweet little face you gazed lovingly on, and were unable to take your eyes off of!

FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 file photo, pallbearers wearing anti-bullying T-shirts carry the casket of Rebecca Sedwick,12, to a waiting hearse as they exit the Whidden-McLean Funeral Home in Bartow, Fla. One of two teenage girls charged with stalking Rebecca Sedwick, a Florida classmate who complained of being bullied before her suicide no longer faces any criminal counts, her attorney said Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco, File)

I cannot fathom the despair of having to bury the child I was sure would someday bury me! Understand that this goes against the natural order of things! I cannot imagine the total shock and disbelief- that feeling of being kicked in the gut that goes with such a loss! And I struggle to find the words to comfort any parent who has lost a child to bullycide!

What are the right words? How do you communicate to a grieving family member how much you hurt with them and how much you long to ease their suffering and wish you could? And how you wish that there was some way- SOME way you could bring that loved one back to them.

If you have a heart as I do, you want to reach out and hug that person! You want to hold them. You want to console them. You want to take away their pain. But anything short of doing the impossible, you know, will never be enough to ease their suffering.

Sympathy card with burning candle and rose on open book

Like me, you try to imagine how you’d feel if it were your child, but you can’t. You can’t bear the mere thought crossing your mind. But these families have lived it, and they continue to live it every day. Understand that this is a massive loss that this mother, this father, this sibling, this grandparent will carry for the rest of their lives!

Nothing will ever be the same for them again. Realize that this is a new normal (if that’s what you want to call it) that they will never be able to adjust to. Every day from here on will be another day of struggle- another day of fighting to keep it together- another day to act like you’re okay because you’re afraid of overwhelming the people around you. How long can these broken parents keep up the charade?

Again, words can never say how my heart breaks for them. All I can do is be there for them and listen as I struggle to find the words of support and compassion they so need to hear.

Maybe the reason I struggle for the right thing to say is that there are no words! There are no words that could ever quell the grief of a loss so heavy and so devastating! No words can ever provide complete consolation or comfort. And no words can ever bring justice to the loved ones left behind.

To all, who have lost a family member- a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a grandparent, especially a child, to suicide or bullycide, know that I’m here for you. It doesn’t matter if we know each other or are total strangers. And even though I struggle to find the words to tell you, rest assured that I care. My heart cries with you, and I have the utmost love, sympathy, and compassion for you!

You are always in my thoughts and prayers!