My initial intention for this blog was to talk about how overwhelming the negativity, hate and violence that’s transpired recently – especially during this past election season – can be. I started to write after the Pittsburgh synagogue slaughter. Then came the Borderline massacre in Thousand Oaks. Then came the fires.
I am grateful to say that so far, the people I know that live in Thousand Oaks and in other fire zones and their property are all ok. Personally I am fine, just dealing with a bit of smoky haze like so many others. It is still horrifying and overwhelming to process, especially when there is so much help needed but you feel helpless to do anything.
Friends – online and off – have been working to help coordinate animal rescues, donations, and housing for those in need in disaster areas around the country while others have spent months campaigning tirelessly for issues and candidates they cared about. Whenever there is a crisis, I feel compelled do something, but am quickly overwhelmed with trying to decide what, how, and when I would do it and, probably most significantly, would my participation even make a difference.
I found out some answers four years ago when I began volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Los Angeles. Dealing with my own deep depression, I finally started talking about my mother’s suicide 30 years before, something my family never spoke about. For me, hearing others’ experiences validated so many of mine and allowed me to see my family not as detached strangers, but as human beings who were also in pain. Others have told me how hearing my story has helped them. Strangers and friends now open up to me about suicides in their lives.
Discovering the power conversation has to shift long-held (often made-up) beliefs with truth and understanding for me is leading to compassion and forgiveness. While public discussion around suicide has come a long way in the last couple of years and I fear the cause and the resources going to it will get lost in the shuffle of the numerous crises that keep pulling the nation’s attention. Sadly, suicide isn’t going away anytime soon and new loss survivors are created daily.
Right now I need to keep my focus and my inner resources on shining a light on the suffering of those left behind. The Silent Goldens documentary I am producing is my way to forward the movement to normalize the conversation about suicide. I can be effective in this mission. I am devoting my time to it. I have seen my participation so far in the suicide world make a difference. I have a lot more to bring to it.
Please help me share my story with a donation to the production at thesilentgoldens.com.