Reflections on World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2009 is World Suicide Prevention Day

Does anyone care?

I do! I care.

My friend, Kelli Karlton, posted this orange image on her Facebook page today about World Suicide Prevention Day.  Kelli works hard to raise awareness about this issue and I admire her dedication to educating the public.

Heart-breaking statistics you should know about

As I headed to our Laughter Yoga Club this evening I carried the significance of World Suicide Prevention Day with me and thought about the heart breaking statistics and quote by Brian Mishara, President of the International Association of Suicide Prevention.

More than a million people worldwide die by suicide each year. More people kill themselves than die in all wars, terrorist activities and homicides. Many millions more make suicide attempt severe enough to need medical treatment, and over six million people are affected each year by the disastrous impact of the suicide of a close one friend or family member. Source: Hindustan Times

WIIFN, What’s in it for me?

Before we began the Laughter Yoga session tonight, one of the members of our club asked me why I was helping to lead the group. She specifically asked “What’s in it for you Christa?

This woman met me only once. She knows nothing about my “story” or what motivates me to help others get their Giggle On. I don’t wear the word “suicide” on my collar nor do I tell people in casual conversation that I am a “survivor” of my friend’s suicide or I spent years depressed and suicidal. First off, I dislike the word survivor. In my mind it labels me as a victim. I am no victim. Secondly, I don’t dwell in the past and I am mindful not to get “stuck” in my story of past woes.


I confess, when she asked the question I hesitated for a moment.

Would I tell her the truth, the ugly truth about how my friend’s suicide motivated me to help others?

People HATE hearing the word suicide. It makes them cringe. It also makes me uncomfortable making other people uncomfortable but the truth sometimes does that – the truth pushes people off balance and out of their comfort zones. Being pushed out of your comfort zone is part of life. I call it a tough shit-ski. One can’t escape a tough shit-ski.

Would I tell her I spent years depressed and on medication and hated my life and wanted to die too? Nobody wants to be handed that bag of hot potatoes without first grabbing a pair of oven mitts and scoping out the nearest escape route through the exit door, usually stage left. It’s always stage left in the cartoons.

Instead of hiding behind some warm and fuzzy filled BS story of fairies and lollipops about why I volunteer my time to our Laughter Yoga Club, I told her the truth.

I told her in a short, sweet, Christa fashion why I devote my time and my money to this cause. I told her I am damned lucky to be alive and I am grateful for every moment I have on this earth. It is my self-appointed job to reach out to anyone who will listen and share my “Don’t Give Up! Giggle On!” mantra with them.

Shunned, Still

  • Do some people in my life still shun me for speaking my truth?ABSOLUTELY.
  • Are some of those people blood relatives?YES.
  • Am I disappointed my own family seems to be repulsed by my mission to encourage people to live and not hang, shoot or poison themselves?  – SURE but again, that’s another tough shit-ski, another one of those things about life.

I am no pillow, no mattress

But, you know what? If my life’s mission was to make people feel comfortable all the time, I’d be a pillow or a Tempur-pedic mattress. I am no mattress!

Suicide sucks. There’s no sugar coating it. People all over the world struggle and suffer with mental illness.

I am committed to eliminating the stigma of mental illness, helping to prevent suicide by raising awareness,  supporting people who lost loved ones to suicide and encouraging people not to give up on life or their dreams. People can transcend the struggles and pain and life and seek joy and laughter in all things. I Believe!

My job is to help lift people when they are down and coach them back into a smile, even if it’s a fake one. We fake it until we make it in life. We fake it until we make it in Laughter Yoga.

I am doing my best to keep it real here – to stay true to my mission – to honor myself – to educate and to spread bits and pieces of hope.

Remember and honor those who lost their lives to suicide. Remember Them!

Giggle On my friends. Life, although challenging at times, is very beautiful!

If you like this post, please share it. Bookmark and Share

Related posts:

Prepare for the Dark Side

One Life Lost, One Life Saved

Survivor Q & A: Kelli Karlton

Suicide Survivors Guilt

How to Help Suicidal People

25 Tips for Survivors of Suicide

When a loss becomes a gain


Is it Depression or lost Mojo?


    • @Svasti – she responded positively. I got the sense she wasn’t expecting to hear the words that came from my mouth (I delivered them gently but in a matter-of-fact way) but once I spoke my truth, she nodded with acceptance and understanding. I look forward to reading your post, as always. 🙂

  1. Hey Christa, Great post – Ditto on the fake it until you make it – I’m constantly (either at work or at home) trying to make other people feel better and happier and I find that the days I use humor and paste a big (even if it’s fake!) smile on my face are the days I actually end up having the most fun. Miss you giggle sista!

    • @ JD – I dunno about amazing inspiration (me thinks today more like crazy dreamer) but spanks, spanks muchos, JD. At our SOS (Survivor’s of Suicide) meeting last night we talked about the word “victim”. We can label ourselves “victim” if we choose. We can also call ourselves thrivers. 🙂 Just tonight, I was playing my old tape, you know, that tape that says “I suck”…”I’m too this…”…”too that”…and then I reminded myself it’s just a negative tape. I CHOOSE to turn it on and again to turn the naggin’ beotch off. *laughing* CHOICES… me lik-ey. Turn the bad tape off and Giggle AWN!

      @ Susan – I am so honored I was able to help you after Kevin died. You helped me too by listening and allowing me to tell my story.

      @ Lg Marge – Dude…I mean, DOOD. You ARE a Giggle-spiration to me. Your smile, your laugh and your sense of humor slay me. Always have and most certainly always will.

      Ladies (and gents of this reply)…I have a post coming up about a charity walk, a walk to help me deliver my message: Don’t Give Up! Giggle On! (pronounced Giggle AWN, you gotta emphasize the “aw”, maybe it’s a schwa or something, I don’t know. I wasn’t an English major.) I need your help spreading the word. You in?

  2. A sad story hit the yoga community in South Orange County this weekend. A very well respected and loved yoga teacher committed suicide on Friday. She was bipolar and apparently had gone through a really bad break up two years ago that she never got over.

    She had been upset lately but was surrounded by friends. The weekend before she
    participated in a partner yoga workshop as a demonstrator with her best friend.

    I didn’t know her that well, but had taken a couple of her classes and workshops. My good friend was a regular in her classes. I found out on Sunday after taking a class at my studio. It’s amazing how large the area is here and how many studios there are, but how small the community is and how far reaching something like this can reach people. I was devastated and out of sorts all day Sunday and still a bit surprised.

    We think that somehow we as yogis and yoginis are isolated from the feelings of sadness, but I think sometimes that is what draws us to yoga in the first place…to either face or escape the sadness inside of us. Some of us are able to dive in and understand ourselves better by finding our true selves…maybe others are too scared of what they find.

    You should see the outpouring of love and devotion that people are showing to each other here. It’s both inspiring and saddening all at once.

    Maybe that was her purpose…to bring everyone closer together and appreciate the life and love that we have.

    I put a link to some of the information about Shayna up above. Just from what you are doing with Giggle On and Suicide Prevention, thought it would be of interest to you.

    Take care and as my mom would say, Enjoy Life!!

    • @ Stacey – This is a very sad story indeed. I like that Shayna’s family is having an Irish wake, very nice touch.

      No one is isolated from sadness. It is tragic she felt taking her life was the only option.

      Only God knows her purpose for doing what she did but suicide can bring people together or in the case of some people’s families, tear them apart.

      I will keep Shayna in my thoughts and prayers today, during her service, and again on the 25th as Team Giggle On walks for the MHA.

      We never forget those we lost to suicide. Love never dies. That is the one constant. That is what I believe.

      Hugs to you across the miles…and Giggle On!

Leave a Reply