Helping teens see that they are not alone with depression and educating on the awareness & prevention of suicide – if you are having suicidal thoughts, call the Riverside County Suicide Helpline 951-686-HELP or the National Suicide Lifeline 800-273-TALK
Our family at The Jewels’ Angels Foundation want to wish you and your family a very prosperous and happy New Year!
The new year is the start of a new beginning – a time to pensively say goodbye to yesterday, while bringing in a bright hello to tomorrow.
It’s a great time to discover a new you, new adventures, and new opportunities. A clean slate – to say goodbye to the past trauma, failed relationships, and lost opportunities. Don’t just create a new year’s resolution, but a life changing plan. A plan to be the best you possible – a better version of the past.
It sounds so cliché and subsequently, it will more than likely require a lot of hard work, but some of the best things in life don’t come easy; however, where there is darkness, there is also light. Be the light in someone’s life. We all have gifts to contribute – find your inner gift by being the insight into someone’s life, the light to save them and make their life just a little bit better. It may not seem like much to you, but sometimes something so small and insignificant to us, may mean the world to someone else – changing their life forever.
This weekend marks the fifth year since we lost our daughter & sibling, Jewels, by suicide.
I haven’t written in a while, sitting here thinking about what to write, made me realize how much healing has taken place.
I realized that I have learned so many things about myself over the years. At first, I didn’t think of myself as strong, but simply trying to survive. However indifferent I may have felt, we all have differing levels of strength.
Strength isn’t only about survival. Most of us can at least force the effort of surviving. What I am referring to in accordance to strength, is a robust power that comes from deep inside our soul, guiding us to turn a travesty into something positive – possibly a purpose.
I also learned that living isn’t merely the existence of breathing. The power of learning to live again is by moving forward and refusing to get “stuck”. We all can get trapped in the past; however, the past only brings us depression. The future has a tendency of bringing us more anxiety. Subsequently, the present is where we can discover a common ground, where we can strive to find a little bit of happiness in a dark world, filled with so much misery and sadness –
In other words, what my experience with grief has taught me, is that I have learned how to take the most tragic event imaginable by incorporating it into my everyday existence. I do this by remembering the good times, including my love for my daughter, through my memories, photos, and songs. Remembering her as she was and not allowing her suicide to define her. She was a beautiful person, she existed, and her existence made a difference, not only in our lives, but in all those whom she had and continues to touch. I am a better person because I had known and loved her. And for this, I am proud of the progress I have made on my journey called grief. It hasn’t been easy, nor is it even close to being done, but with each day brings progress and that is enough.
For centuries we have been studying the brain and mental illness, we have come a long way from early theories, but still a long way from fully understanding it. It is easier for doctors to experiment with the body because they can see what is going on inside with modern technology, but understanding the brain is more complex. But what if, let’s just say for arguments’ sake, we could connect physical deficiencies and aliments within the body, directly to the mind and by fixing the physical symptoms it also corrects the mental symptoms, such as depression. It’s definitely something to ponder.
Let’s first break down the definition of inflammatory, metabolic, & dysregulation. Inflammatory is a localized physical condition that results from an injury or infection. Metabolic is a metabolism condition characterized by high blood pressure, blood clotting, and difficulty with insulin production. Dysregulation is a physiological impairment governing metabolism, immune response, or organ function.
Studies have shown that Inflammatory & Metabolic Dysregulation (IMD) may be associated with a poor response to antidepressants, as well as a correlation with depressive symptoms. IMD involves the C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin. Interleukin is a cytokine (a small protein, peptide, that is important in cell signaling) which may induce depressive symptoms (Physicians’ Weekly). One study showed a primary outcome between CRP and depressive symptoms based on their patient trial.
What is interesting, is that CRP levels are found in the liver. Proteins made by the liver increases when there’s a condition (illness or malfunction) causing inflammation somewhere in the body. When this happens, it may throw off the IL-6, osteoclast, cytokine, and myokine protein levels.
As mentioned above, cytokine are small proteins that are important in cell signaling. Myokine are small proteins that release skeletal muscle cells in response to muscular contractions, IL-6 (Interleukin 6) acts as both a pro-inflammatory cytokine and an anti-inflammatory myokine, and Osteoclast are bone cells that are important in breaking down bone tissue.
Therefore, could there be a direct correlation between inflammation and depressive symptoms; subsequently, what causes our liver to produce too high or too low of levels of CRP? We’ve always known that the brain and body work together; additionally, could there be a connection between depression (or any mental illness) and deficiencies in our body and vice versa? And if so, would it be possible for a patient to take this information from their primary care doctor and share it with their psychiatrist, making a better evaluation, based on the physical body, for a mental diagnosis and treatment. Perhaps, as science continues to expand in research, we may have the key to finding an early treatment prognosis in the mental health industry. One can only hope.
In memory to all those whom we have lost to suicide – to remember them, tonight at 8 pm, place a white candle in your window sill – if we all do this, we will be honoring their life and memories that we continue to carry with us today and for all those days we are here on this earth.
The Law of Giving is quite a simple concept; however, one that is often overthought. A person does not need to have money in order to practice the Law of Giving. There are many forms of giving – a compliment, a smile, a simple recognition of someone’s time or efforts, and even a kind thought.
When we put out positive energy, it surpasses the ability beyond our circle and flows out into the universe, surrounding others who may later come into contact with us, either knowing or not knowing. Have you ever noticed that when you are smiling and engaging in eye-contact, that others notice this light in you and often times will smile back at you?
We are made up of energy, and that energy is transferred from us to others; subsequently, having a domino effect. We smile at someone, making them feel good inside, and they transfer that energy to the next person, and so on and so on.
So, the next time you are out and about, thinking that your smile, compliment, or positive thought, doesn’t make a difference, redirect that thinking process towards a more positive perspective – it does make a difference. This is what we all need during these turbulent times, positive energy flowing through out ourselves and into the universe, not hate, but pure love and kindness.
Most of us have probably met a person with narcissistic tendencies but being in a relationship with a narcissistic person can be quite challenging, to say the least, and completely destructive.
A person who displays a narcissistic behavior is someone who feeds off another person’s energy, in an unhealthy way, like a parasite. However, this may be a matter of opinion. To a narcissist, this behavior is necessary for their emotional survival. They choose their victims to accommodate their need. They need that person who has low self-esteem, but it’s even more than that, they prey on the person who has a depleted self-worth.
Both the narcissist and his or her victim need something from each other. The victim desires the attention bestowed upon them by the narcissist, which is the positive attitude they falsely possess, the charisma of their charm, their contagious smile with their beautiful light of energy. However, this is exactly what the narcissist needs from their victim because this is what builds up their self-confidence. They don’t have it, so they must steal it from their victim. It’s a very subtle shift in perspective, the narcissist starts out being very charming and attentive. Showering love, throwing out empty compliments, promising the world, moving in quickly, but not too quickly to cause speculation. Who wouldn’t love this kind of attention? However, someone having a strong self-worth is less likely to fall for the lies promised, but someone who doesn’t love themselves more than they loved him or her, would be easy to trap.
Once you fall into their trap, you are stuck, just like a fly who gets trapped in the spider’s web. At this point, the dynamics change, the once doting boyfriend suddenly, as if overnight, changes. They are now controlling and possessive. Sucking out your energy of light, leaving you with nothing, but an emptiness inside you that turns to shame. You love him, but you forget to notice that he too loved himself more than he loved you and do you know why? Because he is incapable of loving anyone because although it seems he loves himself, he does not.
But what happens once he can no longer feed off of you, or sap your energy for his own benefit, or realizes that he has lost control over you and can no longer possess you…what happens to the narcissist then? Two things, he either leaves you and moves on to his next victim, or he is forced to take a closer look at himself. The second is the most damaging to his already fragile ego. He may see his true self through your eyes, but it won’t be enough to make him realize the blessings he has in his life.
Subsequently, what happens when the victim stands up and finds his or her voice and regains her independence, what happens to the narcissist then? Will he accept this and move on or will this new development send him into a spiral of events, causing him to lose control of himself? The once confident narcissist who possessed the power and control over his victim, is now the one who is losing control, not only the control he once possessed over her, but now the little control he had over his own self.
That’s what a narcissist is, an individual with no control over his situation and therefore develops it within those he encounters, since he can’t control his own situation or life, he redirects that energy into controlling the person whom he loves, or thinks he loves. From this point on, he is spiraling out of control into a dangerous situation. This is new to him and now he doesn’t know what to do. He needs her for his own survival and without her, what does he have? But this is the tricky part…he doesn’t need her because he loves her, he needs her to help him emotionally survive and without her he can’t, and this scares him. Therefore, lies the cycle of destruction.
I remember as a kid, looking out the window, watching as my mom lead our horse out into the pasture. She had a grace about her, as well as the connection I noticed between her and her horse. It was almost as if they both understood each other in ways that were subtle and intimate.
Horses are natural healers, following the delicate vibrations from our body language. Some people think that a horse responds to aggression or the slight tug on the harness, but this isn’t the case. Horses, as well as most animals, react to the gentle cues given by their riders or owners, directed through their body language. The movement of their hand pressed up against their neck, leading them to turn. The casual pressure of the foot slightly placed on the side of their ribcage. Perhaps, it’s the casual look over their shoulder, leading the horse to turn to the right or left.
Whatever the allusion is, it is magical. Horses have a therapeutic way about them. Horse therapy isn’t a new study. Many cases show that it helps people with both physical, emotional, and psychological challenges by giving them healing benefits, such as more confidence, higher self-esteem, socialization skills, better coordination, coping mechanisms, and body strengthening.
Our bodies are primarily made from water and energy, which transfers to those around us. Not only do horses sense our body language and our subtle cues, they also feel our energy. They sense when we are feeling sad or desperate. They feel our feelings, which helps us to better relate to them because we are all connected in one way or the other, but especially because we are all made up of atoms and molecules, which allows us to connect through our energy. Horses have the ability, as well as we do, to feel our energy and vibrations. This is why they say animals can smell fear; they may not be able to actually smell it, but they can hear it or at least sense it. This is what makes animals so amazing.
When a tragedy occurs, we are almost never prepared. We think we know how to formulate ourselves for death, but in reality, we are taken aback and surprised of how little we were not.
Suicide is in a group all by itself. The life we once knew has been dissolved. Our path has suddenly ended, dropping us off into the abyss. Our life has been severed.
A year goes by; family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances start thinking it is time for us to get back on our feet. It’s been long enough, they say, but to us it only feels like yesterday – the day our life, as we had known it, has ended. We feel broken – damaged, struggling to cope with a choice that was not our own. They chose our destiny when they decided to die by suicide.
We have a difficult time functioning, maintaining relationships, going to work, and we look like we’re okay and this is what people want to see, but inside we don’t feel okay, nor will we ever be okay again. We feel dead. The day our loved ones left this earth, a piece of us went with them.
We desperately want to get back to a somewhat normal life, but the challenges are all consuming, suffocating us. It’s hard to breath, our hearts our fluttering, we have post-traumatic stress disorder, waking up in the middle of the night from nightmares, and suffering with anxiety. Therapy helps. She gives us coping skills, but we realize we can only save ourselves – nobody can do this for us.
We are healing, but it’s a slow process, one that requires patience from our families, as well as from ourselves. Nobody can prepare us for the trauma that has been endured. Some days we feel as if we can’t go on, but then we accept that we must. We cannot continue this cycle of suicide.
Slowly life starts to get better. We meet new people who bring us hope. We spend quality time with the people who have always loved us – the people who will not leave us behind, as suicide has done. We spend countless days, weeks, and months spending time by ourselves, reflecting on our journey called life – remembering, this is our journey and we can either chose to spend it in the light or in the darkness, but in the end, it is our choice, not theirs. No matter how dark it gets, the sun is always going to rise again.
They say change is good. I would say that is a matter of perspective. Change is good when you are moving forward and towards something positive. Such as a new job that you are excited to start, a new home, new friends, and new adventures. However, respectively, it may also cause a lot of stress and anxiety.
Starting a new job requires you to struggle outside your comfort zone; meeting new people, learning how the company operates, and taking on new responsibilities. Moving to a new home may cause stress because of financial reasons, leaving behind your friends, and perhaps moving into a smaller space, requiring you to get rid of some of your favorite household items. It is also intimidating to be the new kid on the block, therefore, meeting new friends may be scary or feel forced. New adventures have the potential to be exciting; however, this may require some adjustments on our perspective.
Then there is the factor that we are not all alike. We all handle stress and anxiety at different levels. Although an adventure may be looked upon as fun and low stress to one individual, it may be a huge stress factor for another.
So, how can we make life changes most effectively? First, listen and ask yourself, what part of this change is causing you anxiety. Second, do your homework. What this means is prepare by giving yourself plenty enough time to prepare for the change, such as moving to a new home. Third, ask for help from family and friends when it becomes too overwhelming for you to handle. Fourth, be patient with yourself.
You are going to have a lot of emotions flying out at you, so let them come in like a wave, ride the wave, and let them go. Trying to fight off a negative feeling only makes it worse, turning the simple thought into a huge panic attack. We are in control of our thoughts; this is where perspective comes into it, keep a positive attitude. Don’t take life or yourself so seriously.
Yes, change is scary, but it is a part of life and most of the time it teaches us to grow, when we didn’t want to but needed to. And always remember, you are not alone on this journey called life.
We’ve all heard the expression, “to give your heart away”, but is this really a good idea? I know we all believe in the Cinderella story, wishing to find our Prince Charming, who will seek us out and save us from the wicked stepmother, but we also know this is not realistic. However, we are taught at a young age that it is okay for us to “give our heart away” to the person whom we fall in love. Sometimes this scenario works out and sometimes it doesn’t.
Scientifically speaking, the heart and brain cannot survive without the other. If the brain dies the heart dies and if the heart dies the brain dies. Unfortunately, some of us only think with our hearts, while ignoring our brain. We might feel something isn’t right, but our hearts tell us differently; subsequently a broken heart can be detrimental to our health, causing heart disease, high blood pressure, illnesses, stress, anxiety, and depression, to name a few. This warning is even in the Bible, Proverbs 4:23 – “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
My point is, that it is our responsibility to ourselves, to love who we are enough to only allow those who are worthy of our love, into our hearts and our lives. Too many times we are lonely and settle with a person who is not worthy of our love and the end result is a broken heart. We are all deserving of love, the right love; however, this comes with patience and understanding for who we are and our needs.
True love does exist, so don’t give up on it, but self-love is forever.