This January 1, 20121 marks four years since the passing of my brother, the morning at 4:50 when my then 18-year-old son sent the text that made all of our fears come true and our new reality became an uncomfortable journey of grief.
Mental health has impacted our lives through so many family members and we have watched it take away jobs, take away marriages, take away motivation, take away interest in the world, take away the desire to be alive. Depression can kill. It has the ability
to kill your dreams
to kill your journey
to kill your future
but it doesn’t need to kill you.
This December was the first time since 2017 that Ethan, Emily and I were in the same city at the same time for New Year’s and this year we decided that we needed to change the emotional lead up to New Year’s morning and give it a different meaning to change the vibration that it has left with us. At the beginning of December every year, the three of us start to feel the sadness, the hurt and the anguish. The feelings of guilt begin to resurface as the memories return. Every year the negative feelings get a bit better but the impact of New Year’s continues to hold negativity that is exhausting to deal with and impacts the excitement of the future.
This year was different, with so much sadness and negativity in the world Ethan decided to take a different route towards healing and created The Rave Theory. An online platform for everyone and anyone to showcase their talent. He put all his energy into this project and brought together 72 artists and ran an online rave for 32 hours starting December 31st. He created a safe space for so many others dealing with depression, anxiety, loneliness and isolation to come together in community. He worked diligently for 2 weeks collecting, creating and organizing this event. His enthusiasm and motivation brought Emily and I along for the ride and together we were able to spend December in a positive state of creation instead of our usual state of desperation. Ethan and Emily decided that they were no longer going to be held hostage to mental health. He decided to use this time and quiet of COVID to look deep inside and figure out what was holding him back from the world outside. We used this time to reconnect with one another as a family. To create our goals for the future and have the conversation of how we can all support one another in building our lives and positivity.
We began having different conversations. We shared our thoughts our dreams and our fears with openness and honesty and an invitation for change. It was difficult at first but we stayed the course and as each uncomfortable conversation became more comfortable our interactions with one another and the words we used to support one another were valuable to our healing. We all found new therapists this year to help deal with the residual feelings of grief and were able to shift the healing process in order to move forward in all our lives. We worked through guilt and shame. We worked through blame and we came to the realization that even though the family is connected by genetics, it doesn’t always mean they have your best interest at heart. The three of us as a family unit set our boundaries for others around us and began the exploration of who we have in our lives and what they bring to support our journey of OKAY EVERYDAY.
Although Covid has taken away so much and impacted our lives in so many ways that we can’t even begin to understand, there is a positivity piece for us to focus on.
COVID gave us the opportunity to stand back in isolation as the world comes to a stop and our society no longer offers the distractions of outside activities, places to go and people to see, forcing us to sit still and feel the uncomfortableness that lay dormant in our subconscious. Without all the noise from the outside world the noise inside our homes and our heads grew louder.
Because of our ability to talk and the foundation of honesty and conversation, Ethan Emily and I are grateful for the opportunity we had to reconnect, reset and begin the process of healing from grief and shift the perspective from the sadness we’ve been carrying, to the hope we desire to build our future. A place where mental health is an everyday conversation that invites support and sharing to guide on the path to potential.
Suicide is not the only answer. Depression is a limitation. There is no easy solution.
Help is hard to find and sometimes the journey to help is harder than the journey to heal.
The first step it’s important to take if you want the conversation to change.
Take a chance on yourself.
Call one of the hotlines.
Join a group on social media
Tell someone in your life you need help
Reach out to Ethan, Emily or myself (on social media).
We have been having these conversations (in text or talk ) every day and are always willing to invite others to take part.
The hardest part is the first words
It’s time to believe that YOU can be OKAY EVERYDAY
I, Shawna. Therapist, Teacher, Mother, Friend, Partner, Human
I Need help every day. Don’t you?