Workout Planning for Dummies (Or Busy People)

plan photo

Are you a little of both, maybe? A dummy who is busy and wants to work out regularly?

This is my system, which I’m sharing for the benefit of anyone who has ever condescendingly (or sincerely) said to me, or anyone else who has tried to make fitness a priority, “I wish I could workout that often, but I just have too much to do.”

What do you think I am…a Time Lord?!

(Don’t get excited, Geek Friends, I don’t really know anything about Dr. Who, or Glee, or whatever it is that has Time Lords, I just know they’re a thing, and I thought this was a prime place for a reference.)

Anyway, if you’re serious and need a new method of making sure fitness gets on the calendar, this is my suggestion…write out an exercise framework at the beginning of the week, when you’re making the rest of your plans*, and put it on your calendar in pencil. I put an example of this from my own calendar, up top. (This is not an example of a very busy week, I’m afraid, but it gets the point across.)

Then, if you can’t do whatever it was you planned to do…write what you did end up doing in pen. Here’s an example of what that looks like…

plan pic 2

(Again, not a crazy busy week, you’ll just have to pretend that there’s a shit ton of things crowding that box, because trust me, there usually are).

You’ll notice something; sometimes the things I plan to do are with other people–jiu jitsu class, a free group run with a local running shoe store–but in this case (as it often is), the things I ended up doing were solo ventures. A run by myself, a 3 x 15 workout late one night, ten minutes of yoga before work. The promise of fun may get you in the mindset to work out, but when push comes to shove, you have to actually be ready to just do something, to co-opt and paraphrase the tagline of a Very Big Company.

I’m more likely to just do something if I see that I have it written down, even if I don’t do exactly what was planned. And if it’s in pencil…I can just erase it and write what I did do.

Why would I do that? To log workouts. If you don’t know the value of this for progress tracking purposes, then you might not be a believer, but even if you aren’t that serious, know this; it’s harder to slide into sloth if you can look at three weeks of previous workouts and think, “Wow, I’ve got some momentum going, here.”

If you only use your computer and phone for calendar planning, then, great! It’s just as easy to put stuff in and edit it, later, when you actually work out. (I have laptop, phone, and hardcopy calendars. Because, ADHD.)

So, try penciling in some activity this week, and see if it makes a difference.

(*If you don’t plan your meals, or your appointments, then…I don’t know what to say to you. I try to regularly plan all of that, AND my outfits. Yes, like a toddler. I don’t have one of those cool
WEAR THIS TODAY organizers in my closet, but I do have a set up for having what I am going to wear ready to go. Again, see above…Because, ADHD.)

Live Small, Stand Tall: Tai Chi for Free at the Li-brar-y

chock

One of the things I’ve tried to do on this blog is encourage those living on a seriously skinny budget.

The big emphasis these days on “downsizing” and “simple living” is great…but I’m really talking to those who aren’t doing it as a matter of choice, but because there is no other choice.

Now, that’s not to say that I won’t throw in a plug for some crazy robot hipster device you can buy on Amazon, for my more financially fortunate readers, if they’re into that kind of thing, and have the means to streamline with technology. (Remember; since I’m an Amazon affiliate, you help to finance my rockstar lifestyle when you use my links to purchase. Just don’t blame me when Alexa becomes self aware and supercharges your smart-home-controlled bidet because you made a SkyNet joke at her expense.)

For the most part, however, I’m going to point people towards things that may help if you’re trying to get the most out of life on less than a stellar salary. If you’re in the Oklahoma City metro area, some of the suggestions may be actual pursuits you can try out, like Yoga Lab in Midtown, or they may just be stories that you can commiserate with, like the one about how sometimes financially strapped folks are the best supporters of the “Shop Local” wave…because we have no other choice.

That’s what today’s post is; a celebration of the fact that there are good things that you can take advantage of in our fair city for free. Specifically, things brought to you through grants at your local library.

Yes…remember the library? I actually had someone guffaw when I mentioned taking something back to the library in the semi-recent past, and ask me, “Who still goes to the library?”

Um, people who can’t afford to buy every book they want to read. (Also, people who realize that you can read books for free, even if you can afford them. I don’t get how EVERYONE isn’t going to the library.)

More than that, people go to the library to take free classes. To learn how to knit, to share their writing with groups, to talk about movies…there’s a lot going on at the library.

And specifically, at the Pioneer Library System‘s South branch, there’s a Tai Chi class. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find out about it, and stoked I am about Chock, the awesome instructor pictured above who has been helping the handful of us who have gathered on Monday evenings to get our Tai Chi on.

Chock learned Tai Chi in his P.E. class as a kid in Thailand (and all we got here in the U.S. was kickball). He returned to the practice after injuring his knee running marathons, and is now sharing his knowledge with those of us who are lucky enough to be taking advantage of his class, free to library patrons through a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

Why Tai Chi? Some of you may remember that I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And run. I also like to paddleboard. In short…I like a lot of frenetic activity.

Now, I also enjoy yoga, and that’s what opened my eyes to the need to occasionally slow down. Tai Chi is another step in that direction; further movement down the path of deliberateness. I’d been curious about it for a while, and the class came along at a time when I was also on a forced break from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (stitches on my face), so it seemed like a perfect opportunity. I’m glad it was there, and I’m glad I took it.

It’s funny to think that anyone would need to tell me to slow down, considering what kind of kid I was. I was always being berated for being too slow. And maybe that’s why I sped up, I don’t know. It’s a fact of life that adulthood speeds you up, and perhaps it was just that; I grew up.

I have a lot I have to do. I have a lot I want to do. And there are only 24 hours in the day, and I’m no spring chicken. There’s more and more of a feeling of the Icy Claw of Time on your shoulder as you age.

Which is another good reason to look at things like yoga and Tai Chi.

Chock talks about how we move away from what we knew as children. (Chock talks a lot, in fact. It’s not unusual for us to hold a pose as he digresses for a minute or two and then says, “Where was I?”, but that’s part of the charm of it. It also helps with the whole slowing down thing, when you’re frozen mid-White-Crane-Spreads-Its-Wings, waiting for your teacher to finish telling you a story about his time as a temple boy in Thailand.)

It seems counter intuitive to slow down when you feel pressure to achieve, to not waste time, but more and more what I learn is that slowing down is exactly what I need to do when I feel that way. I get amped up during Tai Chi, occasionally, envisioning myself as the next Iron Fist, and then Chock blinks at me and says, “Sloooooow…”, and I remember why I’m there. Not to be better, faster, stronger, but to be calmer, saner, quieter.

Yoga gave me an introduction to the mindset that your physical activity can ground you in the present moment. Tai Chi is broadening that idea, and opening my eyes even more to how much we need to include deliberateness and focus in our physical lives.

Slow is as important as fast.

Deliberate is as important as powerful.

And more than that…beauty is necessary, too, even in our exercise. Tai Chi is, in addition to all the rest of the things it contains, beautiful.

Chock has come to me during a movement, pointedly rearranged one of my hands by a millimeter, and then smiled and said…”Is prettier.”

We all need beauty, and people who can’t afford it probably need it even more.

Support public libraries, and education, and museums. Encourage funding for grants that provide free classes. Food and shelter are important, but to be more than just survival, life needs things like Tai Chi, too.

“Is prettier.”

 

 

 

 

Go Get ‘Em

GORGO teen image

I’m always excited to promote something I’ve written for GORGO Fitness Magazine.

Yes, it’s partially because I work for them, so I need them to be successful, and also because I think everything I write is hugely significant, but there’s also the fact that I’m usually meeting incredible women who are inspirational, and I love sharing their stories.

This month, however, I didn’t interview anyone. I wrote a message to teenage girls and young women.

It’s not that I think of myself as any sort of role model–I’m not. I don’t know if I really even believe in “role models”. I think we’re all in this together, and we need to give each other encouragement and support, but at the same time remember that everyone is just human. We probably really need to find what we’re looking for within ourselves, ultimately, but of course sometimes we need help to do that.

So I was a little daunted, but also glad to be asked to put together a message to young people. (Specifically girls, yes, but I think any good advice is applicable across gender identities, so I’d really like to say “young people”, even though GORGO is directly mostly at a feminine audience.)

The world situation is odd right now, and it can feel pretty dark. However, as much as I’ve been shocked at how certain things have played out in recent history, I also have to say this; I think this generation of young people is special. I think they’re wired a little differently, and I think they have a chance to make an incredible impact on the world, maybe exactly because of how dramatic things have become, and how much technology has shaped them.

I know in my own house, I’ve seen my teenage/young adult children make impressive decisions, and my sister and I have had conversations about moves that one daughter in particular has made, concerning romantic relationships, that neither of us would have had the balls to make at her age. (My sister even said, “Jill, I wouldn’t have been able to do that a few years ago, as an adult.”)

The information age has changed a lot, about childhood and the teen/young adult years. Some of it is concerning, but it’s not all bad. Kids now are exposed to a lot, yes, but that means they’re exposed to good things, as well as bad. It’s just a higher volume.

In the article I address that, the fact that a teenager today has probably heard more about mindfulness and things ancillary to it than most of their counterparts in times past. They have a wealth of information–good and bad–at their fingertips.

We need to encourage them to choose wisely, and to choose strength.

That’s what I always say that I love about GORGO…the emphasis on choosing strength. Choosing reality–no cellulite or stretch marks Photoshopped out, no punches pulled about how much work it takes to build muscle naturally–and choosing to chase being strong.

It’s a worthwhile pursuit.

And Just Like That…

grandma1

My grandmother passed away yesterday.

She was 86, she had congestive heart failure, a weakened valve, and her kidneys were failing…it was not a “surprise” in the strictest sense of the word.

And yet we’re stunned.

My parents were teenagers when I was born, and they needed help. My grandparents were part of my guardian team from the beginning, and by age 12 I was living with them full time.

Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother; she was a stay at home mom and then a stay at home grandma, so her main “job” after I came along was…me.

I went most places with her before I was school age. The bank, the bowling alley (her favorite place), the grocery store. She took me to the library religiously and let me wander the aisles at my own pace (a testament to her patience–I did very few things quickly as a child)…she read to me, she told me stories about her childhood, she let me into the details of her friends’ lives (we never used the word “gossip”)…I helped her make dinner.

I desperately needed stability as a child, and my grandparents were the source of it.

And as a thank you, I gave her and my grandfather some merry hell as a teenager. I scared the shit out of her on a few occasions–one memorable event entailed me listening to her cry and rant (while wrapped up in a blanket, because she got cold when her nerves were taxed–I inherited at least some of my dramatic flair from her) after it was discovered that I’d snuck out of my bedroom window. (My grandfather nailed my window shut after that, and only told me recently that it had been my grandmother’s idea.)

After reading a story I wrote as a child, and asking me MULTIPLE times if I was sure I’d written it, and not copied it….she became my biggest fan. She made a point of subscribing to magazines when I joined the staff (even if it was something she had no interest in) and she’s the only person who has ever said that she could “hear” my voice when she read what I wrote.

She’s also the only person that has ever told me, “I love you too much.”

It’s funny, as a parent, to see the things in your children that they get from you. I have five kids, and I can see elements of myself in them, and I can also see flickers of other family members–their dad, my dad–sparks of kindred mannerisms, attitudes, dispositions…either inherited or transmuted by some kind of tribal osmosis.

When I think about that phrase of my grandmother’s, I love you too much, I realize that she is probably the person I should blame for my gaping wound of a heart.

I love people too much sometimes.

I’ve spent the better part of a year plodding away from a heartbreak that was probably barely a blip on the other person’s radar.

I felt like I was teetering on the brink of madness during several extended periods when my kids were little, I was so terrified that something would happen to me and leave them motherless, or even worse, that something would happen to one of them and I’d have to go on living, because the others would need me even more.

My first experience with existential dread was realizing, as a child, that someday my grandparents would die. I’ve spent decades trying to prepare myself for that fact.

It hurts, to love people deeply.

And my grandmother did hurt. She did get betrayed. She did feel it when her loved ones were in pain, sometimes to the point where I would not tell her things, just because she would become SO HYSTERICALLY EMPATHETIC (see “dramatic flair” above) that it was concerning. (And also annoying, if you just wanted some advice or a pat on the back).

But she would insist that she wanted to know. Even though it would seem as if she was going to have a stroke, she would insist on me telling her details of what I was going through.

“You’re my heart,’ She told me, on more than one occasion.

I can call all of these things up in my mind’s eye, I can hear her laugh and I can hear her say my grandfather’s name in an extremely irritated tone as if she’s right here.

But it’s over.

When I told my grandfather I needed a picture of her for the obituary, he didn’t hesitate for a second; he went to his bedroom and got my grandmother’s senior photo.

“This is Jerrye,” he said. “This is how I see her.”

They were married for 68 years. To be honest, we all thought they couldn’t stand each other. From my earliest memory, they’ve never slept in the same room and I never saw them kiss or exchange a tender word (although I heard several other types of words traded back and forth).

But my grandmother’s final hours were spent saying, “Don’t leave me,” to him, and now that she’s gone, my grandfather, the stoic to end all stoics, is the definition of bereft.

“When you’re with someone for that long,” he told me, “They become part of you.”

He could still see her as a young girl. He could remember vividly the first time he saw her, at a skating rink in their small town.

Life goes quickly.

Time is precious and people are not here long enough. It’s worth it to love them too much.

Food Prep for the Uninspired

foodprep

I got you, didn’t I?

You thought this was going to be a post about how to make food prep fun, but…it isn’t.

Because it is not. (If you’re a freak who enjoys it and allows yourself plenty of time to get it done without it being something that makes you want to pull your eyebrows out, then…good for you. Go read something else.)

What I am going to do is blog (I know what you’re thinking–”It’s about time, you’ve been MIA for almost four months”) about how it makes eating healthy easier. And how I TRY to ensure that I will actually eat what I make.

Because that’s another dirty little secret, isn’t it? It’s okay, you can confess it here with me…::whispers::…Sometimes we get to Wednesday and don’t want to eat this sh*t that we’ve busted our ass making.

I often have a little dialogue with myself on Sunday night, about 11 p.m. (no, this is not the ideal time to end your meal prep, but whatever).

Me: “Self,”

Self: “What?”

Me: “Do you see all this healthy delicious food that we have prepared, that will help us “hit our macros” this week?” (Yes, I said, “Hit our macros” in a sarcastic, mocking tone with finger quotes while at the same time being completely in earnest. This is how most of my conversations usually are. With myself and others.)

Self: “Um, yes. I’m right here. I’ve been with you the whole time, doing this, even though *I* wanted to watch old episodes of The Good Wife.” (Self always wants to do that instead of what we need to be doing, by the way.)

Me: “Well, I’m just letting you know…we’re eating this for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner this week.” (Looks meaningfully at Self in the reflection of the pot being washed, so Self knows it’s serious.)

Self: “I’m not sure what you’re insinuating.”

Me: “I’m insin–no, I’m telling you straight up that we are stone cold eating this sh*t and this sh*t only this week, except for the carefully chosen meals that we are INTENTIONALLY planning to consume outside of the plan.” (Pauses).

Self (also pauses): “Or what?”

Me: “You don’t want to know what.” (Another pause). “Maybe there’s an a** whipping involved.”

Self (laughing): “Oh, really? Who are you going to hire to do that? I’ve seen your budget–you can’t afford someone who could–”

Me: “I think you’re forgetting how this works…”

I’ll spare you the rest of the conversation (it got ugly, but eventually resolved with Me, my Self, and I acknowledging that we were all noble and worthy opponents). Let’s talk details…

Your reasons for meal prepping are going to dictate what you use. I feel a certain way when I eat a certain way, and I get certain fitness results when I eat a certain way. I also need to be careful about how much I spend, and the more conscious I am about planning, the more likely it will be that I spend less.

The above picture shows what I put together for four days (I plan on eating at least one day’s worth of meals that aren’t planned out–my workplace provides lunch on Wednesdays and I will do something I really feel like doing for a breakfast and dinner on another day). I do not like to eat all of the unplanned meals on one day because it increases the likelihood that it will make me feel crappy. (It still happens occasionally though). I do not call these “Cheat Meals” because I’m not in a relationship with this plan, and it’s not the f*cking SAT.

Not pictured: An 8lb turkey breast (if you read this right after the holidays, that’s a great time to find good deals on turkey), a can of tuna, green tea, a bag of romaine hearts, the Greek yogurt, frozen berries and bananas that I use for smoothies, a jar of almonds, and a bag each of rice and beans (week before payday–I’d like to eat out for those meals where I will want a break from all this, but the reality is it will probably be much lower rent than that).

You may be wondering, “So little food for you and three kids?”

Don’t be silly…my kids will not eat this.

They’ll eat the fruits and vegetables I force upon them (versions of what you see I made for myself in the jars, or steamed frozen broccoli), and the 8lb turkey will produce 32 4 oz servings (that you can either douse with soy or bbq sauce or salsa), and even if I’m not eating rice or potatoes, it’s easily made for them.

But there are frozen pizzas and boxes of macaroni and cheese that are not pictured, either. Does that make you feel better? That I will confess to you that there are onerous helpers that I leave out of the orchestrated meal prep pics? Like despised but necessary relatives that I don’t want to acknowledge are in the family? Are you happy now?

The nuts and bolts are this:

I wait until approximately 7 p.m. on Sunday night, at which time I spring up from the living room floor where I’ve been watching old episodes of Matthew Goode–I mean The Good Wife–and think, “*&^%! I haven’t done any meal prep!”

Then I speed to the grocery store–not the one that has the best prices but the one that’s closest–and get 7/8ths of what I need.

Halfway home I realize that I forgot one or two crucial things and divert to yet another grocery store, that is even more expensive than the one I was just at. I get my two key ingredients and go home.

I cook whatever animal protein I’ve acquired (I do like a little animal protein, but I hate “as I hate the doorways of death”, touching raw meat, so cooking it all at once makes life less trying) and roast a pan of vegetables–zucchini, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato–while boiling a dozen eggs. I chop the raw veggies for the week and a grapefruit (I can’t eat more than a fourth of a grapefruit at a time because it’s like eating a battery).

The veggies cool, I put them into glass jars and the raw veggies into plastic bags (because the tiny glass jars have a habit of disappearing and I’d rather put veggies that need to cool into glass, and if you’re going to tell me that it’s useless to do that you can go suck an egg and if you’re going to tell me I’m going to hell for using plastic bags AT ALL EVER you can also suck an egg).

I wipe things down and prepare to relax and do my going to bed routine (which consists of telling myself for two or three hours that I need to go to bed), only to remember that it was 9 p.m. before I put the turkey breast in, so I’m going to be waiting another two hours for it to be done. (And yes, I realize that that correlates well with the fact that my actual bedtime routine will take that long, but you’re forgetting that I have to carve the son of a b*tch when it comes out of the oven. It’s okay…I forgot that, too. It’s like brand new, every week.)

Anyway, I hope this was helpful! Happy meal prepping!

 

 

World Suicide Prevention Day

dark-soulsI didn’t even know World Suicide Prevention Day was a thing.

But since it is, and since I’ve lost a loved one to suicide, I thought I’d throw in my two cents.

My stepmother killed herself a few years ago.

It was totally out of the blue.

You’ll probably see that phrase a lot, in blog/Facebook posts/Tweets today, and I’m sure everyone means it. I know I do; it was totally out of character, and unexpected.

I spoke to her just a few days before it happened. She and her husband (a man she married in what I believe was a rush to comfort herself after the death of my father, which shook her in a big way) were having problems, I knew, and I knew she was struggling.

She told me she wanted to take the kids the following week, or in the near future. (She often took them–all five of them–and did fun stuff, or simply stayed at my house with them. Her new husband didn’t have the nerves for a brood of kids, and although it hurt her, not having that bond that she had shared with my father, she had carried on their legacy with my kids by herself.)

When she mentioned this, I said–referencing her situation–”You don’t have to do that, I know you’re stressed,” and she looked at me, and leaned forward, and said, with feeling…

“I don’t just do it to help you. I do it to help me. They help me.”

And she meant it.

She was a second mom to her passel of nieces and nephews, as well, and I know she felt just as strongly about time she spent with them; it helped her just as much as it helped them to have an adult that simply loved their presence.

Grandmother and Aunt. Two roles that can relish children, because they can eventually take them back. (Usually. My grandmother ended up raising me…I don’t have the guts to ask her if it was still magical when I was with her full time, as a hormonal teenage girl.) Two roles that allow you to be a confidant, a fun-giver, a memory maker.

My kids have some extraordinary memories with her. Because she loved them, and they could feel it. She was an experience person, and she was totally focused on them when they were with her.

So, when I received the call, just a few days after that conversation, with the news that she had shot herself, I was stunned.

I was beyond stunned.

The details aren’t only mine to share, and some of the others are still painful and raw lo this many years later, so I’ll limit them, but the most significant thing–the thing that I want to use my little space her to broadcast today–is that RIGHT before this happened, she visited a doctor, talked about some symptoms she was having, and was handed antidepressants.

No one in her family or circle of friends, that I’m aware of (up to this present time), knew this.

Again, not going to share too many details, but the evidence pointed–in several ways–to her suicide being a result of the medication.

There are two possibilities about why this ended in her death, and I want to address both of them in my little space here, on this day set aside for heightening awareness about suicide.

Her Doctor Didn’t Adequately Warn/Prepare Her 

Why should you be warned about an antidepressant? Well, technically, you are, if you’re taking one; SSRIs in particular are REQUIRED to carry a warning label because of the increase in suicide risk.

But how many of us read that fine print? And take it seriously enough?

Studies have shown (I’ll link an article further down that will reference some of them) that there is a risk of what is called a paradoxical reaction with certain brain-altering medications, like SSRIs. In children and adolescents, particularly. It more than DOUBLES their suicide rate.

Do doctors need to terrify you? No. But just a simple warning that the first week or so warrants extra monitoring (the first nine days of taking a new antidepressant is when a person is most at-risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors) could be life saving in some situations.

(Note: After my stepmother’s death, I was briefly on a medication for ADHD that caused me to have a suicidal reaction. If I hadn’t known about the power of drugs to do that–because of what happened to her–I honestly might have killed myself. It’s that powerful. I wasn’t told that by a doctor…I had to find it out myself.)

Mental health advocates often use a phrase that goes something like, “If you had diabetes, or a physical issue, you’d seek intervention for that, wouldn’t you? You need to do the same for mental health issues!”

And that’s a good analogy.

But if you’re going to carry it to its natural conclusion, it would be this; your general practitioner would likely refer you to an endocrinologist if your diabetes–or your child’s–was serious. A good family doctor knows his/her limits, and will get you the supervision and help your problem warrants.

I believe our system is broken if it doesn’t allow for specialized treatment of mental health.

Access to therapy–both psychological and physical, since both have been measured as contributing greatly to the treatment of certain mental health concerns like depression–as well as informed counseling about any medications administered, should be basic. (A psychologist failed to warn me about the medication I took, that caused my reaction.)

There’s another possible explanation, however, that I have to consider, and that I have to acknowledge might have contributed to my stepmom’s death.

Her Doctor Warned Her, But She Didn’t Tell Us

It’s entirely possible that my stepmom’s doctor told her a version of what I outlined above…and she didn’t share it with me, or someone who knew to keep tabs on her.

The thought of a medical professional not preparing someone for the potential power of a drug makes me frustrated, but the idea that someone I love felt that it wasn’t possible to share something like this breaks my heart.

I know that my stepmother believed we’re an overmedicated society. That tells me two things; her pain was overwhelming if she agreed to trying medication, and also, possibly…she was hesitant about being judged.

Again, I can’t know. She’s not here to tell us.

But if there’s even a chance that her concern about someone seeing her taking an antidepressant as something to be judged about led to her death, I want to address it.

There’s no shame in seeking help.

THERE IS NO SHAME IN SEEING HELP.

There’s no shame in taking medication.

THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING MEDICATION.

I know that my medically induced suicidal episode wasn’t something anyone could have foreseen; I only got help because I knew what it was and I told someone. If I hadn’t known what it was, I don’t think I would have called someone and said, “Hey, I’m thinking about killing myself, and when I tried to tell myself that it would be bad for my kids, I blew myself off and told myself they’d get over it.”

I can’t explain how it’s different from being so paralyzed by depression that you consider suicide (I’ve had that happen, too), but it is. It goes from being an option to the only thing that makes sense. It’s otherworldly, and it isn’t scary…that’s the scary thing about it.

If you’re depressed and have thoughts of suicide, tell someone. Tell someone, tell someone, tell someone.

If they shrug it off…tell someone else. Someone cares, and someone will help you, even if the first person you tell doesn’t. (You can always call the National Suicide Prevention hotline, at 1-800-273-8255, or text “GO” to 741741).

And if you’re starting a new antidepressant or other medication that carries a warning of suicidal thoughts or actions…tell someone. Tell someone, tell someone, tell someone.

At least make sure you’re monitored for the first ten days.

If suicide is preventable (it isn’t, always), it’s through connection.

Tell someone.

(You can read an informative post about why some antidepressants raise suicide risk here.)

Edited to Add:

A friend reminded me (through sharing her experience) that antidepressants aren’t only used for combating depression. She was prescribed an antidepressant (for insomnia) and experienced suicidal ideation when she stopped it.

And one other thing, while I’m on the subject…

REMOVE THE PHRASE “SUICIDE IS SO SELFISH” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY.

Blaming/stigmatizing victims is not helpful. To the cause or to survivors. The End.