What do you see when you look at me?

When you look at me, what do you see? A woman who loves the Arizona Cardinals. who watches every single game, no matter how bad the score is. I will watch until the clock strikes 0:00. I have been an Arizona Cardinals fan for 32 years.

What most of you don’t know is when this photo was taken, I was celebrating the fact I was still alive. Being in this setting, at this stadium is where I feel normal. when I don’t feel like I am being judged by people. Because no one would know that I am a woman who lives with PTSD. No one would know I am a survivor of rape and a survivor of suicide. Shocking. right?

How could a woman like me who has three degrees (I did them all at the same time and graduated a year apart), who had a 4.0 GPA, won a pitchfork award at ASU for best educational program for my mental health awareness week, loves sports, competed in Latin and ballroom dancing, played soccer in high school want to take her own life.

Well, I will tell you why. For starters I was tired of being bullied. I was tired of people telling me I wasn’t normal. I was tired of people telling me to just get over it. And I was tired of people telling me I was using my PTSD as an excuse. But most of all I was tired of feeling alone in this world. Yes, I have my family and my friends, but most didn’t want to understand what I was going through. most just wanted to dust what happened to me under the rug.

That is not how you solve a problem. In fact, that only makes matters worse. Want to know how to solve this problem?

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

It is time to open the lines of communication when it comes to mental health. We can no longer be afraid to talk about it. We have to break down those walls and come together as a community. We can no longer be afraid of the stigmas that surround mental health.

I am a civilian mental health coach ready to give you an inside look into my life and how to help you from a civilian’s point of view. Provide my own personal insight into what helps me when it comes to living with PTSD. I may not be a licensed professional, but I am an expert on myself and what this journey has been like for me.

In my own words:

“I know how difficult it is to hear those words. But from one civilian who is not a licensed professional to another if someone shares with you, they have thought about suicide, or they are thinking about it in that moment. Don’t freak out. Stay calm. Stay with them. Don’t leave them alone. Tell them how important they are. And most of all don’t lie to them. Meaning if you don’t feel comfortable handling the situation on your own, tell them that. Say to them, “I am calling XYZ to help.” But don’t say. “Oh, l am just calling my mom and you end up calling someone who is a professional.” Because if you do that, you’ve broken their trust. And if they panic or yell at you, from my own personal experience, stay as calm as you can. Don’t yell at them if they get upset. They more than likely don’t mean it. They are hurting and, in their eyes, this is normal to them. As long as they don’t physically harm you, be their rock. They will thank you in the end. And they are probably upset you called someone to help. But I guarantee from my own personal experience, they are grateful.

And when help does come, whoever it might be, stay with them and don’t leave. Unless your up front and honest about why you need to leave. Stay as long as you can.

And last but certainly not least, if you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, make sure you talk to someone after. Because you’re going to feel a lot of things. Your mental health is just as important as theirs. And don’t forget, you did nothing wrong. Meaning if this is how they are talking to you, there’s a deeper issue going on with them on the inside. They just felt safe enough to talk to you about it.”

Become part of the solution!

I am working on something really special right now for athlete, high school and college students. that is going to help change the conversation about mental health. change the perception of how people see us. But I cannot do this without you. I need your help.

I am ready to take this to the next level. Ready to build my team of 52! Who’s with me? (Yes, I love referencing football). My goal? to build the biggest team possible.

To learn more, email us: info@beedaringfoundation.org


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