Living Behind The Happy Face

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Why on earth do we even have suicides in our country? Is it because we are too afraid of failure, being judged, overwhelmed and taking on too much? Possibly. It could also be having life experiences, past or present, that we are too afraid to acknowledge and feel or have left unresolved. We suppress our painful memories so we don’t need to feel them. That is the MOST DANGEROUS thing you can do because in doing that can lead to bad behaviors; domestic abuse, sexual assault, substance abuse/addiction, anger, resentment, hate, fear. Need I go on?

I always got told by my mother as a child, “Tanya, why do you always wear your heart on your sleeve”? I had no clue, at the time. But, later in life, I knew there was a reason; because it would save my life and help me save others in the future. I guess you could’ve called me a drama queen, always making a mountain out of mole hills. I was very emotional as a child and did not know how to contain them. I was always happy because that is what people expected of me and that was a lot of pressure, in hind sight. I can relate to a lot of people who feel they need to uphold the image that society has of them. Well, guess what, people are dying by doing this. We just read that Ray Rice contemplated suicide because he probably felt he let people down and could not hold up the image that society put up for him. People’s souls, spirits, mental and emotional well-being and confidence is being shattered either by themselves or society. One day they become so exhausted that they don’t know what else to do. So, they contemplate suicide, attempt it or actually, commit it.

It always makes me so sad when I hear of a suicide (contemplation, attempt or fatal) because I was there in their shoes. I know, if for a split second they could hold on, get on a phone and have the courage to reach out for help these stories would decrease. I firmly believe that there are many who live behind a mask that their life is perfect and peaches and cream and that pressure, my friends, it catches up with you.

My goal and passion is to encourage people to live life in their truth. What is your truth? Learn to be honest, brutally honest with yourself. Ask yourself this question over and over and write down your answers, “WHO AM I”?

I am a student
I am a mother
I am a lover
I am a believer
I am a creator
I am a friend
I am a sister

You get the idea. If we can encourage people to learn who they are and be comfortable in their skin and in their truth, PERHAPS we would witness less pain and more joy. Less Despair and More Repair.

I am writing this not with the intention that I knew the teacher, but I do know that when we are depressed and desperate we all can do crazy things. However, with suicide, it is a final destination and it does not need to happen. I do not know if she reached out for help. Nor do I know if she had any sort of depressive history. I don’t know her. But, I do know this. On her profile page at El Dorado High School’s website, Jacobson smiles in a photo near the words, “Today is a great day to take a picture!”
I know what it is like to live behind a happy and smiley face. I know what that is like and when you are sad inside wishing things were different. It sucks. I was just there this weekend, not as dark and painful, but still depressed. I had some really unfortunate events; bullied by someone close to me, disappointed in some people, lied to, manipulated, gas-lighted (abuse term), broke up with my boyfriend and then ran into a corner of the door and cut my head. I am not saying that these things equate to her pain, but they were struggles to me and we cannot compare pain because pain is immeasurable and cannot be compared to someone else’s.

The point of me sharing this is that instead of going out to just go out and avoid my feelings or to engage in drinking because I did not want to feel. I FELT MY FEELINGS!  I did not coach, guide or empower anyone because I was in the dark and I am no good to others if I am no good to myself. So, I felt, exercised, cried, and talked it out with my mom and sister, Denise. Oh, and I had some comfort food, Mickey D’s. My favorite if you have not read my book. LOL. The point is, I did not run away from my feelings, frustrations, disappointments, but rather, I felt and we need to encourage others to put down your cell phones. Put the pressures of life and all the daily chaos that comes with it, and connect to ourselves, with others and try to FEEL.

We need to allow people be people without judging them that their lives may not be perfect. You know, here is the frustrating side of me, I don’t want YOU to say, “How come I did not see it?” We all see it. When someone is happy all the time, remember that it is the always-needing-to-be happy people that feel the most pressure and most likely will not reach out for help. So, it is our obligation to start awareness to make this world a better place. We can start support groups WITHOUT JUDGEMENT from the community. This will allow people to feel safe. We can start encouraging lightening the workload on our professionals. We can encourage taking breaks throughout the day, even if for 10 minutes. We need to create a new culture and realize that just because you do more work, it does not mean you will be the most successful. In Adriana Huffington’s book, she encourages her employees to take meditation breaks and realizes that the more work you give someone the more they will become stressed and overwhelmed. So, why do we push people to their limits? Then when something like this happens, we question, “I wonder what happened.”

Let’s create a new culture of chilling out a bit more, wagging more and barking less and reaching out to those who you may think need a hug and some support. You know, it is not always the wind up doll that we believe to be the body of depression. It is the Tanya’s, Robin William’s, Wayne Brady’s, Jim Carey’s, of the world. It is those people who feel that it is their responsibility to make us happy. It is their paycheck, but not their responsibility. It is our responsibility to find peace within ourselves every day and we don’t need to do it on our own.

So, please, encourage friends, families, kids of all ages to talk about their inner struggles. No one is alone. I’ve been there. We need to reach out and create a comfortable forum for people to feel safe to share. Help me help others! If I can’t help because my scope of practice, I know fabulous therapist. Even therapists who do telecalls/telemedicine.‪

I want to leave you with a self-care tool and an excerpt from my book:

Be toxic-free

“My goal for tomorrow is to take advantage of my quiet times and journaling. I know this is what will heal me. This is what will help me grow, figure out who I am, where I want to go, and how I am going to get there.” –October 12, 2004

When we don’t express our feelings, especially for a long length of time, we become toxic. We poison ourselves. We decrease our longevity, joy, happiness, and we begin to resent everyone and everything around us. That eventually begins to affect our physical health as well. I’m proof of all that.

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