Gatekeeping (11th Edition)

by Kathy on August 14, 2013 · 8 comments

in Communication, Coping, Family, Friends, Gatekeeping, Suicide Prevention

How are you feeling?

What are your plans for tomorrow?

Welcome to the eleventh edition of my “Gatekeeping” blog series. I shared the back story of these simple and yet powerful questions in this post.

It’s been three months since we last did some Gatekeeping here and my life has felt like a whirlwind. What seemed like our son’s longest school year ever (because of the Chicago School Teacher Strike last fall) finally ended in late June and in some ways we have been trying to make up for lost time, doing all kinds of fun summer activities, ever since. It’s hard to believe Sean will start 4th grade in less than two weeks, with our preschooler Abby heading back two weeks after that!

Today I heard about the death of Gia Allemand, best known for being a contestant on The Bachelor and Bachelor Pad reality television shows. Watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad are guilty pleasures for me and thus I am familiar with Gia. It is reported that she took her own life, which saddens me knowing that suicide is preventable.

As I thought about the news of Gia’s suicide, I considered writing a blog entry about it here and then opted to do so in the context of Gatekpeeing. Though Gia appeared to be happy when in the public eye, I know that many people suffer from depression and other mental illnesses behind closed doors, which may have been the case with her.

If you are reading this right now and feeling depressed about your life in general or specific circumstances that are troubling you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I care and invite you to do some Gatekeeping with me.

You don’t have to be suicidal to participate, as I know that no matter how wonderful our lives are, we all have moments when our lives feel overwhelming and we struggle to see the bright side within our situations.

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In 2011 I lost two loved ones to suicide. I realize that there is likely nothing I could have done to change the outcome of their lives, but it is something that I struggle with as I continue to work through my grief and try to make peace with these women taking their own lives.

I know that many of us suffer in silence when we are going through difficult and uncertain times in our lives. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I am not asking you to tell me your secrets or your problems, unless you want to of course. But I invite you to check in here periodically (you can also email me or send a Facebook message) and let me know how you are feeling and what plans you may have for tomorrow.

Here’s an excerpt from the post I referenced above called Gatekeepers:

My favorite line in Meg (Hutchinson’s) song (called Gatekeepers) is, “maybe every day, in ordinary ways, we hold each other on, we keep each other here.”

I think that is so profound and it certainly rings true for me.

There have been countless people throughout my life that have been “Gatekeepers” to me. Though I have never seriously considered taking my own life and strongly believe that I will never do so, I have survived some very rough patches where my self-esteem and self-worth were severely challenged. 

I love the idea that in “ordinary ways” we can make extraordinary differences in the journeys of loved ones and even strangers that we meet throughout the course of our day-to-day lives. 

Kevin “the Gatekeeper” Briggs has done so by asking those two simple questions of strangers he has met contemplating jumping (off the Golden Gate Bridge), Meg Hutchinson has done so through her music and song, Bob Edwards has done so with the stories he shares on his radio show and you all have done so for me over the years through your comments here, your caring ways, your love and your support as my readers, fellow bloggers, friends and family members. 

Thank you so very much.

I post “Gatekeeping” blog entries now and then and hope that they present the opportunity for anyone who reads them who is having a hard time coping with challenges they are facing in life to share. That said, you are certainly welcome to comment about the things you are feeling good about too. I believe that being able to recognize and name the things we are grateful for is essential to help us find peace and joy in our lives. That is part of why I love participating in Lori’s monthly Perfect Moment Mondays.

Sometimes it’s the little things than can help keep us a float when we feel like we are drowning. Just knowing that others care and want to know how we are feeling, as well as being able to think about what we might do tomorrow has the power to help us get through tough times.

Thank you for reading. I hope that however you are doing today that you know there are people in your life (I am one of them) who care about how you are feeling and want to know what your plans, hopes and dreams are for tomorrow and the days to come.

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I will start us off by answering the questions myself:

I am feeling… 

Sad — Though I didn’t know Gia, when I watch someone on reality TV (even though I get there is acting and lots of editing involved) I often feel a connection to them. I am sorry that she left this world at only 29 years of age, especially because that her death was preventable.

Grateful — My friend Amanda’s husband Ray, who received a new heart this week, is doing really well in his recovery. As I shared in my post the night of his transplant, I do believe in miracles and have been so moved by Ray and Amanda’s journey over the past year. They have been surrounded with so much love, faith and support, which has been awesome to witness and be a part of.

Ready — Though my family and I have had a wonderful and crazy busy summer, I am feeling ready to return to our school year routine.

Antsy — I haven’t done any formal exercise since Saturday, which is unusual for me. My mind and body misses the physical activity and I need to prioritize it in the days to come.

Proud — For the second time since I joined the BlogHer Publishing Network in 2011, one of my posts was chosen for syndication on BlogHer and it has been an awesome experience to see my words published and to participate in the discussion in the comment section on my post over there!  

My plans for tomorrow/the days to come… 

Tomorrow I have pelvic floor physical therapy in the morning and beyond that we don’t have any set plans for the rest of the day. Though there is plenty we could and probably should do, including getting Sean an overdue haircut and shopping for school supplies.

Bob and I will be playing golf with friends on Friday, which is always fun.

On Saturday Bob, the kids, and I will be getting together with friends whom we haven’t seen in a while and then celebrating at a birthday party with family.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alison August 14, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Hmmm…. I am feeling…

Itchy. I have a chronic illness and one of the things I have to deal with is attacks from the sun, which make me itchy. So, that was the first thing that came to mind, but that is physical… so, I can do better than that.

Relieved. I finally finished my manuscript. It’s about my battle with Postpartum Psychosis. It took me a year to get it all together and finally, I have done it all. I am so thrilled and now I get to query some agents, plus I get to pitch to an agent at a writers’ conference in a few weeks.

Worried. My six-year-old daughter is showing signs of anxiety and her therapist has decided that she should see a psychiatrist. So, now I have to seal with that. Mental illness is acceptable to me. I have it. I accept it. I just don;t want my children to have to deal with the pain of it. And I hate that she may have to take medication. But, I will fight all I can to stay away from meds, because she’s 6 and I want to make sure that she needs it before I just shove them down her throat.

Happy. My son is starting kindergarten in three weeks and I am so happy for him. My daughter starts 1st grade and she’s going to soar like she did last year and I’m just proud of them.

What am I doing tomorrow?

Querying agents, of course. I need to get this book out immediately.

Also, I will do some organizing of my room. Maybe the laundry room, the office and my closet. Oh, I need to start planning what we are taking on a beach vacation. We are going to the beach for 5 days with my husband’s family and we need to get everything in order for that. So, I’ve got a lot of things to do. I’m ready and up for the challenge.

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2 Kathy August 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

Thank you for checking in Alison.

I am sorry that you are itchy.

Congrats on finishing your manuscript! I am currently working on one myself, about our journey through secondary infertility and loss, so I know what a big deal/accomplishment that is. Best wishes as you query and pitch agents! Which writers’ conference are you attending? I know there is a great one coming up next month here in Chicago. But I won’t be able to make it this time.

It sounds like you are handling the situation with your daughter the best you can be. Hang in there.

Exciting that your son is starting kindergarten and your daughter will be in 1st grade! Those milestones are so awesome!

Good luck with your organizing, querying and have a wonderful time on your vacation!
Kathy recently posted..Gatekeeping (11th Edition)My Profile

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3 Jenna August 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

I’m feeling all the emotions right now, as you know. It’s just a very difficult time and space in my heart and head.

That said, tomorrow I have plans to go to church, cook a big meal, take the kids to the playground, and run 7 miles after they go down for their earlier bedtime (school year starts on Tuesday!). Oh, and laundry. Obviously.
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4 Kathy August 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

Sending you peace, love and light as you navigate this difficult time in your life. (((HUGS)))

I hope that church, your big meal, trip to the playground and 7 mile run were fun and therapeutic yesterday! Speaking of laundry, I am off to go fold some. 🙂
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5 Michael Lombardi August 19, 2013 at 6:28 am

Kathy, thank you for a safe space. It’s good to know people like you are out there, even if only in the ether of the internet.

I’m not really good at these types of exercises, so I’ll just leave it at that. You have a big heart and I hope to interact with you more often. If I can give you some support in anyway, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 🙂
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6 Kathy August 20, 2013 at 11:15 pm

You are welcome, Michael. I really appreciate your kind words, positive feedback and offer for support. Thank you for commenting, even though you don’t feel comfortable doing exercises like this.
Kathy recently posted..A New Heart for RayMy Profile

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7 HippyChick August 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Wow, this is so timely.

I am feeling sad and anxious about an upcoming event with my in-laws. These people don’t like me and it’s obvious. I hate being around them.

I am feeling overwhelmed by things left undone in my house, just dishes and laundry and some weird smell I really need to investigate.

I am feeling thankful for a new job I start soon.

I am feeling proud that I went for a run today. I didn’t feel like doing it, but I did it anyway.

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8 Kathy August 20, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I am glad this is so timely for you and I appreciate you sharing your answer to the first question.

Wishing you the best at your upcoming event with your in-lawas. Those relationships can be really challenging.

Ha, ha, about the weird smell and I hear you feeling overwhelmed by things that need to be taken care of in your house. Me too!

Congrats on your new job!

Good for you running! I know how hard it can be to motivate ourselves to run or do other formal exercise. I am proud of you too!
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