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Survivor of Suicide: Ally’s Story

I’ve lived in Fairfield County, CT my entire life. I was so grateful to see an event about suicide awareness happening in Greenwich, CT. I was invited as a guest speaker and wanted to share my speech with you all as well!

Surviving Suicide, Self-Harm, & More

I am someone that has lived with thoughts of suicide and self-harm since I was in elementary school. I didn’t always know that I was experiencing this and didn’t have the right words to express and
understand. But what I did know was the feeling of pain, disconnection, and shame. These thoughts started to express themselves in ways like trying to make myself small and staying out of the way of things… By remaining silent so that I didn’t have to burden anyone… By showing desperation for connection, even if it meant being in a toxic relationship. I didn’t know that some behaviors were self-harm, until they became more ‘traditional’, like cutting and disordered eating. My first suicide attempt was in middle school. And still, to this day, I feel shame in sharing that with my family.

If I were to try to find a blame for suicide and self-harm, it would be trauma, shame, and disconnection. Suicide is too complex for it to be one thing. But these were the emotions I felt consistently throughout my journey. I would turn to anything to feel self-worth and connection. A toxic connection is still a connection, and I unfortunately gravitated towards that.

I ended up experiencing numerous violent relationships, became addicted to heroin, was homeless, and at 22 I was incarcerated for multiple felonies and spent a year in prison. For me, many of these consequences were results of desperation of trying to find purpose and meaning. I continuously wonder what kept me fighting throughout those years… and what I’ve found is that it’s never one thing. It’s many little things, the hope for future things, and the simple things.

Currently, I still live with thoughts of suicide and self-harm… I’ve just learned key differences than before: I know how to express what I’m experiencing…. I know the people and places that are safe to share them with… I have connection to my community, to nature, and with myself. Some days, my most effective coping skill is curling up with a blanket and watching my favorite shows… And other days I cope with therapy, nature, and attend support groups.

It has been ten years since my last suicide attempt and in just a few short weeks, I will be celebrating 7 years in recovery from addiction. I’ve found purpose in working in a career field that allows me to connect with people experiencing the same challenges. I run a support group for anyone in the community that experiences thoughts of suicide and self harm. I work hard to show that there are alternatives to inpatient care and hospitalization… That there are ways to talk about suicide and self-harm and ways to support someone experiencing it.

The most helpful for me is when someone empathizes with my pain, rather than compete against it, dismiss it’s seriousness, or try to problem solve. When someone sits with me and simply says, “wow that sounds terrifying, how can I support you”, [it] shows me that they are listening to learn, rather than rescue.

I’m grateful that the endless efforts of working on myself have brought joy, understanding, and resiliency. I’m grateful to have a great partner, a safe home, a dog and cat, healthy relationships with my family, a career I love, and just recently, I have enrolled back into college to continue my education. I received a full pardon this year and am no longer a felon. I have new milestones and goals to live for… some small, like living for good pizza and walks with my dog… some large, like planning a wedding and being an aunt and godmother.

Every day looks different, and some days are full of darkness. But with hope, connection, and vulnerability… together, we can create a world where people experience self-love, rather than self-harm.

– Ally

Self-Harming Shouldn’t Be Treated Like A Joke

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T/W: self-harm and self-harming.

Talking about self-harming is something that I have always avoided because I know what people are going to say. They would say that I was doing it for attention but I wasn’t. In reality, I didn’t want anyone to know. Most of the self-harming I did was a result of my parents split when I was in middle school. Their split took a heavy emotional and physical toll on me and eventually, it just became too much.

I felt like I had no one. I couldn’t talk to my mom about how I felt and the counselor at school could only do so much. Emotionally, I felt so broken. I just wanted the pain I felt to go away and it wasn’t. No matter how hard I tried to make it stop, it just didn’t. I didn’t know what else to do, I needed an escape so I turned to self-harming. This wasn’t my best choice but it did make me forget about how much emotional pain I was dealing with. And that’s what I wanted.

Read Brianna’s post When Someone Made a ‘Funny’ Comment About My Self-Harm Scars on The Mighty

Check out Kailey’s post Quotes I Really Needed To Hear When I Was Struggling right here on TurningPointCT.org!

Check out our Resources – Support By Topic Page for resources like S.A.F.E ALTERNATIVES® and Adolescent Self Injury Foundation (ASIF).

Best things to do on Winter Break?

Hey guys!
New Years is almost here! Isn’t that crazy?! It’s almost 2019!
That means winter break is coming!! Maybe it’s even started for you already!

So, what’s your favorite thing to do on winter break? What are you looking forward to?

I won’t be back in school until the end of January, so I’m looking forward to SLEEP!! I’m also looking forward to taking some time off with Willow, and doing a few nerdy holiday things before Christmas. Hopefully we get one nice snow day, too!

How about you guys?

WINTER BREAK

SMART Recovery Teen Group In Fairfield, CT

Join us for a free SMART Recovery Teen Support Group on Friday’s in Fairfield, CT!

Learn ways to gain control of your life and sort through it all in the company of your peers, run by trained TurningPointCT young adults.

This is for anyone struggling with anything: stress, school, peers, family, self harm, mental health and substance use disorders, bullying, fighting, etc.

Snacks are provided and monthly social activities with peers (that you get to help plan!)

We can help with transportation.

Starting Friday, February 16th from 3:30-5:00pm
First Congregational Church
Wakeman Hall
148 Beach Road, Fairfield CT

Need more info?
Contact Ally:
203-840-1187 (Office)
akernan@healthymindsct.org

P.S. if you are a high school student that enjoys mentoring or a social work/psychology student and see this as something you would like to get involved in, please contact us!

Join the conversation here: https://turningpointct.org/lets-talk/topic/smart-recovery-teen-group/

2018 Awareness Calendar

Hi everybody! To celebrate the new year, Turningpointct.org has made a calendar showcasing mental wellness awareness days to share with you!

Below is the entire calendar

Share with your friends, or enjoy it yourself! Some of the days may be familiar and some may be new!
We hope you all enjoy it!

Happy New Year!

Thoughts on Suicide

Have you ever had a friend or peer die by suicide? What was that experience like for you? I have had a friend die by suicide this past year and it was a very new experience for me. At first, I felt numb as it was just difficult news to digest because my friend was young and extremely bright and to my knowledge, was on her way to getting help that very week. After the shock died down a bit, I talked to close friends who knew her. I felt grateful to be able to have people to talk to about her. I felt sad for quite a while and still struggle a lot with my faith when it comes to things like this. How do you all get through loss like this? What does grieving look like for you?