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Kathy's Kasbah
Saturday, 26 March 2005
Depressive Disorder in Highly Gifted Adolescents
Mood:  hug me
Check this out

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 11:53 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 2:19 PM MST
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I Am Alive - poem by Jeff Shuck

I am alive.
I may have lost my brother, my sister, my parent, my child, my spouse, my
friend ?
But I am a survivor of the long dark night
Of unspeakable loss,
The unbearable pain of my own darkness,
And ? I am alive.

I am unwilling to stand idly by
And allow shame to defeat love
Or silence to defeat action.
I stand for the enlightenment of a society
That would hide from suicide,
That would avoid, that would pretend ?
And I am alive.

I am unwilling for my perseverance
To be in vain,
Unwilling for the passing of my loved one
To be in shame.
I loved them more than I loved myself,
And their life will have meaning
In my action.
I am resolved,
And I am alive.

In a world blinded by the pursuit of pleasure,
I am here to say
That people are in pain.

In a world rushing to get ahead,
I am here to say
That people are being left behind.

In a world obsessed with the value of the market,
I am here to speak
For the value of life,
And I am alive.

This will be no quiet fight,
For I am the voice of audacity
In the face of apathy.

I am the spirit of bravery
In a word of action.
I am a commitment to action
In the face of neutrality.

I am out of the darkness.
I am into the light.
And I ?
I am alive.

Posted by az/maroc at 12:01 AM MST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 March 2005 12:52 PM MST
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Friday, 25 March 2005
A Sister?s Request
Mood:  sad
A Sister?s Request

I know that there are people sitting in this room who have a suicide plan. It may not be something you plot to carry out soon but you hold on to your suicidal plan like a child holds a security blanket. It is warm and comforting thought and it is a ticket out if life ever gets to be too much. I know all about secret plans to leave life behind. I don?t actually remember not having thoughts of leaving when I couldn?t take it anymore. My plan was I would pile my car full of pillow, put on a nice CD, pull into my garage and leave the car running. That was where my plan ended...I hadn?t thought beyond my last breath.

A few days before Christmas a little more than a year ago my brother Keith took away my escape hatch. He shot himself in the mouth and he died. For him it must have seemed like a simple plan. He was alone, no one to have to clean up after him,?what could be more simple than a man and a gun and a death?

The phone rang at 8pm. At that very second my life changed in a way that I hope you will never understand. At that exact moment in time a stranger called to ask the if my brother was on a trip. The instant I heard her question I knew he had finally done it. He had talked about going to the desert and shooting himself in the mouth for decades. He talked about his death as easily as breathing. Over the years he would send me gifts and when I would ask why he would say ?I was thinking about killing myself and I wanted you to have something to remember me by.? After so many years of hearing him say it I guess it lost it?s meaning. Eventhough I knew when the woman asked his whereabouts that he was dead it will perhaps take the rest of my life to fully understand that he no longer exists.

I?m sure he never expected for it to take 24 hours of searching to find his bloody body. I don?t imagine he thought I would get a phone call saying ?We are bringing him out in a body bag now.? Did he think I would plot the route he took from his apartment to the park where he was found and see that he spent fifteteen minutes driving to his death? Did he know that I would read police reports that told me he walked a mile along foot paths before finding his killing spot?

The death that took an instant revealed itself in shattered bits over the months that followed. He died two days before Christmas so Christmas and everything that is attached to it is changed forever. I use to be a person who loved Christmas songs and now I cringe when I hear ?It?s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.? He was cremated on New Years Eve, a fact we would learn when we scattered his ashes and found a metal tag with the date of cremation on it. New Years Eve will always be the date his body was burned. It was mid January before we received his ashes and could have a funeral.

In the spring four boxes of his belonging arrived. Friends in Arizona had put together a few things they thought I might want to keep. With each item in the box all the pain of his death rushed over me. Every photo of the two of us growing up filled me with so many emotions. I remember saying I wish he had never been born just to die like this. At the same time I would wonder how I could go on without him. I sat down a few days after his death and made a list of all the things I don?t want to forget about him. Somethings I can?t help but forget. I?m afraid I?ll forget the sound of his voice. I?m afraid I?ll forget his laugh. Right now I can still hear him saying ?Deb, it?s Keith!? I half expect him to call at any time. I would be less surprised than the way I feel now?trying after sixteen months to believe he is dead.

Regardless how you try to plan your suicide so no one will be hurt you will hurt them in a way that you can?t possibly imagine. Being left behind is like the worst nightmare you have ever had but when you wake up it is your reality. I was so suicidal after his death that I can?t believe I am still here. I felt like he was alone somewhere out there and he needed me. It was like mermaids calling to sailors. I wanted to go and comfort him.

I remember standing outside the night they were looking for him and I looked at the full moon and I thought somewhere he is lying under this same moon. I begged God to not make it be true?but it was.

In the time since his death I have tried to go on with my writing but everything I write ends up being about suicide. I have a millions stories in my head but they all end the same way?in the end it is suicide.

I have met many people who have been left behind like me. They come to online support groups to find hope that they will survive being left behind. Some of them don?t. Some give up and post a goodbye and other?s write from mental hospitals because they have had a breakdown and their psychiatrist wants them to continue to have the support of their friends. Some who come to the support rooms have lost someone they loved many many years ago but still the pain is almost more than they can bare.

I know that when my brother pulled the trigger he thought Deb will be okay, she?ll get over it. I haven?t gotten over it. I have looked back at the months that led to his death and asked myself what I was doing that was so important that I didn?t realize he was thinking about dying. I feel so guilty. I should have known. I should have stopped him. I will forever live with a sense that I have failed him and yet I don?t know how I could have stopped a thirty year suicide plan.

I read his autopsy report. I kept his bloody watch he was wearing. I talk to him a lot and sometimes I scream at him and tell his I hate him for doing this. Most of the time I just look at his picture and I cry. I don?t know what could have saved him but I know if he had understood the pain his death would cause he would still be living.

My request is this?if you decide one day that it is to be your last day?wait one more. And when that day passes wait one more. If you do this I am sure you will find the courage to go on with life. The alternative is to leave everyone you ever knew to wonder what they could have done to keep you alive.

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 1:17 PM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 2:20 PM MST
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Thursday, 24 March 2005
Random Ramblings
I am flashing on how many places and events and people and things I connect with Casey. High School, for one, Jack in the Box tacos, chugging beers, Woody Allen movies, analyzing all those failed romances, you and I conniving to catch Danny in the act, Phoenix, SF Bay Area, Atlanta, Sedona, Santa Cruz boardwalk beach, Laguna Seca, TGIFridays, reruns of Sex in the City, Friends, and Mad About You, shopping at Metro, all the love and support you gave in so many ways and on and on, so many memories. Kulu Se Mama! Your spirit lives on.

A couple more conferences:

On the weekend of April 15, the Parents of Suicides and Friends & Families of Suicides internet communities will sponsor their 5th annual retreat in Pavo, Georgia. The retreat is open to all survivors (membership in POS/FFOS is not a requirement). For details and registration information:

Spring Retreat

The Compassionate Friends USA will be holding their 28th national conference July 1-3 in Boston, Massachusetts (this is separate from the International Compassionate Friends gathering in Vancouver in August which was the subject of our previous message). Compassionate Friends is for all bereaved parents, and although not specific to suicide, the conference will include nearly 100 workshops, some of which will address the loss of a child to suicide. There will also be activities for siblings, grandparents, friends and others who are interested, as well as a pre-conference Professionals Day to help educate professionals who interact with bereaved families following the death of a child. For more information and to register:

Compassionate Friends.

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 10:13 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 2:23 PM MST
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Wednesday, 23 March 2005
The Victim
Mood:  sad
Read More... "The Victim" ~ poem (author unknown)

Suicide is not a victimless crime.
His pain is gone, but we do the time.
Loved ones are given the victim role.
The pain and the grief take their toll.

Trapped in our memories
Lost in our grief.
We search for answers.
But, He is at peace.

The life we had known ended that day.
Our faith is tested as we pray.
The life we thought normal is no longer.
It's true:with absence the heart grows fonder.

With questions we kneel at a grave and cry
Without answers we attempt to say good-bye.

To a loved one who felt this was his only way out.
To my Daddy who didn't know he could just cry out.
Alone in his pain; alone in his death.
I wish I could have been there when he went to rest.

He died alone, which hurts so much more.
He died alone, whatever for?
To his doctors he spoke of pain without end.
TO us he did not mention what was happening within.

His body began to fail long before his mind.
He chose to end his life long before his time.
Alone without comfort my family still grieves.
Separated by miles, but not by our needs.

We long to hold him, kiss him, and speak to him once more.
Just a last word to say as he walked out life's door.
Now we must move on with life's great journey.
We must breathe in and breathe out while inside we're hurting.

We must continue for our family, for us.
We must continue, like it or not, we must.


Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 8:50 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 4:32 PM MST
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Tuesday, 22 March 2005
The devastating peaks and valleys of Bipolar disorder

The devastating peaks and valleys of Bipolar disorder

By Jennifer Squires
Ashland Daily Tidings

Two months ago the body of local comedian and activist Joanie McGowan was
found on the Bear Creek Greenway. She committed suicide after leaving a
treatment program. After her death, her struggle with bipolar disorder
became public knowledge.

"The tragedy with Joanie was she had just started on the journey,"
said Michael Dawkins, an Ashland resident who has also been diagnosed with
bipolar disorder. "Little things got her down. The bigger issues, she was
ready to tackle."

McGowan's death incited conversations about mental health, suicide,
treatment options and how the community can prevent such losses in the

"Bipolar disorder is one of those mental health issues right now,"
said Jane Reeder, triage manager at Jackson County Health Services. "A lot
of it may just be because it's in the news."

The disorder is characterized by a rise and fall between mania and
depression. During a mania period people with bipolar disorder may feel
euphoric and not recognize what is happening to them. They may play loud
music, not sleep, go on a spending spree, abuse drugs or deny anything is
wrong. A depressive episode is characterized by insomnia or excessive
sleeping, a lack of interest in once-enjoyable activities, fatigue, change
in appetite and suicidal thoughts or attempts.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder differ from the normal ups and downs
everyone goes through and can result in damaged relationships, poor
performance at work or school and even suicide. An individual cannot
self-report the illness; the symptoms of bipolar disorder must be observed
by someone else. Mania must last at least a week and depression two weeks to
be considered severe enough to indicate bipolar disorder.

"A lot of times people will describe what they experience as mood swings,"
said Becky Martin, the division manager for mental health at Jackson County
Health Services. "Bipolar disorder can be quite debilitating. People can't
control it."

Hits home

Michael Dawkins had been doing really well for the past year. The 58-
year-old landscape artist, Ashland planning commissioner and avid Nordic
skier has dealt with bipolar disorder since he was in the seventh grade at
Ashland Junior High.

Medication, aerobic exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy - which
teaches people to reframe negative thoughts into constructive ideas - have
helped Dawkins. He facilitates Moody Blues Stress Club, a twice-monthly
support group for people with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder at
Ashland Community Hospital and has stepped forward as "another voice" trying
to increase public awareness of mental health issues.

But on March 4, none of it mattered.

"You start to go off the edge and it starts spinning around. The negative
thoughts start feeding off of one another," Dawkins said. "It's a constant
battle inside."

Dawkins had run out of medication and a mix-up at the pharmacy had left him
without the mood-stabilizing drug for more than a week. He e-mailed a
suicide note to several friends and disappeared. Dawkins had left under
similar circumstances twice in the past and survived the suicide attempts,
though he says he should have died.

"I can't even explain how absolutely hopeless it feels when you're down
there," Dawkins said. "This time, probably within 12 hours, I knew that
(suicide) wasn't what I was going to do."

But bipolar disorder affects people differently.

When McGowan committed suicide in January, people who had known her for
years were shocked to hear she suffered from bipolar disorder, which she had
dealt with by self-medicating.

"Everybody knew the manic Joanie," Dawkins said. "No one here really knew
the depressed Joanie. I did, because I'm there."

The manic side of bipolar disorder can make people seem like the "life of
the party," full of energy and accepted by others, according to Dawkins. The
depression tends to be hidden because friends and family don't understand
the despair involved.

Dawkins used what he'd learned through cognitive therapy to rethink the
situation. For example, he stopped referring to what he'd done as "stupid,"
instead telling himself he'd "made a bad decision."

"I've often made the analogy between cancer and bipolar disorder,"
Dawkins said. "A cancer cell will eat up all the healthy cells.
Mental illness is distorted thinking that eats up healthy thoughts."

Two and a half days later, Dawkins returned home on his own. He learned "a
big lesson" that he needs to remain on his medication, even though he
opposes the way pharmaceutical companies distribute prescription drugs.
Eventually, he would rather find an organic or holistic solution that keeps
his moods level.

Some help

The dramatic mood swings caused by bipolar disorder can often be managed by
a combination of medication, therapy, diet and exercise.
Because bipolar disorder is a recurrent illness, long-term preventive
treatment is strongly recommended and almost always indicated. A strategy
that combines medication and psychosocial treatment is optimal for managing
the disorder over time, according to the National Institute of Mental

"Bipolar disorder, at this time, is controllable," Reeder said. "But, like a
lot of things, we're not totally sure what causes it."

There is no cure for bipolar disorder. Much like his cancer analogy, Dawkins
hopes for "remission" from the illness. In recent months he has also worked
to educate the public about bipolar disorder, which has drawn more attention
lately as public figures such as Mike Wallace and Jane Pauly have been frank
about their struggle with the illness.

"I really am on a mission to bring mental health awareness to the public,"
Dawkins said, explaining he didn't have a name to attach to his problems
until about 10 years ago. He had always been very creative - he performed at
the Oregon Shakespeare Festival when he was six years old - and figured his
depressive states were part of an artistic, emotional personality.

He was relieved when doctors at a clinic in Aspen diagnosed him as bipolar,
even though the subsequent treatment aimed to level out the depressive mood
swings often associated with artistic creativity.

"I try to tell people that's just a red herring," Dawkins said. "The
artistic side is still there."

Staff writer Jennifer Squires can be reached at 482-3456 x 3019 or

Casey Graham Memorial Page

This site is a member of WebRing.

To browse visit

Posted by az/maroc at 9:20 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 4:33 PM MST
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Monday, 21 March 2005
Depression Risk Worsens Through Generations
Web MD

Depression Risk Worsens Through Generations
Kids With 2-Generation Family History at High Risk
By Salynn Boyles

WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD
on Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Jan. 12, 2005 - Risk of depression intensifies as it is passed down from
generation to generation. Having a parent with a history of depression is a
risk factor for depression in children and teens.

Now compelling new research shows the risk to be far greater in children with
both a parent and grandparent with depressive disorders.

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center followed three
generations of families for more than 20 years. They found that more than half
of the
children with a parent and a grandparent who suffered from depression were also
diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder before they reached their teens.

"Children of parents and grandparents with depression are at extremely high
risk for mood and anxiety disorders even when they're very young," says lead
researcher Myrna Weissman, PhD. "They should be considered for treatment if they
develop anxiety disorder, or at least monitored very closely."

Double the Risk

The study by Weissman and colleagues is the first to assess depression in
low- and high-risk families over three generations. Forty-seven adults were
enrolled in 1982. Over the next two decades, 86 of their children and 161 of
grandchildren were also enrolled.

The average age of the grandchildren in the study is now 12. The frequency of
anxiety disorders among children with both a parent and grandparent who
suffered from depression was more than twice that which would be expected in the
general population.

Anxiety disorders are diagnosed more often than depression in children but
are considered a strong risk factor for depression later in life.

The researchers found that 54% of children who had a grandparent and a parent
with a history of depression had an anxiety disorder, compared with just 11%
of low-risk children who had no family history of depression.

Sixty-eight percent of the children in the high-risk group had some type of
psychiatric condition, compared with 21% of the children with no family risk.

The findings were published in the January issue of the Archives of General
Psychiatry. Weissman and colleagues conclude that anxiety disorders in children
with a two-generation history of family depression can be viewed "as an
expression of the same underlying disorder" as the depression experienced by the
parent and grandparent.

"It is important for anyone treating depressed adults to get family
histories and also to find out what is going on with their children," Weissman

Nature vs. Nurture

Nature vs. Nurture

Weissman and her Columbia University colleagues are collecting brain imaging
data on the families involved in the study in an effort to better understand
the factors that influence family risk.

They are also conducting research to determine if treating parental
depression prevents or delays the onset of depression and other psychiatric
in children.

"These are probably genetic illnesses, but they are environmentally
influenced," she says. "If you can reduce the stress of exposure to the parent's
depression you may delay the onset of the child's illness, which can have a big
impact on development." Washington, D.C., psychiatrist Carol Kleinman, MD, tells
WebMD that the research reinforces the importance of knowing a patient's
family history of depression and other psychiatric disorders.

"It is something that we are very aware of," she says. "Certainly genetics
plays a role here, but so does environment. Families with a depressed parent
tend to be very isolated."

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Stephanie Hamarman, MD, says obtaining a
careful family history is especially important when treating children and teens
with depression and other psychiatric problems.

Hamarman is chief of psychiatry at Brooklyn's Stanley S. Lamm Institute. She
says parents with a history of depression tend to be aware that their children
are also at risk.

"I have been seeing more and more concerned moms who have been struggling
with depression themselves who bring their kids in because they do know it is

SOURCES: Weissman, M. Archives of General Psychiatry , January 2005; vol 62:
pp 29-36. Myrna Weissman, PhD, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology,
Columbia University Medical Center; chief, division of clinical and genetic
epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute. Stephanie Hamarman, MD,
chief of
psychiatry, Stanley S. Lamm Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y. Carol Kleinman, MD,
assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, George Washington University Medical
School, Washington, D.C.

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 9:50 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 4:34 PM MST
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Wednesday, 16 March 2005
Top 10 funeral songs in Europe
Subject: The top 10 favorite funeral songs in Europe (from Compuserve News)

The top 10 favorite funeral songs in Europe:

Queen's "The Show Must Go On"

Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"

AC/DC's "Highway to Hell"

Frank Sinatra's "My Way"

Mozart's "Requiem"

Robbie Williams' "Angels"

Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever"

The Beatles's "Let It Be"

Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters

U2's "With or Without You"


Posted by az/maroc at 8:20 PM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 4:36 PM MST
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Mood:  bright
Healing After Suicide, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology is
open to all survivors of suicide loss, and includes a full day of presentations,
workshops, and sharing sessions. This year?s conference will be in Broomfield,
on April 16. The registration deadline is March 28. More information is
available at Suicidology or 202-237-2280.

The World Gathering on Bereavement will take place in Vancouver, BC on August
. Folksinger Judy Collins, who lost her son to suicide, will be a keynote
speaker, and there will be several workshops on the subject of suicide
throughout the conference. In addition, The Compassionate Friends, an
international self-help group for bereaved parents, will hold their 4th
International Gathering within the larger conference; their workshops will
specifically address grief following the death of a child. Although the
Gathering is not until August, the registration deadline is April 1st. More is
available at World Gathering.

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 8:42 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 4:37 PM MST
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We Have Not Got The Plague
Mood:  sad

We Have Not Got The Plague

(It hurts so much)

We had a death in the family, just short ago,
now people avoid us wherever we go.

It's hard enough for us just taking in fresh air,
or trying to work out what clothes to wear.

When we walk along the street a silent bell must toll,
the street gets so empty, you can almost see the tumbleweed roll.

Our old friends look in shop windows when we pass by,
we just carry on walking and heave a great sigh.

The occasional person will stop to say hello,
when we start to talk, they say sorry must go.

We are trying so hard to get our lives back to normal,
but it's kind of hard when your old friends are so formal.

We feel like shouting out, We have not got the plague,
but it is not their fault that they are so vague.

We will continue to do our daily walks,
but it hurts so much when nobody talks.

The sky fell in on us and our friends fell out,
at night when were are home, all we want to do is scream and shout.

Life for us now will never be the same,
but we really wish that our good friends would remain.

Jim William McVean

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 8:37 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 4:38 PM MST
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Monday, 14 March 2005 Stigma keeps many silent about suicide

By Stephanie MacLellan - The Chronicle-Journal
March 13, 2005

Suicide is no longer a criminal act, but the word
still carries a legacy of
shame that can stop people from getting help.

Dr. Paul Mulzer, a psychiatrist at Lakehead
Psychiatric Hospital, thinks it
has to do with the stigma that surrounds mental
illness in general.

"People don't refer to diabetes as a failure of the pancreas, but they refer
to depression as a failure of will-power or self-discipline," he said.
"It's a real misinterpretation, and seeing it as a non-medical condition when, in
fact, it's very medical."

Brenda Simpson, a social worker in suicide
prevention for more than a decade,
sees an attitude of silence around suicide in
particular. She thinks it's left over from the days in which
suicide was considered a sin, and a cause
for shame for the family. She notes that to this day,
coroners won't always report suicide as a cause of death,
instead calling the death an accident.
'If someone says, "We're not going to say it's suicide to protect
you," it shows there's a reason to be protected," she said.

There are also assumptions about the type of person that commits suicide.
For instance, it's well known that suicide rates are tragically high
among the aboriginal population.
But Simpson cautions against assuming it's a native problem.
"Then you don't have to own it (if you're not native)," she said.
It's very similar to the AIDS epidemic when it first started.
"Oh, it's the gay community. . . And we didn't have to worry about it affecting us.

This can also stop people from finding help for
others who may be suicidal,
if they don't fit any of the most common categories, Simpson said.

Another problem is that suicide is seen as a
behaviour that must be stopped,
rather than a feeling that can be talked about and
worked through.
It is terrifying . . . when someone tells you they're thinking about dying.

But at the same time, it doesn't mean they're going to die.
It's just something they're feeling," she said.
"If we think about it as a feeling, it's not scary, and a feeling needs to be talked about. . . .
Once it's a behaviour, it's beyond talking about."

She'd like to see more people discuss suicide, and not just in emergencies.
If people know their friends and family are comfortable talking about it,
they'll be more likely to bring it up if they need help.

"You need to talk to your teenagers about suicide when they're happy,"
she said. If you can just put it on the table and talk about it generally,
you let them know that door is open.

Or even among adult friends - how often do we talk about it?
The LPH has been working with family doctors to prevent suicide, partly
because people are often more comfortable in their doctor's office.
The shared care program has family doctors identify patients who might be at risk,
and then psychiatrists assess the patients in the more comfortable confines of the doctor's office.

The Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital is steeped in a
lot of history, and that's worrisome to people," Mulzer said.
We find even with our shared care model,
when we go out to a family practice office, there are people we see
there who we wouldn't see here.

The hospital is also working with non-medical
professions to raise awareness,
so teachers, employers and co-workers can see the
warning signs and get help for the people who need it.

"I think it does make it more open," he said.
'People are more comfortable with it,
and not as likely to say, "It's not my responsibility.'"

Comments on this story: Tell us what you think about this story.

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 4:21 PM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 2:17 PM MST
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Sunday, 13 March 2005
Constructive Steps of Grieving
I'm in an on-line support group called - Family & Friends of Suicide
I received this from another member. Thanks Terri!

Constructive Steps of Grieving

1. Seek out support.

It is important survivors not attempt to deal with their loss by themselves.
Given the social stigma, shame, and guilt, it is not surprising that many
survivors pull inward and withdraw from potential help. Yet, other people must
involved to help the survivors adequately resolve their grief and pain. They
provide the vital support, understanding, and comfort necessary to allow the
survivors to face their confusion and loss. Friends and relatives can be helpful
in this area. In addition, self-help support groups, such as Survivors of
Suicide, can provide the invaluable assistance of those who have experienced a
similar tragic loss.

2. Talk.

One of the most important things someone can do for a suicide survivor is
listen because the survivor must talk. Through talking, the survivor can release
a multitude of thoughts, feelings, and questions generated by the suicide.
When open communication about the suicide is forbidden, the negative results of
the suicide only increase. Honest sharing and patient listening are essential
keys for coming to peace with the suicide

3. Get questions answered.

While many of the "why" questions related to the suicide may never be
answered, it is important to obtain answers to as many "what" questions as
It is valuable to clarify "what" happened "when" so as to limit speculation.
Facts are typically easier to deal with than uncertainty and fantasy

4. Grieve.

Every significant loss requires a period of mourning. In this regard, suicide
is no different. Yet, frequently the fact of the loss gets hidden behind the
mechanism of the loss. Survivors attempt to quickly "put the suicide behind
us" so as to avoid the guilt and shame. They repress their grief and ignore
their loss. This, however, makes matters worse.

Survivors need the time, understanding, and freedom to grieve their loss.
They must work through the normal stages of grief without getting sidetracked by
the fact that the loss occurred through suicide. Sharing, support, and
patience from others are vital in this process.

5. Pour energy into constructive outlets.

The final stage of dealing with grief involves readjusting and refocusing on
life and the future. This is an important element also in dealing with
suicide. The intense emotions aroused by suicide generate energy that requires
outlet. These energies can be channeled into positive, constructive endeavors
that further aid the healing process. While opportunities vary, possibilities
include working to establish a local suicide hotline, serving on a mental
health advisory board, volunteering at an elderly or child care facility, and
reaching out to others who hurt through individual contact or a support group.

6. Continue family traditions and rituals.

For survivors of suicide, life will never be the same. Yet it need not be
totally different either. As part of the process of healing, family and
individual traditions should be respected and maintained. Doing so forms a link
the unsettled present to the more stable past. It helps to provide a sense of
continuity in a time of upheaval. It reminds us that life will go on and that
life can yet be positive and rewarding.


Surviving suicide establishes in the survivor a perpetual need to search for
both physical and psychological clues as to the reason for the suicide.

Whether irrational or appropriate, surviving suicide leaves a legacy of
inexorable guilt.
Surviving suicide profoundly alters one's social relationships as a
consequence of real or imagined stigma.

Grief following a suicide is always complex and likely to be incomplete.
The idea of suicide as a solution to a problem becomes implanted in the mind
of the survivor. Suicide erodes the capacity to trust others.

Casey Graham Memorial Page

Posted by az/maroc at 6:48 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 2:16 PM MST
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Friday, 11 March 2005
Welcome to Kathy's Kasbah
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: To Where You Are by Josh Groban
Topic: Blog Welcome
To Where You Are Whoops! My whole front page was replaced by this blog. It's time for a change anyway. I will have my Morocco pages up again sometime soon InShallah. Coming to terms with the suicide of my dear friend Casey. She suffered from bipolar disorder, did not want to accept the diagnosis, and refused to follow treatment. Her depression became unbearable, and she died last summer. For the people who knew her, it is a tragic loss. She was a generous, beautiful spirit who will be missed by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her. In her memory, I would like to provide awareness and information on mental health. If even one person can benefit from this, it will be worthwhile.

Mental illness shouldn't be stigmatized! It should be treated just like any other disease. You see an opthamologist if you eyes are bothering you, an internist if stomach problems persist, so go see a psychiatrist if you have something on your mind. (This is not self advertising, I am a CPA). For Chrissakes, if Katie Couric can stick a camera up her colon on national TV, why can't we see mental illness as an illness and not as a character defect?

Depression is a cancer, if untreated it will grow and can be fatal. Understand the signs of depression, and if you see any these in yourself or those you care about, get help!

To learn more about depression, see Depression Central


More links to follow.

Casey Graham Memorial Page

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Posted by az/maroc at 8:54 AM MST
Updated: Saturday, 26 March 2005 2:14 PM MST
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