I have started to see this more often, which is a huge blessing and is vitally important. It is a good and promising sign that the education and awareness of mental illness is improving and increasing and that prayerfully mental illness stigma and the stigma of suicide is declining. I have hope, faith and I believe.
People need to stop being ashamed of death by suicide. It happens too often and at an increasingly alarming rate. It is real. If we do not talk about suicide and spread the word to educate others about suicide, we will not be able to help reduce and prevent suicide. The suicide rate will continue to rise and it will continue to be shame based, biased and stigmatized.
Mental illness is the only illness that we are blamed for getting, having and blamed for when we do not get better. Two days ago, for example, I was just yelled at and belittled by my mother because my “poor sister” is trying so hard to help me. What? I have been made to feel guilty by my own family for not getting better, for my bipolar not just magically going away.
I need to say this is not my sister’s fault at all and when I mention my family, I am not speaking of my sister at all. She is the only person in my family that tries to understand, listens to me and supports me. I am forever grateful for my beautiful sister and I am truly blessed to have her as my sister. I love her very much. I only wish she lived closer to me and that I could see her more often. She even reads my blogs. I love her!
I love you huge forever and always Melissa… oxoxoxoxo……..
My family refuses to accept my mental illness after 25 years and they know nothing about bipolar. I know it would have helped me tremendously and made me feel better about myself, if they showed support and just tried to learn about my severe bipolar 1 disorder with rapid cycling and mixed episodes and PTSD etc., but they never did. I guess they couldn’t. Maybe it hurt them too much, but I say love more and get beyond the pain so you can love and support a loved one and friend that is in greater pain than you are, as they are the ones living with the severe intense pain of mental illness.
I am a mental illness advocate and it is my passion to educate the world, and I will continue to try to educate my family as well as many others as I can. It is my true passion and calling in my heart and is what I must do with my life.
One way that we can educate about mental illness and suicide is by being honest. There is never any shame in the truth. Know that your honesty will help someone else and many more in the future.
When a loved one dies by suicide, people need to start to be truthful about how they died. If people are more open, honest and truthful about how they died, people will begin to understand the severity of mental illness and the continuous rise in the suicide rate. People need to be made aware and educated. Writing details in the obituary is one way to help out and do our part. I am very sorry about anyone’s and everyone’s huge loss from losing a loved one by suicide.
I wrote this poem after hearing about the loss of a beautiful young man named Drew. I do not know him or his family, but I am saddened by the pain of their loss. Also, I did not know Drew but feel like we are connected in some way as I too struggle and live with severe bipolar disorder. I understand and feel his pain he must have lived with for many years of his life. I too suffer from severe bipolar disorder and have knocked on death’s door too many times and have been very close to my own demise. I am a numerous suicide attempt survivor.
I wrote this poem after hearing about another tragedy and beautiful young life lost to suicide. His death was by suicide.
A Life Stolen
Suicide is a slow gradual painful decline
of a life and identity once known.
A body slowly losing the ability to feel
and know the spirit still living inside them,
their spirit faded from within their soul,
no more thoughts of hope, faith or living.
Death has called them,
and they answer.
Without their spirit of life,
death overpowers and wins.
Bipolar disorder loses another battle
fought courageously so many times before.
The bomb inside a bipolar brain
explodes destroying the life it surrounds.
Another beautiful life stolen
by the disease
inside a bipolar brain
and overtaken by suicide.
Rest in Peace
where there is no more pain
caused by a
Please know that this beautiful young man, spirit and soul did not want to leave this earth or his family or friends forever, he just could not bear the severe debilitating internal pain he was struggling with anymore. He felt like there was no other way to get rid of his pain. He loves you all deeply forever and always.
Also, know and realize that it was not anyone’s fault. There was nothing you could do or say to change what happened. It was bipolar disorder that killed him and nothing else. Also, this illness is not a disorder. It should be called a bipolar disease or a brain disease, as it is a very severe disease that happens to be in the brain.
Drew Christensen was an athlete, chemist and mental-health advocate
The Lakeville high achiever died by suicide Nov. 8 after a long struggle with bipolar disorder. His parents say they hope his story encourages others to seek help often and early.
By Brandon Stahl, Star Tribune November 27, 2016 – 12:27 p.m.
Family submission, Andrew Christensen
As a boy, Andrew “Drew” Christensen’s drive stood out. He played to win — even at Monopoly.
He started for the Lakeville South High School football team his junior and senior years. He played lacrosse and wrestled, and became engrossed with handball and Olympic weightlifting and competed in triathlons.
By all accounts, he was the face of a handsome, athletic kid who had the same ferocious intensity when it came to art and academics. He loved photography and to draw and paint, and was infatuated with organic chemistry. He desperately wanted to combine those talents to transform the world.
“He was wired to be impatient with the status quo,” said his father, Jeff. “He wanted to focus on the health of people.”
Chistensen died by suicide Nov. 8 after a year’s long struggle with bipolar disorder. He was 25. His parents say that despite ultimately losing their son, he would time and again overcome his demons “to achieve amazing things,” Jeff said. They hope his story encourages others to seek help often and early.
“I want people to know that there are resources out there … there are so many people who have come up to me, there are so many people suffering, and I want to tell them that if you’re a parent or have a loved one, you don’t have to be afraid,” said his mother, Nancy.
After graduating high school in 2010 with a stack of college credits, Christensen wanted to go to the University of Minnesota, but got a letter wait-listing him. That night, he wrote an impassioned three-page response to plead his case. He was accepted a few weeks later. He framed the waitlist letter and hung it in his dorm room.
But for years, his mother Nancy said, her son silently struggled. During a seemingly carefree childhood, glimpses of torment emerged.
“His anger would just get the better of him,” she said.
He felt frustration in his gut, said his father, Jeff, but Drew had trouble explaining it to others. His love would come out in the gifts he would make for his family or the events he planned for them, said his brother, Jon.
He joined the U’s handball team and traveled the country competing. He became a community adviser and a mentor to younger students in his dorm. When he recognized his struggle with depression, he got involved in advocating for the school’s mental health programs. A school provost would later call his parents and tell them that their son and others like him were instrumental in driving more students to get help with mental illness.
Despite successes, he also suffered. He would be hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He soon began recovering, finishing his courses in spring 2016. By May, he got his diploma and then his dream job as a chemist.
By summer, his manic episodes again materialized. It cost him two jobs. He was hospitalized twice in September, after which he seemed more calm and focused. He began sending out resumes. His family hoped he was turning a corner. “But maybe the struggle to get back on top just became too burdensome,” Jeff said.
About two weeks after his death, his parents decided to walk in his final footsteps. They visited the place where he spent his last moments near the U, where they found a handwritten, two-page letter addressed to “the man who left us too early.”
“Although I do not know your name, I love you,” the letter read. “You are missed, you are loved. All of our campus has been affected by your leaving.”
It finished: “Everyone you meet is fighting their own battle. Love each other.”
Along with his parents, Christensen is survived by three siblings.
Anyone struggling with mental health or who knows someone who is can call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-888-626-4435.
I congratulate and praise his parents for saying his death was caused by suicide due to suffering from Bipolar Disorder for so many years. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
More people need to do the same as his parents are doing so we can increase awareness and education about mental illness, reduce the stigma of mental illness and end suicide.
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Christensen from the bottom of my heart for your strength, courage, honesty and desire to help educate about bipolar disorder and mental illness and reduce the stigma of mental illness. Hugs and blessings to you always and forever.
we can all reduce the stigma of mental illness
and end suicide
one voice at a time.
I congratulate and praise his parents as they educated others about mental illness through his death. They used the correct word usage and wrote that his death was caused from years of struggling with bipolar disorder and he died by suicide.
His parents printed in his Obituary that his death was caused by suicide due to suffering from Bipolar Disorder for so many years. That is a great step and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I pray more people will continue to follow their example.
This is how we can increase awareness and educate about the dreadful illness of bipolar disorder and how mental illness can be a lethal and morbid illness. Many people die from severe mental illness because most have the symptom of extreme suicidal ideations and thoughts. Mental illness and suicide should be on the death certificates, as suicidal thoughts are a common and severe symptom of mental illness with suicide unfortunately and sadly sometimes being the end result.
More people need to do the same as his parents are doing so we can increase awareness and educate about mental illness, reduce the stigma of mental illness and the stigma associated with suicide and reduce and end suicide.
I am thankful to his parents as they chose to say his death was “caused by suicide” and did not say he “committed suicide.” The words “committed suicide” sounds like someone committed a crime and suicide is not even remotely close to a crime.
A person who attempts suicide or dies by suicide is experiencing deep emotional pain, hopelessness and usually severe mental illness and feels that suicide is their only hope from the escape of their severe pain. This type of intense debilitating pain and mental illness does not make someone a criminal. Suicide is not a crime.
Please be sensitive to the language you use when speaking about suicide.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
I am a numerous suicide attempt survivor. Praise God, I am still alive today.
I am a Mental illness advocate and it is my passion to educate about mental illness, increase awareness about mental illness, reduce the stigma of mental illness and the stigma associated with suicide and I want to and must reduce the alarmingly increasing rate of suicides around the world today.
I continue to make a daily post about suicide everyday throughout the month of September for Suicide Prevention month. This is post #15 and if you have missed my previous ones, please check them out on my blog. Also, continue looking on my blog for more daily posts about suicides for the rest of September.
We all need to do our part and do MORE. The first steps are accepting and understanding others with kindness, compassion and love. We all need to educate and learn more about mental illness and suicide and suicide prevention. Start the dialog and be a voice.
We must all make our voices heard very loud and strong about mental illness, mental illness stigma and suicide prevention. It is critical. It is crucial. Each life is priceless. We must prevent suicides and save lives.
Copyright © By Susan Walz and myloudbipolarwhispers.com – All written content and personal artwork is © myloudbipolarwhispers.com and Susan Walz. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner/artist is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Loud Bipolar Whispers and/or Susan Walz with appropriate and specific directions to the original content. (With the exception of the Obituary printed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune – By Brandon Stahl, Star Tribune November 27, 2016 – 12:27 p.m.)