Katherine quite rightly says; “this word ‘suicide’ is not something to be feared, rather one that we could understand more deeply.”

Katherine Baldwin- Thomson is Kinda Proud of what she’s achieved due to her personal healing journey, and we are Kinda Proud of her for sharing her story with us! Here Katherine tells us how she went from using alcohol to numb her pain, to helping others to find the light at the end of their dark tunnel…

Katherine

My name is Katherine and I am 44 years of age. Looking back at myself as a child, I was very sensitive and quiet. I was spiritual and creative from a young age and liked to be in my own world – not much has changed there. Like many other people my childhood was varied with a mixture of experiences. I had some great times being raised by my loving parents, but I also had some deep traumatic experiences. We were poor and my parents often needed to work two jobs, so I had very little choice but to stay with my grandparents who were mentally ill.

When you are a young child and you have been physically and mentally abused it does leave scares and pain that can manifest later in life. Pain that we attempt to cover up in order to cope.

I didn’t have a good relationship with my grandparents to say the least. I will never forget the smell of falling asleep on musty shag carpet under my nan’s king size bed to avoid being beaten by her with a wooden broom handle. However, throughout my life I have always known that I was not what was happening to me, but rather part of something greater – as we all are.

To cope with some of the trauma from my early life of staying with my grandparents, I started drinking when I was 14 years of age. It was the only way that I felt I could numb my pain at the time. Then, the years went by and I had been drunk and passed out more times than I care to remember.

When I turned twenty I decided that it was time to get my life in order and had the opportunity to open my own shop. The shop was called the Purple Angel and the business was a dream come true for me as I loved working for myself. The business did very well and I was really finding my feet. For the third year in a row we were making a profit and I was so happy that I was finally doing what I wanted.

Then one day, my mum who is a huge inspiration to me and a loving support in my life, told me she had a brain tumour and that the doctors were unsure if she would survive the surgery. My dad ran a supermarket and had to support my mum. We lived in the country and did not have the option for home nursing and the level of care my mum would need. She required round the clock medication and needed help feeding, bathing and dressing. I decided the right thing to do was to close my business and look after my mum day and night, a decision I would never regret. This was a task of many highs and lows and there was an immense amount of pressure placed on me at the age of 23.

A year and a half later my mum had recovered well enough to not need my care anymore.  I then needed to find work and moved to Melbourne as there were more work opportunities than in the country. I took the 1st job that I had an interview for and started working at a supermarket.  My boyfriend and I upsized our home and we were now living in a large house with our dog Wilbur and our cat Chocolate. To many this would have been the ideal stepping stone, however I started to feel overwhelmed and under pressure. I was dealing with the emotional struggle of losing my business, seeing my mum sick for so long, and the heart ache that came with all of that.

I was constantly worried that my mum would need me and being so far away from her kept me in a state of constant stress. I remember it all getting too much for me. I was starting to feel deeply depressed with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt like I was trapped and that no one would understand how I was feeling. During that time all my childhood trauma and abuse surfaced and I started drinking again. I was in overwhelm and feared that I had nowhere to turn.

One particular day, I recall my thoughts racing through my head, my heart pounding and my breath being short and shallow. It was at this point that I started to think that maybe everyone would be better off if I wasn’t there.  I would be better, all the pain would cease and all the pressure in my head would finally stop! There would be silence and I would be free.

The idea of silence and no pain felt so good. So I got up off the ground and went to the kitchen and got the sharpest knife and a towel. I placed the knife on my wrist and began to push the blade into the veins. Just at that time my partner unlocked the front door and ran over to me when he heard me sobbing and saw what I was doing. He shouted what are you doing!? I dropped the knife and broke down. It was at that moment I was so grateful he had come home and stopped me. It was also at that point that I knew I didn’t want to kill myself. I just wanted the pain, fear and overwhelm to go away. I just wanted to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I needed to feel that I wasn’t alone and that everything was going to be okay. I wanted to be held and understood.

I went to see someone about how I was feeling. In just four sessions of talking about how I felt and being given simple coping tools, I was back on my feet and feeling like I could cope again. I just needed to start healing the hurt I had gone through as a child and a teenager. I knew that in healing myself and learning to be kind to myself and forgiving myself, I would be in a better position to forgive and let go of those who had hurt me in the past. I also had a sense that it would give me insight and the skills to help other people to do the same.

That is why it makes me very proud to say that at the age of 44 I have been a healer and counsellor for over 20 years and I have been a Vortex Subconscious specialist for over 13 years now. What this means, is that I help people remove old subconscious beliefs and blocks that are held within their subconscious patterning. I specialise in helping children overcome trauma and help women to get back on their feet after difficult times. I help people live their best life possible.

I started doing this work because of my own journey and wanted people to know that they had somewhere to turn when they were down. My desire was to help people come out of stress and overwhelm just like I did and begin to thrive again.

When you really think about it, this word “suicide” is not something to be feared, rather one that we could understand more deeply. When we understand that the person is feeling lost, overwhelmed and like they have nowhere to turn, we also understand that all they are really reaching for is a life line of love – a helping hand to let them know that everything is going to be alright.

Katherine’s Bio:

C.E.O and Founder of Angel Soul Healing. Channel and Healer of The Vortex Subconscious Healing Modality. Owner and Manager of The Angel Soul Healing School and Center.

Katherine is an Advanced Master in The Vortex Subconscious Sound Healing, Subconscious Specialist, Reiki Master, Shaman Master, Advanced Multi-Dimensional Soul healer, Pallowah Practitioner, Trance Channel Master and Doreen Virtue Realm worker. Katherine purely channels with Jesus, Kuan Yin, The Archangels of the universe, Uluru, pure source and so many more.

Katherine Channelled her own healing Modality, The Vortex Subconscious Sound Healing. Katherine is the Inventor of the I AM Happy Stick. The artist and producer of the I AM, Empowerment Oracle Card Deck for women, kids and men. Katherine has been a public speaker and performer of almost 13 years.

Katherine has dedicated her entire adult life to help her clients rebuild their lives. ❤

Does Katherine’s story resonate with your own experience?

Would you like to share your story to give HOPE to others? 

To share your story in our Rep Kelly’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Suicide

Please email Kelly at: kelly@positivityprincess.com

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Andy from Massachusetts, US, realised that everything could be healed, but only once he was willing to be healed. The bravest thing he did was to be open to asking for, and receiving help and support.

Andy used to live a life of hiding his true feelings; this only spiralled him further into depression and unable to experience real joy in his life.

Now a self- confessed ‘lover-of-life’, Andy uses his life experience to inspire others, including founding; Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to accept and express all of their emotions. Andy knows from experience that the strongest thing we can do is admit when we need help; this was the turning point in his inspiring personal story…..

Andy_Grant

Life sucks, then you die.

That was my worldview for a long time. When I was 17, I had a pin in my car with that saying on it, in case I needed a reminder.

I didn’t need a reminder. I was sure that the world wasn’t a safe place. I was confident that I was broken beyond any hope of repair, and that life sucked no matter what I did from a very young age.

My parents were full-time college students when they had me. They got married and tried their best, but they divorced when I was five-years-old. We moved around often in those early years. I was an only child, heavy and shy. Around the same time my dad left our home, a neighbor began molesting me. I knew it was wrong but was afraid if I told anyone, I’d be kicked out of my home too. I stayed quiet and grew even quieter in life.

On the first day of school for the 3rd grade I was sitting on the bus next to one of my few close friends, and I started crying. I had no idea why. I couldn’t explain it, I felt sad and scared, even though this was the same school I’d been at for the last two years. This was the moment I recall deciding that I was different. I was broken. I felt things other people didn’t, and it was wrong.

For years I hid my depression and suicidal thoughts. I knew I wouldn’t live long. Other people would talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up, I had no interest in growing. My dad often said, high school is the best years of your life, so I decided it would be foolish to bother living beyond them.

Sometimes I couldn’t even wait that long. My first attempt to end my life came when I was 13, and 15, 16, 17, 18…. you get the picture.

It took me multiple “failed” suicide attempts before I allowed myself to ponder that maybe, just maybe, there is a better way. I obviously wasn’t good at ending my life so there must be a better way to navigate my life. Things began to change when I allowed for the possibility that just maybe I was supposed to be here.

I was 23 the last time I was in a mental hospital. It was the first time I put myself into a hospital and I did so before making any suicide attempt. I felt like such a grown-up. I’d finally realized I could ask for and receive help without resorting to self-harm. I didn’t need to try and end my life as my only means to change it.

Each decade of my life has been better than the prior one. Suicidal thoughts still showed up, and perhaps always will when I’m under emotional stress, but attempts ended and actions and plans have been rarer each decade too.

Today, I love life and even more surprising is that I know life loves me. In my thirties, I embraced personal growth and creating a positive mindset. Some people I meet think I’m so happy, they don’t believe it when I tell them about my suicidal background. I began sharing my story so people could know that depression and suicidal thoughts don’t have to last your entire life.  Everything can be healed, but only once we are willing to be healed. We need to be open to asking for and receiving help and support.

Life doesn’t suck. I find that life gets better and better. When I was a kid, the only place I heard anyone talk about suicide was in a mental hospital. I’m out to change that.

The reason I’m here is to enjoy life and to remind people they can enjoy it too. Life can be heaven or hell, the power is in our choices. Choose wisely, my friend.

Does Andy’s story resonate with your own experience?

Would you like to share your story to give HOPE to others? Here’s how you can contact our KindaProud Reps…

 For Kelly’s KindaProud book:  #EmergingProud through Suicide

Please email Kelly at: kelly@positivityprincess.com

Andy’s BIO:

Andy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader, and Life Activation Practitioner.

He is also the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to accept and express all of their emotions. Andy has been producing and hosting the Real Men Feel podcast since February 2016.

As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. His Amazon best-seller, Still Here: How to Succeed in Life After Failing at Suicide, is a book that has helped people around the globe, and includes everything he wished he knew at a younger age. Andy is also a lead editor and contributor at the Good Men Project; GoodMenProject.com.

Learn more at TheAndyGrant.com.

Connect with Andy on Facebook: facebook.com/AndyGrantLoveYourLife/

Twitter: @navitascoaching

@realmenfeelorg

Instagram: @andy_grant

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewfgrant/

 

 

 

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Abuse, spiritual emergence and mindfulness; John’s #mindfullyMad journey makes him KindaProud

John from New South Wales in Australia discovered his passion for Mindfulness through his life journey through childhood trauma and a near death experience which catalysed a spiritual awakening. John now choses to use mindfulness rather than medication to balance his ‘energetic inspired periods’, and has made this his life work. All pretty inspiring! Here’s John’s story…

John Shearer

I was born in 1952 and experienced physical and mental abuse as a child. By the age of twelve, I was also sexually abused by a neighbour. By age fourteen, I was wagging school and out of control. By age sixteen, I was homeless, living on the streets and in trouble with the law. I spent time in youth detention and, with the help of an excellent mentor, was able to get my life on track. At age twenty-one, I got married and started a family, life was good.

At age thirty, and on my Dad’s 65th birthday in 1982, I died and was revived after a horrific truck accident. I believed that there was a reason why I was alive and started a quest to get answers. Despite extensive study into ancient history, cultures and religions, all I got was mental and addiction disorders.
My life fell apart, not so much because of substantial physical injuries, but because of the fifteen years of mental suffering that followed. My mind was like a drunken monkey, very busy and all over the place! I experienced psychosis later that year and spent time in a mental health unit. I was diagnosed with mental ‘illness’ and prescribed medications. I had similar episodes in 1984, 1987 and 1992; the only thing that stopped me from suiciding was a tiny whisper that kept saying ‘There’s a reason… you’ll get through this!’
By 1997, I was rock bottom. Mental health professionals told me that I would never be cured, that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life and that I would never work again. I was ashamed that I had mental ‘illness’ and refused to talk about it or get help from outside the ‘system’. It was my dark secret. That was when I got my ‘miracle’. An old friend, who I hadn’t seen since before my accident, knocked on my door and told me his story. Two days later, I experienced a Spiritual Awakening and my life slowly started to change. No more depression and no more medications!
I now call that chapter of my life, my fifteen ‘dark’ years. It was a roller coaster of feelings, emotions and experiences. I value my ‘dark’ years now because I overcame many fears and learned heaps of life lessons. My quest for knowledge and answers continued. I now know the truth about what happened to me. In 82, 84, 87 & 1992, I experienced what is known as Spiritual Crisis or Emergency. I had no way of knowing what was really going on until my old friend shared his story. It was that story that led to my Spiritual Emergence in 1997. I got my life back and have never looked back, except to see how far I’ve come.
I also now know that bipolar is a gift. It’s not a gift that you would wish on anyone, that’s for sure! But when you wake up to what’s really going on, it is life changing. I have had times of ‘mania’ in 97, 03, 09, 13 and 2018. These are simply times when I am totally inspired. I require no medication because I am in control of my mind rather than my mind controlling me. Today, thanks to a fully developed mindful practice, I live with both peace of mind and clarity of mind.

“Never lose hope my friends, there was a time when hope was all that kept me alive.” Be well and remember… You are Not your thoughts!
Mindfully Yours with Love, Joy & Peace Always! – John Shearer

Check out John’s work here:   http://mindfullymad.org

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Our Vision Is World Mental Health Without Medication

Does John’s story resonate with your own experience? 

Would you like to share your story for Mandy’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through Trauma and Abuse? 

Please contact Mandy to find out how by contacting her at: ambrieleve@gmail.com

Or if you relate to having had an NDE (near death experience) or spiritual emergence, you might like to share your story for Nicole’s pocket book of hope: 

#Emerging Proud through NOTES – contact us here to find out how! ❤ 

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“You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out”

Learning to love ourselves through adversity is probably the bravest thing we can do. *Are you KindaProud of yourself enough to share your story in order to give HOPE to others? Through being brave enough to show our vulnerability, we lower the barriers in others in order that we can truly SEE each other from the heart. This is the only place from which authentic connection happens… ❤

Wonder

Our Kinda Proud book series aims to decrease stigma, improve wellbeing and influence the saving of lives through providing a more compassionate and positive conceptual framework for emotional distress, and normalising these human experiences.

This project is unique because each Pocket Book of hope has its own KindaProud Rep; a Peer who has personal experience of the theme of that specific book in which they tell their own story and encourage others to join them in doing the same.

What are the main aims and objectives of the Kinda Proud book series? 

  • To relieve people of the distress associated with transformational crises by offering authentic examples of personal stories and resources to engender hope and initiate recovery.
  • To provide opportunities for Volunteers to join a virtual community and work in collaboration with other #EP Peer Reps to create books of empowerment.
  • To decrease stigma, improve wellbeing and influence the saving of lives through providing a more compassionate and positive conceptual framework for emotional distress.
  • To use all proceeds from book sales to provide free books to hospital wards and mental health facilities throughout the UK and Internationally, in oder to inject hope for someone during their most difficult times

The 4 pocket books currently being created are:

#Emerging Proud through Suicide

#Emerging Proud through NOTES (Non- Ordinary Transcendent Experiences)

# Emerging Proud through disordered eating, body image and low-self-esteem

#Emerging Proud through trauma and abuse

*Do these subjects resonate with your own experience? 

Would you like to share your story to give HOPE to others? 

(*If you intend to share your story publicly for the first time, please ensure you protect anyone else who may feature with a pseudonym if necessary, and that you have support as it can be a scary experience knowing that we are laying ourselves bare to the world)

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN THE KINDA PROUD COMMUNITY OF BRAVE PEERS

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Bobbi has used her trauma as a catalyst for positive change; “I want my pain to have a purpose; my mess to have a message.”  

Bobbi’s inspirational courage is palpable as she recounts her story below…

The wisdom she’s gained through such horrific circumstances, speaks to the resilience of the human spirit. Bobbi so rightly talks about how, when we don’t deal with ‘trauma imprints’ of life; the pressure of repressing them leads to ‘soul- tiredness‘. As Bobbi states; “grief is a raging river; you have to get into it and let it flow all around you, rather than fighting the current which will suck you under.” 

Once we surrender to it, that can be the beginning of ‘soul- thriving’… Accepting help from others isn’t weakness; it is only then we have the capacity to truly give from our heart ❤

Bobbi M.jpg

On January 25, 2015 my life; my “reality” as I knew it, ended when my husband of 15 years completed suicide, in the driveway of our home. We had an argument that fateful night and had I known the outcome, I would have changed so many words/actions/choices, not in that I think I could have changed the outcome, but just so I could have more peace surrounding our last words to each other.  In the end, the horrific reality of a suicide is that you cannot just apologize, hug it out, or ask for a “do over”; it is an absolute finality and that person forever gets the “last word.”  There are details I feel need to be shared for one to understand the depth and complexity of our loss and my passion and mission to spread awareness about grief, complicated grief and suicide.  However, by the same token, I choose to leave out a lot of the graphic details out of respect for my children and my late husband.

During our argument, Ken went into our master bedroom closet and grabbed our handgun that had been stored in a lock box for years and never loaded (so I thought); a struggle ensued — half of me not believing he was really going to do anything with the gun, thinking it was a manipulation tactic — and the other half of me terrified about what was transpiring.  Ken overpowered me and made his way to leave out our back door to the garage and into his car.  I begged him to not go and threatened to call the police; this only angered him more.  I followed him to the garage and tried to grab the gun away from him as he entered his car.  As I grabbed for the gun, I heard a voice, from out of nowhere — (I know and believe it to be my Guardian Angel) — tell me to “drop the gun and back away.”  I did drop the gun as Ken backed the car up, backing over my foot, yelling that he would “do it in front of me and the kids if I didn’t let him leave.”  As I ran back into our house to find my cell phone to call 9-1-1, I heard the gunshot.  I ran out to find Ken, in the front seat of his car with a single gunshot wound through his chin, and barely breathing.  In the midst of the chaos that ensued, my then 7 year-old slipped out of the house and saw his dad in the car.  It haunts me still to this day that I was not able to protect my youngest son from that horrific scene.  My youngest was shortly thereafter diagnosed with PTSD.  What my youngest son and myself witnessed that night compares closely to the true life crimes you watch on television.

The fallout of Ken’s decision to complete suicide was incomprehensible; brutal; gut-wrenching; and horrific.  Ken’s family blamed me. They chose to believe Ken’s words spoken to one of his sisters, in a phone conversation just hours before Ken took his life, as “truth” and there were a lot of rumors spread by the family that were not remotely ever the truth.  Ken was not in his right mind, clearly, and yet, his sister chose to make assumptions on things she knew nothing about. I now know what it feels like to be wrongly accused of murder.

For two weeks I could not close my eyes to sleep; flashbacks haunted me and my heart would not stop racing.  I was crawling out of my own skin as PTSD set in and anxiety like I had never known threatened to take my sanity.  The only way I was able to close my eyes and get any sleep would be when I would call out to my God and beg him to keep me from going crazy and leaving my boys.  Psalm 23 would readily be recited to me each time, from somewhere within me:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

3     he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me, all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

In order to understand my journey more fully, I feel it is important to explain a little more about me; my traumatic childhood and my spiritual foundation.  I do believe we are given certain trials and struggles in life that “prepare” us to endure our greatest struggles that can, with faith and mercy, become our greatest lessons and, even, blessings.

First, and most importantly, I am a mother to three, amazing, resilient, brilliant young men who bless me daily and are the reason I choose to not only survive, but thrive.  Namely, Chase (22); Dawson (14) and Dylan (12).  I have had a “million” careers in my short lifetime, ranging from college for radiology technology; massage therapy/kinesiology; church secretary; legal secretary/paralegal for 15 years; parapro teacher (Title 1) for several years; and fitness franchisee owner of Jazzercise, Inc., for 11 years.

I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada in March, 1971.  I am the youngest of two daughters born to my mother, Jane, and my father, Robert.  My mother and father divorced when I was two years old.  My mother subsequently became an alcoholic.  My sister became more of a mother figure to me, scrounging for food and trying to make sure we ate and survived while my mother was intoxicated 24/7.  First trauma “imprint.”

My father died of a massive heart attack when I was 11 years old.  I remember the viewing of my father in his open casket very vividly and now realize how traumatizing that was.  I had not been allowed to have a relationship with him up until about one year prior to his death; I had finally felt like I had a dad and was just getting to know him.  I now realize this was my first experience of suppressed grief due to my having to comfort my mother through her grief over the loss of my father, versus her comforting me through my loss.  Second trauma “imprint.”

My first exposure to suicide came in my mid-30s when I was notified that my childhood best friend, Nicole, had completed suicide.  Her young daughters found her lifeless body hanging in the garage upon returning home from school.  I was completely and utterly shocked and never really did process it all completely; realizing this now only after losing my husband to suicide.  Third trauma “imprint.”

Ken and I suffered four miscarriages in between my son, Chase, and my son, Dawson.  One was a tubal pregnancy. (I’m actually a case study at the University of Oregon for the largest, thriving tubal pregnancy that did not kill the mother.)  Having emergency surgery to remove my thriving baby to save my life was very traumatic.  Fourth trauma “imprint.”

Fast forward to approximately 4 years prior to my husband completing suicide, my mother unexpectedly died after what was to be a short visit to the ER for unexplained stomach pain.  She coded and was gone before I could catch a flight to be by her side.   Fifth trauma “imprint.”

Just one year prior to Ken dying, his father passed away from heart disease.  Ken was at his side at the time of his death.  I took it very hard as I felt like Ken’s dad, Neal, had been like a father figure to me and was the only grandfather my boys had.  Sixth trauma “imprint.”

Just four months prior to Ken dying, our family dog, Bella, was violently mauled to death by our neighbor’s dogs, in front of my youngest son.  Seventh trauma “imprint.”

Following these losses and, specifically, my mother’s death, I started to really evaluate my life; I was soul-tired.  I had been raising young kids, working in the schools, running my fitness franchise business and taking care of everything at home so my husband could focus on his career and climb to the top to achieve his status as the youngest employee to make “partner.”  I was on a quest to find the true, authentic me; what made me happy — an urgency to understand my higher purpose and my God/Universe/Energy at a deeper level.

It is interesting when you start to soul search and ask/pray for help from your higher source; it shakes everything up and it can become a very tumultuous time.  It was as if my energy had shifted and I was consumed with wanting to understand how all life worked and how I could better my life and the lives of others. I remember being on a long run, calling out to my God saying “I feel so alone; I don’t have a ‘community.’”  Little did I know how the universe would quickly show me how wrong I was in that belief, just months later.

When Ken died, my “community” surrounded me and my boys.  The “community” I did not think I had.  It was not his family; it was not even the friends who I thought would be by my side; it was people whom I had touched their lives by my work as a volunteer in the schools and, subsequently, my work as a Title 1 Teacher in our school district; it was my customers from my fitness classes; it was strangers and “acquaintances” who would later become some of my closest friends; it was neighbors whom I had known and talked to regularly, but also neighbors whom I had never spoken to.  This “community” fed me and my boys with meals for three straight months after Ken died.  They regularly took shifts to stay with me at night in those first few weeks.  They offered to help with bills and errands and took my boys out to do fun and light-hearted activities.  Even my teacher community gave us the monies that had been set aside for the new playground equipment at the elementary school!  (Those monies have since been donated back to the school, in remembrance of Ken.)

Even though I had my community’s support, I felt completely and utterly alone in my struggles to come to grips with the new reality that was my life.  My boys were traumatized and my youngest was in the throws of his own PTSD from the events of that night.  I was unable to grieve openly because it would trigger my boys’ angst and fear of abandonment; my boys thought I, too, would leave them if I showed any kind of sadness or tears or weariness.

Ken was a great provider.  We had a large house in Michigan, as well as a cottage up North with lots of ATVs, a boat, motorcycle and all kinds of “toys” and provisions.  These are all great except when you die and cannot take them with you; you leave a lot of property behind for your loved ones to deal with.  The paperwork and tasks were un-ending and amidst all of it, I was tried and convicted by members of Ken’s family who were busy blaming me for his death and were not supportive of my decisions to rid myself of our family home and other property.

The horrific tragedy engulfed me; I knew I was going to suffocate if I stayed in Michigan.  There’s that announcement when you are flying when the flight attendants talk about the oxygen mask that drops from above in case of loss of cabin pressure — that was me!  I had to put on my “oxygen mask” first if I was going to assist my children.  The decision to leave my friends, my work and my community that I had worked so hard to build, was a difficult one.  I had tremendous guilt pulling my children from their friends, their schools and their community in their greatest time of loss but, I knew if I did not, I would not survive.  I had to get away from that house; I had to get away from the “sad stares” of my community and friends; I had to get us where we could “start over” and not have every place, restaurant, friendship, encounter, street sign, etc., throw us into memories of what was a life that no longer was.  I moved to Texas, not knowing a soul, except having two cousins whom I knew growing up but had not been in contact with since high school.  To this date, I am amazed at my ability to be cognizant enough to research, buy a home, and move and establish a thriving life in Texas, just six months following Ken’s suicide.  This I know for sure was by God’s grace.

I commonly compare the aftermath of suicide to the aftermath of a grenade; it spreads shrapnel for miles, injuring and killing countless souls.  I call it the “ripple effect.”  The ripple effects of losing a loved one to suicide are long-standing.  Even three years later, I continue to be informed of its effects (some good, some bad) on those who were an integral part of our lives; the heartbreaking reality of suicide — those left behind.

I would say there is a type of “duality” in death; it’s either a “gift” that allows us to re-evaluate our lives for the better and allows one to search out its lessons; or you allow it to swallow you into its darkness.  I often say that grief is a raging river; you have to get into it and let it flow all around you, rather than fighting the current which will suck you under.

I have chosen to take my experiences as a young suicide widow and give them a purpose.  From the massive outpouring my community provided to me and my boys rose my conviction to serve and honor young widows so that they, too, would feel less alone.  From a biblical standpoint, we are all called to serve widows.

In my own struggles to reach out and be vocal about my grief and the effects of suicide, I found there were not many resources that fit my trauma and loss.  Truth is, not many grief programs specifically deal with young widows and the complexities we face; typically the late spouse being the breadwinner of the family while the woman stays home to raise the family, or works less to support her husband’s career.  There are many struggles and a stigma that alienates many young widows and, even more so, young suicide widows.

In February, 2018, I founded my non-profit Widow’s Wish and it’s community of “Widow Thrive.”   I want my pain to have a purpose; my mess to have a message.  It is also my goal to launch a consulting company that assists businesses and schools regarding suicide and complicated loss, as well as becoming a published author and motivational speaker.

You can choose to THRIVE even in the midst of incredible loss and trauma. 

                                    ***************************

Mission Statement of Widow’s Wish

My goal is to be a type of “advocate” for young widows through our Widow’s Wish Foundation — a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit. I believe that supporting widows is a biblical, ethical and moral responsibility.  Remarkably, it is difficult to find an organization within a church or community that has a developed program to serve widows during their first year of loss, especially for young widows and their children.

It is the mission, duty and purpose of Widow’s Wish Foundation to address, educate, coordinate, and provide financial aid, relief, and support to widows aged 20-50 with children under the age of 18. It is our duty to help the widow families facing enormous obstacles, including illness, homelessness, hunger, poverty and tragedy.  It is our desire to enrich their lives with hope, strength, and joy.

It is our duty to be available when we are capable to provide comfort, financial assistance, food, clothing, payment for medical services, and general support for the widow and her family.  The Foundation will also support the widow families through special experiences, and special events.

It is also possible for people to donate directly to the Foundation via the Foundation’s website www.widowthrive.com.  Year-round fundraising will be done through social media and direct contact with individuals selected by the Board of Directors as potential donors.  The Foundation disposes its income through the decisions made by its Board of Directors, using a very specific application and selection process to vet the applicants.  A copy of the application is available at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZQS9YGtZec3SmJ072C_7Gojrh8QeovXKSOVQawGjWpGodTg/formResponse.  Expenses paid by the Foundation include, but are not limited to, equipment purchases and rentals, insurance premiums, attorney and CPA fees, website creation and maintaining, publications and brochures, business cards, social media advertising, and miscellaneous Board expenses.

Bobbi Mason Biography

In February, 2018 Bobbi launched her Widow Thrive Community and her non-profit, Widow’s Wish Foundation.  Some would say it is a noble cause but Bobbi feels it is more than that; it is an outlet to her grief and she feels it is her “calling” to be an ambassador to those suffering through the many levels/dynamics of traumatic loss.

Through Widow’s Wish Foundation and her Widow Thrive Facebook Community, Bobbi assists and supports other young widows with the enormous grief “dynamics” that a young widow faces, especially in their first year, post-loss.  Bobbi regularly arranges fundraiser benefits with venues to raise money for the young widows and their children who apply to receive aid from Bobbi’s Widow’s Wish Foundation.  Through her ability to receive discounts and services as a non-profit, Bobbi is able to raise significant funds for these families, many of whom did not have life insurance policies in place.  In addition, Widow’s Wish supplies other financial assistance in the form of meals, gift cards for gas, groceries and a Christmas gifting program, all within the first year of loss.

Bobbi regularly shares her story and is on a mission to encourage those grieving to speak their truth and share about their grief, especially traumatic loss.  Through her radio interviews and speaking engagements, Bobbi shares her trauma to encourage others to not cover up their stories of loss and to let others know there is an enlightened way to thrive through traumatic grief to find and awaken their faith, hope and to find peace.

In Bobbi’s “free time”, she is a franchisee fitness instructor for Jazzercise, Inc.  She has been a franchisee for 11 years.  Bobbi loves to motivate others to live a healthy lifestyle (spiritually and physically) and speaks openly about how her fitness career and love of exercise saved her from extreme despair and without the need for antidepressants after her husband’s death.  She is a mother to three (3) boys and is very active in her community.  Bobbi regularly volunteers her time at the boys’ schools and serves on the PTA and is a Band Booster Board President, regularly arranging fundraisers and outings for the band students, which include her two youngest sons who play the french horn and the flute.

Bobbi is as comfortable on stage as she is in the gym inspiring others.  She has aspirations to host a TedTalk within the next year and become a published author.  Bobbi’s desire is to spread her mission globally!  She would also love to appear on Oprah, work with Gabrielle Bernstein and collaborate with Michelle Steinke-Baumgard of One Fit Widow.

Do you have an inspiring story to tell which has resulted due to either your own suicide attempt or that of a loved one?

Would you like to share your story for Kelly’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through suicide? 

Please contact Kelly to find out how by contacting her at:  kelly@positivityprincess.com

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When Rohini had been squeezed under too much life pressure, it allowed her Star Self to be born

When Rohini, from Pennsylvania, US, experienced ‘unusual symptoms’, she asked a stranger on a helpline; “Am I going mad?” This astute reply; No sweetie, you are not going mad, you are having an awakeningchanged her life forever. Ro now wants to spread awareness of spiritual awakening in order to help others who may also have gone through a process of falling apart, to know that this may actually be the start of you becoming who you truly are and living a joyful life. What a star she is!

This is Rohini’s inspiring story through trauma to #emergence…

A star is bornRohini.jpg

Scientists say, when atoms of light elements are squeezed under enough pressure for their nuclei to undergo fusion, a star is born.

I am sure my parents didn’t really think about the science behind the name when they chose my name as Rohini. Rohini is the name of a star as per Hindu astrology.

I was born in India, to a humble couple, a father who escaped his small town for a better life in the city and a mother, who was forced to discontinue her education in 8th grade to clean bottles, in her father’s home run cool drink business and be married off to a suitable. In time they got married through a customary arranged marriage.

My childhood memories are a mixed bag of my parents fighting and mom leaving the house weeping, vowing not to return, the sadness, the silent tears and sharing of a blanket with my brother to feel safe, my father trying to distract the absence of our mother with board games and snacks. And, then simply one day, she would be back, not because my father was a changed man or because he had convinced her of his love for her. She came back, just because, she didn’t belong in her parents’ place and she had nowhere else to go. And, maybe she did miss us as well. She never said anything but her cooking, would tell us everything we needed to know, and all was well again with the world.

In majority of the cases, when a girl is born in India, a gloom comes over the house, as the family now has a mouth to feed, a body to protect, a reason of worry to set aside savings for her wedding and an urgency to transfer the burden to someone else, as soon as possible. She is considered a liability, and, in most cases, she is treated like one as well. I was no different.

My brother, was an exceptionally brilliant child, not just in studies but in everything that he did. He was a gentle humble introverted rock star. We all loved him. It was hard to beat him at anything and I being a girl, an average student and an even less average doer of everything else, soon started feeling the discrimination, mockery and disappointment directed towards me from my parents, my extended family and our friends. I cried myself to sleep many a night, curled up in my own misery.

As I became a young adult, I was meanly humiliated for my average grades, my average looks and for my independent thoughts. But, I was a born rebel and I cried, shouted and rebelled at every opportunity. And, for having the same honest, independent big mouth, I was also held responsible for my father’s massive heart attack. A burden too great to bear for a teenager. And, that was the first time, committing a suicide seemed so easy, so doable but the tiny window of courage has come to pass on that hard night, due to the knowing of a mother’s heart that something was amiss with her child and she never left my side, until the rough tides had subsided.

By, the time I was in my early twenties, I was in relationship with a guy whose parents disapproved of me, because I belonged to the lowest of castes as per the Indian caste system, called literally as the “untouchables”. But after much back and forth, they gave in for their son’s happiness and we were married. While all this was happening, my brilliant brother had graduated with an Ivy league degree and a high paying job, that made us he proudest, happiest family in town. But, after a year into the job, my dear brother was drowning in a whirlpool that we knew nothing about. Being a sensitive introvert, he bottled it all up, quit his job, abandoned his family and left for the Himalayas. Upon return he abused drugs, tried to commit suicide, had no control over his own behaviour and left us for a couple of years, without telling us about his whereabouts.

He was soon diagnosed with Schizophrenia. This broke our family.

My parents lost their son, a kind, smart, respectful, loving boy on to whom, they had pinned all their life’s work, sacrifice, dreams, aspirations, expectations and happiness.

I lost my brother, my partner in crime, my go to IT Helpdesk guy, my best friend.

The whole family spiralled into a mass depression. A cloud of suicidal thoughts, denial, anger, sadness, agony, depression and numbness loomed over us for years.

While this was playing out, my entry into a new family turned abusive in the first week of marriage. My ex -husband’s family never accepted, respected or welcomed me and my family into their hearts, home or their lives. My heart was torn between the increasing pain, suffering, depression, misery, desperation for our beloved Rahul and between an apathetic husband. The subtle emotional abuse, apathy, indifference and mockery towards my family’s misfortune continued for years, until I could no longer suffer anymore, I was drowning. I chose to survive and filed for a divorce, without informing my family; they had enough on their plate. My world had grown very drank and I very lonely.

I had followed a boy who was my universe, to live a happy love- filled life where he was, and he wanted to persue his dreams and live in US. And, now I was in US, all alone. I knew I would not be accepted by my family cause not only had I chosen the guy I wanted to marry but, I had chosen to leave him as well. That wouldn’t have gone well with them on top of what was already going on with my brother. So, I kept to myself and lived a lonely life.

I accepted that probably my purpose in life was to just be a sister, earn money and take care of him for the rest of our lives.

But, the universe had other plans.

About 6 months after my divorce, I bumped into a guy at work, we became friends instantly and it was a start of a very turbulent few months of connection, as he was separated and my association with him was against everything I ever believed to be true about myself. Of all the billions of people in this world, why did I have to love him? After I had parted ways, in a moment of weakness we ended up together for a night and never spoke about it, as we knew we were not going back. As, I went about my life, in 2 weeks I discovered I was pregnant. For someone who had always desired a loving partner first and never just children, I was not in a situation I never thought I would ever be. My mother instincts kicked in as soon as I knew, probably even before…when I told the guy, he told me neither did he want me nor the baby now or in future and it was up to me to do whatever I wanted to do with the pregnancy. This was the coldest anyone had ever been to me. I told him to leave and never saw him again.

I imagined myself and my baby or 2; I have a twin gene in my DNA, as my mom is an identical twin and my maternal side of the family has many sets of twins. I was in a foreign country, abandoned by my ex-husband for whom I had left my own home behind, abandoned by my family who upon the revelation of my divorce told me to never to come back to India, and abandoned by a lover, who had promised me his commitment should such a situation ever came up. I was unwanted by everyone I knew, and I didn’t want my babies to feel the same, I knew they would know it, if they came into this world.

So, as my heart ripped apart into a million pieces and I knew there was a high possibility that, I may never recover from losing a piece of my soul and might kill myself, I went ahead and got an abortion.

I had no desire to live. I had failed as a daughter, I had failed as a sister, I had failed as a wife, I had failed as a lover and the last role that I could fulfil, if I wanted to, I had chosen to give that up and had failed at being a mother.

So, I had just failed at being a WOMAN. I had no reason to exist, I had no desire to exist, I did not care if I lived and no-one in this whole wide world cared, if I lived or not.

I was empty.

What remained of me thereafter, was a hollow shell from where once love, laughter and life existed. As suspected, I spiralled into acute depression, unable to get out of bed, unable to look at myself in the mirror, unable to show up for work, unable to function at all. I was just waiting for that moment, when I would have the courage to slit my wrist and end this misery called life. I was already dead on the inside and I cared about nothing anymore.

Then, after witnessing a gun shooting on my 33rd birthday I started laughing hysterically. I laughed and laughed and laughed, because I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t feel bad for the guy who was shot or for the guy who was shooting or the people who were scurrying for safety.

Every time I went to the bathroom, I avoided the mirror, but I remember after this incident, I forced myself to look into the mirror, look into my eyes and have a real conversation. I told myself even God forgives at least one mistake, and God would forgive this BIG mistake of mine, that relationship and its consequences. There was no-one around to judge me, actually, there was no-one is in my life that even cared if I died or lived. So, right now, in this very moment, I had to forgive myself, I had to fully accept myself and I had to unconditionally love myself for all that I was. Only then could I move forward or else I might just kill myself and get it over with, as this moping around was no longer fun and it would be easier to just, die now.

Something changed after that night, I don’t what exactly and I didn’t realize it right away. I kept going through the motions of life and I remember, my close friend saying, you should go see a therapist, you seem to be in a bit of frenzy. I knew something had changed within me, the heaviness, the hate, the darkness, the burden in my heart had been listed and I was feeling light hearted, but I still kept making plans to kill myself one of these days soon. I felt different in my heart, but I was being told to act differently by my mind. I got scared about my own behaviour after that and stopped talking to anyone at work, in case someone else noticed my erratic behaviour again.

I came home one night, and I couldn’t help but call a friend in India and talk, as I was unable to contain my words. While I was talking to him, he seemed to have picked on my weird behaviour and he yelled at me, saying, “Oh stop! Just stop with all this spiritual bullshit talk“. I was stunned with his words, I got scared and I hung up. But, the word “spiritual” triggered something in me, this word didn’t exist in my dictionary. Someone could have called me a religion hopper and I would have agreed with them, as I had converted to Christianity a few years ago though I was born in a Hindu family. What did this word, “spirituality” really mean? I did what I knew how to do best, I opened up my laptop and typed the word “Spiritual” and as Google did its thing; the words “ Spiritual Awakening” appeared in my search box and I hit enter. I read through some blogs quickly and saw a few videos and I felt crazy, as these were the very symptoms I had been experiencing last few months. My head started reeling and I started panicking. I ran to the bathroom and started looking at my reflection and my whole world as I saw it collapsed before my eyes…I was itching all over my body, my head, my neck, my arms and as I looked around in my bathroom, for a few moments everything stood still, everything merged into each other, everything blended into one colour of light, everything was just particles and particles of light…. just a shimmering soft colour of yellow. Everything was ONE. I was unable to distinguish between the mirror, the lights, the shower curtain or the walls… everything was just a blend of light. It was like I was seeing different colours blend into one colour on a paint palette. Everything was just one light.

As I continued to look at the mirror, deep into my own eyes, I remembered that I was wearing this body, like a piece of cloth for a role I had come to play here, as a woman. I remembered, that I was not this mere body, I was not the mind, which kept yelling at me to kill myself, but I was that feeling, that knowing, that unconditional fountain of love that flooded my heart and my whole being, in this very moment. I felt the joy of my being.

And, I remembered, I was just a speck of dust but at the same time, I was the entire universe in motion and I laughed. I laughed for a long time.

After a while, I got scared as I was experiencing, an indescribable feeling of being flooded with love, compassion, empathy and joy for myself and also my body continued to itch, and I was seeing spots of light.

I was not able to comprehend what was happening, I thought maybe I was going crazy, I was 33 and suicidal, maybe this was the onset of schizophrenia. As, I grew frantic and I googled for help during Spiritual Awakening, I came across ACISTE (American Centre for The Integration of Spiritual Transformative Experiences) and called their help line number but it went to a VM. The intensity of whatever was happening to me had increased and I called a friend frantically before calling 911 to ask for help. I told her I was feeling like someone who was shedding her skin and would burst into a million pieces of this indescribable feeling in my heart. She asked me to put on a pot of coffee and write through the night.

As I hung up, a lady called me and said she had gotten my VM and asked me, what was going on. Having found someone to talk to that might be able to help me, I just began a verbal frenzy. Beth, patiently listened and after I was done, I asked her; “What is happening to me? Am I going mad? Should I call 911?” And, she said, No sweetie, you are not going mad, you are having an awakening“. And, those words changed my life forever. 

December 5th, 2016. This day, is my real birthday. The day I died and was born again with feeling and knowing of my true nature. The day, I woke up from the dream I had been dreaming for lifetimes and lifetimes.

The day, I shed thousands and thousands of years of old skin and realized my pure essence.

And for the first time in my life, I appreciated the beauty of my body, I felt unconditional love overflowing from my heart and I felt the serenity of my being.

I was free of my suffering. I was just joyous for being and being me.

For the first time in my life, I was happy to be ALIVE.

I was in that euphoric state for months and with the help of couple of amazing women in my life, I slowly transformed my life.

I now knew, everything and everyone was one energy and we were only separated by what we thought.

Divine grace had touched my heart and my heart flooded with unconditional love.

There was only now and there was only God, as all of us.

I realized I was God and everyone else was God as well.

To this realization, I am eternally grateful.

It’s been 2 years since the experience and I have not been more happier in my life than I am in this moment.

I continue to work my bank job, volunteer and I am training to be a Life Coach to help other people, awaken to their true nature.

My heart is filled with unconditional love, compassion, gratitude and joy of being me.

And, a star was born.

 

 

Does this subject resonate with your own experience? 

Would you like to share your story for Nicole’s KindaProud book, #EmergingProud through NOTES? 

Please contact us here to find out how. 

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CALLING ALL PROUD ARTISTS!

CallForArtists

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! 

Would you like your artwork to feature on the front cover of a published book that will help give hope to people going through distressing times?

What picture do YOU feel would best portray the following book themes?…

#Emerging Proud through Suicide 

#Emerging Proud through NOTES (Non- Ordinary Transcendent Experiences)

# Emerging Proud through disordered eating, body image and low-self-esteem

#Emerging Proud through trauma and abuse

Submit your ideas HERE by 31st Oct 2018, and they will go to a public vote to decide on each cover design….If your artwork is chosen, you will be named as the Artist for the specific book on which it’s featured, and get to advertise your work for free! Good Luck! ❤

Art as medicine .jpg

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