In May, I was invited to attend a training class to formulate and express my story in regards to mental health. After I was selected to attend the training and the speaking event I was emailed a questionnaire. The instructors wanted to know the subject area of what I wanted to share. I truthfully had no idea what to discuss. Knowing that the story sharing time was a mere 5-7 minutes was intimidating to remain relevant while within the guidelines expected.
I asked my wife, Kristen what she thought regarding a topic to speak on. She encouraged me to just pray about it and give it time; adding that whatever I pick will be great. There is nothing like that vote of confidence that isn’t lip service, full of genuine belief. Encouraged with my pep talk from Kristen I decided to weigh the topics I found to be most relevant for this actual event.
The JED Foundation was the group footing the bill for this amazing opportunity and their focus is suicide education with high schools and colleges. I considered my personal experiences in relationship to this very current and devastating topic. Unfortunately, I have alot of choices riddled with the epidemic that is suicide.
I decided on story from my life that profoundly impacted me for years. The video in this is that story. I hope it is helpful for you or someone you care about. I am always open to questions and dialogue. I am not a therapist but I have alot of personal experience to share or just listen.
**TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC DETAILS**
Since sharing this video I have been contacted by numerous people looking to thank me, find resources, talk or just to say it helped them to find the words to talk to a friend.
Dave Tate of EliteFTS even reshared the video that I hope keeps speaking to a group of people that need to be reminded that strength isn’t always about what you can lift.
If you need support please check out the link below.
American Federation for Suicide Prevention
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Get free help now: Text CONNECT to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
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Therapy animals have long been the trusted companions of people with disabilities. Now, animals of all kinds are proving their value to individuals with dementia as well as to those hoping to reduce their risk of brain disease.
Physiology helps explain why animals are such effective therapists for all of us, says Marwan Sabbagh, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health: “Simply petting an animal can decrease the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boost release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate and, possibly, in elevated mood.”
Man is by nature a social animal
Depression is common in individuals with dementia, a byproduct of the isolation and loneliness they often experience. Likewise, caregivers can feel alone and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. In both cases, bonding with an animal can help fill this void with social support and, from dogs in particular, with unconditional love.
In addition, dogs foster human connections for their owners. Take Rover for a ramble, and strangers who would never dream of approaching you in other situations will strike up a conversation centered on the animal. Even a mere smile from a passerby is a connection that can brighten your day.
Get your six legs out there!
Walking the dog yields a second, equally important benefit: physical exercise, which is also key to a brain-healthy lifestyle.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for good health and double that amount for greater health benefits. Brisk walking (at least 3 mph — that’s 20 minutes per mile) qualifies as moderate-intensity activity. The payoff extends beyond enhanced brain health to weight control, improved cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength, and reduced risk of chronic diseases and killers such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
So give the cat a cuddle, then grab the leash and whistle for the dog. Get moving with your faithful companion by your side. You’ve got nothing to lose — and the potential to add years of healthy life ahead.