Saturday, November 21, 2015

Relationships

This week I have often been reminded about the importance of relationship. It is essential for all of us to have individuals who we can trust and that we feel comfortable sharing what is REALLY going on in our lives. This afternoon we had the international surivor day. This was the second year in a row that I have attended. I have a few relationships from that event that have been essential in me processing the loss of my brother to suicide. We must rid society of the stigma about suicide and mental health. I believe part of the answer for this is through relationships.

How can we utilize relationships to make a difference in suicide awareness and prevention? I believe that each of us who have been directly impacted by suicide can share our story. That is part of the purpose of this blog. My life mission is to share my story and to express that there is hope. Hope for those who are struggling and hope for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

If this post touches you please comment either on the blog post or on facebook. Also, you can send me a direct message through facebook or an email. My email is Nate@wagnercounselingservices.com.

Please know that I am here to support you in whatever way I can. Regardless of how far away from Harrisburg PA you are I would like to help. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel (and it's not a train). Reach out to someone and if you don't have anyone in your life please reach out to me. Let's not try to do this alone... let's go through this together.

I am writing my memoir on my experience coping with my brother Brian's suicide. It has been on hold, but I believe that I will start writing again before the end of the year. Thank you for reading. Please let me know questions you have or how I can help.

UPDATE: book is published and can be found at amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1533305072/

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What really matters?

I find that I often worry about and focus my attention on things that don't really matter in life. Something that I have been reminded about often in the past few weeks is the reality that "when I say 'yes' to something I am saying 'no' to many other things." For example, it is almost 9pm on Saturday evening and I am choosing to blog about my thoughts. There is a lot of other things I could be doing. I could be cleaning up the house. Doing dishes... getting ready for tomorrow, but I've chosen to write this blog and get my thoughts down.

So what's important in life? One thing I know is important is my relationships with my family. I know that when I'm on my death bed, I won't be too concerned about the petty things, but developing strong relationships will be top on my list.

I so often worry about what other people think. This is silly because if I just try to make others happy I won't be able to do that and I'll be miserable myself. Not a good plan.

My life mission is to eliminate the stigma of mental health and suicide. I'm still working to figure out how I can work with others who have the same mission. I do know that being willing to talk about the reality that I lost my brother to suicide 13 years ago is a start.

This desire is personal and professional. I know what it was like for me to go through the grieving process (and I'm still grieving as I was reminded this afternoon at a funeral of a 13 year old girl that I never met who took her life). I want to be there for those who are struggling with these difficulties. I'm not afraid to talk about suicide and depression.

I've reached out to my church to support the youth group and those who are struggling to make sense of this sudden loss. I don't have all the answers, but I have an understanding that can only happen through personal experience. Please reach out to me and I can connect you with resources in your area (if you're not in the Harrisburg/Hershey area).

Thanks for reading. I am writing a book about my experience of losing my brother to suicide 13 years ago. I put it down so that I could focus on supporting my family through the birth of my second child (both daughters). I am almost ready to get back to it.

Thanks for reading and let me know how I can help you.

Life is short at a funeral

What type of legacy am I leaving?

What really matters?  I find that I often worry about things that don't even matter.

Together we can make a difference and eliminate the stigma related to mental health and suicide.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

thoughts... about losing my brother to suicide (13 years ago)

Last year I officially started the process of writing my book Sibling Suicide: Journey From Despair to Hope. The purpose of this book is to share my journey through losing my brother to depression. Brian was my only sibling and he took his life July 25, 2002. I put the book on hold due to my family expanding. It is almost time for me to pick it back up and make the necessary additions and revisions so I can share my story with you.

If you know anyone who has recently had a suicide loss please give them my information. I would love to talk with them and share the hope that I have. I am a better person as a result of making lemonade out of the lemons.

The result of losing my brother to suicide I also experienced my parents divorce. There are some tangible things that I did and I want to share that with you.

My thought is that I will create a short .pdf or e-book to share some of my best tips or suggestions.

If you want/need to talk to someone about this, please reach out to me at wagnercounselingservices@gmail.com

Thanks!

Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015

Today is the eve of my 35th birthday. I haven't been writing much. I have been focusing on building relationships. I don't have much to say today, but I thought it would be good to write again since I haven't written in this blog since July 2015. I don't anticipate this birthday being difficult. I have seven scheduled therapy sessions tomorrow between 1pm and ending at about 8pm.

Sure, I miss my brother, but my birthday was never really a big deal for him. Now I just wish that I could call or talk to him. I appreciate all the incredible friends I've made over the past few years.

Running is my top coping skill for handling this grief. Even though I lost my brother to suicide 13 years ago, it still hurts, but not as much as it did immediately following his death.

I am so grateful for all that I learned through this experience. Clearly I wish Brian was still here, but all the pain I have experienced has made me better suited for helping others through difficult situations.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to me as I'm comfortable talking about my brother dying by suicide. My passion is to end the stigma associated with Mental health and suicide issues.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

13th anniversary of Brian's death

Today my heart was heavy. The date of July 25th has been ingrained in my brain. 13 years ago I found out that my brother took his own life. By this time of day (8pm) I was in shock and disbelief. Today I coped with this loss by spending time with my family. I let a few of my friends know what I was feeling today and they were all very supportive.

The text that stood out was one that mentioned all that I had accomplished since that difficult time in my life. I've managed to earn my Bachelors and Masters degree. I've gotten married and we've had two daughters. I'm a licensed professional counselor and work in my ideal job. Not to mention that I've run several 1/2 marathons and 3 full marathons since Brian's death.

Overall, I am choosing to make lemonade out of the lemons that were given to me. I'm writing my book on how I have coped with his death (currently on hold for now until life settles down a bit). I am grateful for all I have learned and the incredible friends I've made over these last 13 years.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3, 2015 Brian's birthday

Today would have been Brian's 37th birthday. This is the first time in 12 years that this day has impacted me. I believe that this day is difficult because I am reliving my memories in my book.

Today I am grieve what we were unable to experience together.

My focus today must be positive, but it doesn't come easy. I haven't had time to cry or really process things.

I have been blessed with several friends who have posted on Facebook and have sent me texts. This is what I need.

Please understand that I don't have it all together.

I write that I want to stay positive. It normally would come easy, but not today.

Thank you to my friends who were willing to enter into my grief. I'm not asking for any answers, but just for those who would listen... just a little bit. And let me know that you care.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Visit to grave this morning Feb 2015

Today I visited Brian's grave.  I know he isn't there and that he's in heaven, but there is something different and special about going to the grave.  I noticed the different sizes and types of grave stones. Something that stood out to me is something that my dad said as we were driving home.  There is a start and end date... the part that matters is the dash.  It makes me ask how I'm spending the dash.

That brings me to the point of this post.  I went to the grave site to explain to Brian, my brother, that I have a greater understanding and appreciation for what he went through during his last days and hours of his life.

The tone of the letter was completely the opposite of last time (12 years ago).  Last time I was angry.  This time I was compassionate and much more understanding.

I write this to offer you hope.  As time passes and your process your emotions things can get and will likely get better.  Feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk about your experience or what you are feeling.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

waiting... author bio and cover

The last thing I want to do in regards to working on this book is wait.  It is what I must do, but this week I read through my manuscript and I made some changes to make it make more sense.

This week I want to work on my author bio and my cover ideas.

I am determined that I want this book to be finished by my 35th birthday... Sept 1, 2015.  I think this is completely doable.

Thank you!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Manuscript complete: version 1

Just over 24 hours ago I finished my first draft of my book.  I poured my heart and soul into it.  I believe that in a lot of ways I gave birth to this book.  I labored many hours and had a ton of difficult scenes to write in the book.  I sent it to my editor yesterday.

So where do I go from here?  Well, for one I'm going to take it easy in regards to the book.  I'm not going to try to add anything until I get some feedback from my editor.  I'm going to let it "percolate" for a little bit and go back to it with fresh eyes.

I also am going to check into publishing options.  My guess is that I will self-publish.  I want to have paper copies to sell and I will make it available in the kindle format too.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Memoir manuscript

I'm making awesome progress on my manuscript.  This is been an incredible experience.  I am learning a lot about myself through it.  I have a huge amount of work to do before next Monday, Feb 2, 2015.  This is my self-imposed due date for the manuscript to be as complete as possible.  I will be sending it to my editor.  I am super excited about this.  My book is going to be my primary focus this week.  Since I blogged last I discovered that my niche for my practice is going to be based on my book.  This is very scary, but also very exciting at the same time.  There is such need for sibling suicide support.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sample of questions


Why am I so sad?  
Specific lessons learned:
-       I just lost my only sibling to suicide.  How else would I feel?
-       This would take a while to go through, but that I would be stronger on the other side of the grief.

Why do I have to go through this?  
Specific lessons learned/insight:
-       This really is not for me to know the answer.
-       A possible answer is to help others in similar situations through counseling.

How do I cope with this?  
Specific insight:
-       I take it a day at a time and I process things daily.
-       I provide myself with opportunity to relax.
-       Exercise, journaling, and being willing to express emotions to friends.

How can I minister to others when I feel so needy myself?  Why does life have to be so hard?  Why does this have to be so painful?
Specific insight:
-       Take care of myself before taking care of others.  Don’t try to have all the answers; just be with people.
-       No one ever said life would be easy.
-       I won’t feel this way forever.

Why do I hate life so much?
-       It’s probably more that I’m just so confused about life and that life is not going the way I wanted.

Why do I not understand?  
-       I don’t understand because I’m not meant to completely understand.
-       Life is tough and I do not understand at this moment, but clarity takes time.

Why does it seem like my faith is not strong enough to get through this?
-       I never went through anything like this before so I did not know how to handle things.
-       This does not mean that my faith is not strong enough; it just means that I need to rely on my relationship with God and others more.

Why didn’t I know Brian better?  
-       He did not let me.  I tried very hard by doing things that he liked, but he never let me truly into his life.