An Open Letter


I came across an open letter to shoppers who consoled a woman who had an emotional breakdown in response to a call from her brother. The call informed her that her father had taken his own life early that morning.

The woman, Deborah Green, abandoned her full grocery cart in the entryway of Whole Foods. She started to scream and cry as her whole body trembled and she fell to the floor as her knees buckled. Strangers who were entering Whole Foods to do their grocery shopping could have simply stared at her as they passed her by but instead they surrounded her as she yelled through her sobs,  “My father killed himself, he’s dead!”

Someone asked for Deborah’s phone and inquired as to who they should call, her password, and her husband’s name as they searched through her contacts. An urgent message was left for her husband to call her. The group of strangers discussed among themselves who should drive her home in her car and who would bring that person back to the store. None of these people knew Deborah but they worked together to help her in any way they could in what she calls, “The worst moment of my life.”

Deborah was able to say that she had a friend who worked at Whole Foods and one of the strangers brought the friend to her. As she sat with her friend, one of the kind strangers sent over a gift card to Whole Foods. This gift card fed her family when she couldn’t find the emotional strength to cook.

Deborah never saw the person or persons who reached out to her in the bleakest moment of her life but she says she will never forget them. It strikes me that in the moments after the phone call from her brother, a time when no one should be alone, Deborah was surrounded by selfless, caring individuals.

I found this story reassuring that all the hatred, strife, bitterness and anger that is going on in our country currently has not destroyed the compassion of those who were brought up to reach out to someone who is hurting whether it be family, friend or stranger.

Original story by Deborah Green from as published in Reader’s Digest, November 2106.


Useful Mental Health Lifelines

    Hotline List

    Hotline List

    Resources when and where you need them.

    We’ve Got Friends Who Can Help

    Worried about a friend? Dealing with some issues of your own? There are trained people who can help.

    If you are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police station.

    General Crisis Support by Text

    Crisis Text Line: Text SUPPORT to 741-741 (24/7). Our trained counselors can discuss anything that’s on your mind. Free, 24/7, confidential.

    Other Hotlines

    Depression & Suicide
    The Trevor Project Call 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM EST)

    Dating Abuse & Domestic Violence
    loveisrespect Call 1-866-331-9474 (24/7)
    Chat Online with loveisrespect (7 days/week, 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST) or text loveis to 22522

    National Domestic Violence Hotline Call 1-800-799-7233 (24/7) Email the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7)
    RAINN: Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Call 1-800-656-4673 (24/7) Live Chat with RAINN (24/7)

    Child Abuse
    Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
    National Safe Place Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)

    Runaways, Homeless, and At-Risk Youth
    National Runaway Safeline Call 1-800-786-2929 (24/7) Live Chat 7 days/week, 4:30 to 11:30 PM CST
    Home Free Family reunification program provides free bus tickets to eligible runaway and homeless youth.


    Running Away

    When I hurt someone, I have difficulty coming to terms with it. How do I handle it? I run away. I think that I need to protect that person from me. I have been doing this over and over again for the past 20 years.

    My intention to stop blogging was due to my feeling sure that I had hurt a friend blogger deeply with a comment. I reached out to them and haven’t heard back. Why am I telling you this? Because having done a lot of deep introspection, I have come to believe that the child in me runs away but the adult needs to face up to her transgressions. This isn’t the first time that I believe I have hurt a fellow blogger. Fortunately, I have been able to make immediate amends yet this goes very deep for both of us because we make ourselves vulnerable in our blogging.

    So what is the answer? I can hope that my friend will eventually be able to confront me. Regardless, I think I need to do as I have had to do in the past and hold my head up and keep putting one foot in front of the other until the child in me can forgive herself.

    To my other fellow bloggers, please know that though it has never been my intention to hurt or offend, I may have. Please understand that it is never my intention to hurt anyone. I am a compassionate person with a quick Irish temper who is very opinionated because I am a deep thinker. My take on situations is often very hard to understand but know that I have taken apart every situation and analyzed it to death. I have to look at all sides because that is my nature. I try to be fair in my assessments and have a tendency to be overly honest.

    That being said, I try to help when help hasn’t been asked for. Reaching out is not always a bad thing but as I have stated before, ask first if help is desired. When I started blogging, I had no idea what direction it would take, it just happens. It has been a good tool for me to come to terms with my past. I do want to spend more time educating myself and going in a different direction with my writing. Therefore, I will be cutting back on my blogging. I will also be refraining from comments in order to take away the gifts offered in your posts without making it about me. Yes, it will be difficult for me but I have to pull up my big girl panties and learn to be courteous in my blogging.

    Yes, I do know that there are bloggers who have gained from my writing as I have gained from theirs which is why I am returning to my blog. I hope you will understand.



    Anti-Depressants and Psychotherapy

    I have had people tell me that they do not want to take anti-depressant medication because it will cause them to be unable to cry. I would suggest that anyone who has this experience should check with their doctors or get honest with themselves. I have been on anti-depressants for many, many years and I have no problem crying when emotion calls for it yet I do not cry constantly with no clearly discernible reason as often happens with untreated depression.


    Many people do not understand that depression is not always situational. There are those of us who have a chemical imbalance that brings about depressive  symptoms. When depression is situational, most people are able to stop therapy or taking anti-depressants after the situation comes to a resolution or they come to terms with the outcome of the situation. However, please be aware that getting off anti-depressants is not something that should be done without the guidance of a medical doctor, psychotherapist or psychiatrist who will instruct the patient in the best way to taper off the medication.

    I have a friend who refused to take anti-depressants because she didn’t like the way they made her feel. I spent time with her after our not seeing each other for a while and she was like a different person. She was happy, positive and upbeat because her doctor put her on an anti-depressant that worked for her. My sister has gone off her anti-depressants from time to time because she is very health conscious and didn’t want to take pills. She has gone back on them every time because if you need them, you need them. Unfortunately, there are times that a person has to try several different anti-depressants until the right one for them is found. It is understandable that one would get frustrated and want to give up but when the right medication is found, it is worth the necessary journey. There are anti-depressants that I cannot take because I metabolize medications slowly or because they aren’t a good fit for one reason or another. The medication my friend has found that works so well for her is one that I cannot take. I have had it prescribed and/or suggested by doctors because it would seem to be the perfect medication for me but it has the undesired of inhibiting my focus.

    Another thing about anti-depressants not always understood is that it is sometimes beneficial to change to a different brand or strength after a period of time. I have changed several times over the years because there is a more current, more effective or more beneficial drug or strength for me.

    I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

    There seems to be a stigma about psychotherapy just as there is about anti-depressants. That stigma can be quite dangerous because depression can14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-men destroy not only one’s quality of life but can destroy one’s life itself. I have also heard that some will stop psychotherapy because there comes a point when they cannot stop crying. This is a valid point because emotions that have been stuffed inside or ignored are released by talking through experiences or opening up about thoughts and/or needs. This phenomena is referred to as “getting your feelings” and is an important point in therapy. Rather than being something to be avoided, it is a desired effect of therapy.

    Anti-depressants are so widely prescribed these days that some researchers think that the symptoms could be caused by poor diet, lack of sleep or evolving changes in the environment. I believe those could be valid causes as I also  believe that the tendency to have depression can be passed down from generation to generation as mine seems to have been. In Ala-non, we learn that when you have a sudden and/or temporary change in mood or experience depression-like symptoms, you might ask yourself if you are hungry, lonely or tired. I have found that any one of these three conditions will cause me to experience a temporary anger or depression.

    If you are hesitant to seek treatment for your depression, I encourage you to re-visit your decision by doing research and having a discussion with a physician or psychiatrist. You may be in serious trouble long before the realization hits you or even worse, it may not hit you until it is too late.




    14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-menI don’t think many realize that grief is not just about the loss of a person to death. There are many types of losses and each loss is as important as the next. The most difficult losses for me are the loss of a relationship or of a dream. I don’t know about you but in my earlier years I thought it would be easier to lose a love to death than to lose them in life. To lose someone who is still living, you know that they are still out there living their life without you and it not only hurts but it can give you a sense of desperation.

    In order to truly accept a loss, we must grieve. If you do not grieve, you will keep running from the feelings and someday, somewhere you will blow up and wonder where your reaction came from. It is referred to as “coming out sideways”. “Coming out sideways” is when your reaction to a situation is actually due to emotions left over from a past situation that have not been dealt with. When you don’t grieve each loss, the emotions build up until you can no longer contain them and they have to come out somewhere.

    Grief is not fun so we often try to avoid it by putting our attention to other things or any other thing. In crisis counseling, many callers had a situation they had not grieved. It could have been the loss of a job, a friendship, a home but whatever it was, they would admit that it had an impact on their lives and left unresolved emotions. Each person grieves in their own way but there is a model that grief typically follows and it is referred to as The Seven Stages of Grief and are as follows:

    You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. YouTetsu420full798969 may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

    As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable 2592pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

    You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your  loved one. Life feels  chaotic and scary during this phase.

    Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, aI am O.K. today.

    long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

    During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

    Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for 7822968-gay-couplethe death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.


    As you start to adjust to live without your dear one, your life becomes a images.duckduckgo.comlittle calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.



    As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you stock-photo-young-blonde-needlewoman-fitting-dress-on-dummy-248408176will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

    During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to12358046-vector-illustration-of-justice-scales accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

    You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

    Recover from

    Though this version of the model covers loss through death, it can be applied to any type of loss. When you experience an anger or depression for which the reason cannot be pinpointed, ask yourself “What is missing?” and/or “What has changed?”. You may have to think back in time but there will more than likely be some feeling that you have been avoiding or running away from.

    Rather than thinking of crying as being a weakness or self pity, see it as cleansing. Crying is a release of pent up emotion and is healthy.