Thursday, March 14, 2013

Barbara Swanston Finds Ways to Bring Awareness of Depression and Suicide

photo by Jean Ann Williams

We're back with our last day of interviews with Barbara Swanston. I've sure enjoyed getting to know Barbara.

What is your purpose, Barbara, and how do you hope to accomplish it?

I speak out to end the stigma around mental illness and suicide. We need to let people know how the stigma and silence surrounding mental illness and suicide contributes to those deaths. We must not let silence prevail in the wake of tragedy. We must speak out and replace the stigma with compassion and understanding.

I want to open people’s minds so they can open their hearts and make the UNspeakable speak-able. 

My deepest hope is that I can help to eliminate the stigma around mental illness so no one will feel so ashamed, worthless, or hopeless that they complete suicide rather than seeking help.

And that no one will ever know the excruciating pain and suffering of losing a loved one to suicide again. 

Then my beautiful boy, my Terry, will not have died in vain.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our dear readers that may help them in their grief journey, or that they could say or do to help a friend who has lost a child to suicide?

You have experienced one of the most tragic losses anyone can suffer. Be gentle with yourself. Find people who will support you and listen to you. Look for support groups, either in your community or online. Don’t rush it. Grief is exhausting, it is hard work and it takes a long time. 

And if you know someone who has lost a child be patient with them, don’t rush them, let them talk about their child, listen to them. Mourning is the external expression of grief and it truly helps when people have an outlet to mourn, someone to talk to.

Is there a spiritual component to your grief journey?

I believe we are all connected and that energy, thoughts and actions impact ourselves and everything around us. I find meditation very helpful, a way to find some peace. 

Barbara, thank you for participating in this week’s Love Truth blog. I’m sure you have helped others with your wise words.

Father, thank You for sending Barbara my way. I pray a blessing over her and her ministry. In Jesus' holy name. Amen.

Until next time . . . Mothers After Loss, unite!

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