Trigger warning: This book talks about suicide.
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My most recent listen on Audible was “Stop Surviving, Start Fighting: Insights Into Depression and Suicide From Someone Who Has Been There” by Jazz Thornton. It’s a heavy subject but one that we can all learn a lot about through this book. Thornton is someone who has experienced severe trauma and attempted to take her life many times. This book tells her story about fighting through this and becoming a mental health advocate.
One of the insights I learned from this book is that sometimes people live in crisis mode out of fear of abandonment and to keep people from leaving them. This is not the case for everyone, of course, and it does not mean someone is attention seeking and not geniune in their crisis. It means that they have become used to being in crisis mode. In the chapter called “Straight Talking” she gives tips on how to talk to someone in crisis.
She also addresses the the harmful belief that people in crisis just want attention and the flaws in the mental health system. Even health professionals held this attention-seeking belief and that’s unacceptable and damaging. It can prevent people from seeking help. In Thornton’s experience, resources were sometimes needed for kids deemed to be in more of a crisis, so she often did not get any followup after care. She also learned how to say what she needed to say to be released from care. This means others may be doing the same and not getting much-needed help.
It’s inspiring that she turned her mental health battle into a project that helps others and shares their stories. Her project involved getting herself and others to read their past suicide notes and then share a letter to their past selves about how they are glad they lived and how it got better. It was powerful to hear.
Overall I think a lot can be learned about suicidal ideation and mental health through Thornton’s story. It can be hard to hear sometimes, so I took breaks. Have you heard of Stop Surviving, Start Fighting?