It’s scary when we start something new

We don’t know if it will work or not. We don’t know if people will believe in our dream as much as we do or will. We don’t know if we have the right qualifications or enough qualifications. We don’t know what the reception will be or whether anyone will care at all. We don’t know if we’ll be able to meet the right people, make the right contacts, build something with meaning that will also help pay the bills. We are all alone. And when I say we, I mean me. Maybe you too, if you’re throwing yourself into a new project, or career, or life, or country. Maybe it’s just a new haircut. Change is scary.

But if not now, when?

If I don’t change things now, when will I?

On October 11, 2023, the same day my mother died from terminal cancer, I decided it was time to end my silence. More than that, it was time to actually do something and make a difference.

Let me explain. Since 1987, when my teenage brother died by suicide, I didn’t talk openly about him or his death to protect myself because in the beginning when I did tell people, some of them pummelled me with horrible chastising words. I don’t need to share those words with you here. If you are like me, a suicide loss survivor or a person with lived experience of suicide, you know what I mean.

So when Mum died, I decided to change and focus my writing on suicide prevention and raising awareness about suicide. I also decided to become a public speaker on suicide prevention/awareness.

Are we ever ready?

We are never really ready for these big leaps, yet if we don’t take them all we’ll have are regrets.

Do I know how to write? Yes.

Am I an accomplished writer? I guess.

Do I have an MFA in Creative Nonfiction? Yes.

Do I have a Tiny Love Story in The New York Times? Why, yes I do.

Do I have journalistic experience with public speaking in large groups? Sure.

Do I know what the fk I’m doing? Let’s just roll with it and see what happens.

And that’s how I decided to do the safeTALK course, a workshop by LivingWorks that teaches us how to be suicide alert, as well as discusses the appropriate behaviour and language to use for various circumstances. There were moments when it was difficult but overall I felt I was in a safe and supported community.

It was the first concrete step to the scary next bit.

Will it work? I don’t know, but I hope so.

Are you a person with lived experience of suicide or suicide loss?

You are my people.

What would you like me to write about?



* CANADA. Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call or text 988 (or 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for 24/7 bilingual, trauma-informed, and culturally appropriate suicide prevention support. For more information: The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

*AUSTRALIA: Lifeline Australia: Call 13 11 14 or Text 0477 13 11 14 (6 pm-midnight). For more information: Suicide Prevention Australia.

* UK: Samaritans: Call 116 123 for 24/7 support; Childline: Call 0800 1111. 

*USA: Call or Text 988. Suicide & Crisis Line.