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A suicide left a permanent mark on my life – Don’t do it, get help!
Apr 1st, 2010 by Liza Wiemer

Catherine – She was beautiful.

I actually couldn’t wait for my parents to leave the house, because it meant that Catherine was coming over.  She didn’t babysit; she came over to hang out.  We did art projects, enjoyed ice cream, walked to the park in the summer and skated in the winter.  I loved to watch Catherine meticulously cut out paper and Modge Podge the image onto a rock we found on the beach.  She layered paper and created the most awesome collages.  She spoke to me like a friend and seemed to always be interested in what I had to say.  I totally wanted to be like her.  Her golden hair was long, straight, and shiny; her skin was flawless and like porcelain. I loved the attention she gave me, and I hated it when she left.  One of the last things I remember asking her was when I would see her again. She said, “Tomorrow.”

I remember waking up excited. Catherine was coming over.  Would we paint?  Would we cook?  Maybe a treasure hunt?

But she didn’t show up.

I was confused. Where was she?

Catherine had killed herself the night before.

She had sat in her parents’ car in the garage, turned on the ignition, and let it run until she inhaled enough carbon monoxide.  She was dead.

Dead.

Never coming back.

I was devastated.

It’s been over three decades since Catherine killed herself, leaving behind her parents and five sisters.  I’ve never forgotten her.  I loved her.  And I was just a small child.

It hurts ‘til this day.  I was just the kid she babysat – but she changed me long before that fateful day.  She loved me back.  I am certain that Catherine never truly knew how much she meant to me, that I would miss her, and think about her even after all these years.  She was the best – and she didn’t even know it.

How many Catherines are there in this world, thinking about killing themselves because life’s horrible?  Because the world is closing up around them?  Because they’ve been bullied and they can’t take it anymore?  Because of pressure so great it seems unbearable?  There are so many reasons why teens think about suicide…

PLEASE DON’T DO IT!  Please get help – NOW.

Don’t leave a trail of broken hearts.

DON’T KILL YOURSELF – please.  You are important, you are valued, and loved – you may not even know how much.

Get help.  Talk to a relative, teacher, counselor, friend, minister, rabbi, neighbor. Don’t stop until someone hears you and helps you.

Here is a number for you to call:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvjEmRBuKiU&feature=player_embedded (A video on for suicide prevention)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGcGfPgLOc0&feature=player_embedded (A young woman talks about her sister’s suicide)

http://tinyurl.com/yzt2dj9 (An article on cyber-bullying and suicide, by Cindy Springsteen)

Do You Give Away Your Personal Power? TAKE IT BACK!
Feb 22nd, 2010 by Liza Wiemer

WHO CONTROLS YOUR LIFE?

Oh no, Mr. Bill! Who's intimidating you?

Dear Liza,

Love your blog.  I have a story I need to share with you.  I know a beautiful, confident, bright college student who has always been well-liked, dated guys she wanted to, and had a close circle of friends.  She had and has a lot going for her.  

After high school, she moved out-of-state for college and everything changed.  She met a guy that she fell head-over-heels for and after a few months things started going downhill.  He started to control her life – who she saw, who she talked to, where she went, and he called her cell-phone a million times a day to check up on her.  He even moved into her apartment.  He used her car and stopped working. 

Pretty soon she lost all sense of herself.  This once confident girl has no longer saw how special she was and is.  I am telling you this happened very quickly, surprised her parents, and all of her friends.  No one would have ever thought she would become prey to an abusive boyfriend, but it happened. 

She has had a happy ending.  She was able to get him to leave her apartment, and they gradually broke up.  It wasn’t easy.  Fortunately, she was able to come out of this experience with next to no physical scars – emotionally it was a lot harder. 
Just wanted to share this with you, since others can definitely learn from it.

Best, BH  

This story is a very important one, not just because this scenario happens every day, but also because it epitomizes a key problem for a lot of us.  Nearly everyday I interact with people who are struggling with feeling out-of-control, vulnerable, or victimized.  I’ve experienced it too.  Getting out of these situations are not easy, but it can – no – it must be done!

Who or what is consuming your life?  Are your thoughts, conversations, and emotional wellbeing focused on negative interactions?  If yes, you have little or no control over your personal power. 

Are you sitting down, ‘cause I have EARTH SHATTERING NEWS! Lol! You’re a human being, not an alien, not an angel, not perrrfect!  We’re here on earth to grow, to make a difference, to change our lives for the better, and help others.

Don’t give away your personal power. 

Don’t give away your personal power.

Don’t give away your personal power.

Here’s the thing.  The minute we start seeing ourselves as less than someone else, when we live in fear, or when we are overtly critical of others, we give away our personal power.  Someone else consumes our thoughts, emotions, energy – and the direction we ultimately take in life can be deeply influenced by our perceptions.

Scenario 1 – You have a friend who is critical of almost everything you do – what you wear, who you date, where you go…  All of a sudden you can’t make any decisions unless that person approves of your choice. 

Scenario 2 – You have spent half of your life arguing with your brother/sister and the other half not speaking with him/her.  You hate him/her, you’re sick of him/her, s/he’s just mean, mean, mean.  Well, maybe you luv him/her, because after all, s/he is your brother/sister.  But, s/he’s destroyed your life, hasn’t cared about you, forgotten your birthday, been totally insensitive to your needs, and s/he’s a selfish, rotten brat!  Oh, and the whole world is going to know it too!

Scenario 3 – Pressure – you feel pressured to have sex with your boyfriend/girlfriend or hook up without any commitment to any relationship/friendship. 

Scenario 4 – You live in fear, stuck with whatever you’re doing because you would rather not take any risks of changing.  After all, you might make a bad choice, worse than the already bad scenario you’re in now.  You hate your job or school, but why change if the next one might be worse?  You’ve got an abusive boy/girlfriend, but no else will love you, right? Fear keeps you stuck in dead-end relationships.

Scenario 5 – Abuse – you’ve been emotionally, physically, or sexually abused and the painful experiences consume your life.  Does s/he deserve your nearly endless energy/emotions/thoughts directed toward him or her?

TAKE YOUR PERSONAL POWER BACK.  We’re human beings.  Unfortunately, not everything in life is going to be perfect.  As I said, if it were perfect, then we would be angels. 

WE DO HAVE PURPOSE AND MEANING in our lives.  I am a firm believer in using whatever God-given talents we have to make this world a better place.  No one is meant to be the same as another.  Do we want to be a force for good or for… – No, I don’t even want to think about it. 

NO VALUE TO YOUR LIFE?

One of the saddest things that a person could say is that s/he has no value, no meaning, or purpose in his/her life.  I hear it more often than you could ever imagine.  Perhaps it’s because we are looking for something so grandiose that we lose focus of the small things that make a difference?  I’ll never forget standing in line at the grocery store before a major holiday.  The lines had to be fifteen people deep when I noticed a woman struggling to unload her cart.  A baby was sleeping in her arms and a toddler was fidgety and whining.  I walked from the back of the line to the front and offered my help.  The look of gratitude in her eyes and the relief I saw on her face were unforgettable.  As I zigzagged back to my cart several people said that they thought about helping her too.  (Obviously, they didn’t.)  It was a simple act, but it had value for me, and hopefully for the woman, too.  We can all do these simple acts of kindness. 

What are your talents?  How are you using your skills to make our world better? 

When you are in control of your personal power and use it for good, a spark of light shines in the darkness.

So, who have you given your personal power to?  How has it affected you?  How are you going reclaim it? 

Maybe you need to say, “No, I don’t want that drink.”  Or, “I want to go home (even tell the person you’re not feeling well – believe me, you’re not lying – cause you’ll feel a lot worse if you do something you don’t want to do!)

Maybe you need to say, “Yes, I am breaking up with you!”  “Yes, I can work one night this week and on Sunday, but I am trying to get into college so I need time to study.”

What words do you need to practice, say, and follow through on?

Perhaps? “I’m tired of being angry all the time.”  “I am not going to spend another minute thinking about how so-and-so hurt me.”  “I am in control of my life and with whom I interact.”  “I will no longer associate with so-and-so.”

These are just a few suggestions.  I know it’s not easy.  If you find yourself struggling, please speak to a trusted teacher, minister, counselor, or professional.  It’s time to take back your personal power!

Hope this helps! 🙂 Liza

Teens/YA Binge Drinking, Hook ups, and Self-Esteem
Jan 25th, 2010 by Liza Wiemer

TEENS/YA BINGE DRINKING, HOOK UPS, AND SELF-ESTEEM

Okay, I’ve been thinking about this for quite awhile and decided I just had to blog about it!

Who or What is Driving You?

Lately I’ve been hearing more than the usual from teens and YA about the binge drinking that has been taking place on campuses and at high school parties.

Here’s what several eighteen-year-olds have told me.

Some of you love to drink.  You love the feeling of getting buzzed; you love having the pressures taken off of you by drinking, and though you end up spending the night throwing up in a toilet, it is still worth it.  It’s worth it, even if you sleep it off the next day, all day.  You’ve told me it is a right of passage and a personal entertainment choice, something to do with friends.  I can’t say this makes me happy.  I wish you would find other, more healthy ways to entertain yourself.  On a side note – I just learned in my CPR class (January 26, 2010) that those who are vomiting after binge drinking should be watched carefully.  There is a higher chance of choking on vomit under these circumstances, and if you are alone, you may not get the care you need!

From several teens and young adults (ages ranging from fifteen to twenty) you shared the following situations with me:

You drink so much that you don’t remember what happened to you.  Your friends (who can still stand) take care of you, bring you to the bathroom, clean you up, and make sure you get food in you.  Some of you are hooking up, and you don’t even remember them.  You drink so that you can hook-up, because without the alcohol you would never do it.  Unfortunately, the morning after leaves you feeling empty and lost.

I’ve been privileged to talk with you about it and it’s clear your self-esteem is so low, that it breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart because I think you’re amazing.  I think you’re beautiful – inside and out.  I think that you are incredibly bright, gifted, and have so much to offer this world, but are making bad choices – especially when it comes to drinking.

A few of you have been raped.  A few of you lost your virginity in ways that you have said were totally degrading.  (In the bathroom at school – not cool.  Or, at a party with others watching.)

The lipstick rings placed on the guy’s penis while others watched and cheered?  You barfed in the toilet shortly afterward…  That brought tears to my eyes…  You felt totally degraded, but pressured into doing it.

You got so drunk that you couldn’t move out of the snow bank.  Thankfully, a friend found you before you froze to death.

A few of you have gotten into a car with a drunk driver – and you lived.  I am so glad that you are alive, because you have so much living to do.  If you hadn’t been drunk yourself, you never would have done something so stupid.

I wish I were making this stuff up.   I wish that I could magically make it all disappear, but I can’t.

Here’s what I can tell you.  It’s time to put this behind you.  It’s time to stop, and it’s time for you to know that you have control of the choices you make, and you don’t have to repeat them.

You tell me that you have a reputation now – one you can’t live down – so you just continue with the same behavior, because that is what is expected of you.  But I have to tell you that I know you’re better than that, much, much, much better.  I’m not saying that it is going to be easy.  It’s lousy and unfair.  But it also is life.

The only way to change is if you make a choice to take action by not participating, by saying no.  Respect yourself because you deserve it!

If you need someone to listen or if you have questions, please e-mail me.  I will, G-d willing, be here to cheer you on!  Because no matter what, I believe that you are truly amazing.  whoRuBlog@aol.com

A note from Liza:

Right before I was about to post this blog piece I saw the following article from my aol home page:

TEEN BINGE DRINKING MAY CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE – Sphere News

http://tinyurl.com/ygv39cp

To learn more about self-esteem issues, please click on the following link: http://www.whorublog.com/?page_id=79 or if you would like to learn more about the five barriers that can influence your life, please click on the following link:  http://www.whorublog.com/?p=12

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