Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It Was My Shameful Secret (this week I get real)

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to share something with you that you may not know about me. It's something I kept as a secret for years because I felt shame about it. Until my friend Karen committed suicide in 2010. That's when I decided I could not - and would not - hide my secret any more.

If you've read
my About page on my website you know that I'm upfront and honest about suffering from life threatening depression 12 years ago. But most people don't know the details: that in 2002 I spent 7 days in a double-locked psychiatric ward of a hospital on suicide watch,
followed by 4 weeks in an out-patient program. That's when I was reintroduced to art through art therapy and my creative, and spiritual, journey began.   

Infinite Love, 12x12, Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas, sold
I'm telling YOU this because I didn't tell Karen, my friend who ended her life. In the four years since her death, I have rehashed our last conversation over and over again in my mind. I can't help but wonder, if I had shared the truth about of my journey, could I have saved her?

I know that we are each responsible for our own happiness and the choices we make. But I think of Karen often and wonder, if she had known about the lows I had endured and the challenges I had overcome, could I have given her hope to live another day, and then another…

I’ll never know. But it’s my hope that by sharing my story of choosing life, when I welcomed death, and starting over again, and then again, that I will inspire someone, somewhere, to give life a second chance.

And I’m going to be brutally honest with you. My life, since my dark night of the soul, at certain stages over the past 12 years, actually became more difficult before it got easier. I had several failed relationships between my two marriages. A couple of business startups failed. I was sued. And I went through bankruptcy. 

But I kept going and I continue to. I’ll tell you why. 
A Good Cry, 20x20, Acrylic & Mixed Media on Canvas, sold
The night I was hospitalized, I had a mystical experience. I’ve since come to learn it was an ADC, an after-death communication. My maternal grandmother had lost her battle with cancer 4 months earlier. I laid on the floor of my house at the time, in the fetal position, holding my bottle of antidepressants in one hand, my car keys in the other, and the intention in my mind to swallow all of the pills with booze from my (first) husband’s liquor cabinet, and then lay down in the back seat of my Volvo in the garage while I waited to slip out of the life I felt stuck in.  

It was a foolproof plan. My husband was in Japan on business. No one would find my remains for days. But as I laid on the floor, in the fetal position, sobbing, I felt as though someone wrapped a warm blanket around my back. I was alone, and yet, I felt as though I was being comforted. Then telepathically I heard my Grandmother’s voice, “This isn’t the life you’re supposed to be living, but it’s not your time. You need to get help.” And so I did.  

I’ll save the details of how I went from experiencing a visitation from my deceased grandmother, to admitting myself into a double-locked psychiatric ward of a hospital for another post. But what I will share is that since my friend Karen chose to make a different choice, to choose death instead of life, I have felt that it's my soul’s calling to shine my light so that others may find their way again.

Whispers Through the Veil, 12x24, Acrylic, $457
Available for purchase through Sync Gallery in Denver

Everything I do – from the paintings I paint, to the blogs, essays, and magazine articles I write, to providing my Creative Life Coaching services – is with the deepest hope and desire of my heart and soul to inspire others to not only live life, but to live life fully, joyfully, and creatively. 

There are no accidents. You are here for a reason. No matter what the circumstances of your life, your presence is needed. You are here to love and be loved.  

With help comes hope. If you, or someone you know, is feeling helpless or hopeless, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

You CAN begin again! I'm living proof.

Live and live creatively,

P.S. Last week's blog, "The One Question that can Change... EVERYthing" is going to be reprinted in the August issue of Science of Mind magazine! If you missed it, you don't have to wait until August. Read it here.


  1. Thank you for sharing a bit of your soul here! It was so helpful to me a few years ago, when I first read about your journey with depression. You've been a lovely bright umbrella in the storm of life. It is greatly appreciated. Enjoy your time off! You're amazing! :)

    1. Thank you Indigene! I appreciate all of your support over the years. Keep shinning YOUR creative light! xo