ARE YOU OK? The day has been over for a year, but the message it conveys should be a daily reminder, according to Demi Rowe, who knows the reality of suicide all too painfully.
The awareness campaign means a lot of things to many people, but for Ms Rowe, the meaning and meaning run deep.
She lost her brother Iszac to suicide on June 10 this year, just two weeks before his 24th birthday – a birthday he shares with her mother.
Spreading awareness of suicide and its ramifications is something Ms. Rowe’s family has talked about frequently since Iszac’s death.
She believes there is a lot of misconception and stigma surrounding mental health and suicide.
“Many of these only became clear to me and my family after we experienced the loss of my brother,” Ms Rowe said.
“It is not a weak or selfish decision for someone to take their own life. It is difficult for people who have never had mental health problems to understand or understand how people can choose to end their lives.
“It also doesn’t make sense for people who think logically, and we can’t apply logic to a decision like that.
“When people choose to take their own life, I have found through talking to professionals and my own research that they experience a sense of calm: calm that their pain and suffering will end, and a calm that they believe in that they do will no longer be a burden to their friends or family.
“Does that mean it’s the best decision? Of course not! But if you look at suicide from a compassionate perspective, you can see that when a person is experiencing all-consuming sadness, pain, or fear, they simply want their pain to stop.”
Ms Rowe said her brother is seeking professional help and is “doing the right things”.
“He had plans for his house, a shed construction arranged and paid for, his animals and lots of love and support. He just needed more time. More time, which unfortunately he didn’t give himself,” she said.
Earlier this month, Ms. Rowe reached out to her CrossFit family with a workout honoring Iszac.
She wanted to work with her trainer, Dirranie Kirby, at CrossFit Geraldton, but returning to the club after being laid off for such an important event wasn’t an easy decision.
“Coming back to CrossFit for RU, OK? Daily training was a mix of emotions for me after a long period of absence,” she said. “They welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. The Iszac workout was so carefully put together by the CrossFit crew and included 23 to commemorate my brother’s age and 8 to denote the number of people in Australia who lose their lives to suicide.
“Dirranie gave such a touching introduction to the training that it brought tears to many, including me and her. I cannot thank them enough for their efforts, love and support.
“Exercise has been such an integral part of my own mental health journey and there is extensive research into the positive effects it can have on mental health. So if you’re stuck in a difficult headspace, try a walk or some other form of exercise that you can tolerate. even five minutes.”
Mrs. Rowe had this message for those who were struggling in the church. “Just keep going. Give yourself credit for the little things. Got up today? Big! Got a load of laundry? Even better! You’re not a burden no matter what your mind tells you. The world is no better off without you. The World needs you. Your family needs you.
“I needed my brother and I always will. I miss him every day. Sometimes I have to take minute by minute every day. But I know I have to move on and achieve his dreams and plans, and that’s what my family and I will continue to do.”
Ms Rowe also wanted to draw attention to the importance of language use in the context of suicide. “The word ‘committed’ suicide implies that the person committed a crime,” she said. “These people have committed no crime; You have made an extremely difficult decision for yourself and your family. Instead, when we talk about suicide, we can say things like “killed by suicide” or “died by suicide.”
Ms. Rowe and her family do not feel alone in this struggle as they are supported not only by family and friends but also by professionals like StandBy who have helped her understand her brother’s situation, process emotions and have difficult conversations , have received tremendous support with people about stigma, language use and mental health.
“When you’re struggling or you sense a partner is having a hard time, the best thing you can do is talk. Listen without judging. Listen without trying to give someone a solution to all their problems or telling them “she will be right”. She is not allowed to. keep talking. keep listening Keep looking for help. . . one day, one hour, one minute, one second respectively. The sun can’t stay hidden forever and eventually it will rise again,” she said.
“I miss my brother and love him and I always will. He is now pain free. The pain may rub off on me, my family, and his buddies, but if anything, his death should make people realize that a lot can hide behind a person’s smile and Larrikin ways. Ask your friends if they are okay and be prepared to listen.”
CrossFit head coach Dirranie Kirby said they did RU OK? fundraising trainings previously and she asked Ms. Rowe if they could organize a training in honor of her brother this year. She said the awareness day and the topic of suicide spoke to her personally and professionally.
“As a person who, like me, offers a service that is not only about physical health but also about mental health, RU OK? means not just asking the question and opening the conversation, but listening to the answer, giving people time and a place where they feel safe,” she said. “I lost friends to suicide; I have close friends who suffer from depression and know how important it is to have someone to lean on.”
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Standby 1300 727 247