Today marks ten years I left a 4-month suicide watch outpatient program. I now look at what I have been through with gratitude and the awareness that I have a lot to offer in helping others suffering from mental health issues. There is so much I learned through the years from my own experience but also from being in a program with twenty other individuals. It takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to write this but, considering what we are dealing with these days, I see this as my duty and my way to serve society.

Why am I writing this now? Because I am a survivor of suicide attempts and trauma related to child sexual abuse, parental alienation, verbal abuse, rape and more. I not only have survived but I have healed a lot of my wounds and in this process of healing I have created a life worth living. Through therapy, holistic practices, the right use of medication and a lot of studying, I find myself happy. I no longer live my traumas and I no longer get triggered by them. All this to say that healing is possible.

To this day, mental health issues are considered taboo. Yes, we have come a long way but many still believe seeing a therapist or psychiatrist is for the so-called “crazy.” To this day, many who suffer from mental health issues are unaware they have a condition. I understand that and I can relate since I only learned of my depression, anxiety, and PTSD after I was admitted into the group in 2012. You are probably wondering how that is possible. What I can say is that a lot of what we do, how we live, work, how we interact with others and certain behaviors are clear indicators of predispositions to mental health conditions.

Instead of telling you what to do, I invite you to ask yourself the following seven questions. Answer them without judgement. Ideally write these questions at the top of the page of your journal or a notebook. Yes, healing takes introspection and honesty.

  1. Did I have a healthy childhood?
  2. What do I consider a healthy childhood? Understand that abuse can become normal to the abused and be considered normal and even happy.
  3. Did I suffer any kind of abuse?
  4. How was my relationship with my parents when I was a child?
  5. How is my relationship with my parents now? If they are deceased, how do you feel about them after their passing?
  6. What is my relationship with drugs and alcohol?
  7. What is my relationship with God, Source, Universe? Was that influenced by family?

After introspecting on these questions, ask yourself the following:

  1. How’s my sleep? Do I sleep through the night? Am I feeling rested? Do I wake up at night?
  2. Am I eating and drinking enough fluids? Alcohol does not count.
  3. How’s my libido? Too high? Too low? There is no need to be in a relationship to answer this question.
  4. Am I taking care of my basic needs? Am I doing things that make me happy and get me excited for the day?

You may be scratching your head and wondering what in the world is going on? Well, to my surprise, when I was admitted into the suicide watch program, these were the questions that the psychiatrist asked me. Depression and anxiety walk hand in hand and the diagnosis is based on simple questions of how we are dealing with life today. The seven questions above relate to trauma. Obviously this is a very condensed version of what I can share. However, based on your answers to the questions above, you will be able to be honest with yourself and determine when you need to see a therapist. Note I didn’t say IF but WHEN. I believe everyone could use therapy. It serves all of us to work with professionals we trust and who can listen to us and observe certain patterns, behaviors and conditions. If you ask me the age, I honestly would say that all kids would benefit from having a child therapist.

I know this is scary. When I answered the questions and the doctor told me I was depressed,, I freaked out. I really freaked out when he told me he would be taking me out of work immediately. My first question to him was: am I crazy? I was mortified. I had a two year old child at the time. And I was so consumed with work. How would I leave everything like that? How and why did I need to be in a group? Looking back that was the day my life changed and a new one began. A life where I didn’t think of “not being here” when any little thing didn’t go my way. That was also when I learned not everyone thought about killing themselves. My group therapist used to say: “thinking of dying is not normal. That’s your normal.” I was so confused.

Here I am, ten years later. I wish I could say the path to healing was an easy one. It wasn’t BUT every single day was worth it. Every rock bottom was taken as an opportunity to learn and grow. I had to rewire my brain and become a new person. One who understood what healthy living meant. I had to learn boundaries; I had to learn to respect my body; I had to learn to enjoy my own company; I had to learn how to be in relationship with myself and with others. I finally learned what toxicity and abuse were. When you grow up in a dysfunctional environment, all that is normal to you.

As I write this, I have a broken foot and I am about to go to Greece to teach yoga. None of that bothers me. I am actually grateful things happened as they did. I have learned to look at things differently and to be grateful for every challenge. Why? Because I know there is a lesson and only I can choose how I live. I can sit and complain or I can ride the wave and go with the flow. This awareness drove me to meditation and later to yoga. Let me be very clear and honest, healing takes work. It is a daily commitment to yourself. At first it can be tiring but you learn to have a support system, teachers, guides and practices that sustain your well being. Do I have lows? Absolutely! Thing is, I don’t stay down. I acknowledge my feelings, I sit in meditation, I write in my journal, I cry, I go to therapy. I don’t mask my emotions with anything. I feel them and I listen to my inner knowing. The challenge here is that when you suffer from certain traumas, they can show up to you as “intuition.” I am still working on this one, I confess. Hey, I am a work in progress.

To all of you suffering from burnout, trauma, depression, PTSD, anxiety, you name it, know you are not alone. Know that the path to healing exists. My one advice, if I may is: it is crucial to study, read books and learn about the brain, self awareness and anything that can help you learn about yourself. Yes, you have to fall in love with learning because you have to learn how to reinvent yourself as you work with your therapist and psychiatrist. The more you learn, the more you see that you have options. Not only that, you become a crucial part of your own healing.

May your journey be filled with experiences and people who make you believe in the world we live in!

Much love,


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Dial 988

No Thumbnail

There is not any newer post !


Simone Santos

I am Brazilian by birth, American by heart! I created Cool N Chic with the intent of spreading the message that we are all "cool" in our own and authentic ways. Cool N Chic was created to bring people of all backgrounds together through mindfulness, self-development, healthy living and the desire to be fearlessly authentic. Even though I created this blog, it is not mine. It is ours and I welcome you, your wisdom and your energy.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Translate ยป