“We need a head-shot,” was the last talking point in my conversation with AMTA during that phone call in Spring. They needed a head-shot of me, to use in communications for the upcoming 2018 National Convention in Washington, D.C. Hmmm, I wondered. It seemed such an ambitious task for someone who is so ordinary. “Okay,” I replied.
A week later, my friend Maureen Lanious, LMT joined me for a special program our hospital was offering at a local library to parents living with moderate to severe perinatal mood disorders or psychosis. I am the Integrative Health Coordinator at Crouse Health and am responsible for patient, community, and professional health & wellness education. Maureen, a woman of many talents and a history in education, was facilitating our session for the day, offering a therapeutic writing class for the parents.
Before we entered the building I asked Maureen to take a ‘head shot’ with my camera at the entrance. I liked the wood grain background; it revealed a natural vibe. Click, click, click sounded as I tried to look like a seasoned character. Surprisingly, the pictures were perfect for my taste and I decided to relay them to AMTA. Honestly, it was gratifying to know the picture was sincere and authentic, captured by an amateur and rendered without editing. I took delight in seeing it for the next four months in print materials and on websites.
Ironically, I would see that wood-grain background again, but this time it was for a tragic reason. A mere 4 days after my August 11th AMTA Convention presentation on Veteran’s Massage, on August 15, a young man crashed his car into the library, just feet away from the spot I stood for my picture months earlier. The young man died as a result of the accident and our our community was immediately shocked and saddened by the news. The accident occurred just weeks before he was to start college. He was known as a ‘great kid’ with talents in the arts, and who was loved by many. And if our hearts couldn’t sink any more, we learned the accident was deliberate.
This photo, provided by a Syracuse article, shows the wood-grain background on the right. It seems such a paradox that the site for my head-shot, an event was so positive in my life, would later become a site of such tragedy. Paradox? Yes. Coincidental? No. So much of my work is dedicated to helping Veterans and non-Veterans who live with severe anxiety or depression. I’ve spent the past several years nourishing my intrigue of A&D by reading texts, interviewing health professionals, attending training, and digging up research.
Why the coincidence, and what is my ‘takeaway’ from this incident? Everything happens for a reason. No. There are no accidents in the Universe. Nope. You (me) were put there for a reason. Yeah, no.
My ‘takeaway’ is that it is an absolute coincidence and I can allow myself to be sad, to process it, and to learn from it. My ‘takeaway’ is that suicide is not ‘trendy’, it is always present around us. It does not discriminate in it’s reach, and hoards many who grieve at it’s destination.
Going forward, these photos preserve my humility. I now care less about ‘my picture’, caring more about his picture and his story. I am dedicated more than ever to help others who live with anxiety and depression. Although I do not know this young man or his family, I applaud their efforts in raising awareness. Speaking from experience, my training and preparation has been used to help others during intense situations. I encourage others to join me in rolling up our sleeves and learn more about suicide. None of us are shielded from this epidemic.
IM Practitioners are welcome to join us at Crouse Health on Wednesday, 11/7/18 at 6:00 pm for a special Suicide Prevention Training called QPR Gatekeeper provided by Contact of Syracuse. The program is free, expected to last 1 1/2 to 2 hours and will offer 2 CE’s for massage therapists. Please sign up here to join us.
Take a few moments sometime this week to learn more by visiting the following sites. If you don’t have time now, consider scheduling it in your calendar sometime this week.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline
- NYS Suicide Prevention
- Web Resources provided by Contact
- NY Times Article How Suicide Quietly Morphed into a Public Health Crisis
- Post-Partum Resource Center
- Perinatal Family Support Group in CNY
- Veteran’s Crisis Hotline – National
Disclosure: I, Nicole Miller, M.S., L.M.T., receive no funding or financial support for any of the information presented in this article. Sources listed are ones that I share with students and clients both nationally and here in my area, Central New York. Many topics presented are dedicated to Veterans, Women’s Health, and Family Support as a result of my areas of interest and experience. This post was drafted by me, and is not an official opinion or recommendation of Crouse Health.