Suicide Prevention & Awareness Part 3

This three-part series is meant to promote suicide awareness, and we will be discussing suicide throughout. If you are feeling suicidal & need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK – and get some support. There are also a ton of resources throughout this post. I truly hope you will stay alive and stay with us. 

suicideprevention
You are vast and needed.

On a personal note, thank you for your beautiful response to part 1 and part 2 of this series. I’ve been blown away by the love, kindness, and support I’ve received – both from my closest friends and from strangers worldwide. These blogs have been very challenging for me to write, and you’ve made this labor of love so incredibly worth it. It’s clearer to me than ever that we’re ready to get together & come up with creative ways to prevent people from dying by suicide. 

In part 1 of this series, we covered some suicide facts & research, and I shared some of my personal opinions on the topic of suicide. 

In part 2, I shared my experience with a recent bout of my own suicidal thoughts, including the steps I take to stay alive through those moments. (The same steps I use to thrive through any challenge in my life). 

Today, we’ve got a lot to cover, so you might want to bookmark this to take it in bits & pieces. (Plus, you might want to save for easy access to the resources)! We’ll be talking about all things suicide prevention:

– The current research and which methods are working well. 

– Protective factors; things that make people less likely to die by suicide.

– My thoughts about how each and every one of us can prevent suicide as we move forward.

…And, I’ll leave you with even more resources-a-plenty so you can get support whenever you need it & learn how to better support others. 

These sections are clearly marked so feel free to skip down to what you’re looking for.

Here we go:

The current research in suicide prevention says…

One important thing to note is that everyone is different. There are MANY different options available to us when we’re looking for help. 

Suicide is complex. There isn’t one cause or one solution; usually, not even within one person. 

This variability is what makes prevention efforts tricky, and also what gives us so many choices for how we can impact this issue.

There are great things happening in suicide prevention and there are things that each of us can do.

The best prevention methods for the elderly (primary care evaluation) are different than for teens (support groups, family therapy, school-based prevention), and best practices for preventing veteran suicides are even different still (VA based evaluation & crisis planning). I absolutely love this article which breaks down the recent prevention research by risk categories.

What I noticed here is that good suicide prevention requires strong access points.

Where are suicidal people already connecting with other people and with service providers? How can we support these people where they already are? How can we start a conversation about suicide in those places? 

Since most suicides occur in the working-age population, workplaces can be a strong access point for suicide prevention.  

If you’re a business owner or manager, I’m talking directly to you here – you can understand your role in suicide prevention and foster a workplace that reduces stigma by encouraging connection, communication, fulfillment, and mental health.

This is not only helpful for preventing suicide in your employees. You’ll be better supporting any employee who’s lost a loved one to suicide, and anyone who deals with a mental health issue at any point while you’re managing them. Believe it or not, this likely describes at least 50% of your employees. (Maybe including you).

You can help your employees be aware of these warning signs in their coworkers, and provide training that addresses suicide in the workplace.

(Feel free to schedule a conversation with me if you’d like to talk more about this.)

Healthcare & community services provide a great access point, too; indeed, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has created a Gatekeeper Training for these providers with this in mind.

Faith communities are another common gatekeeper for issues like mental health & suicidal thoughts. (We’ll come back to faith in a minute).

I believe that each and every one of us can be an access point to prevent suicide when we know what to look for and how to have these conversations

Something else that seems clear in suicide prevention research is that limiting access to lethal means, like guns, really does have an impact on reducing completed suicides

This is a big opportunity for us to reduce suicide. Firearm deaths accounted for 50% of suicides in 2016.

Many people think that someone who’s suicidal will just find another way, but a lot of research shows that isn’t true.

As I mentioned in Part 1, the decision to commit suicide is often impulsive, so reducing someones ability to access a gun or lethal means while their fleeting impulse passes can literally be life-saving. 

Even if a person *does* find another way, they’re more likely to survive a different type of attempt, and most people who survive a suicide attempt never attempt again.

Another trend in suicide prevention is an emphasis on responsible media reporting when portraying the topic of suicide. There are guidelines in place for reporting on suicide & blogging on suicide.

Avoiding calling the suicide hotline because you don’t like talking on the phone? No longer a problem. Online resources are springing up to support us emotionally when we need it the most. This can be especially helpful for certain technologically-inclined risk groups, like adolescents.

As this psychiatrist suggests, we need to be willing to take a long hard look at the *real* causes of suicide, rather than chalking it all up to hormonal imbalance as we move forward with prevention. An antidepressant or antipsychotic is not always the answer to prevent suicide.

There is no one cause of suicide.

Many, many issues contribute to completed suicides – homelessness, accessibility of healthcare, health issues, and poverty, just to name a few. We need to address all of these things (and more) as we continue to approach this issue.

Factors that make us less likely to die by suicide

We can all practice & encourage our loved ones to practice these things to prevent suicides.

Good healthcare is important, including behavioral health such as a therapist and/or psychiatrist. (Here’s a video I made a couple of years ago about choosing good providers.) We should all put the best possible healthcare in place for ourselves, and encourage our loved ones to do the same.

When it comes to support, the more the better. Surround yourself with empowering people and invest in yourself when it feels good and right for you.

Strongly developed life skills, including emotional coping skills, problem-solving skills, resiliency, and adaptability when change hits are protective against suicide. Good self-esteem, a consistent sense of self, a sense of purpose in one’s life – all protective against suicide, so they’re also worth prioritizing, too. (Mental Wholeness could help strengthen all of these).

These programs are reducing suicide in North Dakota, by both teaching life skills and fostering supportive connections.

The importance of connection can’t be overstated. Feeling connected to friends, family, and community – and feeling a sense of belonging to those groups – is essential. Here’s some great information about how connectedness relates to suicide, and we’ll come back to connection in the next section.

Finally, holding strong cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide is a protective factor. On the other hand, strong religious beliefs causing shame & guilt or feeling cast-out by your religious group can be a risk factor too, so this one isn’t always straightforward. We’re going to talk more about spirituality in the next section.

My suggestions for preventing suicide today

First & foremost, if you have weapons or lethal means in your house, keep them safely locked up & secured, please. Seriously. As I mentioned before, this is a huge opportunity to prevent suicide with minimal effort. Especially with children/adolescents around, or if you have people with mental health challenges or substance abuse issues in your home, this is a must.

Familiarize yourself with the warning signs, so you can better identify and open dialogue when someone you know who might be at risk.

Prepare your knowledge about suicide prevention resources in case someone who needs your help opens up to you. Congratulations – if you’re still reading this blog you’re already off to a great start! I’ll leave you with even more resources at the end.

Once you’ve covered those basics, I believe your best steps to contribute to suicide prevention today are:

Address the parts of your mind that contribute to stigma.

Your mind is very powerful. You are creating your own reality every single day whether you realize it or not. You have the ability to shift & change the way your mind is working for you.

It’s all too common to dismiss ourselves and others as being crazy, as attention-seeking, or as being lazy… whatever-the-hell judgment we find suitable to put on ourselves & others.

On autopilot, we operate on subconscious patterns & beliefs that keep our needs met in a very, very basic way – like “stay alive” and “keep love” without distinguishing the kind of love and life that we *really* want to create for ourselves.

When we interact with people, our patterns and beliefs are impacting them too, even if we don’t realize it.

When you feel love, understanding, and acceptance of the topics of mental health and suicide, you will become a safe place where people can connect with support. That effect will spread out all over your world.

We need to become aware when we’re perpetuating the narrative that mental health or suicide is weird, scary, and bad – something to be avoided altogether.

We need to adjust our expectations of ourselves and others to be more realistic & supportive for our overall mental health & wellness.

Mental health and wholeness don’t always look like they “should”. It might not mean showering every day, having the energy to say “yes” to every invitation, never watching TV, exercising every day, or even getting out of bed every day.

What matters most is how we feel. What matters is that we’re able to discern what feels good and right for us, and are able to act on that knowledge.

We need to let go of harsh judgments of ourselves and others to create a world where everyone is free to be themselves.

The truth is that almost half of American adults experience mental illness in our lifetime, and every single one of us has mental health to think about.

Some tangible action steps to apply this:

  • Make more time to meditate
  • Seek more acceptance, understanding, and forgiveness of yourself and others.
  • Free write about your perception of mental health. What does mental health mean to you? Have you heard stories about this in your communities and from society? What do YOU think?
  • Do your own independent research on mental health with an open mind (rather than relying on misinformed beliefs). Email me at info@briannamcinerny.com if you need some recommendations to get started.

Create your life based on your intuitive guidance & nudges from something greater than yourself.

Spirituality has become kind of loaded in our society, and I believe it’s hurting us.

Just because someone doesn’t practice or doesn’t want to practice religion – including mainstream spirituality – doesn’t mean they can’t develop faith in something greater.

For me, when I’m feeling suicidal, or when I’m at my lowest and loneliest, my connection with myself and my faith is always at the center of my experience. When I’m willing to go ever deeper with myself & my calling, those suicidal thoughts simply cannot survive.

Will you connect more deeply with yourself & a greater purpose? Will you encourage other people to do the same?

My lowest moments are offering me my clearest next steps. They’re providing me insight into exactly what I care the most about, providing my marching orders that I can use to impact the world with my passion and my natural gifts.

These moments are my opportunities to discover and flex my psychic strength. They’re the moments when I feel closest to the “other” side and the moments when I feel most sensitive – the perfect opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of my purpose & my unique sensitivities.

In those moments, I only need to hold on, stay patient, and be open to the messages that are ready to come through… from deep inside of me, AND from a purpose-driven force.

We can all live our lives like this and support each other through this process. It’s a path of really deep fulfillment and almost constant awe.

When we’re grounded in ourselves and driven faithfully by a higher purpose, we create ripples of meaningful change in the world.

Some actions you can take to connect with yourself and something greater (maybe God, maybe the Earth, maybe the universe – what calls to you?):

  • Find what’s special inside of you and use that gift.
  • Be generous with your love, caring, and energy – start by being generous with yourself.
  • Get outside and bask in the wonder of nature – whatever kind of nature you prefer.

From there, connect on a deeper level with the people around you. 

I often see people sharing about suicide awareness and encouraging all of us to check on each other, especially in the wake of very public, unexpected suicides like Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, or Kate Spade, or on days geared towards awareness.

My questions for you:

Do you really check in on your people? When you suspect someone is suicidal, do you ask them directly about it? And, if you do, are you really ready and willing to hear the truth – without necessarily trying to jump in and change it?

Are you prepared to listen & connect with that person without judgment?

If you’re the person receiving a reach out, and maybe you’re feeling suicidal – are you willing to go deep with yourself to receive the love from the people around you? Are you willing to connect to the universe & find strategies for coping that work better for you?

(No bad answers here – just awareness).

It’s shown time and time again that connection is an essential part of our life.

Lack of connection is a risk factor for suicide, and feeling connected to others is a protective factor. Connection is a spectrum we ALL fluctuate on at least a little bit – we all feel lonelier in some moments and more loved in others. 

Prioritizing true, deep connection, for many of us, is not what we’re used to.

We’ve been raised in a culture that places more value on competition than connection. 

Relationships are messy. We won’t always have the right words or know how to address each other, especially when times get rough.

What we need is a willingness to sit vulnerably, honestly as ourselves with each other – without walls, without judgment.

We need to be willing to engage around the topic of suicide when the situation calls for it.

When we can ask each other openly about suicidal feelings & talk about suicide without fearful emotional responses, we’ll be better able to support each other on a regular basis. 

If we all focus on connecting more deeply with the people around us, we’ll have an impact on the issue of suicide. 

It’s time to be intentional about shifting our values towards deeper connection as a society so that we’re able to love each other and lift each other up consistently.

Some action steps to get you connecting on a deeper level: 

  • Reach out to someone who’s had a huge impact on you and let them know how you feel about them. Say thank you.
  • Give someone a call and ask for their help on something small. Then, ask if there’s something you can help them with in return. Observe and report back – info@briannamcinerny.com.

Suicide is a global, collective, social issue. I hope that we can keep putting our heads together to prevent needless deaths by suicide.  

Here are some additional resources you can use to get information, get support & become better at supporting others. 

Bring change to Mind – https://bringchange2mind.org/about-bc2m/

Know the Signs – https://www.suicideispreventable.org/

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center – https://www.sprc.org/

Suicide Awareness Voices of Support – https://save.org/

Befrienders Worldwide: https://www.befrienders.org/

Samaritans Boston – https://samaritanshope.org/

World Health Organization comprehensive report on suicide prevention – https://www.who.int/mental_health/suicide-prevention/en/

International Association for Suicide Prevention – www.iasp.info

Big White Wall – https://www.bigwhitewall.co.uk/

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://afsp.org/

Veterans Crisis Line – https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/ 

Contact USA Lifeline Crisis Chat – https://www.contact-usa.org/chat.html

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education – https://save.org/ 

National Center for Health Research – http://www.center4research.org/suicide-awareness-prevention/

And, if you’ve lost someone you love to suicide, here’s a resource offering support and guidance for survivors.

Would you like to stay in touch with me? We’d love to have you over in my free FB group, The Cocoon. Or, shoot me an email and let me know what you thought of this series – info@briannamcinerny.com. I would love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading. I hope to connect more with you soon.

Stay Alive: Suicide Awareness & Prevention Part 2

This three-part series is aimed at promoting suicide awareness, and we will be discussing the topic of suicide throughout. If you are feeling suicidal & need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK – and get some support. I truly hope you will stay alive and stay with us. 

We started this conversation back in part 1 – you can find that here. 

This is the face of someone who thinks suicidal thoughts. 

This photo was taken hours before a recent bout with my own suicidal thoughts… about 2 months ago.  

I’ve talked a lot publicly about how I *used* to be suicidal. It’s true – I used to be much less stable than I am today. I’ve also talked about my relationship with my first love who died by suicide. Indeed, that journey has been foundational to the person I am today. 

But, this doesn’t really reflect the whole story. 

When this picture was taken, I was mid-business strategy event that I’d traveled many miles to attend. Instead of leaving the event inspired that day, I felt defeated.  

Extremely low on myself, I felt like I had a million miles left to climb. I wasn’t sure I had what I needed to keep going. I felt alone, duped, abused, abandoned. 

On the drive back to my beautiful AirBnB, random thoughts about dying started to pop in. 

It’s been quite a few years since thoughts like this took over my consciousness with such strength. They surprised me on this day when they decided to come back for a visit.

I was surprised because I’m in a better place mentally, emotionally, and physically than I have been in years… maybe in a better place than I’ve ever been. 

I’m surrounded by family and friends almost every day, in a healthy and happy relationship. I love my home, my pet snake, my work, my life in general. At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m pretty blessed.

On this day I was shocked to find that none of it seemed to matter. 

In those moments, it didn’t matter that I really want 200 more years to live on this earth, enjoying the people, places, and things that I love. 

It didn’t matter that I’m incredibly lucky and incredibly loved by a surplus of my closest people. 

I reached out for support – and I received it. Even that didn’t matter. 

It felt like nothing mattered, nothing was worth it. It felt like *I* wasn’t worth the air I was breathing. 

This was an old familiar feeling of deep self-loathing… it settled in and wouldn’t shake. 

I ate dinner alone at a bar, brimming with tears, furiously writing in my notebook, a million miles away from home. Two hearty glasses of wine subsided my tears and lulled me to sleep at a decent hour, until I woke up at 2:30 AM feeling frantic, crawling out of my skin. 

I texted my boyfriend. He called me to talk, but I was too irritated to receive the support he was trying to give me. He wanted to understand what was happening, but I couldn’t get my words out about what I was feeling. I was too upset. We both hung up even more frustrated than we were to begin with. 

I felt so betrayed by life. It felt like my loved ones & the world at large would be much better off without me. I felt so tired, so ready to give up. 

Grasping for any sense of connection to myself and the universe that I could find, I stayed awake well through that lonely 4 AM hour.

I prayed, I packed, I paced, I wrote, and I eventually soothed myself to sleep.

Clearly, I stayed alive.

The long 9-hour drive home the following day gave me time to reflect & refocus. Really, I’ve been reflecting on this experience ever since, and my passion for suicide prevention is being reborn. 

I’ve come to the conclusion that eradicating these thoughts is a fool’s goal. 

Because, from my experience, over my relatively short life so far, my feelings only seem to get sharper and deeper over time. This is especially true as I welcome in my physical and emotional experience more and more. 

As I welcome more and more good things into my life, and I feel new levels of awesomely blissful, loving feelings like I’ve never felt before, I also feel new depths of “low”. I believe that’s normal and OK. 

I’ve learned over the years that regardless of my mental stability and strength, which grows stronger every single day of every year, death will still come to visit me.

It’s often on the tail of my best day ever that my worst moment comes knocking. 

Feeling a vast, deep array of emotions, the full spectrum, is an essential part of my creative process. 

Maybe this is who you are, too.

When I judge myself as sick or wrong when I have these low experiences, I stifle myself creatively and I dig myself a deeper hole that becomes harder and harder to get out of every time.

Those judgments breed shame & secrecy… and I’ve learned that anything that conjures shame needs a flashlight shined on it. (That’s what I’m doing here today).

Even though I can’t permanently erase these thoughts from my brain, I’ve found ways to grow stronger through them. 

My tools and my choices are what keep me alive during these moments, so I’d love to share a few of those with you now. (These are the same basic steps I apply to all of the personal & professional project work I do with my clients). 

Cocoon

Cocoon is all about nurturing a rock-solid connection with yourself, that allows you to be your own constant in a constantly changing world. It’s all about leveraging your mind, body, and energy to become the strongest possible version of yourself, so you can magnetize your dream life to you. 

This self-connection is incredibly essential for me when I’m facing my own darkness. 

It is so important to have a system for self-connection to fall back on in these moments when life feels life is falling through your fingers. (I love my Mental Wholeness system for this).

In trying moments, you will not be in your most resourceful state to learn something new. You need to know how to shift yourself to get there. Well practiced steps, that become your normal every day of the week, can literally be a lifesaver in these moments when it counts the most. 

For me, in the instance I described above, this looked like writing and dumping all of my thoughts down on paper. Acceptance is one specific strategy I use; for starters, I accepted the way I was feeling and I welcomed the expression of my emotions rather than pushing them away. I leaned on my emotional alchemy process to work through the emotions that were coming up. By walking to and from dinner and soothing myself with a cold cloth on my forehead & neck to help me fall asleep, I connected with my body. I leaned into a sense of trust that by following my own process, I’d allow everything to work out perfectly for me. 

Create 

Create is all about partnering with all-that-is to get all-the-things done – as opposed to feeling the need to figure everything out and make everything happen all alone. Faith is very much at the core of this phase… even if the only faith we’re talking about is faith in ourselves. 

I’ve found that surrendering to something greater than myself is an essential component of navigating through moments like these. 

Even as I sat at the bar, eating dinner alone & writing in my notebook, I recognized that this was an opportunity to more deeply understand the highly sensitive creative folks that I’m passionate about supporting. I believed that the universe was trying to show me something important.

I apply every experience – especially the difficult ones – to my purpose, allowing myself to gain more clarity about how I can serve a purpose in the world. 

After years and years of practicing this, I instantly know that my challenging moments are a gift that can highlight my way forward.

My drive to serve people with my life has kept me alive more times than I can count, and partnering with the universe to do this is what *really* makes life feel magical… even when the dose of guidance I’m receiving is hard to swallow. I opened up to receiving the wisdom available to me through this experience, and, that’s when the inspiration for this blog series was born.

Connect 

This is all about connecting with other people because our connections are what life is all about.

Being connected to others is a fundamental human need. More than that, our connections with other people allow us to receive the things we want most in life – love, abundance, opportunities, impact, etc.… we become much more fulfilled, happier, successful people when we’re able to connect and collaborate easily with others.  

On the night in question, for me, connecting looked like smiling at the bartender through my tears, taking his suggestion regarding the salad I ordered, thanking him for his guidance as I enjoyed my dinner. It looked like having a conversation with the man next to me, whose wife was in the hospital after a sudden stroke. I stayed connected with my boyfriend throughout the night, including our phone call that I mentioned earlier. Even though I wasn’t able to receive his support, communicating with him was enough to remind me that there are people who deeply care about me. That felt very important.  

Another essential part of using my connection to others as a support during this time is a decision I’d made long ago, after feeling the effects of losing someone I loved to suicide… I *know* the pain that suicide causes, and I decided that I will never inflict that pain on my loved ones. After years of practicing this choice, I remember quickly, even in the moments when my brain is telling me that I’m a burden to them.

My connections to myself, to the universe, and to my people – and the strategies I use to intentionally maintain those connections – help me stay alive and thriving every day. 

These three steps work. You’re probably already taking some of them yourself, and I hope that you will start practicing more intentionally right away. 

That being said, we are only scratching the surface here. There is so much more where this came from, so many specific strategies that can help you make these concepts real in your life in a way that fits perfectly for you. 

Investing more time, effort, and resources into strengthening these skills for yourself is basically like taking an insurance policy on your life and your success. 

When you practice these concepts, you will allow yourself to stay alive & stick around for the people and projects that mean the most to you. You’ll develop a winning formula to really show up as the best possible version of yourself in every situation. Maybe most importantly, you’ll discover exactly how you can easily set your life up right now to support that most positively influential version of you. 

If you’re interested in learning more from me about this, join my free Facebook group The Cocoon.

You can also simply connect with me on social media (YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter), or email me at info@briannamcinerny.com if social media isn’t your style. I would love to hear from you. 

If you are feeling suicidal & need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK – and get some support. I truly hope you will stay alive and stay with us. 

I’ll be back soon with the final addition to this three-part series. We’ll be looking towards the future of suicide prevention, exploring what mental health & stability *really* looks like, and more. 

Thanks for reading. Talk to you soon. 

Toxic Masculinity

toxic masculinity

I drew this about a year ago and called it Toxic Masculinity.

I see the masculine side of myself conditioned to drive out every ounce of my feminine – in the name of productivity, accomplishment, success, etc…

This patriarchal mindset is a tough one to shake. 

“Toxic Masculinity” goes so much deeper than most people think.

It’s all about the way we view and value things that are on a more “feminine” side of life – emotions, surrender, spirituality, sexuality… 

What do you view as “feminine”? And, how do you feel about those things?

Toxic Masculinity works inside of all of us – even more so when we aren’t aware of it. 

This shows up as…

Being overly competitive with each other.

Calling ourselves lazy, and being unable to enjoy downtime.

Ignoring our own intuition & emotional guidance, going against our natural cycles.

It shows up in the way we encourage men to be men in our culture – suggesting that “being a man” equates to having zero emotion & being completely detached from/in control of our feminine side.

We can’t swing to the other polarity – over valuing feminine and casting out the masculine sides of ourselves. We need our drive, intellect, focus, decisiveness, confidence… 

A more balanced approach is called for. 

We can…

Support our inner masculine to show up & provide for our inner goddess.

Encourage our inner masculine to refine & follow our own feminine guidance.

Allow our inner goddess to relax into the safe structure our masculine provides.

This looks like…

Accessing intuition AND taking inspired action.

Putting strategies & systems in place for ourselves that create room for us to flow and grow. 

Creating an organized life that provides regular times for us to shut off, AND knowing how to actually relax & restore ourselves when that time comes.

When we approach life from a place of balanced masculine & feminine energy, we become more powerful and fulfilled in all areas of life. 

I would love to help you along your way with this… 

I’m offering a repeat performance of my free, virtual class Transforming Dark Moments into Opportunties for Expansion – Tuesday 5/14 @ 12 PM EST. 

Click this link for more info & to register.

I’ll share three specific strategies that will help you embrace a healthy masculine/feminine balance, so you can be an even more powerful and effective version of yourself.

Finding energetic balance is extremely helpful in moving gracefully through dark moments, and masculine/feminine balance is a part of that.

I hope to see you there!! 💜

Celebrate Each Other: Shifting from Competition to Collaboration

When you notice someone else talking about “your thing” – how do you feel?

Your thoughts & feelings in these moments say a lot about where you stand in relation to your goals & how fully you’re expressing yourself in the world.

If seeing others working well your field makes you upset, jealous, or even angry… Perhaps you don’t feel heard or valued as an expert yourself yet.

Those feelings originate in you. You aren’t listening to yourself. You aren’t valuing yourself.

Maybe in these moments, you feel like you could do it better than they are, you have something more to contribute. In that case, do it up! Get to work!! Get yourself out there and hop to contributing – we need you & the gifts you bring to the table.

I used to feel a pang of upset & jealousy when I heard people talking about topics like mental health & wellness, emotions, creativity, inspiration, leadership, spirituality, etc… Seeing someone else shine at “my thing” would make my chest tighten up and I’d start questioning everything.

Now, I quickly feel excited and encouraged when I see or hear about someone else killing it in my field.

I think things like …

“People are clearly interested in this topic.”

“I would love to do that – this is proof that it’s possible for me, too!”

“What a great approach! Maybe I could try that/collaborate with them/learn from them.”

“Maybe that person would be interested in what I’m doing, too.”

… And I consciously wish for them to have even more success and all of the abundances their heart desires, so they can keep providing amazing things to our world.

There’s more than enough to go around.

The truth is, we need to work together to create the world we want.

It’s a big world, you’re only one person. I’m only one person.

Let’s stop competing and start deeply connecting, so we can work well together towards our common goals.

The first step is sorting out your own hangups, so you can collaborate with ease (especially through challenges & disagreements), celebrate the success of others, learn quickly through challenges, and keep the vibe high in any room you occupy.

I’d love to help with this.

I’m offering another opportunity for you to catch my live virtual class Transforming Dark Moments into Opportunities for Expansion on Tuesday 5/14 @ 12:00 PM EST.

I’ll provide three specific strategies you can use to diffuse jealous & uncertain moments when they come up. Register here. 

I would love to see you there.

What Happens Now?

This is the final post in a series of 12 discussing Mental Wholeness step by step. If you’re just joining us, check out what you missed: Introduction, Acceptance, Body Buzz, Beliefs, Clarity, Integration (1), Energy, Emotional Alchemy, Boundaries, Trust, Integration (2).

If you’ve made it this far – CONGRATULATIONS!! That’s no small feat, and I hope you’re feeling more mentally whole already. I’m celebrating you.

Cheers!!

I promised I’d be back with some guidance about where to take this next.

The way I see it, you have three main options moving forward:

1. You can do nothing to intentionally continue working with Mental Wholeness.

This is a totally legitimate option.

Maybe you’re feeling a hard “no” right now to continue with this, and that’s cool. Perhaps you have a lot of competing priorities right now and you just know the timing isn’t right. Maybe you’re completely uninterested. (If that’s you, though… I doubt you’d still be here).

If you’ve been following along with this content, I’d be willing to bet that Mental Wholeness will continue to unfold in your life whether you give your focus to it or not. There’s no shame in coasting along with this, letting things unfold naturally until you feel a strong “yes” to continue.

Even if that “yes” never comes, it’s totally OK.

2. You can continue to integrate Mental Wholeness alone.

Your answers are not inside of me – they’re inside of you.

You don’t need anything outside of yourself to be successful. Period.

That being said, there’s a lot of value in creating a strong support system around you that’s plugged into what you’re working on. You deserve support as you go through the process. You deserve to surround yourself with people who see you and value every part of you, who can hold space for you to grow comfortably into the best possible version of yourself.  

When I say the best possible version of yourself – I mean the version of you that’s the most fully YOU.

Eventually, if you keep practicing, Mental Wholeness will lead you towards the community you’ve always wanted. You deserve to have that community – exactly as you are, right now.

Still, you might genuinely be in a place where you want to practice some of these things on your own for a while. Sometimes, that’s 100% the right decision. Again, the whole point of this is to follow your internal guidance, so I hope that you’ll do that.

3. You can get my support with Mental Wholeness.

Mental Wholeness™ is a group course where you’ll learn to connect with yourself & your inner guidance – consistently, regardless of the situation surrounding you – so you can create magic in your life.

If you’re highly energetically sensitive & creative, you love helping people, & you’re looking for more natural ways to nurture your mind, body, and energy (aka your mental wellness), then this course is for you.

Calm your mind and focus your thoughts in a way that creates instant freedom, inspiration, & momentum in your life.

Deeply love your body and understand the messages it’s sending you, so you can identify what you want, follow your intuitive guidance to get there, and feel physically better & better over time.

Become a force of nature in the best of ways, by embodying your full potential – no matter what energy surrounds you – even (especially) if the moon is full, mercury is in retrograde & you find yourself smack dab in a room full of toxic, negative naysayers.

With a system for Mental Wholeness™ in your repertoire, you will masterfully spot early warning signs of self-sabotage & disconnection, so you can avoid veering off course completely when your empathy, your environment, or your work tries to pull you away from yourself.

As a result, you’ll be way more present in each moment, able to enjoy the amazing life you’re creating for yourself with the people you love the most.

Through practicing Mental Wholeness, you’ll accomplish more meaningful work in less time.

You’ll feel more spiritually connected & you’ll gain tools to identify/refine your natural spiritual gifts.

Opportunities to make your biggest dreams a reality will flow swiftly into your life.

With a commitment to a lifelong practice of Mental Wholeness™, you’ll feel ever-better & ever-more-balanced over time.

You’ll create a ripple effect & have a massive impact on the world, just by being yourself in it.

If you’re interested in exploring Mental Wholeness together and want to determine if this is the right fit for you before you invest, let’s talk about it.

Feel free to email me – info@briannamcinerny.com – and tell me a little bit about what you’re looking for. I would love to connect you to the perfect support for you.

Thank you so much for following along with this Mental Wholeness blog series. It’s been a pleasure sharing this space with you.

Love always. See you soon.

Reflections & What’s Next


Merry Christmas from me, nine years ago.

Happy Holidays! I hope the season is treating you well.

This can be a challenging time of year, especially when life isn’t quite what you thought it’d be.

I do love this photo, but looking back, my smile wasn’t what it seemed. I was pretty miserable at this point in my life.

About 6 months before this picture was taken, I’d started a transformation. After bawling my eyes out to a friend about the loss of my first love to suicide – 5 years after that loss – I *finally* realized that no-one else would ever be able to rescue me from the pain I was feeling.

I’d been trying to find help outside of myself, to no avail. It was time to turn inward.

Taking full ownership for the way I was feeling & embracing my ability to do something about it was a huge turning point for me.

I connected with a suicide prevention organization and became a volunteer. I continued to work hard on my degree in psychology.

However, I didn’t realize then what I know now about turning points and personal transformation. Now I know that choosing to get started is the easy part of the process.

Learning how to sustain a totally new way of life can be hard, and it often gets worse before it gets better. Trying to make a change throws you into the fire deeper than you were before. Any time we commit to change, we’ll be tested.

I wasn’t doing well when this picture was taken. I’d developed wild anxiety, feeling completely insecure and inadequate most days.

I had panic attacks keeping me awake almost every night. Severe panic attacks, checking doors and windows multiple times over hours to make sure they were locked, terrified that I would never wake up if I fell asleep. Etc.

Being in my body was uncomfortable, so I was abusing myself with tons of chemicals – caffeine, nicotine, amphetamine, alcohol – every single day. I wasn’t eating enough and I was barely sleeping. (I’m sure this played a huge role in my anxiety)!

I felt unsupported in most of my relationships, and I’m sure I wasn’t very supportive for my people either. I had no idea how to communicate with the people in my life.

I’d buried my emotions for a long time, and everything started to come out.

While I believed I could have an impact on the world, and big dreams lived inside of me, I had no idea what I’d do after graduation.

I just knew that the world would be a happier place if I could help it’s people feel better.

Over the last nine years, I’ve been working on it, and I had to help myself feel better first.

I slowly took space from relationships that weren’t good for me. I continued volunteering, learning lots about suicide prevention & grief support. Being in a community that understood what I was going through was really helpful. Eventually, I started working as a mental health case manager, then working with clients for the first time threw me deeper into anxiety again.

At that point, I saw a therapist for a few years. I learned about fitness and nutrition, energy healing and other alternative health options while I continued to work in mental health.

With all of these things combined, I lifted myself out of the grave I’d been digging myself all those years. I started to feel genuinely happy again, about six years ago.  

Many more challenges presented themselves along the way… a traumatic car accident, relationships, and breakups, friend dramas, deaths, rejection from a graduate program (enter questioning – WTF do I do now?), injuries, dating, unhealthy/challenging work environments, more deaths, an arrest for DWI…  Plus, leaving my traditional career path to start my own business, which is by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

With each challenge, I refined my tools for coping and I learned some new ones. I’ve taken steps backward and forward, some wobbly, some that put me on my ass.

Overall, I’m deeply satisfied with my life.

I’m a LOT better at work, life, and relationships than I used to be. (The results my clients receive are even more stellar). I know how to positively impact the people around me – I don’t even need words to do it. It’s all about who I’m being in the moment. I love myself more every day, which allows me to give more to others and receive more from the world.

This makes for a much more enjoyable holiday season.

Life is going to hand us challenging times. Always. My program Mental Wholeness provides us with tools to use those challenges as fuel – so they can make us stronger rather than taking us out. With Mental Wholeness in hand, we’ll always know exactly how to stand back up and keep going when life puts us on our ass.

I’ve consolidated a lifetime of passion, time, resources, and energy into this foundational program for myself and my clients.

Don’t get me wrong, Mental Wholeness isn’t *just* for challenging times – it’s actually most helpful (and genuinely magical) to start practicing when things are going well – it just comes in extra handy when the shit hits the fan.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the Mental Wholeness process step by step, here on my website and on Instagram. Consider taking me up on this holiday gift. Follow along and join in the conversation. Make sure to follow me if you want to stick around for that. @briannamcinerny

And until next time, I hope you enjoy this holiday season to the fullest. Sending all of my love to you and yours. We’ll talk again soon.

Staying Sane Throughout the Holiday Season

Staying consistent throughout the holiday season can be challenging. This time of year is full of demands & temptations that’ll test you to the fullest, no matter what you’re working towards. Still, this season can be the most joyful, powerful time of the year if you’re prepared for it. That’s why I offered a class last year about staying sane throughout the holiday season. 

This class provides simple strategies for making more conscious choices, so you can feel satisfied, connected, and whole all season long. 

Don’t wait to start fresh in the New Year. Get a running start into 2019 by staying consistent throughout the holiday season. Join me for this free, online class for a few powerful, helpful tips: https://youtu.be/HnRn96bxylw

 

Surviving In Our Modern World with Mental Wholeness

We’ve been raised to think that fitting in is necessary for our survival.

Until recent years, we were right.

Safety & security needed to be our main focus as humans for a long time. That included belonging to a group – finding safety in numbers. 

Now times are changing… especially for those of you reading this.

Our lives aren’t threatened by the same things anymore. Food, water, and shelter are readily available everywhere we look. 

There’s excess all around us.

In this increasingly abundant world, our survival depends on feeling safe enough to be fully ourselves – especially when being ourselves means ruffling some feathers.

We need to shake things up.

We need to fear fitting-in now, even more than we fear the change of outgrowing what we know. 

Any resistance to our growth at this point in history is literally killing us. 


Everything happening in our world right now is orchestrated to shift our focus – off of mere survival, and onto creating something greater than the status quo. 

Our wires are often crossed. Everything we know is cutting us down at the knees. Life is hitting the fan to set us straight again… giving us opportunities to choose a new way forward.

We’re being violently shown how we need to prioritize differently now.

We’re being guided towards what we need in our modern times – which is so much more than to just survive.

We’re finding that what we need is NOT simply playing a part in our chosen group like it was before. 

What do we need, then?

We need to be openly, outspokenly ourselves – and we need to encourage the exact same honest self-expression from all others. 

We need to get curious and have challenging conversations… especially when we don’t understand something or when we see things differently.

We’re being urged to care more about who we are and what we can contribute, rather than protecting the ways things “should” be or by doing things the way they’ve always been done. 

As our physical survival is less and less threatened, becoming the best possible versions of ourselves is the next evolutionary frontier.

Personal growth and learning how to best support each other needs to become our urgent priority.

As technology evolves rapidly, in our safe & abundant world, our value comes from a source so much deeper than our ability to fit in… deeper than our ability to do a job and make money. 

(Of course, working and money are important parts of the picture, but they aren’t what make you valuable.)

Our value now comes from our ability to harness who we are in a meaningful way that benefits the collective. Our value comes from the ways we channel ourselves to impact the world at large – including the people closest to us. 

Our value comes from our ability and willingness to collaborate with others… offering our own meaningful perspectives while respecting different perspectives too, even when they compete with our own.

Moving forward, our survival will depend on our ability & willingness to build our world on purpose – from the inside out. Our survival will depend on our ability to learn new, relevant skills & pass them along for the generations to come.

Mental Wholeness – a service offered by SLICE Inspiration & Consulting – is a welcome wagon to the skills we’ll need in this new way of being. It offers a streamlined structure for fine-tuning deep self-connection, for those of you already living to make an impact. It’s meant to be a life-long practice & it’ll evolve along with you over time.

Mental Wholeness soothes the uncertainty of our humanness and syncs us back up, mind, body, and soul, with the momentum of expansion – like our lives depend on it. 

Because they do.

 

Feel Safe: Coping with Trauma in a Traumatized World

“Trauma” is defined as a deeply disturbing or distressing experience.

Many traumatic events happen in our world every day.

Even if you haven’t personally experienced trauma, it’s totally normal to feel it vicariously – sometimes just from watching the news.

Experiences like these impact us to our core.

When we have trouble processing trauma effectively, we can experience a lot of difficulty in our lives. The disturbances can last a lifetime.

Nervousness, irritability, or anger can appear, seemingly out of no-where. Relapses occur. Relationships suffer. Life gets hard.

Understanding how to cope with distressing experiences and the symptoms they can cause is something we ALL need, so we can help ourselves and help others effectively during these trying times.

First and foremost, know that everything you’re feeling is normal and probably to-be-expected.

Also, support is essential, and you deserve to put amazing support in place for yourself. Just because trauma is normal doesn’t mean you should handle it alone. Explore your options, and find the support that works for you.

Traumatic experiences can cause us to fear intensely for our physical safety and well-being – even when the threat is gone and we’re safe. We do not often recognize when we’re having a trauma response – maybe we’ve learned to minimize our experience or we’re unsure of how to explain it to others.

Even when we DO recognize what’s happening – it’s easy to feel totally out of control when these events occur.

I’d love to give you some power back today.

We can never control what life will hand us, but we CAN control our response with practice. So, in addition to the support you’ll seek, here are some steps you can try on your own to deal with trauma as it happens: 

1. Become aware of what you’re feeling & self-soothe by intentionally feeling safe.

Bring awareness to your experience, accepting your natural responses to the trauma and embracing them fully.

Find gratitude for your physical responses to trauma. Recognize that any fearful, anxious, hyper-vigilant responses you’re experiencing are signs that your system is working to keep you safe.

As you acknowledge and embrace what you’re feeling, you’ll naturally start to feel calmer and safer.

Then, actively help yourself to feel safe, whatever it takes. I love repeating a simple mantra until the fear slows down… “I’m safe”. Take satisfying breaths. Cuddling up in a very cozy blanket usually helps me, too. 

2. Create space for yourself to express yourself fully.

Describe your experience, let it surface… through crying, yelling, punching, or maybe going for a run.

Writing can also be really helpful to process your experience.

Trauma lives in your body, so until you let it move through you, any emotional pain you suppress will store in your body and create issues for you.

Allowing your body to process what its feeling creates inner confidence and strength that you can overcome anything. Nothing from the outside will make you feel completely safe until you have this inner confidence.

Try setting a time limit on your emotional expression to show yourself how much control you have over bringing yourself back after expressing the deep pain from your trauma.

Put support in place for yourself so you don’t need to do this alone.

3. Give back.

The potential for positive outcomes to result from negative events is always there.

Often, the positive outcome of experiencing trauma is a new or renewed passion to help others cope with the same kind of deeply disturbing events.

Once you’ve processed the challenging parts of your experience, you might find gratitude for what you’ve learned and who you’ve become. A desire to help others with similar experiences can often surface and pull you forward.

Take these steps for yourself, and put some qualified support in place, so that the symptoms of trauma don’t progress to cause serious life-long issues for you.

There’s a whole body of research on post-traumatic growth – reaching higher levels of functioning through the experience of adversity.

Just don’t forget to validate yourself for the challenging parts of the process. The world will thank you.

If you’re looking for more on this topic, you can also check out this video on coping with trauma.

Release Your Money Worries: Three Steps to Stop Worrying About Money, So You Can Enjoy More of It

Has worry about money ever helped you make more of it?

Probably not. Still, most people experience some sort of financial stress. It doesn’t matter if they have a little or a lot of money, some worry is still there.

Money is energy, and it’s one of the most tangible, well-known sources of energy we have access too. We need food, shelter, and other resources to survive on this planet, and money offers means to access what we need. We crave the freedom to live however we want, to go wherever we want, and to help everyone we want to help. Money helps with those things too. It’s only natural that we want to generate, save, and exchange as much money as we can.

Releasing worry attached to money has the potential to positively impact everyone around you – especially those closest to you. Building a worry-free relationship with money helps you move more clearly & confidently towards your desires. With less energy spent worrying, there’s more left for creating, connecting, and thoroughly enjoying all of the amazing benefits money brings.

When you’re able to relax more around money, you might even find yourself making more of it. Here are three steps to stop worrying about money, so you can start enjoying it instead:

Get really honest with yourself regarding what you’re worried about. It’s rarely ever as bad in reality as it feels in your imagination. Chances are, many people feel exactly the same way you do. Write your thoughts on paper, without editing, until you’re out – you can even burn the page afterward if you’d like (safely please)! Notice the consistent things you’re worried about, and what’s contributing to your worry. What or who told you that you should worry about this in the first place? Are you ashamed of wanting money? Does it seem like money is connected to your relationships with other people? How so? Becoming aware of these patterns is an important first step to forming new ones.

Recognize  & prioritize the physical comfort that you feel. Are you fed well every day, with comfortable clothes and a roof over your head? Do you have means to get anywhere you want to go? Do you have items around you that can enhance your comfort, like a soft blanket for instance? Do you have tools to use towards your success? Regardless of your answers to these questions, starting to recognize and feel how well-equipped you really are is a necessary step towards releasing your money worries. Make your physical well-being a priority, and remember – no matter what happens, you’ll always have everything you need to succeed.

Re-focus your attention towards how you’d like to feel. There are always endless possibilities about how a situation can evolve. Why not imagine the desirable outcomes, and focus on actions that’ll help those come about, rather than circling in worry?  When we focus on how we want to feel, we often realize ways we can reach our desired outcomes immediately. The associated things we’re asking for follow naturally when we’re taking action from this abundant and satisfied place.

As you repeat this process, you’ll relax & enjoy the beautiful life you’ve earned, over and over again.

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