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We’re All the Same Soft Animal Inside

By Amber Karnes

Content warning: suicide, death

I’m thinking this morning about suicide. Anthony Bourdain was special to a lot of us, and his death feels heavy to me. Two celebrity suicides this week (designer Kate Spade also apparently took her own life). Plus, the CDC says that suicide rates are up dramatically in every state. I texted a friend this morning asking if he had a pep talk for me so I could motivate to get today done, and his joking reply was that nobody has a pep talk for me, because I’m everyone else’s inspiration!

It’s not the first time I’ve heard something like this. I help people for a living, and in some ways I facilitate healing, how could I be a mess or need help? My answer is that we never know what people are feeling inside. Especially those of us who are guides, healers, or coaches – we might project a bulletproof image or that we “have it all” but the truth is that we are still human.

My father committed suicide when I was a young child. It’s not until recent years that I began to understand and confront the impact it has had in my life. Sorting through some of his things my mother has kept over the years has been surprisingly difficult. I guess it held up a mirror. I’m no stranger to the darkness he must have felt. I’ve felt it. I’ve struggled with depression since my teenage years. I’ve known the pain that says it’s hopeless and pointless, and nothing is going to work, ever again.

Amber Karnes quote

I’ve found tools to help me deal: yoga, mindfulness, movement, meditation and prayer, medication, journaling, talking to friends and family. I’m in a good place right now. But I’m familiar with that dark place.

And I’m the “strong friend.” The one who helps, not the one who needs help.

Today, I encourage you to think about the strong friends in your life. Check on them. Even a text or email to say, “Hey, I see you. I know you’re out there kicking ass every day, but I just want to check in and see if I can support you.”

And I extend the offer to my fellow strong friends. I don’t demand perfection and a bulletproof shell from you. I know we’re all the same soft animal inside with the same needs. I’m here if you want to talk. Or just need me to sit with you.

I love you all. Hang in there.

If you need it, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

 

This post originally appeared on Amber Karnes Instagram account, here. It is republished with permission.

 

Amber Karnes is the founder of BodyPositiveYoga. She advocates for self-acceptance, fat positivity, social justice, accessible yoga, and service. Follow her on Instagram here.

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