What I Wish I’d Known About Suicide and Grief with Kristi Hugstad

In This Episode…

  • Kristi's story (2:21)
  • Recognizing depression and mental illness (15:35)
  • Asking the question, "Are you OK?" (20:51)
  • The problems with the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, about teen suicide (23:04)
  • The stigma of crying in front of people (28:40)
  • The time it takes to grieve and the "get over it" sentiment (31:44)
  • The stages of grief myth (33:24)
  • What Kristi wishes she had known (35:19)

Ways to Listen to this Episode:

  1. Use the player above to listen/download the episode from this page
  2. Listen on Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music or Stitcher Radio (don't forget to rate, review and subscribe!)

 

Key Points

   

Depression is not just sadness. Depression is a prolonged feeling that lasts more than two weeks where it seems like a dark cloud is following you around and you have no desire to do things that you to do, including things you've enjoyed doing–even if things in your life are going well.
 
Depression is not a choice. Like other forms of mental illness, it results from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Risk factors include:
  • Sleeping too much, or too little (insomnia)
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Self-loathing
  • Family history of depression, suicide (including attempted suicide)
 
Crying is a healthy way to release stress. You feel better after a good cry. And it's not a sign of weakness. Often, if you hold in your emotions, sooner or later you will explode in anger. 
 
You will not "get over" a debilitating loss, especially someone who you loved.  Eventually you can discover a new normal. Instead of calling the grieving process "the stages of grief," Kristi refers to them as "common responses" to grief. These do not happen in a linear fashion; some things will repeat like a roller coaster, others may be skipped depending on your personal response.
 
Kristi wrote a Huffington Post blog where she explains that the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, while powerful, yet offered no hope, tools or resources to teen viewers, the main character's depression was not addressed, and the show glamourized suicide.
 

"Pain and growth can co-exist. Grief is not your enemy; grief is your teacher."

– Kristi Hugstad

 

What You Can Do

   

Pay attention to the warning signs listed above. Don't try to fix these issues on your own.  Mental illnesses must be treated by trained professional therapists and psychiatrists.
 
Do not end psychiatric medicine cold turkey; always follow the instructions of your prescribing doctor.
 
If you are grieving, understand that time does not heal all wounds. You must take action to help yourself heal.
 

Connect with My Guest

Kristi Hugstad, Speaker, Author

Website and Podcast

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram  

 
 

Links and Resources

 
R U OK? (a book for teens) 
 
13 Reasons Why Not (blog on Huffington Post)
 
 

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  1. Comment on the show notes (below this post)
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