Meltdown Methods: Steps for Supporting Emotional Regulation in Extreme Behaviors

If you are anything like me, it can be hard to keep your cool when your child (no matter how old) is physically losing his collective mind. Growing up is hard, but throw in sensory issues or emotional regulation problems, and we don’t only get meltdowns, we get dangerous aggression. As a Special Education professional and mother to a teen with High-Functioning Autism, I have put together some information to help you.

Keep in mind that every kid is different, but I have found these methods helpful in both my professional and personal lives. From holes in the wall and doors ripped off to barstools thrown and siblings attacked, I’ve experienced it all. And I’ve found that these steps help me to keep my cool…which makes all the difference with de-escalation for my child. Try it.

Parents of extreme children have to find our own ways of de-escalating the situation…especially as our children grow. But the steps I have put together below can help any parent of any child during a meltdown. Why? Because these steps are all about supporting the Social Emotional Learning of our children…not reacting and punishing.

Keep him, and others around, safe.

Yes, this may mean you need to hold him. If you aren’t sure of safe holding methods, I recommend checking out Mandt System holds. I hold my child with his back to my chest…arms crossed in front of him (as shown below).

Staged picture used with permission from my son. With a hold like this, my child is safe…and so am I from biting, kicking, throwing the head back, etc. Notice my stance and how I am holding him. During this time, I am working on getting him to the floor while also validating his emotions (see steps below).

Get to his level.

Sit with him, hold him, lay on the floor with him, rock with him, etc. Stay at his level.

Validate.

Say phrases like…
~ “I get it.”
~ “I’m here.”
~ “I know.”
~ “Look at me. I’ve got you.”
~ “You’re safe.”

Breathe with him.

Say, “In your nose (breathe in)…out your mouth (breathe out).” Do this over and over while repeating the validating words from the previous step. He will begin to release his tension.

Staged and used with permission from my son. As your child releases tension during the validating and breathing, release your hold slightly so he realizes he has some control. The hold isn’t what de-escalates…the validation is.

Hug.

When he has de-escalated and his body has returned back to a more relaxed state, he will be exhausted. Just hold him. Repeat the words you’ve been saying, stroke his hair, kiss his head, etc. Remember that it’s likely he may not remember/process a lot of what just happened yet. If you had him in a hold, this may be when he will voluntarily turn around…depending on the child. My son always turns around and holds me in a hug while we rock, breathe, etc. He’s almost 13.

Talk later.

Wait to talk about what happened until much later…sometimes the next day. After a physical meltdown, brain activity is often equivalent/similar to what a child with Epilepsy’s brain resembles after a seizure. Body and mind are exhausted. Safety and validation are the only concerns right now.

Later is when you address what happened. From what went wrong to what went right and what worked. Talk about breathing techniques, coping strategies, and allow your child to tell you what helped or did not help. Be open to accepting that your child deserves some respect during the process of learning how to manage his own emotions.

~ Feel free to share with anyone and everyone who you feel may benefit from this information. My goal is always supporting others. I truly believe that children learning these emotional regulation skills is a huge aspect of managing mental health later in life. – Bailey Koch
~ Follow our journey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbailey/. Our website is at www.jeremyandbailey.com. On social media @jeremyandbailey.

Mental illness murdered you…you didn’t take your own life.

I saw you in the clouds today. In the quiet of the morning, I felt your presence. And I know it was you.

I thank God every day since you left this place for the truth in knowing that He understands mental illness. God sends us little reminders of you…so we know you are okay. No different than any other death-causing illness, sometimes mental illness wins in this life, but He already won the war. And I get to see you again one day.

I know you are you again. Whole. Pure. Cheerful and bright. Free of the pains in this world. Free of mental illness.

I imagine you…the real you. I see you waving and cheering us on. I see you stunningly dressed in your best flashing a toothy grin. You are there and you are you again…and we are left here.

I’ve learned that God won’t cause pain, but He will use it for His greater purpose. And I just have to pray and know that will be the case. Because this type of pain, a world without you here, a world where suicide feels like the only answer, is just too much to bear without knowing there is a much greater purpose, a giant hope for healing to move from surviving with mental illness to living in mental health.

I want you to know that I understand now. I get that it wasn’t you. I get that mental illness made you believe that you were a burden. I know mental illness lied to you, tricked you, and held you so strongly in its grasp.

I know mental illness murdered you…you didn’t take your own life.

I want this world to understand. I want good to come from this pain. I want the world to learn the importance of separating the person from the mental illness. Give Jesus a high five for me. Can’t wait to see you again.

Love,

Me.

*******************

~ In loving memory of all those we’ve lost to murder by mental illness, please share and help the world understand and fight this monster.

~ Written by Jeremy & Bailey Koch. Jeremy, a five-time suicide attempt survivor, has lived to explain the reality of suicidal ideations and is now over three years free of suicidal thoughts after finding faith, medications, and a mental health support system of family, friends, counselors, pastors, and more. Bailey, his wife and primary support person, stands beside him and helps him accept help and share his story. In June of 2019, at the age of 65, Jeremy’s dad was murdered by mental illness when suicide claimed his life.

~ Follow our journey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbailey/. Our website is at www.jeremyandbailey.com. On social media @jeremyandbailey.

~ If you are experiencing any thoughts of ending your life, please reach out and accept help. You are loved, wanted, and so important. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

A Letter to Those Who Don’t Understand

Mental illness is a tricky asshole, we get that. But you know what’s even worse than mental illness? The judgment, blame, and shame that can come from those who don’t understand it.

Mental illness can take a person and turn them into someone practically unrecognizable. It can sneak around behind closed doors, in walls, and hide in the dark. It can be a shape-shifter. It can put on a happy face for the rest of the world while those who truly know the person that mental illness has stolen see nothing but the lies, deceit, and terror lurking everywhere.

Mental illness can blame. It wants to be fixed…now. It doesn’t want to work, wait, or see the truth. Mental illness wants to take everyone else down with it. And you know what? It will if you let it. Mental illness wants those who are healthy to be destroyed. It wants families torn apart and blame placed. It wants others to be destroyed trying desperately to be the reason someone else is okay.

Mental illness doesn’t want to talk. It wants to make up lies and excuses while instilling fear. Mental illness doesn’t want to have a grown-up conversation about itself. It seeks only to divide, separate, and hush. Mental illness wants to win…and sometimes it will in this life.

But Jesus has already won the war.

I Took My Life. Please Don’t Think I’m Selfish.

***~ If you are experiencing any of the feelings described in this post, please reach out and accept help. You are loved, wanted, and so important. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ ***

I know you’re hurting, but I’m here to say I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. In fact, my brain constantly and overwhelmingly convinced me that you are better off without me. I truly believed that I was doing you a favor. Now that I’m gone, I understand how sick I was. I get it. And I’m sorry I hurt you.

I didn’t know any better. Mental illness clouded me. It enveloped me like a thick fog and all I saw was darkness. Everywhere I turned. Darkness.

You see, even though the world will often say that I didn’t consider my friends and family at all, that I was so selfish, you were actually the only thing on my mind. I understand now how mental illness works. And just so you know, God understands it too. He’s here with me…or I’m here with Him. However you want to look at it. It’s cool. I’m good. 

I was in so much pain on earth. I just knew. I knew how much of a burden I was to you. I knew your life would be beautiful if only you didn’t have to worry about my problems. Yes, you tried to convince me otherwise. And I love you so much for that. I love how hard you tried. And I know you loved me fiercely on earth; I see that now. I saw it then too, but my mental illness didn’t let me care. Sometimes I wanted to, but here’s the thing…I was really good at hiding the pain. I just didn’t want you to have to worry, and I didn’t understand I was doing more harm by not being honest…by not accepting the help you tried to give. Mental illness just wouldn’t let me; it held me so strongly in its grasp. So you need to know one thing.

This was not your fault.

Truth be told, it wasn’t my fault either. Mental illness won in that life, but it didn’t win in the life I’m in now. It is a disease…not unlike other diseases that cause death. I’m in no pain. It’s beautiful here. I’m okay.

I did take my own life, but please know I wasn’t trying to be selfish. The pain was intense, but not for myself. The pain I felt for you, for the pain I truly believed I was causing you, was unbearable. I love you now. I loved you then. I’m excited to see you soon. I’m here.

All my love,

Me.

~ Written by Jeremy & Bailey Koch. Jeremy, a five-time suicide attempt survivor, has lived to explain the reality of suicidal ideations. Bailey, his wife and primary support person, stands beside him and helps him accept help and share his story. This post was written based upon a suicide note Jeremy left for Bailey in 2012. As of today, Jeremy is nearly 3 years free of suicidal thoughts. Healing happens. Hold onto hope.

~ If you are experiencing any of the feelings described in this post, please reach out and accept help. You are loved, wanted, and so important. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

~ Follow our journey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbailey/. Our website is at www.jeremyandbailey.com. On social media @jeremyandbailey.

Hefty and Happy

This was me. Here I was, vacationing in Colorado with my beautiful family in July of 2012, a lot thinner than I am now. I was around 50 pounds lighter. And I was miserable.

Now don’t get your panties in a twist, Tiny Tina. I’m not bagging on fitness, exercise, watching what you eat, whatever. I’m just telling my story.

I didn’t try to lose weight at this point in my life. I lost the weight because I was completely unhealthy. I barely ate. I threw up a lot…not because I was trying to, but because my anxiety was so high wondering if I would come home to my husband dead that my body couldn’t process foods. Sure, I posted the pictures and pretended. I loved the comments of, “You look so beautiful!” and “Oh my gosh you look amazing!” The attention from others, the comments…they kept me going. But here’s what you didn’t know…

I’m not naturally a small person. I’m an in-betweenie. I thrived on attention at that point in my life because my real world was crumbling. My husband had recently survived his fourth, and by far the most serious, suicide attempt. We hadn’t opened up to the world about our reality with mental illness yet. In order to feel like my husband wanted me in any way, I had to initiate. His Depression had taken over. My husband was no longer the man I married and emotionally, I was a single mother. We were together and he was physically there, but that’s all. So I poured myself into something different…into myself and attention from others.

Now let’s fast-forward to December 2018…

Over the years, my husband learned to be open. He learned to accept help. We learned how to live a life for others as opposed to ourselves. We began to understand that God hadn’t done this to us, but rather for us.

I’m married to a five-time suicide attempt survivor, a man I have more respect and love for than anyone else in the world. My husband lives for Jesus, takes medication, sees a counselor, has lunch with his pastor near weekly, and is raising two beautiful boys to know their Father, to respect others, to express emotions, and to accept help. I’m married to a man who loves his wife, respects every part of her, desires her, and craves time with her. Our family became a family of fighters.

For a while in life, mental illness took over our lives because we let it. Now, we have learned to live and not just stay alive.

This is our family now…

I can’t say I don’t want to exercise, eat right, and take care of myself. But I can say that, should I choose to try to lose weight, it will be a whole new ball game for me. It will be a completely different journey. It will be because I will have to learn how to take care of myself in healthy ways, rather than thriving on attention.

For now, I’m hefty and happy. And I’m 100% okay with who I am and where I am.

~

Follow our journey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbailey/

Find us on Instagram and Twitter @jeremyandbailey

10 Ways to Help Your Friend Living in a Hospital

It happens a lot. 

All of the sudden, life kicks one of your friends or family members right in the rear. It appears that friend will be spending an undisclosed amount of time away from home…likely due to health issues. Perhaps they are healing themselves. Perhaps supporting a loved one (child, spouse, parent, etc.).

No matter what the situation, you know your friend needs to feel supported. But asking for help is not an easy thing to do, especially when feeling helpless yourself. As a friend, you want to help, but you aren’t sure what to do without someone telling you. So how can you help?

As the wife of a man who spent almost a month in a hospital…in a city hours away from our home, I’m here to give you some advice. Jeremy survived a head-on collision on the highway in 2012, and the support we received from family and friends is what kept us going.

Jeremy’s 1/2 ton Dodge Ram, well…what was left of it, after the 2012 head-on collision with a semi-truck on Highway 30 in Nebraska.

Because “thank you” never seems sufficient, passing on the love and support to others is what we try hard to do. So let us help you with some ideas to suit any budget. Some of these ideas cost nothing but time, others cost more. Do what works for you!

Here is a list of the top ten most helpful and memorable “somethings” others did for us while we were fighting for health away from home:

  1. Gift Cards

    I am especially a fan of prepaid Visa cards because you can use them anywhere. From gas for the vehicle to food and even clothing runs, gift cards are extremely helpful when you’re away from home.

  2. Hospital Cafeteria Gift Cards

    This is one I never would have thought of. But a friend of the family contacted the hospital we were in and purchased a gift card to that hospital’s cafeteria. That was hugely helpful. I rarely wanted to leave Jeremy’s side, so having the option of eating with him, or very close to him, was so thoughtful. Then I was able to quickly return to my post…beside him.

  3. A Floor Mat

    I know…sounds weird. But those hospital rollaway beds or chairs are horribly uncomfortable for those of us supporting a loved one. I actually purchased a floor mat for myself, but if I find that another person is having to stay in the hospital for as long as we did, I immediately think of this. I was able to roll up my comfy mat and tuck it away in a corner of the hospital room during the day. At night, I simply laid it out on the floor and slept so much better than I had pre-floor mat. And now, we use it as another bed when our boys have sleepovers!

  4. Plants

    Cliché? Perhaps. But having some life in the hospital room certainly brought some positivity to our days.

  5. Snail Mail Cards and Pictures

    Yup…good old fashioned cards and pictures. We loved them. I decorated an entire wall in front of Jeremy with them. The bright colors and inspiring messages, especially those talking about how many prayers were being sent up, were so helpful to our moods. Oh…and never underestimate the power of a child’s drawing.

  6. Gift Basket of Relaxing Items

    Ahhh the basket. I still remember digging into that thing like it was Christmas. We had been in the hospital for over a week with no end to our stay in sight. That basket arrived and I found slippers, crossword puzzles, journals, robes, blankets, stress balls, joke books, etc. Oh, it was a happy day. The sky is the limit here…make it personalized!

  7. Entertainment for the Family and Friends

    Sometimes, if your friends are in a situation like we were, family and friends will visit for hours or even days at a time. We had small children when Jeremy had his accident…Hudson was five and Asher was two. One gift we received included games, toys, puzzles, colors and coloring books, and playing cards…great items for entertainment not only for us and our kids, but for other visitors as well.

  8. Clean House. 

    Yes, literally, clean house. When it was coming close to the time when we were expected to come home, a large number of friends and family went to our home and cleaned it from top to bottom. My sister-in-law and a friend deep cleaned the inside of our home while others picked up our landscaping…primarily leaves and cornstalks that had blown in the yard. Coming home to a clean house with no worries but to care for my family was an enormous weight off my shoulders.

  9. House Sit.

    Offer to watch the pets, pick up mail, keep the house from smelling like a dungeon, etc. Having someone watching our home for anything odd and just keeping an eye out was a usual stressor I didn’t have to worry about.

  10. Freezer Meals

    Coming home to a freezer stocked full of meals was incredible. Friends made meals and froze them. That way, when we came home, we were still being taken care of and could concentrate on healing. And it’s important to let your friend know that you are making meals. That way they know that food, upon arriving home, will not be a problem. It takes away a lot of stress.

So there you have it. Feel free to share our list and pass on the goodness to others! And never underestimate the power of prayer.

Our family in our home away from home for a full month in 2012…

Peace!
– Jeremy & Bailey Koch

Mental Illness is NOT an Excuse

Hi there.

I’m about to strike a nerve in the world of mental illness. And you know what? I’m already not sorry. Because here comes the firecracker in me…

So what do I know about mental illness? Quite a bit actually. We’ll start with the professional…I’m finishing up my doctorate degree in Special Education. I’ve studied the brain, learning, disabilities, and yes, mental illness as it relates to learning. And I’m not done; I love education. I believe in its importance.

Answers come with education, and I was DESPERATE to understand what my husband was going through.

So it’s time to move onto the personal experience…my husband, Jeremy, is a five-time suicide attempt survivor. He has held a bag over his head until his grandma knocked on the door and he pulled it off – just before he lost consciousness. He has locked himself in a garage with an engine running and dashed to open the door when the fumes started burning his lungs because he got a vision of our two sons waving goodbye. It terrified him. He has put a gun to his head and thankfully didn’t pull the trigger thanks to another vision. And he has been in a car accident that nearly claimed his life in which he drove into a semi-truck at highway speeds.

And he’s still here. I thank God every day he’s still here.

But we believe there’s a reason Jeremy is still alive; and part of that reason is to be advocates for mental health. A huge part. What am I saying? That’s it…all of it. It is our personal calling to spread the truth. So there are two parts to mental illness we need you to understand…

  1. MENTAL ILLNESSES ARE REAL. AND A REAL PAIN.We get it. We 100% get it. It is hard to deal with a mental illness of any kind. Some days, even getting out of bed is challenge. Some days, the colors of the world just seem dull. Some days, the light is too bright, people talk too loud or too much about things you don’t want to hear, and others just don’t get it. Some days, it’s easier to cancel that counseling appointment. Some days, it’s easier to not take the medication the doctor prescribed. Some days, it’s easier to just stay away from everyone.

    And worse…

    Some days, alcohol or cutting seem to feel better than reality. And some days, it seems like the best idea is to just end it all. You think you’re a burden, right? You think the world will be better off without you?

    Guess what? Your brain is messing with you. It’s not your fault, but it’s also not okay.

    Am I right? Did I say something above that sounded familiar. Then you have a mental illness. It is what it is. We deal with it too, that’s why we get it and why so much of what I just wrote sounds familiar. We do understand you. You’re not alone.

    So onto my most important point…

  2. MENTAL ILLNESSES WILL NOT GO AWAY WITHOUT A FIGHT.Here’s where I may strike a nerve.

    There’s a reason I wrote “some days” above. Because I know the truth of mental illness. I know where it starts and how it progresses. I know how it goes from fleeting thoughts… What if I just drive my car off the road?

    Wait…what the heck was that? I would never do that. Too many people love me.

    …back into what we call “moments of clarity.” You wonder where those thoughts came from or why you would think them. You wonder if that’s normal? Sometimes you even try to convince yourself that it is (stop it).

    IT IS THE MOMENTS OF CLARITY THAT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.

    It is then, after you’ve experienced suicidal thoughts or even a profound feeling of sadness, mania, etc., and you come back to being yourself, that you NEED TO ASK FOR HELP.

    And if there are “triggers” around you, you need to learn how to deal with those. You need to accept help to the point where you are okay…truly okay. You need to learn how to reach out to your support system when you do experience those triggers. And it is absolutely possible, but it takes help from many around you. You are not alone, nor are you be expected to be.

    There is nothing…NOTHING…noble about trying to fight mental illness alone. No matter who you are. No matter what your support system consists of. We all have a support system in some way. This can consist of family, friends, counselors, doctors, nurses, churches, pastors, teachers, waitresses, librarians, meter readers…see where I’m going with this.

    I couldn’t care less who you tell. You just need to learn to say it.

    “I think my brain is lying to me. And I think I need help before it gets worse.”

    Now that’s noble.

    Mental illness is not an excuse; it’s a reason to fight harder.

    Accept help. FIGHT. And it will get better.

~ Jeremy & Bailey Koch

Purchase our books and find more about us at www.jeremyandbailey.com
Follow our journey on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbailey/
@jeremyandbailey on Instagram & Twitter

 

You Are Not Your Diagnosis

Hi, I’m Anxiety. I mean Bailey. And this is my husband, Depression. Well fluther mucker, I did it again. His name is Jeremy. Sorry.

2018-02-02 08.44.03.jpg

It’s just so hard to remember we have an actual identity. You know, because mental illness defines us. It dictates everything in our lives. It controls our decisions and our hopes and dreams. It decides whether we get up in the morning and socialize with people or if we choose to isolate ourselves. Mental illness determines who we are on any particular day. Yep…anxiety and depression are who we are.

Hold up…everything I just said is complete bull snot. And I’m seriously hoping you were able to read the sarcasm in my words. My diagnosis does NOT define me, and it certainly doesn’t define my husband.

We won’t hide it and we won’t lie. Jeremy has survived five suicide attempts. So while mental illness has certainly been a big part of our lives, we have learned many extremely important lessons. Are you ready for the big one?

You are NOT your diagnosis.

It’s easy for mental illness to feel like a huge weight, something that seems impossible to lift or overcome. But when we learn to reach out and accept help, whether that be through counseling, faith, a support network, a psychiatrist’s help, medication, or even diet and exercise, the heavy burden becomes less. Why? Because you alone are no longer carrying that weight.

So while mental illness used to decide whether Jeremy got up in the morning, socialized with others, or isolated himself, we learned to say, “This is a real disease…not anybody’s fault. It is what it is. Time to get up, fight, and learn how to be me again.”

Don’t allow your diagnosis to become who you are…because you are so much more.

You are loved. You are strong. You are confident. You are you, and no diagnosis can ever take that away if you don’t let it. Accepting help does not make you weak, it makes you a fighter.

So be you…not your diagnosis.

By the way, you’re amazing. Go you.

~~~

~ Jeremy & Bailey Koch (Anchoring Hope for Mental Health)

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter @jeremyandbailey

View our website at http://www.jeremyandbailey.com

Walk Beyond the Darkness

Something happens to all of us at some point in life. Something terrible. Something that makes us question everything about who we are. We all have a crisis…a turning point in our lives when we must choose to stand still, walk the left path, or take the “right” road.
At some point, we find ourselves standing at that fork in the road. We feel lost and confused…hopeless even. We feel defeated. We feel like God forgot us. That darkness and fog surrounds us. Even like He’s punishing us for something.
But we don’t understand.
We stand at the fork and watch as others walk past us. Some left. Some right. But we just stand there. Lost and confused. Searching for any signs that we should either go left or right. We stand there for what feels like an eternity. Not moving. Never looking for the signs…instead just hoping they show up.
And the wolves surround us. It’s easy to find prey when we’re not moving.
Surrounded by the pressure, we lift our head and watch someone about to take that right fork in the road. But they stop. They look back at us…surrounded by wolves and unwavering in our desire to just stand still. And they extend a hand.
No longer alone, we reach out for the hand.
No longer alone, we feel the fog begin to lift and we finally see the signs to go “right”. Why? Because we learned how to accept help. And because that person extended a hand, we can finally begin to see that the light existed just beyond the darkness…if we had only chosen to keep walking. To follow another blazing the “right” path before us.
Take the hand reaching out for you. Keep walking the right path. Keep following the One guiding you to the light. The signs surround you…you just have to be willing to take that hand.
You’re not alone. Look around you. Keep walking. There’s light beyond the darkness…you just may have to walk a little further. Through the thorns. Through the fog. Past those trying to get you to take the left path. Follow those willing to lead you and walk beyond the darkness.
And one day you’ll have the chance to lead another out of the darkness you were in.
~ Jeremy & Bailey Koch
A five-time suicide attempt survivor and wife.
Please share. Someone needs this message today. Life gets better.
Koch-10
** Jeremy and Bailey Koch, along with their sons, Hudson and Asher, are extremely passionate about helping the world understand the reality of mental illness. Jeremy, diagnosed with depression in 2009 and ashamed of his brain, fought his dark thoughts alone for years. Finally, he found the strength to share his truth with Bailey. Together, they began the journey to healing. After six years filled with five attempts by Jeremy to end his life and multiple inpatient mental health facility stays as well as medication failures, Jeremy and Bailey began to embrace their truth and openly share their journey. What they found was support, healing, help, and more truth than they were prepared for. They found a world desperate to understand the truth but struggling with how to separate the person from the disease.
Follow our journey on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbaileykoch/.
Visit our website at http://www.jeremyandbailey.com/.

 

Just Pray.

Being someone who truly likes to open my mouth and spew my views, it’s not easy to keep it shut in moments such as this.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas last night was the reason I cried for nearly my entire 55-minute commute to work this morning. My heart is sad; and I know I’m not alone. Our world is confused, angry, and flat out hurt.

My first thought was to go on social media and write. I have views on mental health, politics, amendment rights, voting, etc…just like everyone else does. But then I started scrolling and I saw that others had written their views. And underneath those views were more comments from more people who had their own views. And social media fights ensued. So I decided to keep my mouth shut. Now’s not the time.

I’ve learned to not read the comments anymore when I write anything that may be controversial. Writing online is an outlet for many of us, and that’s okay. It’s good to share your views; I see nothing wrong with it. In fact, it’s truly one of the reasons my husband and I are okay because we’ve been able to use social media to help others understand mental illness. Yet I’ve still been told to “shut the hell up” and “get off my religious high-horse” by some who don’t agree with our message. I’m used to it and have developed a thick skin because I know that when we share, we help many. We don’t argue when someone doesn’t agree. We know where we stand and what we believe. We know why we fight and who we fight…not people. Brains. So when someone tries to start a fight with us, we say, “Just pray.” and we don’t respond.

But we weren’t always this way; we’ve learned the hard way. So today, we pray for those in our world who are only sharing views for the sole purpose of starting a fight.

Please just pray for the victims of this senseless tragedy as well as their friends and family. Please pray for everyone in attendance who witnessed this event as the trauma of a situation such as this is absolutely terrifying. Please pray for the first responders trying desperately to help. Please pray for our world to learn how to come together instead of finding more reasons to be divided. Everyone is trying so hard to understand and it’s just not possible. We can’t understand why someone would do this. We can’t understand what happened in this man’s brain to make him believe this was okay…that this was the answer to whatever pain he was in.

Please just pray. And yes, stand up for your views. But please be sure you are standing up for the right reasons…for reasons that will help our country come together and heal. For reasons that will spread kindness, support, and love.

Just pray.

~ Bailey

Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jeremyandbaileykoch/. Our newest book, “When the House Feels Sad: Helping You Understand Depression,” is a book written for all ages to help families open up a conversation about depression and is coming soon.