Post entry by Chuck Murphree – YA Author – Speaker for Mental Health – Special Education in Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin.

Chuck is the son of Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree

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Books can be found on line at Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Books can also be found in most book stores throughout USA and Europe.


I have heard it so many times over the years. A friend calls in need, telling me they are at the brink, their depression and anxiety is overwhelming them, and suicidal ideation often follows.

These are men, strong, some fierce in their abilities, and certainly not fitting into any of society’s stigmas. They just can’t find a way to dig out of the dirty muck of life. Perhaps an event happened that pummeled them to the ground, leaving them bloody at the knees, barely hanging on. Whatever the case, they are at their breaking point. We all have one. Some of us are just fortunate to never reach it or even come close.

I talk to these men, telling them I am here for them, at least I try to be, but I have experience with this. I have lost men dear to me because they too reached the edge and decided to jump. I therefore know I can offer support. I can be a non-judgmental listener. I can share my stories to show them they are not alone, but most of them know that. It’s why they call in the first place. They know I have been to that dark place several times. The entryway to a personal hell where it seems like a rope, a leap, a trigger, a bottle of pills, will take away the pain.

When I recently received a message from an old friend, I became angry. Not at him. No! He is hanging on in a society that often is set up to test and cripple you. My anger was towards the silence. The never ending stigmas. I’m tired. Enraged. I’m saddened by it all because we keep losing people to suicide.

I believe we are making a mistake because talking about suicide makes people uncomfortable and there are many stigmas or guilt surrounding it. My favorite (insert sarcasm) is when people make the person feel guilty that contemplates taking their life by saying, “How could you do that to the people you love?” They like to think that they can guilt someone out of an illness. It’s harmful. Silence is harmful. Don’t you think the person that wants to die would take another approach if they were able?

I believe we are hurting our children by tiptoeing around the subject of suicide. I have been told in schools, sitting at student services meetings or with administration, “We don’t want to trigger anyone.” Well, I’ve got news for everyone, what we are doing is not working. In my community alone, there have been three young people who have killed themselves in the past year. I repeat, what we are doing, our silence, our not wanting to “trigger” anyone, is not working. It’s obvious. Suicide is on the rise. Anxiety and depression is on the rise. It’s time for frank, upfront conversations. People can handle it. Young people yearn for it. They want us to be real. They don’t want a bunch of adults trying to sugarcoat thoughts, ideas, and talk. Young people read into our bullshit. It’s harmful, not helpful. Real talk is needed.

I have written about mental illness. I have shared my stories so people feel less alone. I have been vulnerable for the sake of helping others. I have helped young people by being real, talking about things that would make some school social workers tell me that I was triggering them. Well, it doesn’t. Instead, I hear from them that they needed to hear what was said. They needed me to be real and upfront. They wanted the connection. Boys need to see men being honest and vulnerable.

Most of the time, I feel like my posts, blogs, writings, novels, are not reaching anyone. I feel like I am beating my head against the fucking wall, making myself dizzy, screaming out for anyone to hear in hopes of saving life. I’m exhausted! My first book was criticized for being too upfront about the subject of suicide. My second novel was criticized by some readers because they didn’t like the subject of trauma and sexual assault. What the hell do you think is happening in our world, especially to teenagers.

We are losing the battle when it comes to helping people survive mental illness. We do not have enough therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists to help. Doctors’ only solution is to put people on more meds, hoping to dope them up, masking the real issues. I am not anti-meds. In fact, I take anxiety medication. However, it is not the only solution. We must teach people how to build resilience so that they can live the lives they want and accept the pain with curiosity instead of terror. We need to teach them to work on the problem, build resilience, and not ignore the pain.

My head is sore from the imaginative wall that I am beating it up against. My fingers are bleeding from typing thousands of words, trying to get people to listen, understand, act, and raise their voice to stop what is happening to our society. I am fatigued because it seems like we just keep repeating the idiotic responses that are not working. It’s exhausting. Talking about suicide is not easy, fluffy talk. It’s tough, bare bones, hard talk that should make anyone feel uncomfortable. With that discomfort we will learn to speak the truth and actually take meaningful action.

I cannot stop being an advocate for people that are struggling. I cannot stop until my friends stop wanting to kill themselves. I cannot stop until my students look for a different way to display their fears and darkness besides taking their lives. I cannot stop because I have to speak up for all of those that are battling their minds, and all of those that someday will. No one, I mean no one, is immune to getting depression and anxiety, and no one is immune to one day waking up and questioning if life is worth living.

For now, know that you are not alone. Work on building resilience so that you can weather the storm. And, for all of you that think silence or censoring the truth because it may trigger people, realize that we have been spinning our wheels for years to no avail. Wake the hell up and take a different approach. Lives depend on it!


New Year 2023…#445

Chuck, Elizabeth and Carl Murphree “My Rocks”, My Son’s

Words to Live by…Chief Dan George

Happy New Year to all my faithful followers. Leaving 2022 left me with nothing but gratefulness. A year of Multi Myeloma (bone cancer) behind me and another year with my family. I am grateful for the time I have been given so far. MM is a slow killer. With no immune system, my enemy is getting pneumonia or any infection I could not recover from. I continue with chemo 22 days out of every month. One day of infusion in oncology and 21 days of chemo pills.

I have excellent health insurance that takes care of everything except the chemo pills. These are at an unbelievable cost of $22,000 each month. Yes, you are reading it right, $22,000 per month. I am so fortunate to have a sponsor who provides me with a grant, and the cost to me is zero. Without this grant, I could not take the treatment, and I would not be able to continue living. I am grateful to those who share their wealth with those who cannot afford this medication treatment.

I have continued being independent, living alone, writing, and painting for the past year. I am slower than what would be my regular. Sitting at the computer for less than an hour in each setting, making notes to follow later, or creating a story or poem. I hope to complete my latest project and publish it this year if God is willing.

I have managed to control my pain. I have had an increase in morphine only toward the end of this past year. I try to manage my pain as much as possible; sometimes, I ask for the impossible. I did have to increase the pain medication, and I hope to keep it at that level. I have a high pain tolerance and can take more pain than some.

Each time I go to oncology, I look around at so many who are undergoing the same treatment as I am; this, unfortunately, will never end. The staff are God-sent and have become my extended family. We are all trying to get through another day, and so thankful for an entire year for me.

I have everything in order, and I work at things I can leave behind. Throughout the years, the children and grandchildren have asked for certain things that I have; I have not allowed death to get in my way, but I have given them what they have requested now. The “Now” is so important, to see them enjoy all of these things now while I am still with them. Paintings have been removed from my walls, and Christmas items went this past season. The joy of now gives me pleasure and happiness.

So, I say to you, dear followers and friends, enjoy 2023, and make every moment count; time grows short as we are not promised tomorrow. Please continue to read my blog. Purchase my books filled with poems and stories from my thoughts and heart.