Interview with Emily Dayton

Suicide is a long-term solution to a short-term problem.

Project Light to Life

Hi all! I want to give a big thank you to Emily Dayton for agreeing to do an interview with me. Emily began a suicide prevention movement, though they are not only a suicide prevention group, with her parents known as You Can NOT Be Replaced. At first, they ordered just 500 wristbands, but at their one year mark, they had over 14,000 wristbands circulating across the country. They run a very inspirational movement, speak at school assemblies, and do so much more. Talk about inspirational! Although September is suicide prevention month, I think that suicide prevention and Emily’s movement are important things to promote at any time of the year because you truly cannot be replaced. Please check out my interview with Emily below:

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1. Can you tell me a little bit about the movement that you and your parents started and why?

The movement that my parents and…

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I believe it is never too late to change your life.

I believe it is never too late to change your life.

I am a 52-year-old housewife. I graduated from college with a degree in Computers. I worked until my children were born and then decided to become a stay-at-home mom. I have two beautiful daughters who make me proud every day. My oldest daughter is 18 and youngest is 16.  Oh, and a dog, a 7-year-old golden doodle and cat.

The problem is during the past 18 years I have given so much of myself I know longer know who I am. I didn’t know during that time, that I had a right, even a necessity, to take time for myself. I don’t regret my choice. I just wish someone had pulled me aside and said, “Honey, you’re setting yourself up for a nervous breakdown”.

Before I got married I traveled. I love new places and meeting new people. I was an ice-skater teacher, an actress, and a writer. But I forgot about that because I was busy taking care of my family. My husbands’ job required him to work long nights and most weekends so I was almost a single parent.

As the years went by, I lost myself. I felt so empty inside. I had nothing left of myself to give my family. I was all used up. I found myself sinking into a deep depression. It got to be so bad that I was almost hospitalized to keep me from committing suicide.

One day while on the computer, I started playing an online multiplayer video game.  I had always liked video games. There, I met a group of people who were a lot like me. I felt included again and welcomed, I started to feel something growing in me again. I realized I had to reclaim my life. I got help from a therapist for my depression. She made me see that I could have my life back again and that I could be good, even great.  I needed to find a way to balance the needs of my family and my own needs.

I decide to take a very bold step, way out of my comfort zone. I would fly, by myself, across the country to San Diego for a convention of pop culture and comic books called Comic Con. I would meet some friends I met on the game there and do something solely for myself. I was nervous and scared and changed my mind many times. But I did it! I had a great time and on the way home I realized I can reclaim my life. I am ready to start my second act.

I have since started to take writing and painting classes. I have learned how to draw boundaries with my husband and children all while still being a good wife and mother. It’s taking my kids a little getting used to the new me. I don’t jump when they say to and I think in the long run we’ll all be better for it.

Everyone struggles with something

The fact that you have a difficult time doing things that other people can complete with ease doesn’t make you inadequate. It doesn’t make you incapable or weak. And it doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you human. The truth is that everyone struggles with something. No matter how happy or well-adjusted a person may seem, we all have fears that hold us back. Despite how put together someone may seem on the outside, no one is perfect, and that’s okay. Whether you have a difficult time being social, talking on the phone, becoming independent, using your voice, entering a relationship, connecting with others, individuating from your family, or getting out of bed each morning to face the world — know that it’s okay. And know that despite your struggle, you are capable, you are talented, you are important, and you are enough.

Daniell Koepke (via internal-acceptance-movement)