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A Way of Dealing With the Times

National Suicide Prevention Week took place Sept.4-10. Tech’s counseling center has made a push to bring awareness of emergency resources available by placing posters like these in Tech’s dorms. Photo by Luke Hayslette.

If you go into any houseware store, or locally owned boutique, you’ll find wooden signs speaking to our ways of life.

Each one is different, but yet the same; however, when you see them in someone’s home, office and personal space, you begin to get glimpses into their humor or character. 

I get a kick out of it when I see them on the desks of colleagues.

Our distribution manager at The Oracle, Bee Goodman, has a sign that says, “Maybe coffee is addicted to me.” She also owns seven coffeemakers.

One of my colleagues at the Herald-Citizen, Jim Herrin, has a sign that reads, “I’m not arguing. I’m explaining why I am right.” If you know Jim, you know how spot on this is – he’s quite the contrarian.

These sometimes playful placards share hints about owning up to quirks, and some share cheerful optimism and love for family.

While filing away wisdom from the signage, I came to the realization that just as some feel you can learn a lot about a person by looking at their bookshelf, you can also learn a lot about a home dweller by reading their signs.

The signs are definitely trendy at the moment.

As a writer, it should come as no surprise that I have a fondness for a medium that glorifies the stringing together of words and phrases, salty sentiments, and anything that announces our personalities, our quirks, our manifestos and mantras.

I am 100% a fan of the sign.

However, when I thought a little more deeply about these signs and how they serve as a means of emboldening ourselves and proclaiming who we are, I started to think about how I wish it were just as easy for us to proclaim exactly how we are. 

In our society, we are very adept at creating neat presentations, sticking on decals, polishing exteriors, and framing our experiences so they are ready for hanging or posting on social media. What we aren’t so great at is living in our reality and embracing that well-known catchphrase: it’s OK to not be OK.

My preoccupation with how we’re feeling on the inside has everything to do with September being National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.


While the month is nearing its end, I believe it is more important to keep the conversation going year-round because of my growing understanding of how mental health struggles are so common in our communities. 

Besides, if we never speak of it, we don’t generally find the support we need. 

According to the National Network of Depression Centers, two-thirds of those who experience depression never seek treatment, which is devastating.

As the season changes, and perhaps you modify the decor in your home to share an impression of who you are, I hope you’ll spend a moment on yourself and assess just how you are on the inside as well. 

Until we’re all comfortable displaying our true signs and proclaiming just how wonderfully imperfect we are, or even just how much we can’t do any of this on our own, hang onto this thought: You belong here. 

You’re not alone in your fear, your uncertainty, your anger and trepidation.