Silence isn’t Golden: A Public Service Announcement about Suicide from A Friend “Left Behind”

This post is very difficult to write.  In fact, I’m not sure that I should even be posting it.  Unfortunately, the message behind it is one that is too important and must be shared.

I have struggled with depression in my lifetime.  My life has been a series of roller coaster rides.  I’ve had depression that lasted for months on end, but things always managed to get better and I moved on.  This month, however, has been a particularly difficult one for me.  I lost two friends to suicide in a matter of just a few weeks.

She was helping me to improve my quality of life.

I found out about the first death on Facebook in the week following Thanksgiving after she hadn’t returned any of my calls or texts.  She was more than just a friend to me; she was also my neighbor and personal trainer. She was helping me to improve my quality of life.  So when I tried to find out why she wasn’t returning my calls and texts and missed our appointment, I completely fell apart.

The next few weeks were not easy.  I met with my health professionals and was only starting to heal when I got a call earlier this week at about 2:30 in the morning: another friend had passed away.

Suicide isn’t an easy topic to me to discuss.  This may be because it has never affected me personally before.  I knew it existed.  I knew people who knew people who had done it.  I even had a neighbor in my previous residence who had done it, but I have never been the one who was “left behind” before.  Now that it has and now that I am, I feel the need to share my experience and reach out to others.

Suicide, or the act of intentionally taking one’s own life, is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.  The symptoms my friends displayed included difficulty with interpersonal relationships, unbearable physical pain, and withdrawing from family and friends.  Unfortunately, these are also symptoms of other difficulties, so it would have been difficult to know what they were thinking.  In hindsight, all of the signs were there, all over the first friend’s Facebook page.  The goodbyes, the unbearable pain; it was all there, and I can’t help but think that had I seen it sooner, I would have run over to her place and stopped her.


One of my best friends often tells me that she frequently calls a suicide prevention hotline.  She has been calling this particular number for years.  She is not suicidal and has told me that she would never even consider it for herself, but she calls the number when she needs someone to talk to.  Sometimes we all just need an unbiased ear to vent to; someone who is not our mother, doctor or friend to unload on who will listen and advise without taking a side.

I am ending this post, since I am at a loss for words. I wish that there was something I could have done, but I know that their deaths are not my fault.  Now I can only hope for comfort and strength for the families who are affected by their losses.  I can educate, advocate and help others in the future.


If You Know Someone in Crisis
“Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.  Learn more on the NSPL’s website.” The National Institute of Mental Health


MedlinePlus (December, 2017). Suicide. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

CDC/National Center for Health Statistics (March, 2017). Leading Causes of Death. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

The National Institute of Mental Health (March 2017). Suicide Prevention. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (May, 2017). 10 Leading Causes of Death by Age Group, United States – 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2017 from

Further Reading and Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:


Veterans Crisis Line:



Whipped and Chunky Mashed Potatoes


• 1 lb Baby red potatoes

• Almond milk

• Sea salt

• Garlic powder

• 4 blend shredded cheese (optional)

• Butter/margarine


  1. Boil potatoes until soft

  2. Strain and run under cool tap

  3. Let stand until completely cooled

  4. Blend potatoes skin on, milk, and seasonings in blender, manual stop and star button

  5. Pour mixture back into pot, heat and add cheese, butter and add milk as needed to keep from burning

  6. Stir until desired temperature is reached

  7. Serve

On This Day in History: Sliced Bread

“It’s the best thing since sliced bread!” is a modern saying.  But where does it come from?

“Otto Frederick Rohwedder was an American inventor and engineer who created the first automatic bread-slicing machine for commercial use. It was first used by the Chillicothe Baking Company.”


Since then, we have seen pre-sliced bread in so many recipes and favorite meals.

I love grilled cheese and tuna sandwiches.  What about you?


Strawberry, Banana, Yogurt Smoothie

Strawberry, Banana, Yogurt Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 cup plain Greek nonfat yogurt

3/4 cup Trader Joe’s organic strawberries (frozen)

1 banana (frozen)

1 cup fat free (skim) milk

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Organic Chia Seed


Skinnygirl by BELLA Personal Blender



Blend together until desired consistency is reached.


Berry Happy Smoothie

Berry Happy SmoothieSo, I’ve been sick for two weeks now.  What started out as a standard cold turned into a sinus infection and the next thing I know, I’m spending a night checked into the fabulous five-star hotel called the “Emergency Room.”  The day I had started taking my prescription antibiotics was the night I took a trip in the ambulance.  I had been prescribed them the day before when I visited my primary physician.  I never had a sinus infection that caused a fever before and I was shaking so bad that I could barely dial the phone and had trouble breathing.  Thankfully, I was not having a reaction to the medication.

I had the Lap-Band surgery about four and a half years ago, so taking medication in its pill form can be difficult for me at times.  This is especially the case when they are horse pills like the antibiotics I am currently on. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, “horse pills” are medication in the form of tablets or capsules that are very large in size.  The large size of horse pills can make them exceptionally difficult to swallow.

It helps me to drink a smoothie while taking medication.  So today I made what I am calling a “Berry Happy Smoothie.”  This smoothie made me feel good while I was drinking it that I just had to post the recipe for my (and your) future reference!

The key to making this smoothie is the cottage cheese.  I know what you’re thinking, “Cottage cheese?  What!”  My mom questioned it too when I suggested she add cottage cheese to the one she made yesterday.  Cottage cheese is a thickener to a smoothie recipe.  If you don’t like the cottage-cheesy taste, you can add flavor extracts to it, such as vanilla.  You can also thicken your smoothie with xanthan gum.  You might find that in the gluten-free isle.

Bring a smile to your mood with a Berry Happy Smoothie!

Berry Happy Smoothie

  • Servings: 2 1/2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Berry Happy Smoothie

Berry Happy Smoothie


  • 3/4-1 c Cottage cheese
  • 5.3 oz (150 g) Low-fat plain (original) or coconut blended Greek style yogurt, like Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries, strawberry preserves or red raspberry preserves
  • Fat-free milk or milk alternative
  • Ice cubes
  • Honey


  • Blender
  • Drinking glass (tall)
  • Straw (optional


  1. Blend the cottage cheese using “pulse” until it is creamy.
  2. Add the yogurt and ice and continue to “pulse” until the ice is blended in.
  3. Add the fruit and/or fruit preserves and “pulse” until those are blended.
  4. Add the milk and honey.
  5. Add more ice if needed.

Learn many creative shake recipes that utilize cottage cheese as an ingredient!

Dashing Dish | Categories | Shakes

I have made the French Toast Protein Shake before and it was so good!



Dear NJ Department of Human Services,

Today I wanted to buy a box of matzoh for Passover, but I couldn’t afford to.  Today I learned how much I hate you. I love you, but I hate you. I don’t want to depend on you, but right now, I have to. I don’t feel ashamed that I must use a government issued card to buy my groceries. I feel ashamed for you that you had to call me to ask me if I paid for my own phone bill and then lower my monthly grocery money allotment based how much I spent paying for my own landline.

I know that there are others who got this phone call and the letter that followed, whose SNAP allotments were cut down to the bare minimum of $16 a month, likely based on the possibility that they may not be able to afford their own land line. Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who can and so my monthly allotment is not as such. However, it still pisses me off that the State of New Jersey would see to it that those who cannot afford groceries due to their present situation in life, should be shopping for fewer groceries and therefore less healthy options.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I can still afford to do complete grocery shopping trips using my NJ SNAPs, but I believe that the latest adjustment was not well-balanced. Basing someone’s ability to buy groceries on whether or not they can afford their bills when it should be based on an individual’s income. I may have received more money because I pay my own bill, and a neighbor may have received less because he does not. Is the ultimate goal not to achieve financial independence anymore?  This would be in addition to making healthy eating more affordable, as per the nutrition courses you are so desperately trying implement!  Sometimes we need a little help first in order to get us to that goal.

I walked out of the grocery store, no matzo for Passover, no soup for dinner tonight, and no groceries for the rest of this week.  Leaving everything in the two bags on the counter, I apologized to the cashier, twice, and walked home trying not to cry.  Although you might think so, I wasn’t sad or ashamed.  It took me only a few seconds to realize that I was more angry that embarrassed.  I was fuming inside!

So SNAP YOU government! Get yourself together and stop taking the food from our mouths!


A broke, not-so-middle class, white, Jewish woman.

(Yes, I was brought up in a middle class, white Jewish family.)


A Child of the Nineties

The eighties; when we were babies.

The nineties; the days of hanging out in the backyard and playing with the neighbors on the swing set.


A time when your biggest responsibility was to make sure that your book report was done on time.

Yes, those were the days.

That was a different “feeling”.

When all our problems were solved for us by our parents.

Were they better days?  In some ways, yes.

But I really want to see what the future holds.