Dese’Rae Stage: She’s Helping Others Live Through This

May 9 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: We Will Survive

In a BBC interview featuring Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG explained a pendulum would be an appropriate symbol for the United States, noting she finds solace in knowing that when a pendulum swings too far in one direction, it inevitably swings back the other way.

Though she was referring to politics, the pendulum is also an apt metaphor for life. So often, our day-to-day drudgery can get the best of us, but have faith that this too shall pass. Today, flow with the pendulum. It’s life’s motion. Sure, life swings us into tough situations, but it undoubtedly swings us back into joyful moments that absolutely make life worth living!

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 45 Percent Increase

Sometimes, that pendulum feels more like a weight pressing down on our lives. It can feel impossible to find your way out. Sadly, this malaise leads many to take their own lives. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was a shocking 45 percent increase in the suicide rate of U.S. women between 1999 and 2014, with nearly six in 100,000 women committing suicide.

The CDC and other health-based organizations continue to focus on strategies to prevent suicides across all American demographics. But in the meantime, if you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, please seek confidential help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Dese’Rae Stage, Activist and Founder of Live Through This

Today’s Woman to Watch is zealously doing her part to stamp out suicide by providing hope through art and awareness. Dese’Rae Stage knows what it feels like to be in a dark and hopeless space, as she endured a lengthy struggle with self-injury, a suicide attempt and was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder. It was those trying experiences, as well as losing several friends to suicide and a lack of resources for survivors, that led Dese’Rae to create a remarkable online project focused on suicide awareness and prevention.

Dese’Rae is a marvelous self-taught photographer with a degree in psychology, the ideal expertise for her passion project: Live Through This, which gives a voice to suicide-attempt survivors and is considered the biggest data set on this topic. Dese’Rae takes a striking photo of each survivor and publishes it alongside their stories, in their own words. These heartbreaking yet profound stories offer insight into these survivors’ motivations and highlight how complex thoughts of suicide can be.

Live Through This squashes the stigma that is too often associated with suicide. Dese’Rae strips the long-taboo issue of anonymity and raises awareness simply by talking about suicide and the epidemic of severe depression, which can affect anyone. Dese’Rae hits the road to continue with that mission, speaking at conferences and events throughout the world, and interviewing as many survivors as she can, with their portraits and stories working to de-stigmatize suicide as a topic unworthy of everyday dialogue and to serve as proof of life on the other side of a suicide attempt.

In addition to bringing awareness to this subject, Dese’Rae also contributes to research about suicide, and is currently working with university researchers to study how suicide survivors make sense of what happened.

Live Through This gracefully educates readers that there isn’t a simple label you can slap on someone who attempts or commits suicide. Dese’Rae explains that by taking a photo of a suicide survivor, of focusing on his or her eyes, they are no longer seen as just statistics without faces or names. As much as many of us like things to be simply black and white, we live in the gray and can’t truly walk in someone else’s shoes. But we can learn their stories and open our minds and hearts to others’ perspectives.


With Dese’Rae Stage’s important work in mind, today’s quote comes from the queen of advice, Abigail Van Buren, better known as Dear Abby. She said:

“Just for today, I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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