Family history is powerful. Just ask Patricia Kaine, whose family history inspired her to become an advocate for those dealing with mental health issues. During her lifetime, she lost her sister, two paternal aunts and two maternal cousins to suicide.
“I was born and raised in Columbus and in Elyria, Ohio,” Kaine said. “I came to Dayton in 1963 to go to a private high school – Fatima Hall at Maria Joseph.”
Kaine had plans to become a nun after growing up in a very devout Catholic family. In fact, she said her mother decided that, after having six daughters, all of them would become nuns.
But the “perfect” family, that also eventually included Kaine’s brother, Joseph, wasn’t always as it appeared in photographs.
“When I was about three years old, my mother ended up being hospitalized after complications of one of her pregnancies,” Kaine said. “And one of my sisters was in a different hospital battling polio.”
Kaine remembers her father going to work every day and telling her she was in charge of her sisters, at just shy of four years old.
“When I was in junior high, it was a foregone conclusion that I would go to a convent,” Kaine said. “The Sisters of the Precious Blood did a variety of different things so that’s why I chose that convent.”
Kaine was 13 when she left her family to come to Dayton and remained here for three years while in high school. In 1966, Fatima Hall High School closed and Kaine went home for her senior year to Elyria Catholic school.
Still determined to become a nun, Kaine remained in close contact with the sisters of the Precious Blood, who advised her to work or go to college for at least one year before making her final decision. She attended Kent State, finishing in three years and graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in education. After working for the US Postal Service during school breaks, Kaine began to consider other career choices.
But her calling never left her and she reapplied to go into a convent several times before determining that it was no longer what she wanted.
“I started dating and my homelife was a challenge,” Kaine said. “I never had a normal childhood and felt out of place because of it. The first guy who asked, I decided to marry.”
Kaine went on to have five children herself and decided to go to medical school at Wright State University. She graduated in 1982 and completed her residency in 1985, becoming a board-certified family practice physician.
Throughout her professional life, Kaine herself was battling suicidal thoughts, committing herself to a mental hospital four times from the late 1970s through the early 1990s
“This was how I protected myself from myself,” Kaine said. “When suicide seemed the only option.”
She divorced after 15 years of marriage and retired completely from practicing medicine in 2017 after her mother passed away.
Today, Kaine says that her intimate experience with depression and suicide inspired her to create what she calls “the Butterfly Method,” to designed to teach people techniques to keep themselves alive.
“When I went into the hospital, I would call my doctor and tell him I needed to go in so I could stay alive,” Kaine said. “I knew the pain of being left behind and I didn’t want that for my children. They helped keep me alive.”
But rather than simply being hospitalized, Kaine learned techniques that helped pull her thoughts away from suicide. She learned how to stop the thoughts from getting worse through deep breathing and relaxation exercises.
“I picked and chose the techniques that worked for me and put them all together to get it done quickly and efficiently,” Kaine said.
A big part of the method is teaching others to share their own personal stories. Kaine said this was particularly difficult for her, coming from a family of people who “didn’t air dirty laundry.”
“If this is what I’m called to do, then this is what I need to do,” Kaine said. “I took a course on becoming a public speaker in February of 2020.”
In March of this year, Kaine launched her website – Empoweredbutterflymethod.com– after helping people during the COVID-19 pandemic virtually. She emphasizes what she calls Stop Therapy – a nine-step process to help people get from despair to hope very quickly.
“The Empowered Butterfly Method has been approved for continuing education on several sites and summits,” Kaine said. “My sessions usually have about 1,000 people in attendance.”
Kaine published a book on the method in May of this year and said she has a goal of reaching anyone and everyone experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts.
“I want this to become as well known as the Heimlich Maneuver,” Kaine said. “My whole mission is to save lives.”