Survivors – FMFW Day 18 – Worth and Day 22 – Value

How Three Survivors of Suicide Spent Their Last Days On Earth – http://wp.me/p6xgta-oS

Incredibly powerful stories, revealing in the way the writers take the reader into their heads and reveal their thinking.

As a young person, I worked as a Nurse and never understood my patients as much as I did after reading this post. Many people are not able to empathize with the sufferer but these words do help to relate the hopelessness and understand the thought patterns that lead to the most tragic act.

I think we can better understand the nature of suicide from survivors like this.

It is so important for us all to check in with others about how they are doing. A txt or phone call could mean everything.

This post constitutes Day 18 and Day 22 of Five Minutes of Summer –

Five minutes of Free Writing every day  for October

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Something serious to ponder about

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30 Day Book Challenge – Most thought-provoking book.

DAY 16 –

Endearing Love by Ian McEwan

This story is a surprising book about obsessional love and the actual psychiatric condition that underpinned the story added realism to the plotlines. It really make me think a lot about the mechanisms in the brain that trigger mental illness and those feelings and action that may not yet be classified as such, but have this same basis.

In this thought – provoking book, I found myself, as reader, really wanting the victim to mount an assertive response and understand he was contributing to the situation. I pondered how much this happened in reality. (After all, celebrities have, at times, contributed to their own stalking issues. For example: Agnetha Falskog from ABBA.

I was led to questioned his own sanity at one stage in the story as he delves into the criminal underworld for solutions to his problem. Had he really gone off the rails? Buckled under the constant pressure and stress?

This is a book that won’t grab your immediate attention, but once it has you in its grip, it won’t let go. I still think about some of the things that were said and discussed as well as the events that occurred in this book.

Something I will continue to ponder about.

Day 17 – An Author I wish People Would Read More

Do You Fit In? Anxiety, Emotions and Friends

Do you sometimes feel misunderstood, or like you just don’t fit in? Is socializing painful or something you avoid? Is mixing at a party or large group a torturous experience?

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If so, you could be suffering from social anxiety? People suffering with this are often introverted by nature and feel that they are constantly being judged negatively by everyone around them. As such, they find it difficult to make new friends or maintain relationships.

These people are often drawn to online friendships, as the cyber world can be anonymous and much less threatening. Without the need for eye contact or body language, contact with others  over the net, can be much less overwhelming on the senses. The written word on its own, can be tolerated by someone with social anxiety, as it can give them the time they need to choose their words carefully and to be sure to express themselves in a way that would not be perceived critically. For this is what someone with social anxiety feels every minute of every day: that they are being negatively judged or critically perceived by others. For some, it destroys everyday life and  they are confined to the only place where there is no anxiety, the sanctuary of a solitary existence at home.

Although there appears to be  a genetic basis to social anxiety and its evil partner depression, there are a number of behaviours that can be un-learnt  just as easily as they  are learnt as a coping mechanism for anxiety.

As a result of these thoughts and anxieties, people with social anxiety have few friends and find making new friendships very difficult and not just because of trust issues. Their fears and negative thinking can render them vulnerable to friendship with toxic people, who in turn, erode their self-esteem and self-concept, even more and it feeds into a vicious circle.

Relationship gurus, such as Marc and Angel, list some common toxic behaviors to social interactions which is useful information for those who have social anxiety and who may wish to improve their social interactions:

1.  Taking everything too personally. – People are toxic to be around when they believe that everything happening around them is a direct assault on them or is in some way all about them.  The truth is that what people say and do to you is much more about them, than you.  People’s reactions to you are about their filters, and their perspectives, wounds and experiences.  Whether people think you’re amazing, or believe you’re the worst, again, it’s more about them.  I’m not saying we should be narcissists and ignore all feedback.  I am saying that so much hurt, disappointment and sadness in our lives comes from our taking things personally when it’s far more productive and healthy to let go of others’ good or bad opinion of you, and to operate with your own heart, intuition and wisdom as your guide.

2.  Acting like you’re always a victim. – Another toxic behavior is persistent complaining that fuels your sense of victimization.  Believing you’re a victim, that you have no power to exert and no power over the direction of your life, is a toxic stance that keeps you stuck.  Working as a life coach with people who’ve suffered terrible trauma in their lives but found the courage to turn it all around, I know that we have access to far more power, authority, and influence over our lives than we initially believe.  When you stop complaining, and refuse to see yourself as a hapless victim, you’ll find that you are more powerful than you realized, but only if you choose to accept this reality.

3.  Obsessive negative thinking – It’s very hard to be around people who speak incessantly about the terrible things that could happen and have happened, the slights they’ve suffered, and the unfairness of life.  These people stubbornly refuse to see the positive side of life and the positive lessons from what’s happening.  Pessimism is one thing – but remaining perpetually locked in negative thoughts is another.  Only seeing the negative, and operating from a view that everything is negative and against you, is a skewed way of thinking and living, and you can change that. Seek out positive people and look out the way they perceive obstacles and problems in their life.

4.  Lack of emotional self-control. – An inability to manage your emotions is toxic to everyone around you.  We all know these people – those who explode in anger and tears over the smallest hiccup or problem.  Yelling at the grocery store clerk for the long line, screaming at an employee for a small error she made, or losing it with your daughter for spilling juice on the floor.  If you find that you’re overly emotional, losing it at every turn, you need some outside assistance to help you gain control over your emotions and understand what’s at the root of your emotionality.  There’s more to it than what appears on the surface.  An outside perspective – and a new kind of support – can work wonders.

5.  Cruelty (or lacking empathy and compassion). – One of the most toxic behaviors – cruelty – stems from a total lack of empathy, concern or compassion for others. We see it every day online and in the media – people being devastatingly unkind and hurtful to others just because they can.  They tear people down online in a cowardly way, using their anonymity as a shield.  Cruelty, backstabbing, and hurting others for any reason is toxic, and it hurts you as well.

6.  Needing constant validation. – Last but not least, people who constantly strive for validation by others are exhausting to be around.  Those men and women who get caught up in the need to prove their worth over and over and over, and constantly want to “win” over everyone around them, are unintentionally toxic and draining.  Know this.  Overly-attaching to how things have to look to others can wear you out and bring everyone else around you down.  There is a bigger picture to your life, and it’s not about what you achieve in the eyes of the masses.  It’s about the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in.

What can you do to help someone/be a friend to someone you suspect has Social Anxiety? 

  • Be alert to when they attempt to join into conversations and listen to them with consideration, and without judgement.
  • Be aware that although they might appear rude and abrupt, they would never intend to come across in this way, and it is often their lack of social experiences that make them withdraw, or be incapable of responding appropriately.
  • Accept them the way they are, and always remain positive whilst empathizing.
  • Invite them to social outing without pressure, such as small groups situations or in a situation that they would not find threatening, such as stopping by their desk each day for a quick chat.

Something to Ponder About

Anorexia – Beauty is more than skin deep

I am thirteen, and I hate myself. Hating is easy, but love takes courage. Courage I hope to have some day. For now, I just take each day as a gift. That is why they call it the present, a cliched expression says….

But this is not where my story starts, for I am the product of many years where I have cultivated the darker side of my personality. The thoughts, the distorted perceptions don’t flourish overnight; they  slowly sneak up, unnoticed, all the while sucking the life out of  my soul. Yet they are all of me.

They call it anorexia, an eating disorder. Yet it is nothing to do with my stomach, I feel it in my head, and in my heart. Do not judge me. I want to be judge, and jury.shadow3

My past haunts me, and is me. I am broken, but this is where I feel safe and whole. I feel in control of my body. Or am I?

People, such as this girl with anorexia, have complex problems, and strive for perfection and control that is difficult in an imperfect world. We all are imperfect, in many ways, we all fail, yet everyone still has a rite to be here and to be accepted without expectations.

Beauty is not just how you look on the outside. Can you make the world a better place? Can you make people feel good about themselves? Can you help others?  People like this are 100 times more beautiful than the cover girl on the fashion magazine. Inner beauty never needs makeup, or fad diets, or a stick thin body.

As Steve Maroboli writes:

“Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.”

Laurie Halse Anderson says:

“Food is life. And that’s the problem. When you’re alive, people can hurt you. It’s easier to crawl into a bone cage or a snowdrift of confusion. It’s easier to lock everybody out.
But it’s a lie.”

Hating is easy, but love takes courage. Courage I hope she will have one day. For now, she  takes each day as a gift. That is why they call it ‘the present.’

Something Serious to Ponder About

A Hidden life- Death and Suicide rates low in severely underprivileged groups

“I think you can say that when there is a suicide the entire family becomes totally unhinged. And even though we all seem to go back to normalcy, something has been broken forever.”

Johanna Reiss, (Author of ‘A Hidden Life’)

The tragic topic of suicide is rather personal to me as I have lived through a family member’s depression and suicidal behaviours, and spent much of my time trying to analyze and digest the thought processes and behaviour behind those times. As a parent, one is forever changed when tragedy involving a child occurs, and I have no magic answers for dealing with it. It leaves a permanent scar, for which there is no miracle cure, only perhaps some amelioration of the pain, over time. To say nothing of the mental pain of the sufferer, themselves.

If one looks at the bigger picture, it is interesting to note that suicide occurs less in impoverished or difficult circumstances, as opposed to those who have sufficient resources or perhaps, those who have or are perceived to have, ‘comfortable’ socioeconomic circumstances.

Can this be a key that will save lives and give those who suicide, hope where there is none?

Johanna Reiss explains it in a better way than I could:

the middle class and the upper class are much more likely to commit suicide than those who have to find their daily bread, so to speak. (In) Elie Wiesel’s book, I had read… In concentration camps, the biggest goal for most of them was to get the next crust of bread. And they were already being punished by the Nazis and so they didn’t think they had to punish themselves too. And so there were very few suicides in concentration camps, which is strange when you think about it, it surely seems like a place you’d want to get away from.”

I think a really important thing to remember in prevention of suicide is for the sufferer to remember they are never alone, are never abandoned.

 “In my own case, having been abandoned by my father in a way – he never was much of a father, …. The only person who never abandoned me except when he died was Johan Oosterveld, the farmer in the Upstairs Room, the man who saved my life. He was always there for me. He even left a closet, in his attic, with a hole that you could crawl into, where I had hidden from the Germans. Because he always said: ‘You never know – it might come in handy again, and then Annie, you can come back from New York and you can get right back in there.” .

And the other thing about suicide is that if a person feels that somebody totally needs them, they often manage to hang in there, somehow.

“There has to be a reason for people to stay alive, there has to be hope, and there has to be somebody or something that is so important that you couldn’t possibly leave it. Elie Wiesel wrote: (he was a boy in a camp) that he was considering running into the barbed wire once, but he didn’t because his father needed him. And that’s the only time he mentions the allure of suicide.”

Something to ponder over during Mental Health Week.