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The Top 5 Things This Survivor Wants You To Know About Suicide Prevention

“Stop and think” about this. [Support links are located at the bottom of this article. Some aspects may be triggering, be safe].

1. We probably don’t have loving support, like you think we do: When someone discloses their thoughts of committing suicide, the most popular response is that this person should “stop and think” about their parents, friends & family who love them.

A common harsh reality is that a lot of us are also trauma and abuse survivors. Particularly in cases of suicidal teens, this abuse is enabled and/or perpetuated by parents and family members – So, the people we’re asked to “stop and think about” are usually part of the problem; and are a larger part of the issue than other aspects of popular culture are currently willing to admit to.


2. We’ve been “reaching out” for ages, but were dismissed or turned away: It’s common to think that a person just hasn’t tried “enough” or simply gives up too “easily”.

In my six years of Crisis/Support work (trained volunteering on a co-founded platform), I have yet to encounter anyone who truly just does not want to make the effort. From experience, I will say that there are two main roadblocks that cause this kind of disconnect: Emotional dismissal due to “othering” (age, status, class differences) & Lack of access to services.

When talking about support services, it is important to remember that “available” does not always mean “useful” or “accessible”, even though we wish it did. In a nutshell, the majority of Canadians in 2019 are living in a time where any “coverage” that still exists will typically only allow for 5 to 7 visits. Mental issues and traumatic injuries just simply cannot be effectively healed nor addressed in that kind of time frame. Beyond that, there are issues of costs and fees that most can’t pay; Then there is the issue of whether or not the patient has mobility needs – if the offices can accommodate walkers and wheelchairs – and, finally, if the treatment plans are up to date with the current realities of patient experiences.

I write this as an Ontario-born, Non-partisan, wheelchair-bound, captivity survivor in her mid-20s. Outside of my work and worldwide advocacy, I, myself, have been a mental health patient since 2011. Over this near-decade, I have repeatedly faced all the barriers mentioned above. Due to the nature of my trauma in itself, my team struggles to know how to treat me; because there just aren’t many stories like mine in this part of the planet (so I’m told). Mobility needs are the reason why I was turned away from Domestic Violence Shelters four times. My local Eating Disorders Unit flatly refused to do a full intake because – regardless of how committed and motivated for recovery that I personally was – they had already decided that I was “beyond help”. That was a few years ago. I’m still here, so, there was hope for me and they were wrong. But, surviving doesn’t change the fact that this was unnecessary. And it doesn’t mean the system’s not broken. Just because someone survives a problem doesn’t mean there wasn’t a problem & it doesn’t mean they deserved to go through it and it doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.


3. Depression has a spectrum or “scale” of Severety: It is common to speak of depression with undertones of a ‘one-fits-all’ notion. Most statements and suggestions are well-intended, but are, ultimately not true to the patient’s needs at that point in time.

Common suggestions include changes to diet, exercise and the amounts of time spent outside. These are certainly helpful when the person is within the more mild to moderate degree, but, can pose further dangers and risks when someone is in immediate crisis or has a more severe cluster of symptoms – For example: Taking a walk is an opportunity to jump into traffic, so, would not be the best suggestion for someone at a crisis point. Therefore, please be mindful of your person’s own levels, as they reach out to you. At the very least, pause a short moment more just to make sure you’re truly listening at your best capacity and not just throwing out cliches. Cliches are habitual (often “normalized” by media, consumerism and stigma), you don’t necessarily need any sort of specialized training to overcome them; but, overcoming them can be one of the most helpful things to do – both for yourself and those around you, who may need you someday.


4. Depression is often only one part of the picture: Depression is a very real disorder on its own, though it usually appears alongside several other disorders, as well. The mix of disorders can often influence the effectiveness of medication or other treatments.

In my case, my depression also came with Bipolar II, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anorexia Nervosa. Having Anorexia meant that the standard suggestions of diet and exercise would only worsen a crisis. Having Bipolar II meant that an antidepressant wouldn’t be enough without also being combined with a mood stabilizer. So, keep an open mind, when seeking treatment or tracking the progress. The path is rarely straight and narrow.


5. If you don’t know where to start, ask your Family Doctor/General Practitioner: It is common for our GP’s to only pop into our minds when it comes to flu season or annual physicals – but they can be a goldmine for mental health supports and knowledge of community resources, too.

Contacting mine was the best thing I ever did, and mine listened when shelters and school counsellors did not. He also knew me better than they did, so, had a better overall understanding for what was really going on or what I was really asking for. From my experience in Crisis Work, the GP doesn’t often cross a patient’s mind as being a potential resource. If you don’t have an official family doctor, find a walk-in clinic, mobile crisis team, transitional case manager or an Emergency Room (ER) Specialist.

________________________________________________________________________________

“Some people prefer rubies to emeralds; but that doesn’t make the emerald any less of a gem” ~ (c) H.J / author H.J 

>> Reach out to H.J (author): https://mobile.twitter.com/TheOnlyHJwriter

If you or someone you know needs support, please keep these tips in mind and try out the following resources. You matter and are needed, take care!

CANADA: https://www.southeasthealthline.ca/

USA: https://twloha.com/find-help/

AUSTRALIA: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/suicide-prevention

ENGLAND / UNITED KINGDOM: https://www.samaritans.org/

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Multi-genre, published author (Pseudonym), survivor, advocate and many other things.

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Do you know that bureaucratic thinking is distorting our perceptions and thus becoming a significant contributor to mental illness in society?

When people have any mental illness, the medical profession puts them into boxes and various categories according to their behaviour and symptoms. It does not necessarily mean the doctors understand what is going on inside the person's mind. They will counsel and advise as best they can according to their personal experience and knowledge, and then it is for the patient to come to terms with the problem. But if the patient has no insight into his mind, then no doctor can help that individual except give him drug therapy. So when we are treating a person with a mental illness, what we are trying to do is help the person change his perceptions with psychotherapy and-or drug therapy.

In my mind, I see mental illness only as a disorder of perception. It is the degree that determines the level at which it becomes a clinical disorder of behaviour and action. Hence, a doctor must clear up his perceptions first before he can offer any mental health advice to a patient. If the doctor's perceptions are the same as the patient's, then how can he possibly help that individual? Therefore, acquiring self-knowledge and learning to understand the thinking process is most important for any health professional. We have to learn how to turn a negative perception into a positive one.

In my mind, there is no such thing as a broken heart or a traumatic experience that lasts forever. All experiences in life are meant to make you a better and wiser person by teaching you a lesson in life. Therefore, all experiences in life, good or bad, are eventually good for you. That is my perception and observation. So if a patient comes to me for help, what I will try to do is help him change his perceptions and help him to come to terms with the experience. Of course, if the patient has no desire to change or help himself, then obviously my help will be minimal.

Just labelling a person as suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc. does not change his perceptions. All it does is give him justification for continuing with his present state of mind? For example, he will say that "At last, the doctors have found something wrong with me. I now have ADHD".

In my mind, bureaucratic thinking which is the main base of governments and institutions all over the world is a principal factor contributing to the mental ill-health of people today. It is turning all of us into zombies. Bureaucratic thinking is simplistic thinking applied to control and regulate people.

Please let me give you some examples. Some time ago, in a small country town, I was approaching a T junction from a side street in my car. There was a stop sign. As there was no traffic on the road, I slowed the car and turned in. A traffic cop, waiting on the opposite of the road, hailed and stopped me. He asked, "Did you see the Stop Sign?". I said, "Yes." I had broken the law. Stop means stop, and he booked me for the offence.

Can you see here how only the letter of the law was applied? There was no use of common sense or consideration of traffic conditions on the road. No deep thinking, moral or ethical approach was in the police officer's mind. There can be no argument with what he did. He was only doing his job.

Let us look at the law that prevents parents, teachers and police from disciplining children. Here again, they literally follow the letter of the law. You cannot give any corporal punishment. However, when the kids are out of control, one can use whatever force necessary to contain them. Is there any use of any common sense in this? Violence is not permitted in one instance, but it is OK to use force in the next. This type of contradiction is bad for mental health. It creates confusion in mind and sends wrong messages to children as well as adults.

From the above, you must see that bureaucratic thinking has great limitations. There is no consideration for ethics, common sense or reason. It is just a plain, simple application of the letter of the law. One can see it affects our mental health and behaviour. It makes us feel intellectually handicapped. So you must think the medical profession would be the first fighting against this type of thinking. Right?

Wrong. These professionals who should be helping us clear up our perceptions are themselves suffering from a disorder of perception. They have themselves become bureaucrats who are trying to con the public into thinking that we are practising a high standard of medicine by having a bureaucratic QI & CPD (Quality Improvement & Continuing Professional Development) system. Nothing can be further from the truth.

In this system, a doctor is given points to take part in certain educational activities. He is required to attain a minimal number of points in three years, after which he is given a certificate of completion. This certificate qualifies him for further registration with the medical board and implies that he has met the standard required of him. Does it now mean that this doctor is currently practising a high standard of medicine? You would be very naive indeed to think that way.

In my mind, it is the individual doctor's ethical approach to his work that sets the standards in medicine. One may attend as many lectures, and hold as many certificates as one may like, but if one has no ethics and feelings towards his fellow beings, you might as well say goodbye to standards.

It is time for the medical profession to stop indulging in bureaucratic thinking and examine the role it should be playing in society. It should protect society from bureaucratic thinking, not become part of it. If we become part of the problem, how can we solve it? There must be an ethical approach to raise standards in medicine. Applying bullying and coercive measures is not the way to go. They are the same techniques of modifying behaviour used when I was a kid at school. The teacher will say "You will not be allowed to go home until you bring me one hundred lines "I must not talk in the classroom". I wonder whether we have progressed or regressed?

Please read the "The Enchanted Time Traveller - A Book of Self-Knowledge and the Subconscious Mind" to learn about your perceptions and thinking. Please do not become a zombie. For raising standards in medicine, it is always the singer, never the song. Visit Website: http://theenchantedtimetraveller.com.au/


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