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Posts Tagged ‘life changing’

There is always another way

In Education, Health, Holiday, Media, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Uncategorized on December 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

By Gery L. Deer
Deer In Headlines

For some people, maybe even among those close to you, every day can be an emotional struggle. The problem might be not enough money or too little work. Still, others struggle with personal demons, addictions, mental illness, or family difficulties. The list is endless and, often, there is no way out for those fighting such overwhelming internal battles.

edouard_manet_-_le_suicideWhen life becomes too difficult to manage anymore and the odds seem totally stacked against them, some simply choose not to go on. According to the most recent statistics, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, averaging 117 per day. Those are staggering numbers.

Much of the time, a suicide attempt is a plea for help. The sufferer will talk about it, threaten it; even make the attempt. But when someone really wants out, there is rarely a warning or long, dramatic leader – they just do it.

By then, it’s too late to help. Sometimes it’s up to the rest of us to try to recognize and help the individual before it gets that far. Sadly, that doesn’t always work. You can’t help someone who is unwilling, or if there is mental illness or other medical issues in play, the sufferer may not even realize it.

Life can be daunting for someone dealing with these kinds of struggles especially when trying to meet the expectations of others, exhibit self-expression without judgment, or just deal with outside criticism. All of that can really knock joy out of even the happiest of everyday activity. Usually, there is a clinical reason for all of this, whether it’s ever treated or not.

Let me be clear, I’m no psychologist or counselor so I’m speaking generally and colloquially about all of this. But suicide has touched my life on more than one occasion.

I know that for those struggling with severe depression or suicidal thoughts, the world must seem a really dark and unforgiving place. It doesn’t help to lob useless platitudes at someone like that either; it’s neither helpful nor productive.

And the reality of someone considering suicide is not obvious or cliché like it is on some Lifetime TV movie. Someone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts may not look “sad” or anxious in any way to an observer. People who have to deal with this kind of roller coaster of emotion can learn to hide it pretty well.

Also, expecting or nagging someone to just “snap out of it” is not only impossible it can actually make matters worse. When you do that you may be reinforcing the idea that there’s something wrong with the person, that they’re not “normal.” A caring, nonjudgmental ear can go a long way easing some of the emotional pain.

The truth is, depression and other similar issues are, in fact, perfectly normal. It’s the level and cause of the issue that changes the effectiveness of treatment. But every treatment is dependent on the individual seeking out help – and that can be tough. But suicide is not inevitable. Opening the conversation is a start.

If you’re reading this and know someone who might be dealing with these kinds of issues, there is help available. If that person is you, I have a personal plea – please don’t give up. Think of the people you love and who love you and what you mean to them and what losing you will mean. We all have a much bigger effect on those around us than we realize.

Confide in someone close to you. If there is no one then call a local hotline or visit a nearby support group. You can usually stay anonymous and people can help direct you to where you can get long-term assistance.

If you’re in need of support right now, please don’t give up! If you have no one else or can’t talk to those close to you, then call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free and confidential.

It might not seem like it, but there is plenty to live for, just take the first step, ask for help, and give it a chance. You have no idea what it will mean to those around you. There is always another way.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communication, Ltd. More at deerinheadlines.com.

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What was the “crucible event” that changed your life?

In Opinion, psychology, Religion, sociology, Uncategorized on October 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

GDEERDIH3Some people believe one is destined to become whatever is predetermined by their god, with all of life’s events planned in advance by some divine manifest destiny. For others, that destiny is in a constant state of change, altered by the ebb and flow of cause and effect, guided not by the hand of a supreme being but by our own choices.

Generally, however, there are some events in life that we can pinpoint as our time of transformation; a crucible, if you will. Within it, parts of us are burned away leaving a changed, newly-formed person, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Divorce, extended health problems, the loss of a home, personal income or a job, can all bring about emotions and primal reactions for which we are rarely well prepared. Perhaps the most powerful events that permanently change us are related to the death of someone close such as a family member, mentor or good friend.

For many the death of a loved one can be a crucible, forcing to the surface thoughts and emotions perhaps long buried, or never before experienced. How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, but we seldom take that concept to heart.

Even as a topic of conversation, death is to be avoided. Its unmistakable finality has so marked humanity that coping with the end of life has served as a catalyst for the formation of enduring religious beliefs, some of which comfort, others frighten.

What may be surprising is that a ‘crucible event’ does not necessarily have to be a negative or unhappy experience. The same kinds of life-changing occurrence can come from positive influences as well such as the birth of a child, a marriage or sudden financial windfall.

The events themselves, however, aren’t what change us; we do that on our own. Most people don’t realize they have the power, for the most part, to alter how they react to outside influence. Feelings are generated by thoughts, so if we control our thoughts, we can better manage our feelings and make more productive decisions during difficult times. That’s a tall order though when it feels like the world is collapsing around you.

I’ve had many challenges in life, from an early age, but the most influential times were during my mother’s long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. The role reversal (the child becomes the parent), watching helplessly as the illness ravaged her mind and body, and helping to do everything from administer medication to hand-feeding her took a toll on me emotionally that I probably have yet to fully realize. But it did change me; in ways I can’t even imagine yet.

I look at the world a little differently now, having experienced for myself, largely for the first time, the fragility of life. But it was the experience of caring for my mom over the course of a couple of years that slowly burned away layers of my rigid exterior, making me “feel” more than I had previously been accustomed.

It’s really what we do with those feelings that make the difference in the long run. While an experience like I had with my mother could have left me bitter and resentful, I ended up taking to heart a more positive side and a greater appreciation for my family as a whole. Others aren’t so lucky.

Many people emerge from crucible events in a much darker place, filled with resentment or guilt or other emotions that eat away at their core, keeping them from seeing the good that came out of whatever had happened. And, there is always some good – sometimes it’s just very hard to see. Either way, we are changed, different, but it’s up to each of us to decide how those events ultimately affect our lives.

 

Watch independent columnist Gery L. Deer monthly on WDTN-TV2’s Living Dayton. More at http://www.gerydeer.com.