This has been a sad and difficult week when it comes to facing depression, anxiety, mental illness and mental health, after hearing of the suicide deaths of two very successful and admired celebrities.
As caregivers we are no strangers to difficult emotions. We are constantly dealing with feelings of stress, upset, chaos, overwhelm, anxiety and even depression…the list goes on and on. Providing care for another can feel both purposeful and downright debilitating. It is incredibly sad and disheartening when those same emotions so dominate people’s consciousness that they come to feel that suicide is the only answer to the struggles they face in their lives.
This article is not just about suicide, but rather the intensity of emotions that feel overwhelming and unmanageable, and that can lead to self-destructive behaviors on less extreme and obvious levels as well.
We may not always feel loved on our journeys through our lives. This may be due to one’s own internal perceptions, lack of adequate communication, separation from those you love, or struggles with a history of abuse, neglect and rejections. It may be due to current life challenges that feel overwhelming and never-ending.
Whatever the reasons, situations or challenges, it’s important to remember that there are always people willing to help. You are not alone, even if you believe that you are.
In times of crisis and chronic struggles, seek out the helpers. You may carry the belief that it’s a sign of weakness if you need help, guidance or assistance. But just because you may have been raised to believe that you must manage everything on your own doesn’t mean that belief is true…or that the behavior it requires is at all a desirable goal for living life today.
If you are one of the many recipients of that message, who embraced it as a belief and have been struggling to live up to it ever since, please memorize this recommendation of mine that, as some of you know, I am prone to reminding you about quite often:
“Don’t believe everything you think.”
Asking for and receiving help, guidance, and support are actually signs of strength, and increase your ability to build resilience within you. Resilience is a muscle we must exercise, and a good portion of our resilience comes from the relationships that allow us to lean on each other for support when we need it.
Make it a point in your own life to adopt that knowledge as your new belief, replacing the “have to do it alone, and keep it all to myself” belief. You get to choose what you believe, so choose something that strengthens and supports you!
Every challenge we face in our lives can be handled if we’re willing to reach out. You do not have to “go it alone.” There are resources available, even if your first reaction is to believe otherwise. Sometimes it’s a matter of talking the problem out with someone… even a knowledgeable stranger on a 24-hour help line.
Sometimes it’s a matter of being open to new ideas. As Albert Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved using the same level of thinking that created them.” Look for ways to expand the universe of choices available to you, one new idea at a time.
Use whatever crisis you are facing as an opportunity to learn something new in how you can deal with it. Joining a group, seeking therapy, and medication are options to consider, as are regular exercise and a meditation practice of some kind. All of these can be helpful in different ways in alleviating suffering. The important piece to remember is that you do not have to be alone in your pain, and your pain does not have to be permanent.
Reach out in the ways that feel right to you – just be sure to reach out!
…and we breathe….
Some possible support options:
- Caregivers’ Support Group: https://www.lorengelberggoff.com/tbyl-group/
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (talk) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/