Counseling Services https://ualr.edu/counseling University of Arkansas at Little Rock Tue, 25 Sep 2018 19:19:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 ‘Smiling Depression” can make suicide hard to predict. Here’s what you can do. https://ualr.edu/counseling/2018/09/18/smiling-depression-can-make-suicide-hard-to-predict-heres-what-you-can-do/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 20:17:05 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1788 In the wake of suicide, we’re often left with two questions: “Why?” and “How could this have been prevented?” Neither have easy answers. The…  

The post ‘Smiling Depression” can make suicide hard to predict. Here’s what you can do. appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
In the wake of suicide, we’re often left with two questions: “Why?” and “How could this have been prevented?”

Neither have easy answers. The painful truth — as evidenced by the recent deaths of beloved public figures Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain — is that suicide is much more prevalent than many are comfortable talking about. According to statistics, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, claiming more than 44,000 lives each year. More worryingly, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that suicide rates are on the rise — up 30% from 1999.

What’s even more difficult to come to grips with is the fact that suicide isn’t a monolith. We may have been taught to look for warning signs in friends and family during our high school health classes and college orientations, but warning signs are often not obvious. Nor, as the tragic deaths of Spade and Bourdain have made distressingly clear, are fame, fortune, and a life that is perceived as “good” inoculations against suicidal thoughts or actions.

If there’s anything the conversation that’s stemmed from these high-profile deaths has re-affirmed, it’s that “suicide doesn’t have a look.” And while it disproportionately affects some groups — LGBTQ youth, for instance, are more at risk than their non-LGBTQ counterparts — the reality is that anyone can experience suicidal ideation.

Here’s the reality: Suicide is incredibly difficult to predict. There are many reasons for that.

In a piece for Big Think, Joseph Franklin, professor of psychology at Florida State University, writes that humans love explanations that are simple and universal. Though this way of thinking is often helpful, it doesn’t translate when it comes to the topic of whether someone will commit suicide. In fact, Franklin’s research on the topic showed that even when taking risk factors into account, the most trained experts are no better at predicting actual suicidality than “someone with no knowledge of the patient who predicted based on a coin flip.”

It would be easiest if there were incontrovertible proof that depression was the main cause of suicide, but human nature is far too complex for that. Though depression is the “leading causes of disability worldwide” according to the World Health Organization, not everyone who lives with it experiences suicidal ideation. Nor, according to experts, is depression by itself the main cause of suicide.

There are also other factors at work. Many people who live with depression may not even know that they’re experiencing symptoms of the disorder. And so many people try to push through the pain of depression with atypical symptoms — where the person appears fine to others — that is now colloquially known as smiling depression. Then there’s the fact that despite long-held cultural beliefs about suicide, not all people who die by suicide telegraph their intentions to others. Nor are all suicides planned. Impulsivity and access to lethal means are also important factors that must be considered.

This means that it’s more important than ever to show up for the people in our lives.

Just because suicide is hard to predict now, doesn’t mean it will always be. And new advances in technology — specifically machine learning — are bringing researchers closer to more reliably being able to recognize who is more at risk and when.

But that technology is still years away, which means that it’s on us to reach out and take action when we notice warning signs in our friends and loved ones.

Making the public at large aware of hotlines and suicide prevention centers is important, but it’s also essential that we recognize that not everyone will want to, or even know that they can, utilize these services. And the stigma that surrounds mental illness often makes it feel impossible to ask for help, no matter who you are.

The most important thing we can do is be present for those that we care about. It may feel strange to call up a friend just to check up on how they’re doing, but the even the smallest amount of human contact can’t be overstated.

Think about your own dark times — everyone has them: When it felt like it would be too much to even text a friend, what would it have been like to receive a message from them first, just making sure you’re doing OK? Would you have considered it intrusive? Or would it have been a relief to have someone just be there?

Don’t be afraid to talk — even if it’s about your concern that the person you’re reaching out to may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. Open and compassionate conversation about suicide doesn’t lead to a higher risk. Instead, it allows the person who’s struggling to name what’s going on and share their feelings.  Often, that’s the first step to getting help.

If you or someone you know is struggling, know that there are immediate resources available if you’re in a crisis. There are many organizations to become familiar with, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255, the Crisis Text Line (text “HOME” to 741741), and the Trevor Project 866-488-7386.

The post ‘Smiling Depression” can make suicide hard to predict. Here’s what you can do. appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Depression Doesn’t Need An Explanation https://ualr.edu/counseling/2018/01/31/depression-doesnt-need-an-explanation/ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 18:59:52 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1714 Depression Doesn’t Need An Explanation By Laura Greenstein | Jan. 29, 2018   Most people will experience depression, or extreme sadness, at some point in their life.…  

The post Depression Doesn’t Need An Explanation appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Depression Doesn’t Need An Explanation
By Laura Greenstein | Jan. 29, 2018

 

Most people will experience depression, or extreme sadness, at some point in their life. It’s the pain you feel when you lose a loved one. It’s the emptiness that lingers while going through a difficult breakup. It’s the lack of fulfillment during a period of unemployment. Depression is a natural emotional reaction to traumatic events or major changes in a person’s life.

Although, for 16 million adults, depression is not due to any negative occurrence or life change. Rather, it’s a chronic and/or cyclical state they experience regularly. In other words, it is a clinical and medical condition. And it is more severe than situational depression and can include intense symptoms such as suicidal ideation.

While Depression, the condition, and depression, the feeling, (capitalization used for distinction) can appear quite similar, there is one very important difference: Those with Depression often don’t have a “reason” for why they’re depressed—they just are.

While it is possible that a person with Depression can be triggered into a depressive episode by an external stressor, their symptoms won’t go away once the stressor is removed. For a person with depression, they will likely only have symptoms until they cope with whatever triggered the symptoms.

Those with Depression are frequently stigmatized and misunderstood due to this distinction. People will show endless compassion to a person experiencing depression due to the passing of a loved one, but not to a person who just can’t help but feel sad all the time.

This misunderstanding occurs because people often don’t know how to respond to someone if they don’t know the reason for their pain. For a person with depression, you can reassure them that the pain will fade and time will heal. But saying that to a person with Depression would be both inaccurate and unhelpful.

If you’ve ever experienced depression, think back to that time and recall how difficult it was. Now, imagine what living like that every day must feel like. Imagine what it must feel like to not have the motivation to leave your bed for months at time or for it to be an accomplishment to move from your bed to your couch. Imagine what it’s like to feel as if you’re drowning in darkness.

Keep this in mind when you’re interacting with a person experiencing Depression: Don’t judge or stigmatize them for not knowing the root of their symptoms. Telling someone they “don’t have a reason to be depressed” is the same as telling a person with asthma: “The air seems fine to me.”

You may not fully understand what is causing someone to miss days of work, skip showers or cancel plans. But when it comes to Depression, “Why do you feel this way?” is not the important question. The important question is: “What can I do to support you?”

 

Laura Greenstein is communications manager at NAMI.

The post Depression Doesn’t Need An Explanation appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
LGBTQ+ Resources, Events, Advocacy, and More https://ualr.edu/counseling/2017/10/16/new-lgbtq-support-group/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:20:56 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1638 LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus those who may identify or feel as though they may be part of this community. …  

The post LGBTQ+ Resources, Events, Advocacy, and More appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Rainbow colored striped background with the words Love is Love written in white font.LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus those who may identify or feel as though they may be part of this community.  The purpose of this group is to offer a safe and welcoming environment to gain knowledge and to talk with other people who are LGBTQ+ or who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The group will discuss an array of topics such as coming out, feeling comfortable with one’s gender identity or sexual orientation, family acceptance concerns, and religion.  Other issues discussed will include personal growth, relationships, depression, anxiety, stress management, asserting personal boundaries, mindfulness, and self-care.  This psychoeducational group is for all LGBTQ+ students, no matter what stage they are at in life.  Also, feel free to come to lend support to others!

The group will meet Thursdays from 12:15pm to 1:00 p.m. in the Donaghey Student Center, Room 201T.

If you have any questions or concerns,

please contact the group facilitator, Ashley Vickers, at

alvickers@ualr.edu

The post LGBTQ+ Resources, Events, Advocacy, and More appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
New Yoga and Mindfulness Groups https://ualr.edu/counseling/2017/10/12/1630/ Fri, 13 Oct 2017 00:18:31 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1630 Counseling Center Reaches Out Through Yoga and Mindfulness Groups September 28, 2017 Alexis Nalley Culture, Featured 0 The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s…  

The post New Yoga and Mindfulness Groups appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Ms. Cai Carvalhaes sitting cross legged on a blue yoga mat with a peaceful window and trees behind her.Counseling Center Reaches Out Through Yoga and Mindfulness Groups

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s counseling services recently announced four new groups meant to help students cope with anxiety and stress during the Fall semester. The new groups, open to all students, include a mindfulness group, meditation moment, yoga class, and LGBTQ + support group.

Cai Carvalhaes, a therapist at the counseling center and a certified yoga instructor, was really excited about the new opportunities for students. She said the idea for this grew as she used mindfulness while working with students in the counseling center.

Each group is meant to decrease anxiety, stress, and depression in their own ways. Carvalhaes explained mindfulness as a space to change and meditation as more of a technique used to start the day off right.

Twelve students showed up for the first yoga class, and after the second class, the responses from the students were extremely positive.

“Relaxation is a foreign term to me, so this has helped me relax my body, and I’ve been saying all week that I cannot wait for this class to de-stress,” Baileigh Bell, a student at UA at LR, said.

Ashley Vickers, an intern at the counseling center, said she attends all of Carvalhaes’ classes and can see a positive impact from attending.

“I’ve been able to de-stress easier and I’ve learned how to manage my thoughts more,” Vickers said. “I’ve really noticed a change in my overall self and mood.”

Carvalhaes understands that some students might be unsure about attending some of the groups, but she strongly believes that everyone should try it.

“It’s not going to hurt, and the experience is going to provide them the information that they probably need because mindfulness is more about doing than learning,” Carvalhaes said. “It works for everybody in different ways.”

Students should feel free to email Carvalhaes about any of the classes if interested and have questions. The counseling center also has their own website and Facebook page to connect with students. mmcarvalhaes@ualr.edu

Thank you to the Angle for allowing us to reprint this article!

The post New Yoga and Mindfulness Groups appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Suicide Prevention Month 2017 https://ualr.edu/counseling/2017/09/05/suicide-prevention-month-2017/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 18:43:06 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1604 Counseling Services Hosts Suicide Prevention Month! This year, over 1,100 college students will die by suicide. There is hope. Suicide IS preventable. In conjunction…  

The post Suicide Prevention Month 2017 appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
purple and teal awareness ribbonCounseling Services Hosts Suicide Prevention Month!

This year, over 1,100 college students will die by suicide. There is hope. Suicide IS preventable. In conjunction with the Office of the Dean of Students and the Department of Public Safety, Counseling Services is hosting several events to promote suicide prevention and awareness. We hope you will join us for one or more of the following events!

Selfies Stations for Suicide Awareness

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, September 19
Donaghey Student Center Foyer  *  University Commons Lawn  *  Lawn between Fine Arts & ETAS buildings

Stop by one of our three “Selfie Stations” and share your picture with hashtags #UALR Counseling Services, #OK2Talk, #StopSuicide. We’ll take your photo and post it to our Facebook page UA Little Rock Counseling Services. Tag yourself and get your friends to “like” and “share” your selfie! Selfies that get the most “likes,” “shares,” or is voted “Best Spirit” by Counseling Services will WIN! Great prizes will be awarded in October! Don’t forget to pick up your free t-shirt!

Speak Up – Speak Out!

6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, September 19
EIT Auditorium

The compelling story of the illicit prescription drug use and illegal substance abuse on campuses across America. Featured guests include the U.S. Drug Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Arkansas State Drug Director, and the Arkansas State Board Pharmacy. Hosted by the William Christian Doerhoff Memorial Foundation WillsWork.org.

Brain Games with Mindfulness on the Mall

10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, September 27
Donaghey Student Center Foyer

Challenge your concepts of reality and perception! What you perceive to be true and what is actually true are not always the same leading to anxiety and depression. Try out Mind Ball, on loan from the generous folks at the Museum of Discovery. Visit with our special guest and sleight of hand magician Aaron Acosta. Feed your brain at our Trail Mix Bar. Practice a little mindfulness and yoga in the Mall Area.

Depression Screening

10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, October 3
Donaghey Student Center Foyer

Counseling Services, in collaboration with the UA Little Rock Student Social Work Organization and Student Nurse Association as well as community partners, Arkansas Employee Assistance Program and NAMI Arkansas will provide a depression screening for the UA Little Rock Community. This annual event provides information about mental health resources available to faculty, staff and students, and promotes help seeking behavior.

 

 

The post Suicide Prevention Month 2017 appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Video: Responding to Stress https://ualr.edu/counseling/2017/02/10/responding-to-stress-3/ Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:03:51 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1529 The post Video: Responding to Stress appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>

The post Video: Responding to Stress appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Understanding Self and Others Group Counseling https://ualr.edu/counseling/2017/01/31/spring-2017-group-counseling/ Tue, 31 Jan 2017 16:41:34 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1484 New Group Counseling Offered Spring 2017! The goal of this 6-week group is to provide a safe and supportive environment to encourage awareness and…  

The post Understanding Self and Others Group Counseling appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Tree of Life graphic made of colorful handprintsNew Group Counseling Offered Spring 2017!

The goal of this 6-week group is to provide a safe and supportive environment to encourage awareness and understanding of self and others concerning a wide array of topics.  Topics include but are not limited to personal growth, relationships, depression, anxiety, stress management, asserting boundaries, mindfulness, and self-care.  Students who wish to resolve specific concerns or are simply seeking personal development are welcome.  Students will be able to collaborate and practice skills that will enhance positivity and meaning in daily life.

This process-oriented group is open to all students.  Groups will meet Wednesday afternoons from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the Donaghey Student Center, room 201 A.

All students who are interested in joining this group will need to schedule a pre-group meeting.

If you are interested, please contact Luanne Nelson

lsnelson@ualr.edu

UALR Counseling Services

Student Services Center, Suite 118

501.569.3185

 

The post Understanding Self and Others Group Counseling appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Holiday Shopping with Fibromyalgia https://ualr.edu/counseling/2016/12/14/holiday-shopping-with-fibromyalgia/ Wed, 14 Dec 2016 15:58:00 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1474 From The Mighty by Philly Cashion I love shopping. Well…I need a caveat for that: I love shopping for other people. I love finding…  

The post Holiday Shopping with Fibromyalgia appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Young lady in knit snow hat with holiday decorations behind her.

From The Mighty by Philly Cashion

I love shopping. Well…I need a caveat for that: I love shopping for other people. I love finding things for people that will make their face light up, finding that seemingly random small gift that I know would absolutely make a certain person’s month!

Finding gifts for people has always been a passion of mine…possibly even a very strange hobby. From a friend who randomly says in February, “I always wished I’d played a recorder in school,” to presenting her a recorder and a book on how to use it in November… From a throwaway comment to someone lighting up months later. I also enjoy their confusion. “How could you possibly…?” I love it!

The fibro fog sometimes makes me forget things: why am I in a room? Did I eat dinner? And oh, which medication did I take? But I still seem to have the knack for retaining throwaway comments that usually show a longing for something. My doctors think the hypervigilence gives me a “one up” in this arena. A one up I am very happy to use in my quest for gifting.

The fibromyalgia however, has progressed and gotten worse…and Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere has this nasty habit of occurring in winter.

Leaving the house is an ordeal normally. Even with the wheelchair it is utterly exhaustive, maddeningly painful and usually takes days to recover from. That’s all just for a roll to my GP and back. I avoid all but the most essential outings when it’s cold, as it makes an already taxing ordeal virtually impossible. My body seems to have no defense against the cold. Gone are the days I used to run around in a t-shirt in the snow; now I have days where I shiver even though I’m wrapped up in a heating blanket with three layers on.

It also means 100 percent of my Christmas shopping has to be done online.

Which sounds great, and parts of it are great! There are memes showing shivering people waiting in huge lines vs. a person snuggled up on the sofa, watching Netflix and sipping tea.

But have you tried getting cards online? The selection is surprisingly sparse if you don’t want to use your own photos. Smith’s has some beautiful cards, but online…just zippo. Wrapping paper is another hurdle. Things that are so easy to get in shops become strangely more expensive online.

Then there is the disconnect.

I can’t hold it in my hand, I can’t feel it and I can’t see the exact item. I am left guessing at the quality or relying on customer reviews that range from amazing to awful…for seemingly the same reasons?

I just feel so disconnected from everything.

This seems like a petty quibble. I’m able to budget more clearly for presents when I do it online, I can review multiple products from several spots all at the same time. Etsy is brilliant for decently priced, utterly customizable items you couldn’t possibly find on the high street. I’m nice and warm. I’m able to do these things.

But I just feel…removed. From the whole thing.

I feel like there is a barrier, stopping me from experiencing the joys of Christmas shopping like I used to.

I can’t get out there, I can’t talk to people, I can’t find random things. I am curled up on that sofa sipping tea, watching Netflix. Warm and toasty whilst people shiver. And it’s lonely.

That’s the hardest part, strangely, for me. This time of year is meant to bring people together and I’m trapped behind a screen. I miss out on the special food fairs, haggling over stalls and pure human connection of markets. For all of it, I’m home and toasty, yes, but missing out. Separate.

There are many hard things fibromyalgia and my other disabilities trigger over the holidays – migraines due to Christmas lights and so on – but this one just stands out to me.

Not because it causes the most pain.

Not because it causes the most exhaustion.

It just reminds me I am apart from other people now.

That’s why at this time of the year, I try to make myself more “known” to friends and strangers in the same positions. If they want an idle chat about stocking fillers or chocolate coins, I’ll try to be there for them so, even though we shop from our sofas, we still have a sense of Christmas community.

The post Holiday Shopping with Fibromyalgia appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
What Robin Williams’ Suicide Teaches Us About How to Save Lives https://ualr.edu/counseling/2016/12/07/what-robin-williams-suicide-teaches-us-about-how-to-save-lives/ Wed, 07 Dec 2016 20:03:36 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1468 It’s been two years since Robin Williams died, and I still can’t watch anything he’s been in without feeling a deep pang of sadness.…  

The post What Robin Williams’ Suicide Teaches Us About How to Save Lives appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Actor Robin Williams photo from 2011It’s been two years since Robin Williams died, and I still can’t watch anything he’s been in without feeling a deep pang of sadness. For decades, we watched him play characters that touched different parts of us. The range of emotion he masterfully portrayed over the years  —  and in so many genres, though he was primarily a comedian  —  is no doubt why we felt so attached to him. Robin, through his work, reflected our various selves back at us :  hilarious and vulnerable, a little off-kilter, addled, wild, hopeful.

Now that he’s gone, it’s plain how ubiquitous his work is, how he infiltrated our hearts. Flip through Netflix right now. “The Crazy Ones.” “Insomnia.” “Good Will Hunting.” “World’s Greatest Dad.”

He certainly weaseled his way into my heart. I named my car Euphegenia, and I often find myself yelling, “Hellooooo!” the way he did in “Mrs. Doubtfire” after shoving his face in a cake to fool the caseworker when he’d nearly been caught masquerading as the fictional nanny. I could watch that movie on repeat.

I doubt I’m the only one still in shock. Robin Williams had everything. He had money, fame, power, adoring fans, and access to every resource imaginable. Why’d he have to go? And where does that leave the rest of us?

That’s the thing about suicide: it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have. It doesn’t matter how loved you are. The pain and the feelings of isolation build and build over time, and if something or someone doesn’t set you back on your path, you get trapped in the box. The box is filled with self-loathing, self-doubt, hopelessness, futility, the thought that you and your pain are a burden to every single person around you, and that they’d be better off if you erased yourself from their lives. The box lies. And when you get trapped in that box, it can feel impossible to get out. Sometimes it is. That’s when we lose the people we love.

the box lies movie poster
Photo courtesy Chris Maxwell

If losing Robin Williams  —  undeniably one of the most well-loved, greatest entertainers of our time  —  teaches us anything, it should be that none of us is immune to suicide. It should be that we are each responsible for, and have the power to bolster, the well-being of those around us. That we can form a net to catch those who might be struggling.

Mental health differences and suicide aren’t issues best delegated solely to mental health professionals. We’ve been sold a lie. Only two of our Fifty Great States have mandatory crisis intervention training for future behavioral health clinicians. Sometimes, the people we expect to be our experts are not experts, through no fault of their own. Compounding the problem is fear of liability, a dearth of resources, difficulty accessing the ones that do exist, and an overall lack of funding for mental healthcare. We’re in a dire state.

On the flip side, this leaves us with a unique opportunity and a tremendous amount of power. Every single one of us can save a life. We all possess the ability to reach out, to listen, to empathize, and to be present for those we love (and even for strangers in need), and using these skills can mean the difference between life and death. But it’s so simple as to feel counterintuitive. So, how do you do it?

Ask: If you’re worried someone is suicidal, ask directly, “Are you thinking about suicide?” It’s worth keeping in mind that asking the question won’t plant the idea in their head (a common myth), and that, “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?” is a completely different question that leaves a lot up to interpretation. Bonus: using that scary word (“suicide”) can subvert fear and lift the elephant off their chest, allowing a real conversation to happen.

Listen: If they confirm that they’re thinking about suicide, ask what’s going on. Don’t offer advice. Don’t tell them what they have to live for. Just listen, and listen hard. Validate their feelings. Tell them you love them. Tell them you’ll help them and that, if you can’t, that you’ll find someone who can.

Keep them safe: Ask what makes them feel safe, and how you can facilitate that until you can both figure out what to do next. Remove access to anything they might hurt themselves with. This is especially relevant to gun owners  —  offer to hold on to their gun(s) until they’re feeling better.

Be there for them: Ask them what they need. Is it a friend to watch bad TV with, help making an appointment with a therapist, a clean apartment, a week’s worth of meals, a yoga session, a friend to stay the night and keep them company?

Stay connected and follow up: Check in regularly. Send cat gifs, smoke signals, carrier pigeons, owls. Drop by. Take them out. Coordinate with other people they know so that someone is always in touch. Do your best to make sure they don’t feel alone. Research shows that keeping in contact after a crisis makes a huge difference.

Robin Williams once said, “No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” His words, his ideas, his characters created a number of entirely new worlds for us. He was our Genie. Our Mork from Ork. The English teacher we all wish we had.

Let’s change the world he left us with the idea that every single one of us has the power to save a life. Let’s make that idea a reality.

If you’re hurting, afraid, or need someone to talk to, please reach out to one of the resources below. Someone will reach back. Please stay. You are so deeply valued, so incomprehensibly loved — even when you can’t feel it — and you are worth your life.

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800–273–8255 or Trans Lifeline at 877–565–8860 (U.S.) or 877–330–6366 (Canada). If you’d like to talk to a peer, warmline.org contains links to warmlines in every state. If you don’t like the phone, check out Lifeline Crisis Chat or Crisis Text Line. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world. If you’re a suicide attempt survivor and would like to share your story, take a look at Live Through This.

The post What Robin Williams’ Suicide Teaches Us About How to Save Lives appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Letter to My Suicidal Selves https://ualr.edu/counseling/2016/09/14/letter-to-my-suicidal-selves/ Wed, 14 Sep 2016 18:03:57 +0000 https://ualr.edu/counseling/?p=1443 Dear 8-year-old me, You are so young, so little. You are confused, so confused, about everything in your strange and scary world. You don’t…  

The post Letter to My Suicidal Selves appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>
Dear 8-year-old me,

You are so young, so little. You are confused, so confused, about everything in your strange and scary world. You don’t actually know the seriousness of what you keep thinking about and trying. I don’t know what else to say to you, but if I could, I would hold you. I would shower you with the affection and care for you with the attention you deserve. I would see you.

Dear 10-year-old me,

You are more serious now. Your friends know. You try right in front of them, but they don’t seem to take any notice. You are beginning to hurt, from the inside out. You are more confused and scared more often. You still don’t understand enough to complete it, but it frightens me now to think of what you did.Repeatedly. I wish I could hold you in front of me, look you in the eye and say, “Stop.” But what would I say after that? I wish I could take you away, somewhere safe, away from all the destruction you are enveloped by every single day.

Dear teenage me,

You are overwhelmed. Your pain and confusion is clouding your vision and your body is starting to detach so you do not have to feel. No one knows your thoughts, actions or your fantasies that soothe you to sleep. Many know the abuses you suffer or at least suspect something is seriously wrong in your life. Yet, those with the power to assist you turn a blind eye or, worse yet, accuse you of lying. Then, the latter abuse you too. I just don’t know how to help you. Is it enough that I see you?

Dear undergrad me,

Your life is even worse. How is this possible? I don’t know how you are still alive. Even without the contemplation of suicide, you are so beaten and neglected, surely your body should fold. You are now fully detached, and your mind is determined. You claim you are too scared to take your life because it would make you a bigger “failure.” Hear me and believe me. You are not, and have never been, a failure. You have, however, been continually abused by so many people in so many ways throughout your life that all I want to do is hold you until you scream and cry.

Dear graduate me,

You are in pure survival mode. You’re so desperate for the love and protection you never felt that you are attracting further abuse, but I am proud of you. You sought help. You realized something wasn’t right inside, and you asked for professional help. Not only that, but you stood fast when two of your abusers found out and accused you of attention-seeking, ungratefulness and then didn’t speak to you for more than a week. You are so strong, even though I know you don’t feel it. I admit I don’t feel it even now. Yet, I know it is true because here we are.

Dear postgraduate me,

You are scared of being found out and stigmatized, and the one person you trust and love does not support you in your illness. You have been introduced to trains, use them regularly and they are now your fantasized method. Yet, you know you will not act. Thank goodness, you will never act. In time, this ideation will subside, though it still hasn’t stopped completely. Meanwhile, I still see you.

Dear me, right here, right now,

You have fought many more battles. Your body has begun to rebel. It cannot take the pressure any more. You are just starting now to relearn how to feel, to reconnect with your subconscious mind and your ailing body. It is confronting and at times overwhelming, but you are strong and brave, even if you often perceive yourself as falling apart. You are now seen. Do not be afraid to reach out to those who care. They are not the same people who have abused you and your trust before. Prioritize your well-being and assert yourself for its benefit. I know it does not come naturally to you, but it is the right thing to do. Above all, hear this: You deserve to live.

By Victoria Churchill at themighty.com

The post Letter to My Suicidal Selves appeared first on Counseling Services.

]]>