I have to be honest with you. I’m pretty upset right now. I don’t want to be mad, but it’s really hard to be anything else. I’ve just been reading about a fellow clinician and a pastor of a mega church taking their lives in the last week. These fathers left behind wives and children. These men were actively promoting mental health awareness to students and to church goers. These men knew how to tell others to seek out help, but for some reason decided not to get help themselves. It was a selfish, selfish act.
“Gasp…David how can you be so thoughtless with your words, you’re a counselor.” Sure, I’m a therapist, but I also have emotion about things and opinions about things. I also have questions about things that don’t make sense to me.
An article I read about suicide said from the perspective of the one committing suicide it could be seen as a selfless act, simply because they think why would anyone want to live with me…I don’t want people to be miserable with me.
Perhaps this is accurate and perhaps not. Even if it is true, it still doesn’t address the fact that there are now children with no father and wives with no husband. If these accomplished, educated and loved men could still make this choice how does anything make sense in the world? As I’ve thought more about this and my own stressors about life and raising a family I’ve come up with some thoughts.
Don’t believe the hype
I follow a few people on social media who seem to believe that if you just try harder…believe in yourself more or head off on your own path, your life will somehow be magically transformed for the better. It sounds great. Who wouldn’t want to change their lives for the better? The problem I see with these “gurus” is that this stuff worked for THEM. They want you to believe it will work for you as well. If you buy their “product” and it doesn’t work, then YOU didn’t do it right, YOU didn’t believe enough or simply weren’t ready. It becomes your fault in some way. When you get the blame for someone else’s formula not working for you, I can imagine it can lead to a huge amount of negative self-talk as well as self-doubt. Stop believing these people
Care about yourself first
I had a therapist friend tell me last week about a difficult family he had been working with for the last year. Not just difficult, but emotionally sucking the life out of them. He dreaded working with them. I asked him why he hadn’t referred them out. He told me he was worried about people thinking he couldn’t hack it. I called him out about this. We can’t help people well when we are hurting ourselves. I fully believe when we don’t take care of ourselves well, our attempts to care for others will be diminished. Sure, we may look like we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, but on the inside, you will be dying.
Leave the race
I had a contract to provide counseling. This contract was well-paying, but the downside was that I had to interact with a program manager that had poor people skills, was a micro manager and didn’t actually work with clients. He ruled from his office on the 4th floor while I and my colleagues actually worked with families. Over time I found that I was snapping at my family, going to bed anxious and worried sick over small things. I needed to find a solution because this contract and this person was creating an unhealthy response in me. I made the decision to end my contract. I had often heard of people who take a lower wage position to have peace of mind in their lives and less stress. I never really understood it until this contract. When I left the contract, 8 months ago, the peace that came into my life was astonishing. I share this because perhaps you are in a position that you need to leave. A job that creates stress that effects your mental health and relationships around you is not worth keeping. Your family wants you to be at peace and so do you.
There is often some shame involved with admitting you may have depression or suicidal thoughts. You have people that care about you in your life. The moment you go to someone you are emotionally connected to and share with them what is going on in your life, they will want to help you. Shame often prevents people from being emotionally vulnerable. Is that happening with you? If so, reach out to me and I can get you help.
We are in this human race thing together. Let’s be kind to one another, not make assumptions about one another and ultimately, help one another.