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Depression, suicide and finding help.

Self Harm and Suicide — admin @ 5:08 pm

Here at Counselling Connections this week we have been reflecting on the subject of suicide which is very much in the news following high profile deaths both here in Ireland and in the U.K. To mention the names is only to intrude on those families’ private grief. We have been listening with interest to the public reactions; the confusion; the loss and the struggle to understand. We hear people wonder what leads a person to the point where they feel there is no other option but to end their own life. If you are considering taking your own life please don’t. If you are reading this because you have clicked on here in the search for some answers then please read on. There is help available. If you are reading this because you are worried about a loved one then please stay with them. And ask for help.

If you have reached a point where you are actively making plans then please pause and look for help. There are many help lines and services available to come to your aid and support you through these difficult times. You may have come through times in the past when you felt this way and you will know that the worst will pass. And it will pass again. You can get through this crisis. Sometimes a ‘no suicide’ pact is useful. This may be by way of an agreement with one or more close friends or family. It can involve a code word to be used, say in a text message, which you have agreed is a call for urgent help. It can be as simple as ‘I am not good today’. The goal here is just to get over the immediate strong feelings you have and to keep you well enough while you get more support and longer term help.

It may be that you can’t find the words or that you don’t know how to go about getting help. It may be that you can’t see how you will ever feel good again. If you have come to the conclusion that your family or friends would be better off without you then we are here to tell you that this is not the case. Nobody here underestimates how difficult it can be to climb out of the pit of depression. To do so is a difficult road with setbacks and ups and downs along the way. But you don’t have to travel that road alone. We understand that this may be a journey you have tried to make before and come up against what seem like immovable blocks. We would appeal to you to keep trying. If the person you sought help from before let you down or couldn’t understand then try someone else. Try to find someone who you feel can understand your world. This might be the right counsellor; or the right friend. We know that this is not an easy thing to do.

Our experience has taught us that someone can come back from the brink of suicide. Sometimes it is just chance that stops someone taking that final, fatal step. But then they manage their way through the immediate crisis and slowly put one foot in front of the other in the search for a way out. It can be slow and it can be painful. But it can be done. There is a way out of the most painful depression; even one that has lasted for many, many years. It is possible to connect with the richness available in life in ways which you may never have experienced before. It is possible to reconnect with life and to love and be loved. Hold on there. Keep trying. Look for someone to give you a hand. It will pass. And you can feel better.

Counselling Conections, Dundalk.

Understanding Self Harm…

Self Harm and Suicide — admin @ 1:34 pm

This week at Counselling Connections we turn our attention to self- harm. The word can describe anything from smoking and drinking to eating disorders, from picking at one’s skin or pulling one’s hair out, to cutting with a knife or blade. There’s a lot of it about and while deaths do occur with self- harm, these are usually accidental rather than suicide attempts. There is a general misconception that self- harm is attention seeking. In our experience those of you who self- harm go to great lengths to cover it up. It is generally a very private act, evoking guilt and shame in the sufferer following the initial relief.

We know that those of you who self-harm are trying to deal with incredible emotional pain.  We would like to help you to understand how it has come about that you deal with emotion in this way. Pinpointing the triggers that cause you to harm yourself is key is helping you to overcome your problem.  It has become your way of coping and communicating intense negative emotion and can present itself as an option where there is a history of trauma/abuse. A child who suffers sexual abuse in silence, for example, does not understand and is not able to cope with the feelings arising in him relating to his experience. Anger, shame, guilt, confusion to name but a few. These are frightening emotions when experienced at an intense level. The situation can be further complicated by the silence surrounding abuse, leaving the child with no outlet for how he feels. So he stores it all up inside. Is it any wonder then that he looks for any way he can to release it? It is completely understandable but we can show you a better way.

Those of you who cut will know that diverting your attention to the act of cutting helps to minimise the emotional pain. However you will also admit that the relief is temporary and the feelings you were escaping are still there afterwards coupled with the physical pain of the cut. As adults we have more options than the child in us had. We can seek help and learn a new set of coping skills so that when we feel the urge to cut or self- harm in any way, we can replace it with something more positive. Learning to name emotions and express them with another person is a much healthier way of working through and getting past old hurts. We are not meant to be socially and emotionally isolated. Sharing hurts helps us to deal with them. If you have suffered abuse as a child, you owe it to the child who was you to get the help you need, as you would do if it were a child you know in the here and now. That child, like every child, deserves to be listened to and understood rather than judged and hurt some more.

Stories of Suicide series.

Self Harm and Suicide — admin @ 12:35 pm

Here at Counselling Connections we welcome the Irish Times focus on suicide in their Stories of Suicide series:

If you are in the Dundalk area and have been affected by suicide and are looking for support then please feel free to contact us by phone, email or through our website. The phone lines and email inbox are staffed by trained counsellors experienced in dealing with self harm and suicide ideation. We are committed to working towards preventing suicide in Dundalk through our counselling practice.

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