Suicide After a Battle to Stay Alive

I am vastly experienced with suicide, professionally over two extremely different mental health positions coming up on a decade, and personally for thirty years. It is NOT an easy way out for people. It is NOT something a person wishes to do. It is NOT selfish. It is something a person will fight against for as long as they can. This, in my professional experience in a homeless hostel, is true with a person who does not have any family or close friends fighting this battle alongside them, and is also true with a person who has family beside them fighting with all their might to help in each and every way possible.

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(Free image from Pixabay)

This week a young man I know very well died through suicide. He was an extremely creative and talented young man. He has a warm, loving and caring family that helped him in every way possible. He has friends who cared and helped in any way possible. He fought with all his might an exceedingly bloody battle, for each and every way he could survive. He had everything, and everyone in place that could possibly help. He did not want to die. He died this week.

I have personally known young men with close friends and family who have died through suicide. If you had asked them on the day they died, if they did they want to die, I think they would have said no. Mental health is a serious issue. Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, and many other ‘mental health conditions’, have their roots in something much larger. These roots can go into every fibre of a persons cognitive abilities. Counselling and any professional mental health is beneficial to the person who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

It is imperative that you ask if a person has any suicidal ideation, or put simply, if they have planned how they would wish to die. If the person you care about answers with a plan, then it is necessity they get immediate psychological help. Some other signs of suicidal thoughts may be giving things away, or no longer interested in anything in the future, or any other number of things. I have included an information picture below. However some people may not have a plan, and it may be a spur of the moment end of their life on earth. This is very much harder, maybe impossible to predict. The information in the picture below shows some of the warning signs of suicidal thoughts.

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(Picture from www.beyondblue.org.au )
The young man I mentioned earlier was known to be having suicidal thoughts at times, although at the time of his death, he was steadily improving and much more vocal and hopeful regarding the future. This would indicate that he was ‘coming out of the woods’ usually. However things changed dramatically… with no warnings. Another lady was talking to a family member, and with no warnings whatsoever she had died through suicide within 30 minutes.

Chester Bennington from the excellent band Linkin Park, died recently through suicide, from his own mental health struggles. His brave wife has since released videos and pictures from the days leading up to his death, where most people looking at these would never expect him to be feeling suicidal. He had money, fame, talents, and a loving family and friends, everything we aspire to having in life, however at a fateful moment in time he died. This highlights that sometimes a person we love and is loved and cared for by many people, lose the battle in their minds and bodies to survive.

This leaves us with the many questions of why, and the exceedingly painful thoughts of what if I could have…. These thoughts and questions are inevitable, but with many people I know personally who have died through suicide there is nothing more could have been done. They are loved by many, cared for by many, and given everything possible to help, but still die.

I am a mental health professional, so you may think: Do I get used to people dying whether through suicide or physical illness? Do I get used to the struggles people are going through? Do I just let something as serious as precious people’s mental health just brush past? NO! I feel everything deeply. Having a soft heart in a cruel world takes courage, and is not a weakness, it is the fuel in my career. I am a biker and I may appear to be tough to people who do not know me. However with many people I walk their journey alongside them with empathy, trying to see their journey through their eyes. I see precious souls frequently who are still here on earth because, partly, of the help and support I was able to offer them, professionally or personally. Am I a hero? Maybe to them, but I think im just using the gifts I have to help people. I think of them being my heroes, to have the privilege to sit with someone who is battling so many ‘demons’, and see them fight bloody battles of mind, body and soul, and win so many times, even when they have nearly lost all hope.

I hope my stumbling words here may inspire someone to stay alive on earth, and help some family and friends to see they have done all they could. Suicide needs to be talked about everywhere as it is everywhere. If you are in a room with a lot of people in it, how many do you think are struggling with thoughts of suicide… It would surprise you. My words here are far from perfect, but neither is life.

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Follow Me To My New Blog?

Follow Me To My New Blog?

As it states in the title this blog may be shutting down. I am unsure whether to leave it as it is, or shut it down, but I may keep it and sometimes add a blog to it?

I am in the process of getting my new blog set up here: Lone Wolf Breathes

The title of the new blog is simply a metaphor of me as a lone wolf breathing words into the blog. My writing comes from a very deep part of me and this seemed appropriate. It will allow me to have more variety of material to write about, as I found with this blog being so obviously attached to my counselling career, it was distracting from my writing here, and comments on other blogs.

For the next few days I will be transferring blogs I like from here to my new blog: Lone Wolf Breathes and then kicking off with some new blogs. I am looking forward to the freedom of commenting it will bring, and not be intimidating to others hopefully.

Please do follow me over there, and I will continue to follow your blogs. If you have any other blogs I’m not following then comment below for me to follow.

Thanks, Stephen.

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Kairos Has Saved Lives

Kairos Has Saved Lives

Kairos for me is a time in history which creates an opportunity for, and indeed demands, an existential decision by the human subject. A delicate, crucial MOMENT, in which you can rewrite your personal history.

How many times have you, who is reading this, had such a moment in your life, that MOMENT, when you know it is a fork in the road, but you are hurtling towards it at speed, and you need to decide in a MOMENT, which path to take?

Making that phone call, texting, or Emailing to initiate your counselling could be one such MOMENT. A time for you to rewrite your history and stop pretending you will change, life will change, patterns will change, but they haven’t and you haven’t so far. Maybe for you Kairos is now!? Maybe reading this could be your Kairos, your moment that will initiate changes? 

Whatever you hope to change, or do differently, or whatever your wish is for this year, it takes work bringing it to fruition. In my experience this will not happen without a MOMENT of enlightenment, or a moment of fear, or a moment of deep melancholy. It will take Kairos to enable you to start making changes. 

In counselling with me Kairos happens frequently. The right words, at the opportune time, can, and have changed a life. Without courage, intelligence and passion, from counsellor and client, the present kairos may pass. I do not always get the words in that precious MOMENT, but I am constantly aware of Kairos in a counselling session. It has saved lives.

I previously worked in a homeless hostel with very vulnerable adults, dealing with suicide on a daily basis, sometimes for many hours with someone during a night-shift. It was Kairos that enabled a person to survive the night. A few words in the right time, said in the right way, saved the person from dying. I never take it for granted, and it is an exceedingly important part of my development as a counsellor, noticing and being aware of Kairos, and using it to help precious souls. 

Kairos could be described as a moment when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action, an opportune and decisive moment. It will appear and disappear quickly.

My prayer is that you and I will use Kairos for positivity. Kairos could be used for spreading a ripple of kindness, something small but the ripple spreads as people spread the kindness. That moment you walk past a homeless person, will you or won’t you give them something to eat? That moment you see a mother struggling with groceries and a small child or baby, will you help her? That moment you think about a relative or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, will you use Kairos to call them? 

Stephen.

Spikes or Flower?

Spikes or Flower?

This cactus came from a family holiday in Lanzarote as a tiny sprout. It has been cared for since then, watered, fed, changed to a bigger pot, and has sunshine shining down on it, when it is actually sunny in Northern Ireland… Some people may still just see it as this spiky useless thing. They may not see the tiny, intricate, beautiful flowers it has produced.

I know a lot of people who on the outside may look quite scary and sharp; sometimes us who happen to ride motorcycles may be looked upon as loud, scary and rough. As with the beautiful flowers on my cactus, it is for the beholder to see what they wish.

So what are the spines (spikes) for? They are not thorns, rather they are modified leaves, and keep some predators away from the water inside, but also help on a misty or foggy night to trap some water, which then falls down the smooth cactus to the ground and is able to be absorbed by the roots.

So if you think of people who may be protecting themselves in this, sometimes, dry and arid world, devoid of empathy, they may use defenses to keep people away. If you look closely at a cactus it usually has a beautiful smooth surface behind the spines. If we cared enough to really see a person we may see the beautiful smooth stem, the spines all designed so intricately to protect, and the fruit that it produces, for this cactus it is the stunning flowers.

A person behind the spikes could be a father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, friend or any number of very kind things to many people. Going with the bikers again, I know most bikers have very big kind hearts and do many things to help people, maybe a charity bike run to raise money for little children who need some sunshine to shine down on them, and raise money to help them.

As both a biker and a counsellor I am privileged to know a lot of people who may on the outside have a lot of spines to protect themselves, after being hurt in this world. I know that behind these spines is a beautiful soul that is very kind and helpful to others, despite what has happened to them. I know the fruit they are producing and how they help others to flourish.

As you can read I look at a cactus very differently, and it means a lot to me. I find comfort in the spiky spines. It is a reminder to me that spiky people may be a lot different behind that defense. It reminds me if someone is spiky to me that if I negotiate them spiky spines carefully, the smoother, calmer person is there. The beautiful flowers this cactus produces twice a year, reminds me how a person can flourish, if they recieve the correct care and attention we all require in this world. Thanks for reading, Stephen.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

 

How Small and Insignificant Are You?

Mindfulness can be practiced in so many ways and places. Just now as I was driving home from work, in the dark, on a busy road with roadworks, I was approaching my turn off. I noticed running at the side of the road a tiny little brown field mouse. This is through being aware in the present moment of where I am in the here and now. I am not that keen on mice, but, in this moment it was a beautiful thing to behold.

Amongst very large machines, cars and roadworks, this brave little mouse is still going about his or her daily life, among all the hustle and bustle, usually unnoticed. How much can we feel like this mouse at times… I don’t know what this mouse was doing, but he could have been making a huge difference in his little world, feeding his family, going to the mouse shop for a treat for his wife, after she had a hard day with the baby mice, rushing to help another mouse have the confidence to cross the road home to his safe house…

Humour, but, when we feel small and insignificant, mindfulness can allow you the space, time, and kindness, for yourself to slow everything down, and allow the feelings of compassion and significance to come back which you deserve for what you have done today. For example, if you smiled at one person today that has the power to change their world.

I also changed my route home tonight just so I could drive quietly and slowly over a dark mountain and see the bright stars from the darkness of that mountain road. It was calming and peaceful. How many people could have travelled that way and not stopped and noticed the creation all around us?

I Am Not I 

I am not I

I am this one

walking beside me whom I do not see

whom at times I manage to visit,

and whom at other times I forget,

The one who remains silent, when I talk.

The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate.

The one who takes a walk when I am indoors.

The one who will still remain when I die.

Juan Ramón Jiménez

A reminder to check in with my Soul regularly.

I am a Soul surrounded by a rental of skin and bones. I use Prayer, reading the Bible, mindfulness, nature, my Bride and my Sons to connect with my Soul and its Creator. My Soul is the only part of me that will last. What ripples I leave behind in helping others in a safe way is my goal. It feels good to check in to the real me, inside, which I wish to shine out. No matter what others may TRY to ‘do to me or make me feel’, my Soul is the part they do not get to easily, I will protect my peace by any means. Stephen.

Kill Yourself or Other Things? 

A few thoughts just after World Suicide Prevention Day. In Northern Ireland more people have ended their life on Earth through suicide this week. 

It is vitally important if your thoughts get to the point of resignation that you seek professional help. You can live on. You can change so much else in life if it has become so hard for you to hang on living. You cannot come back to life after you have killed yourself, only Jesus accomplished coming back to life after dying. Life can be very good after overcoming this dark period of suicidal thoughts. Hang on. Get help. Believe in what you can still accomplish in life. 

I would like all precious people to consider who they put their trust in regarding suicide. I as a Christian put my trust in God, but not every Church has a trained professional to help you through depression, anxiety, ptsd, suicide… I am a man of Faith and believe in the healing of the Holy Spirit. A Pastor or Minister is an excellent person to go to for guidance and counsel for your precious Soul, and I highly recommend it, as you will be taking your Soul wherever you go after here… I just wish you to consider if you are putting your trust in a person in a Church or Chapel, as a few wrong words from someone could be the tipping point in activating your suicidal thoughts, into actions… It is similar with some other places in towns which profess to have ‘professionals’ to help you with your suicidal thoughts, they may not be trained. 

Try anywhere you wish for help, but if it is not helping, do not stay there, go somewhere else, and get help from somewhere else. Do not allow yourself to stop fighting, do not allow yourself to sink further into the darkness and lies of depression and suicide. If you do not want to see me that is perfectly fine, I just wish you to get help, with someone who can help you. I wish to see you tomorrow, next week, month, year… I wish to look into your eyes and say you made it, well done, what a fight you had. Survive. Pray. Believe. Ask God to help. Psalm 91.

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