The Question That Could Save a Life

It takes courage to ask for help. Sometimes it takes just as much courage to ask if someone needs it.

Everyone has their ups and downs but if someone you know is acting differently, he or she could be depressed.

The Warning Signs

The warning signs to watch out for are:

  • changes in weight or appetite,
  • change in mood,
  • sleeping more or less,
  • drinking more than usual,
  • mood changes,
  • anxiety,
  • acting more aggressively,
  • making passing comments (or more) about death and dying,
  • disengagement from people and activities that once were enjoyed,
  • no longer seem to enjoy the things they used to,
  • knowing someone who has tried suicide.

More than anything, trust that ‘feeling’ you have that things aren’t quite right. Always trust it.

If You Suspect Someone Is Thinking of Giving Up …

If you think someone might be suicidal, ask the question. And be direct. 

There’s a misconception that discussing suicide might plant the idea, but it just doesn’t work like this. If someone is contemplating suicide, the idea will already be there. If they aren’t, talking about it won’t put the idea into their mind. Suicide isn’t caused by asking the question. Never has been.

According to Dr Scott Poland, one of the major causes of suicide are feelings of isolation and disconnectedness. People who are suicidal are hurting. Knowing  that someone has cared enough to notice and ask the question can interrupt the path towards suicide enough for the person to seek help.

Be direct. To start with, try something like, ‘You seem a bit down lately. Can we talk about it?’ Then, if you suspect, even in the slightest, that the person might be suicidal ask the question directly. ‘People who feel like that sometimes think about suicide. Do you have any thoughts of suicide?’ or just, ‘Are you thinking that you don’t want to live anymore?’

Skirting around the issue by using words like ‘hurting yourself,’ instead of ‘suicide,’ can give the message that talking about suicide is unacceptable and might undermine the conversation. Suicidal people aren’t interesting in ‘hurting themselves’, they’re interested in killing themselves. In indirect question is less likely to bring about a direct response.

And If The Answer is ‘Yes’?

If the answer is ‘yes’, take it seriously and don’t minimise the situation with responses like, ‘plenty of people feel like this but they don’t kill themselves,’ or, ‘it’s not that bad’. If someone is thinking of killing themselves, it is that bad. It’s as bad as it gets. What other people in the same situation did will be completely irrelevant.

Tell them you’re there for them and you’ll get through this together, let them know depression is treatable and help them get help.

An important question in response to hearing someone is suicidal is to ask if the person has worked out how they would do it. If the answer is ‘I don’t know,’ let them know that you’re here for them and help them get help. If the response reveals a clear intention to suicide and a plan, ask about the plan. Dr Pollard suggests to ask questions as though you were asking about a trip the person was going on: – where, when, how. Most importantly, get help immediately (call a national suicide support line or crisis line, take the person to a doctor or hospital, or if they won’t go, call the doctor or hospital for help). Most importantly, don’t leave the person alone.

Sometimes, if somebody has made the decision to suicide, they may seem happier than they have for a long time. This can be mistaken for a sign that the person has worked their way through to the other side of their depression and is feeling genuinely happier. What’s more likely is that the happy change has come about because the person has found a way to end their hurt, and it will just be a matter  of time. In this situation, stay vigilant, stay close and get help.

Talking about suicide is the surest way to keep safe those whose pain feels unbearable. It doesn’t matter is the words you choose aren’t the perfect ones. It’s not about the words – it’s about the connection and anything said with compassion and a genuine intent will not do any harm.

See here for what to say – and what not to say – to someone who’s depressed.

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Adolescence is all about the transition from childhood to adulthood. It can be a confusing time for everyone - not just for our teens but also for the adults who love them. 

Too often, the line between childhood and adulthood can be a blurry one. The expectations of adulthood can come charging at them, but without the freedoms, confidence, or capabilities that adulthood brings. They can feel with such depth and intensity, but without the adult wisdom or experience to make sense of those feelings. 

They’ll be okay, but it might feel wobbly for a while. In the meantime they will look to us for signs of safety and certainty. This doesn’t mean certainty that everything will always be okay - it won’t be - but certainty that they’ll get through, certainty that they are extraordinary, and needed, and that their will be a space and a place in the world that only they can fill.

We might not always feel that certainty. Some days we might ache, and wish we could make their world feel softer for a while. In those times, it will be less about what you do and more about who you are - being the one who can be with them without needing them to be different, the one who can handle any of their hurts or heartaches with gentle, certain hands, the one who can block out the world for a while by letting them rest in our care without needing them to be, or do, or give anything back in return.♥️
For our children, we start building the foundations for adolescence in their earliest years - the relationship we’ll have with them, who they are going to be, how they are going to be. One of the things we’ll want to build is their capacity to know their own minds and be brave enough to use it. This isn’t easy, even for adults, so the more practice we give them, the more they’ll be able to access their strong, brave, beautiful minds when they need to - when we aren’t there.

This means letting them have a say when we can, asking their opinions, and letting them disagree.

When kids and teens argue, they’re communicating. We need to listen, but the need won’t always be obvious. When littles argue because it’s spaghetti for dinner and ‘I hate spaghetti so much’ (even though last week and the 5 years before last week, spaghetti was their favourite), they might be expressing a need for sleep, power and influence, or independence. All are valid. When your teen argues because they want to do something you’ve said no to, the need might be to preserve their felt sense of inclusion with their tribe, or independence from you. Again, all valid. 

Of course, a valid need doesn’t mean it will always be met. Sometimes our needs might need to take priority to theirs, such as our need to keep them safe, or for them to learn that they can still be okay if everything doesn’t go their way, or that sometimes people will have conflicting needs that need to take priority. What’s important is letting them know we hear them and we get it.

It’s going to take time for kids to learn how to argue and express themselves respectfully. In the meantime, the words might be clumsy, loud, angry. This is when we need to hold on to ourselves, meet them where they are, let them know we hear them, and step into our leadership presence. We might give them what they need because it makes sense and because there isn’t enough reason not to. Sometimes, after giving them space to be heard we’ll need to stand our ground. Other times we might solve the problem collaboratively: This is what you want. This is what I want. Let’s talk about how we can we both get what we need.♥️
Anxiety will always tilt our focus to the risks, often at the expense of the very real rewards. It does this to keep us safe. We’re more likely to run into trouble if we miss the potential risks than if we miss the potential gains. 

This means that anxiety will swell just as much in reaction to a real life-threat, as it will to the things that might cause heartache (feels awful, but not life-threatening), but which will more likely come with great rewards. Wholehearted living means actively shifting our awareness to what we have to gain by taking a safe risk. 

Sometimes staying safe will be the exactly right thing to do, but sometimes we need to fight for that important or meaningful thing by hushing the noise of anxiety and moving bravely forward. 

When children or teens are on the edge of brave, but anxiety is pushing them back, ask, ‘But what would it be like if you could?’ ♥️

#parenting #parent #mindfulparenting #childanxiety #positiveparenting #heywarrior #heyawesome
Except I don’t do hungry me or tired me or intolerant me, as, you know … intolerably. Most of the time. Sometimes.
Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.

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