ASK A PIONEER
These two questions are informed by the recent suicides of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, but also by the thousands of others who take their own lives. Our hope is to shed light on ways to help prevent more lives lost to suicide.
Q1 I OFTEN SAY I DON’T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT ME. BUT THE TRUTH IS, IF I’M SAD OR DISAPPOINTED OR FEELING NEGATIVE, I DON’T WANT ANYONE TO KNOW. I FEEL LIKE AN IMPOSTOR. AM I THE ONLY ONE?
No, you are not the only one. We all suffer for different reasons and in different ways. It sounds like you are paying attention to how you REALLY feel – this is a good start. Trying to cover up or dismiss emotional pain only reinforces the sadness. For example, an illness, loss, or move affects each of us differently. As the issue subsides, the intense pain hopefully diminishes. If it doesn’t, something is wrong.
We worry about suffering that doesn’t alleviate or even intensifies signaling that it might be time to get help. Overwhelming feelings can creep up gradually, seeming to bubble out of nowhere. Acting like nothing is wrong makes the pain worse. Intolerable feelings can eventually lead to thoughts of suicide if not addressed. We would encourage you to reach out to a close friend and share how you really feel.
You can also call our social workers to share how you feel. We are here to help.
Q2I’M AFRAID OF SAYING THE WRONG THING WHEN SOMEONE IS DOWN, ESPECIALLY AS THEY APPEAR TO BE GETTING SADDER AND SADDER. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
A2 It’s normal to feel discomfort with another’s vulnerability if we’re not attuned to our own. Start by recognizing your own pockets of sadness and understand that vulnerability is natural. From there, acknowledge what you see. Share directly but gently what you notice. Rather than only asking “Are you okay?” follow up with: “You seem down. I’ve been there, too; please share what’s going on;” or “I’d like you to tell me what’s going on because I care about you.” Inviting openness can have lasting and life-saving effects. Here’s how to start:
- Listen- don’t judge
- Don’t be afraid to ask
- Let them cry
- Suggest getting professional help and help them find it
- Check in often
For more tips or for a supportive, listening ear, please contact our social workers.
“FANTASTIC STAFF. THE SOCIAL WORKER WAS PROACTIVE IN FINDING ALL RESOURCES I COULD USE IN MY SITUATION. I FOUND UNEXPECTED CARING AND HELPFULNESS.”
–PIONEERS ASSISTANCE FUND CLIENT
Healthy Trails to You!
Meditation, even simply noticing our own breathing, helps counteract depression and anxiety because it keeps the mind from wandering into an obsessive trap. Being in the present moment – even for a minute! – we feel calmer. Stress diminishes and, when it does, we have more clarity. This allows us to see our situation with more neutrality and less emotion, which can be an excellent asset for problem solving. Rather than “looking for” a problem’s solution, the answer might come to us – and with a clearer mind we are more likely to notice it.
To read an article about how mindfulness meditation can relieve anxiety and depression, simply put “NPR Mindfulness meditation can relieve anxiety” in your internet browser. Or call our social workers to have a free copy sent to you.
“DON’T LET YESTERDAY USE UP TOO MUCH OF TODAY.”–Will Rogers
Buck Up Buckaroos!
When one’s inner connection has been dropped, we might find ourselves at the store for “retail therapy,” trying to fill the emptiness. It doesn’t work.
When we feel down we may shop, drink, or even say something mean to someone we love. Try tuning into what you really need, a hug, a walk, or a chat with a good friend are all free. It just may help to avoid that feeling of regret after a shopping spree.
your monthly cow poke joke
“WHAT IS ET SHORT FOR?”
HE’s only got little legs.