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Suicide Prevention/not suicidal, but depressed over matter


QUESTION: hello rachel,
my father put up a string fence on one side of our front yard to keep people from walking on the grass in that area. most of the people are curtious enough to walk around it. i can almost bet my life that one of the mail carriers has been knocking it down on purpose. this seems to happen at least once every week to a week in a half over the past couple of months. this shows that he/she has no respect over our property. i have a pretty good idea who she is. i had my chance to approach that lady while receiving my mail, but i thought she was another lady, from a distance, who was real good about walking around the fence. she deliver's mail most days of the week. therefore, i went back inside my house feeling relieved that everything was ok. later on i went outside and noticed the string was hanging all the way to the ground. i spied on the mail carriers 7 days in a row, after that, but i didn't see that lady i was looking for. i noticed that each of those people walked around the string fence. the fence is down right now as a result of wear and tear. my dad doesn't seem to think much about it, since he hasn't put it back up, but i've been taking it very personal. as silly as it sounds, i would like him to put it back up, so i can catch this lady and tell her not to do it again. now i've got to live with the fact of knowing that lady will be freely walking on our grass without me getting after her. i just want justice/revenge. i'm very upset over this matter. to me it's like an prisoner running free. i would love feedback on how to overcome my negative feelings and move on. it's been a stone in my shoe, and i can't seem to shake it. thanks for your time.

ANSWER: Dear Greg, Apologies for the delay! I will explain later on this afternoon when I reply. Just wanted to let you know one was on the way! Speak very shortly.. xRachel

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QUESTION: just waiting on reply.

Greg\'s Grass :-)
Greg's Grass :-)  
ANSWER: Dear Greg,

You have a number of options here. You could install a camera, and sit it in an an inconspicuous place so that you can secretly film the trespasser. You will then have evidence and can take the evidence to the police, who may prosecute the person for trespassing.

You could install a dummy camera.. Some type of black instrument with a small red light will do the trick. Place this in a conspicuous place, along with a sign saying TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED. If you don't have anything resembling a camera, simply put up a sign to imply that you have a camera and do not wish to have anybody walk on your lawn! Both of these tactics should make a trespasser think twice, and your lawn will be respected!

More importantly Greg, you need to think about why it is upsetting you so much for somebody to be walking on the grass. Is it new grass, just seeded and growing for the first time? If that is the case then it would be important to keep people off it. Ensure you have a sign that is visible to people. That way other people who see the trespasser walking on your property are more likely to help you keep others off the grass.

What kind of justice/revenge do you think is appropriate? Again, you have options if you can catch the perpetrator.

You can involve the police and file a complaint against the person who has walked on your grass. Depending on the law in your state, they may receive a fine, a warning, or they may have the whole darned book thrown at them by law enforcement officers who call in for back up! (That was a joke!) ;-)  But it is important not to take matters into your own hands, because if you did it would likely be you who would be in trouble, and not the trespasser.

Do not Yell at the person (verbal assault) or throw anything at them, hit them, kick them, or set your dog upon them, (physical assault). Do not follow them home to see where they live and then return to their residence under cover of darkness, with the intention of walking on THEIR grass! This would make you as bad as what they are, and two wrongs do not make a right.

A good psychiatrist would probably examine why you feel such a strong need to control your environment. Some might say that it signals a lack of control in other areas of your life, or a subconscious need to have clear boundaries. Is anybody 'crossing the line' in your personal or social life..? Perhaps you feel 'fenced in' by a relationship..? Or, perhaps deep inside of you is a wild, abandoned free spirit who longs to leap over fences everywhere, and run wild and free through fields of daffodils and long, windswept, wild, unruly grass! ;-) I don't know.

But Greg, what I do know for certain is that anger and resentment are toxic emotions that can be like poison to your persona. You need to ask yourself whether the anger your feel is really about something more. Do you feel this way frequently? Are you often easily irritated or angered by people and situations that others aren't affected by? If so, it might be worth seeking some counseling to get to the bottom of things, or at least to manage anger when it occurs. LOTS of people have problems like this, and live with it. You will be happier though, if you can learn techniques so that you don't have to. If you don't think you need a counselor, try some online strategies.

Good luck Greg!

:-) Rachel

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QUESTION: i'm glad you are getting things under control, my condolences. hopefully this is the last letter i'll have to write to you in a while. i'm just looking for some helpful feedback and mental tricks to help me cope with my feelings. i was out of town visiting my brother, nieces, and nephew. one of my nieces was making her first communion. the service went very well. before the communion i noticed an attractive young lady sitting across the aisle. i never got her off my mind. as everyone was leaving after the service, it got pretty crowded. two lines were formed down the aisle. me and the attractive lady were in opposite lines. she was behind me in her line, but she soon caught up to where i was. i was trying to follow my parents toward the front door, so i got right behind them and went ahead of   the young lady. she then looked at me. i guess she got a little upset/annoyed. she then cut right in front of me and quickly zig zaged her way out of the building. i was hoping she'd stay where she was. my ego was crushed. i'm a fair size guy with a long beard, but my appearance had little to no affect on her. i was hoping i'd be more intimidating. i thought she would have been more respectful, since i am a bit older than her. she could have at least said excuse me. if she had been less attractive, i still would have been upset, but i would have gotten over it quicker. my vacation was somewhat ruined with self-esteem issues and pondering. what she did was very rude. i know i'm quite a bit older than her, and she showed me no respect. i keep running into situations like this. the only way i get over one incident is getting into another one, unfortunately. again, thank you very much for your time.

Hi Greg,

Hmmmm... I wonder why it is that you say you would have been a little less offended by this woman's rudeness if she was less attractive? Is it because you would prefer the approval of a woman you find attractive, and are less concerned with impressing a woman who does not impress you?

As for the matter of age and respect of the elderly.. therein lies the problem.. this woman clearly did not see you as being old enough to be given special consideration due to old age, the way one sits down for an aged person on a bus, so to speak. If somebody started to treat you as considerately as an old aged pensioner I'd say it would be cause for alarm, and possibly time to break out the razor if the beard is going grey. ;-)  

Personally I think you encountered an ordinary woman who was having a bad day. Clearly she was rushing and wanted to be somewhere in a hurry. We are all rude at times, usually without even meaning to be. Most of us apologise when called up on it. Some of us are so into our own lives that we don't even notice we are being rude, ie, talking over others, pushing forward to get service first at a kiosk, elbowing somebody out of the way in a crowd.. that sort of thing.

My suggestion is that you learn techniques to buffer yourself, your feelings and sensitivities, against the abrasive, rough, thoughtless world that it can be out there. You need to continually remind yourself you are a decent person, worthy of respect, and that what other people do or say around you ultimately has absolutely no bearing on you and your life.

Think about it Greg. This woman stepped in front of you and disregarded your presence. That was rude. But she went on her way and probably never once thought back to that incidence, and would not be able to recall it if asked in a week's time. But by allowing yourself to be affected by this complete strangers actions, you will recall the incident. And replaying it in your mind can hurt you all over again. The more you think about incidents like with this woman, and with the person who stepped on your grass, the more disrespected you may feel, the worse you will feel, the more angry you may be, and the more unhappy overall. It is up to you to change how you react to a situation.

You can NOT change the choices made by other individuals in your life. There will ALWAYS be someone out there who will upset you somehow, offend you, say the wrong thing, do something thoughtless, etc. You can not change that fact. You can only change your reaction to that incident and that person. You can only change the outcome of that interaction, not the interaction itself.

Next time something happens that upsets you like this, have a strategy ready to handle it. try to give yourself a time limit to think about it, and then distract yourself by doing something that will occupy your thoughts. Alternately, carry around a small note book. Take a few moments out and sit. Write down what happened, time, place, incident.. and then write how it made you feel. Finish by writing a paragraph that gives you some kind of closure on the incident, while putting it in perspective for you. For example:

Incident 2.

Where: St Mary's Cathedral, room 4.
When: 2pm - (Stacey's confirmation)
What:  blonde woman in opposite row deliberately cut in front of me, glared at me and walked off. She was inconsiderate and I felt really annoyed with her. I also felt unimportant and disrespected by the way she treated me.
My Verdict:   This woman is the one with the problem, not me. She clearly has no manners and lacks common courtesy. I treat others well and I am worthy of respect. I did not deserve to be treated this way. However there is nothing that I can do to change what happened. I will not allow this person to affect the rest of my day. I will not give her the power to alter my day in a negative way. I deserve better. Therefore I now choose to forgive this woman for her social inadequacies. I choose not to carry any negative feelings with me from this event. I choose not to let her behaviour colour the way I live my life or interact with others. I release the memory of this event because it does not serve me to keep it. I am free. I am Good. I am Worthy.

(Note - you probably wouldn't write as much as that, but those affirmations are just some ideas of the sorts of things you might want to write).

A simpler version might be:
Woman at the church was rude. I did not deserve the way she treated me today. However I realise she is the one with the problem, and I choose to forgive her. I am free of this incident. I am worthy of better.

The bottom line is this:  

Other people can not hurt your pride, your feelings, your esteem. Only you can do that, by choosing to let their behaviour affect you. You can choose NOT to let it affect you. Forgiveness is not a wave that washes over you, making your heard feel giddy with love.. it is a choice that we each make. In forgiving a person you are making the choice to release all negative feelings about them. It is a wonderfully empowering thing to do.

I hope this helps. :-)

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Rachel Hurst


All questions sent to me will receive a warm and caring response. I'll do my utmost to address a persons particular problem, but in most cases will also attempt to supply that individual with additional resources which might be of further benefit. There are many helpful online support groups where readers can benefit from the ongoing support of others who have suffered similar problems. These groups offer invaluable peer support from others who have 'been there'. As well as responding to your initial letter, I'll attempt to provide ongoing encouragement when this is needed. Advice will be focused on addressing the writers individual needs, and providing related information and resources. I would try to ensure that any person seeking advice has accurate and up-to-date information on the signs and symptoms of depression, and importantly, is made aware that help is available through many different avenues. Where I feel that it's relative and helpful I would mention my own life experiences with depression and coping with a loved one's suicide (however, only in context.) I would be on the lookout for warning signs that the person is in crisis and may require immediate intervention. As such I would arm myself with as much information as possible in order to refer them to the help they need. In cases where I believed the persons life to be in imminent danger I would contact authorities in their area, or if unknown, I would call the emergency services in my area in order for the person to be located through tracking.


I am by no means a trained professional. My knowledge comes mainly through life experience, having endured the devastating loss of my best friend through suicide, as well as my own subsequent battle with depression following his death. I found that my own experience of losing a loved one to suicide put me in a strong position to help others, due to my ability to empathize (as opposed to sympathizing). I became knowledgeable on the topic of grief, and the extensive repertoire of depressive illnesses, signs, symptoms, and treatment options available to people in crisis.

S.O.L.O.S. Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide - Active member since 2003.

'Marie Claire' Australian, 'Cleo' (Australian), Online discussion forums (in which my submissions have stimulated discussion and generated much feedback).

I am a professional writer. I was trained in journalism. Please see my profile in Linked In. I have studied related subjects during training as a registered nurse. Both of my parents are mental health professionals. However most of reading widely and life experience has been my greatest teacher.

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I have helped a number of individuals who have sought my take on a particular problem, or whom I have felt concern for, for various reasons.

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