Suicide Prevention/self-esteem issue

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Question
hi rachel,
i was out walking with my mom, when we passed two attractive girls, my mom said hello, but they didn't respond. i figured that's the last we'll see of them. while returning back to our starting point, i heard people jogging right behind us. it was the two girls again. as they went around us, one of them got a little too close for my liking. there we were side by side briefly. i took it as a rude gesture. i'm a fair size guy with a long beard. i thought they would be a little more intimidated by my appearance, resulting in them not getting as close while passing by. this brought my self-esteem down quite a bit. if it would have been a guy or an old person, i wouldn't have minded as much. they just had to be two attractive girls who showed little respect for their elders. i just need a few pointers on how to overcome these negative thoughts. thanks very much for your time.

Answer
Dear Greg,

It is difficult for me to understand what went on that day, without having been there and seen for myself the interaction you had with these girls. However, even without seeing it, it seems apparent that you are very sensitive and take to heart the smallest of slights - real or imagined. It is entirely possible that these girls were so busy talking to each other about something completely unrelated to you, that they did not notice they were being rude to you - ie, walking too close for comfort. As you pointed out, you are not a small person and they would not have wanted to mess about with somebody who could potentially harm them, I imagine. Even if they were deliberately walking close to you, or sharing a giggly conversation amongst themselves about you, it is unlikely to have been derogatory, especially given the presence of your mother.
It is a possibility that they liked the look of you, and were flirting, in an awkward sort of way. As I said, it is difficult to know.  

Of greater concern Greg, is your lack of self esteem. This incident with the girls, was not worthy of such a large investment of your time, energy, and thought. With healthier self esteem you would have quickly forgotten all about it, and not given it a second thought. May I ask - did your mother have anything to say on the matter?

Why do you think that you lack self esteem? I mean, clearly you do.. but what do you believe has been the reason for this? We you criticized by your parents when you were growing up? Or by somebody else who was an influential person or role model?

I think it would be very healthy and beneficial for you to get to the bottom of this. You may need to have a course of counseling to work through your thoughts, self-beliefs, self-image, etc, with a professional counselor or psychotherapist.

I am unable to provide you with any resources, as I am not aware of your location. However if you do a google search you should find plenty of therapists in your area. If you are concerned about cost, inquire as to free services. You should probably find this information in the front of your white pages phone book.

Please let me know how you get on Greg.  Btw I am glad you wrote to me, as I remember you from previously and had wondered how you were getting on. :-)

Good luck with this and stay in touch. :-)

future-breeze@live.com.au

Warmest regards,

Rachel xx

Suicide Prevention

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Rachel Hurst

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
I am a professional writer. I was trained in journalism. Please see my profile in Linked In. http://au.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-hurst/41/178/165 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.

Past/Present Clients
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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