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Suicide Prevention/I don't know how much longer I can keep going

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QUESTION: Hi my name is RJ and I am scared. I have undiagnosed depression going for over a year I don't know when it started and anxiety even longer. I'm starting to think about sucide again something I haven't thought about in a long time. Everything is so hard, and in hurting I just don't know how long I can fight for. I'm afraid of adults, I can't ask them for help. My mom I hate to blame someone but she's a big part of why I feel like this. I thought I could suffer out two more years but maybe I can't. My dad is so clueless it's sad, and they two fight almost all the time. My sister is the favourite and is so naive and I pray that's how she stays even though I know I can't protect her forever. I shouldn't even feel this way anymore, I mean last year I witnessed domestic violence toward kids between the ages of 1 and 5. But I can't let it go I can't, then there's everythig my friends go through.
And everyday just seems to be getting worse, I have health problems too, but I can't even imaging going to the doctor. It's something really bad to do with my heart nothing to do with anxiety either.
My boyfriend wants to help but I don't want to loose him.
I self harm on and off but it's not your traditional cutting.
I wonder what's the point?? Each time I have a dream a goal it always fall apart. I just keep hiding my feelings cause I can't deal with them. I can't talk about them I can't even express them, I never learned. I've only learned to let them bottle.
Now I'm breaking and I can't stop. It's like walking on broken glass, every wrong step I get stabbed or cut. I wonder how much I have left how much longer I have.
Any adore is aprecaited. Thank you for reading this.

inspiration eye
inspiration eye  
ANSWER: Dear RJ,
I am glad that you have written to me. From your letter, you seem an articulate, very intelligent young woman. The symptoms you describe are those of depression. Unfortunately low self-esteem and self-doubt are common aspects of depressive illness, as is anxiety.  The good news is that there is much that you can do to help yourself to recover, and to climb out of the dark hole you feel you've fallen into over the past year or more. It is important to recognise the strong link between mind and body, and the role your thoughts play in your overall health and well-being both mentally and physically. Negative thoughts become negative actions and outcomes. Conversely, a positive thought is just as powerful in creating positive actions and outcomes. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a wonderful way to retrain your mind and teach you how to stop destructive negative thoughts as they come to you, and change them to more constructive, life-affirming positive thoughts. It is possible to think yourself into having healthy self-esteem, and being happier!  That is not to say your depression isn't real, because it is. By learning techniques taught in CBT therapy it's possible to 'control' the thoughts you're producing and thereby prevent the depression from taking over, and defining who you are.  

Would you feel comfortable telling me more about your cardiac symptoms? You may well have a heart condition, in which case it is crucial that you do get past your fear of seeing a doctor. You must find out what is going on for you physically as well as psychologically. Remember too, the connection between mind and body. Stress, panic, and fear can cause rapid, shallow breathing, a fast pulse, perspiration, a pounding heart, even dizziness and fainting! I recall experiencing numbness and tingling in my left arm, and paramedics had to rule out a heart attack before informing me that my panic attack had caused my oxygen levels to fluctuate, mimicking conditions of a heart attack! Needless to say, I was very embarrassed. However, I was subsequently able to 'talk myself down' from any further episodes by practising the deep breathing I learned to reduce stress and panic.

If you are interested, I will source some online information on CBT techniques and websites that may help you.

RJ I would like to help you more than I feel I am able, with the information I have so far. I have some questions I hope you won't mind answering for me so that we can talk some more.

1.  How old are you?
2.  You say you distrust adults.. If you feel comfortable could you tell me why this is? Also, is there anyone - a teacher, an aunt, a neighbour.. who you feel you could trust? How about your school guidance counsellor if you are still at school?
3.  Why do you feel your mother has contributed to your depression?
4.  Can you tell me about your self-harming?
5.  What are your goals, your dreams?

Meanwhile, you say your boyfriend has offered to help you.. this tells me he is there for you, and genuinely cares. Why are you shutting him out? Perhaps by choosing not to open up to him he may be feeling that you don't trust him.. which can't be a good thing in your relationship. Interestingly, I read an article recently that talked about how sharing personal feelings, thoughts, and fears, causes couples to feel closer and to fall in love more readily than couples who didn't share. In other words, it would seem you are more likely to strengthen your relationship by confiding in your guy than by keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself.

I hope you will write back and answer these question.  If you prefer, you can write to me privately at future-breeze@live.com.au, or change your question setting to private.

Speak to you soon I hope,

Take care..  and here is a (((big hug))) for you RJ!


:-)  Rachel

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi, thank you so much for your help. I'm 17 years old, I just finished grade 11. I wish I could say why I'm scared of adults and why they make me uncomfortable but honestly have no idea why, it's been that way for a very long time, espacially scared of cops or anyone in a uniform. My councillor at school is alright I meant her once, but she thinks she knows how I fell when she doesn't even come close and she think I was lying to her but I was being sincere. No one believes when I say I don't remember but I actually don't, if I didn't want to talk about it I switch conversations or say whatever it is in a general way of that makes sense. My mother yells a lot, I get blamed a lot she's gotten betters as much as she's gotten worse, she no longer blames me for my sisters problems but is constantly on me for everything else that goes on. It's worse then walking on eggshells. Her mood changes in an instant and she takes it out on me, my dad says she acts like a child because she runs a dayhome and refuses to go out. We'll be having a nice conversation then suddenly she'll be so mad. I don't know what to ay and everything I belive is wrong and I can never be right. Another thing she does is she's passed the point of cruelty the kids she looks after.
My self harm has changed, when I first started Id try to hurt myself running into things hitting myself with things or acting dangourously. Then it evolved to picking at my hands with tacks. Id scrap at my skin till I felt better.
I'm going to be a paramedic then go back to school to be nurse after I make enough as a paramedic, that's my goal I don't have any more dreams they don't come true and any i come up with end up dying. My moms killed too many too count.
My heart, well it's hard to explain so I'll try my best to explain for weeks my heart will get palpations they'll get worse and worse mostly when I lie down. At night they'll get even worse and sometimes hurt really bad then my stomach will hurt too ill end up curling up in a ball wanting it too stop.
Then suddbely it will go away after it hits it's worse or till it's so minor it's barley a problem.
My chest half the time feels very uncomftable.
It worries me a lot especially since I feel sick a lot and get frequent headaches. But I'm scared to do anything. It took me over two years to see a doctor about a chronic cough, breathing problems (like im being smothered) and chat congestion that wouldn't go away. I got diagnosed with asthma.
I still half all the above they didn't go away which annoys me my inhaler only works if I disobey the Dr.'s directions.
That doesn't matter right now sorry, I say apologize for everything too even if no way it could be my fault.
I trust my boyfriend a lot but I don't want to lose him but I thinks he's really perceptive to I wonder how much he sees or tells when I tell half truths.
He's says he here for me but I can't take the risk I've never taken any risks before. I can't express my emotions either so he probably thinks I don't like him nearly as much as he likes me. Cause I can't express them I hug and kiss him but I can't tell him anythig that's emotional in real life.
Thank you so much I hope I answered all your quesitions.

Answer
pretty roses
pretty roses  
Dear precious RJ..
I feel sad for you.  At 17 you should be carefree and full of the joy of self-discovery and wonder at the world and it's people. (Cue the violins!) It seldom is though, is it?

In no particular order, I will address some of the points we've discussed, having given some thought to what you've told me.

First, PLEASE see a doctor about your palpitations. It is likely that stress is all that is causing your symptoms but you need to rule out a serious physical cause. I recall having a similar experience, with my heart doing double beats, and racing whenever I lay flat. Unfortunately, this didn't happen when I wanted my doctor to observe it!  A cardiologist fitted a halter monitor for 24 hours and thankfully the reading captured these frightening occurrences. In my case, no cause could be found, but I suspect it was linked to my hormones since I had just given birth when it first happened. There is no medicine as good as reassurance when you're scared. :-)

I'm sure your mother is not an evil or bad person. From what you've described it sounds as though she is suffering depression and has a mood disorder of some kind. Healthy people do not just fly off the handle for little or no reason. It's a shame that you feel she blames you for your sisters problems. Whatever is troubling your sister is not your fault. Your sister is a separate entity, just as your mother is, and we are each responsible for our lives. Often when a person feels guilt or shame about something, they will cope by 'transferring' the perceived 'blame' onto somebody else. It is easier to forgive others than one's self, and perhaps the real problem is that your mother feels responsible for both your and your sisters problems. That must be very hurtful for you.

If your mother has mistreated children in her care, that's very wrong. What brings you to think this RJ? Having worked as a family day carer many years ago, it can be a very stressful, often overwhelming job. Few people are cut out for the task of caring for the children of others, and providing those children with the standard of care, affection and attention and time they each deserve. However, it is a job that doesn't require being around other adults who can judge or condemn her, criticise and look down on her.. as that is how those with social anxieties see things.

In what way do you feel your mum has discouraged your dreams? Could you elaborate further?

I hope she hasn't been harsh and unkind with undue criticism in a misguided attempt to 'encourage' you to do what she hoped you would do with your life? Words are powerful!  And I believe that the single biggest influence in a girls life is her mother. The reason I wonder if she has criticised you a lot is that you may not see it but you are very critical of yourself, RJ.

In fact, there is a sweet, caring, wonderful child being abused and ill-treated right there in your home. This precious girl suffers daily mental cruelty, judgement, harsh criticism and self-reproach. Her tormentor mentally and physically tortures her.  She is deeply unhappy and insecure, but instead of receiving reassurance, unconditional love and acceptance, she receives punishment for her perceived faults.  As a result her psyche rebels, because she can't cope with the hatred and condemnation. She suffers severe headaches and breathing problems. As well as asthma she also endures terrifying panic attacks that she sometimes feels will cause her to close up her throat and steal her breath away. Ah.. but all is not lost! There is somebody there on the sidelines. I see a tall, dark man.. maybe short and fair, I'm not wearing my glasses. This guy cares about her. Wants so desperately to help the vulnerable girl he loves. Wants her to allow him to mean something to her.. to matter. Doesn't she know he'd do anything for her?  If she is miserable then so is he because how can he possibly feel joy when the girl he adores is devoid of it?! He's not like other guys.. He genuinely *does* care and means what he says. He tells her over and over that he's there for her. Between the lines, there are other unspoken words she just isn't seeing. Can't see.. because she's drowning in her suffocating feelings and has no room for his. She doesn't realise that if she forces herself to look she will see that he's sincere. But that he is hurting too.  She doesn't stop to think that perhaps.. just possibly.. if she allowed herself to care about this guy and what he says, what he feels, that she will experience a sense of relief. She will feel soothed by the abundance of comfort he has to give but is repeatedly rejected by her, leaving him feeling inadequate and useless.. powerless as a man to help his woman. Only she can give him what he craves.. the wonderful, dizzying sensation of being wanted and needed.

The happy day that she allows him this gift will be a turning point. As she begins to trust, she will let go of her unshakeable belief that she isn't worthy of love..

Perhaps then, that precious girl will cease being abused and punished, and will begin to heal and grow stronger, more resilient every day. She doesn't see it yet, but one day she will turn all of her pain and unhappiness into something so worthwhile. Drawing on her experience of depression and despair, she will develop the miraculous gift of helping and healing others, as only those who have walked in similar shoes can do.

As for suicide and thoughts of dying.. they have no place. You have such things to do with your life yet RJ. Not to tap into your awe-inspiring gifts to help future 17-year-old girls out of the same deep dark hole, would be unconscionable!  Perhaps you will help others through becoming a role model to the vulnerable young women who may never have given themselves permission to dream and to reach their potential.

I hope this helps RJ.. I'd be happy to talk further.


:-)  (((Hug))) from Rachel

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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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