He shot himself and lived

He shot himself and lived

l-44773-staying-positive-doesnt-mean-you-have-to-be-happy-all-the-time-it-means-that-even-on-hard-days-you-know-that-there-are-better-one

It’s been 5 1/2 years now of me looking into the eyes of complete strangers and listening while delicate souls tell their story. Last week, a man told his story and I just have to share.

He said he was trying to cope with trauma from his past: “And this isn’t oh, my dad hit me too hard some days type of stuff.”

“So one day, I was sitting in my truck and had a gun next to me and I was prepared to die. I shot myself in the chest and I was waiting to bleed to death;” he tells me.

“My wife then calls me and I am not a religious man, but I knew this was some higher power telling me to not die. I started my car and drove myself to the hospital.”

“I went from having a beautiful home with all the possessions I could want to having to take out my 401k so I could pay the bills from my hospital stay.”

“What’s amazing though, is I am happier now, sitting in this jail, than I ever was before I attempted suicide. I have faced my demons and now am present today loving my wife and daughter.”

And this is why suicide is such a horrible idea…if you are struggling, you are not alone and it will get better. I know it’s sometimes hard to believe this because I have had days where my depression gets the best of me. But don’t do it…this was a reminder I needed last week and I hope this will be a reminder for you too if you need it.

Advertisements
Two quick thoughts

Two quick thoughts

There’s a client at my jail who has schizophrenia and is refusing to take meds so he’s not doing well. The other day though, I heard him say to himself “5,4,3,2,1…Happy New Year!” May we all find joy even during our difficult days.

NPR posted an article yesterday about a book called Too Tired for Sunshine which is about channeling depression into photography and finding you are not alone…you can find it here: https://n.pr/2PJb16G

 

 

 

Depression and other stuff

Depression and other stuff

worth

I’m in Missoula, MT this weekend to attend a cousin’s wedding. It’s also where I went to college and I was able to hang out with one of my closest friends who I hadn’t seen in 22 years last night. We’ve kept in touch via Myspace and of course Facebook and it was so great to see her.

So I’m doing ok…I altered my antidepressant regimen about a month ago cause I was thinking about suicide way too much and since the switch, I’ve felt A LOT better.

Work is going well but I want to move closer to family. I was hoping to move to a certain town but just this past week, the company that I wanted to work for announced they are merging with the company that fired me in January…so that sucks.

Last Nov. & Dec I was so depressed because of my new boss. I wasn’t even up to sending Christmas cards out which was a first for me…I was that unhappy. I’m glad I’ll be in a better head space this holiday season and I’m with a better company. The jail I am at now is so awesome…once a month they buy lunch for everyone…and good lunches. They grilled steaks for everyone a couple weeks ago and it was so yummy!

Well, really nothing new to report but thought I’d write a few words on here to let others know I’m still here.

One month later & a totally new life

One month later & a totally new life

let it go

These past couple of months have been a battle in my head…fighting everyday to remain positive and not let the darkness win.

After trying year after year to pass the Licensed Clinical Social Work test and failing and feeling like my dreams were crushed, I finally passed this test a couple of weeks ago. I took the test 5 other times…5! If you really want something and it doesn’t happen when you think it should happen, just hold on because my life truly is a story of bleakness and doubt that has turned to excitement and hope.

I’m back working at a jail as a therapist and I’m beyond thrilled. I had my first week last week and on my 1st day that I was on my own, I had one patient who told me “You might be the one who gets me through this.” I could have responded by saying “You are the one who is going to get yourself through this…I’m just here to help;” but I didn’t think of that at the time. When I asked him to rank his depression on a scale of 1-10 (worse) he said his depression was at a 9.5 the day before but after talking to me it was at a 4. I did say after hearing that: “See, look what can happen in 24 hours…anything can happen.” 

Those who commit suicide obviously just don’t have any hope and it just breaks my heart.  I think many of them think that since they have everything they need and are still depressed and they are tired of trying, why try and fight anymore. But I have a hunch, they did not explore every possibility. Did they try every medication out there with a combination of certain ones if needed? I don’t think they did…Did they try many different therapists and just struck out therapist after therapist, not finding a good one? I obviously don’t know but I wish they had my phone number so I could tell them my story of fighting.

Two Conversations

Two Conversations

This is a post I have had in draft for 3 years…I have no new news so I thought I’d share this post (I’m dealing with some depression since I still don’t have a job. For those who want a follow up to my date with the neighbor here it is: we went on a second date but then I never heard from him again which I’m fine with…when he saw me in the parking lot a few weeks later he said we should grab a beer again but I’m not looking for a drinking buddy…I’m looking for someone who I can hike with and do other healthy activities).

Here’s my old post:

The two most powerful conversations I witnessed while doing crisis work and assessing suicidal clients were both between a mother and a daughter (I can still vividly remember these conversations three years later).

The first one was a mother who took a knife to her throat & her daughter witnessed this action. Daughter was in her early 20’s and at one point while the three of us were in the hospital room, the daughter cried out: “I knew you were not going to die but I was scared!! So scared and I never want to be that scared again.”

The client regretted her actions and wanted to go home with the daughter but the daughter refused to be responsible for her mother. As a clinician, when the client shows hope and a will to live, that is a good sign and means a client does not need to be hospitalized. Also, the client was diagnosed with an Axis II disorder and was known for this attention seeking behavior. Yet, I was torn because I had to decide if letting this client go home alone really was the best decistion.

To this day, I admire the strength it took the daughter to tell her mother several times that she would not be a part of her mother’s safety plan. It was not a fun conversation to witness but the daughter did not budge and was looking out for herself. The daughter knew what she needed to do to not be sucked into her mom’s drama.

The other conversation was when a woman had to witness the most horrific incident one can witness (I don’t want to go into details because I don’t think you need to be burdened with the details). In the hospital room, the conversation the mother and adult daughter had brought me to tears. They talked about love and regret, the past and the future and it was just so powerful to witness…the power of love is probably the greatest power out there.

 

1st date with my Neighbor

1st date with my Neighbor

About six months ago, a single guy moved into my apartment building. Tall, great smile, and his energy was good. When we have seen each other outside, we would make small talk. When I lost my job, he started asking me how I was doing.

I finally decided to make the first move and I did it by putting a note on his door. Just writing this, still makes me chuckle…it really is so junior high. But see, I didn’t want to ask him face to face in case he wanted to turn me down…wouldn’t want that instant humiliation.

So I put the note on his door probably on April 5th or 6th. I then waited. And waited some more. About a week later I saw him in our apartment building’s parking lot and it was a little awkward at first for me since I hadn’t heard from him. After about a minute, he said he got my note and he likes the idea of meeting up for some beers sometime. HUGE inner smile and sigh of relief for me.

Yesterday at about 4pm, he texts me and says:

“Hey its Craig. Wanna meet up for beers tonight?”

Me: “Sure…what time u thinking?”

Him: “I have no idea. Did you want to eat or just have a beer or two?”

Me: “Let’s just do beers…I got some ham I need to eat tonight” (he later teased me about this).

It was a GREAT first date. 3 1/2 hours!! That entire time it was us just talking…I mention that cause in the past, I’ve had several dates where we drink and drink and then we have a drunk make out session…ahhh, it’s so good to be old and wise now.  =) I want to build a friendship and see what happens.

We both like music so we talked about different bands and musicians. We both like to read and he’s actually read one of my favorite books that’s not well known (it’s called The Last Season). We watch some of the same stuff on Netflix so we talked about our shows. Talked about our families growing up…I don’t know if he’s ever been married…still need to ask that one. He’s traveled to Africa once so he talked about his time there (it’s on my bucket list).

We talked about happiness…He’s not happy with his job (he works grave yard for the post office…been doing it for 20 years) and when I brought up happiness he said: “Stop being a counselor.”

Me: “You need to be happy…so what I would like to here is that the pros outweigh the cons at your job since you have chosen to remain there.”

He then listed some pros: good benefits; good retirement; said one or two other things.

Him: “Now if I was able to get a full time job as a park ranger, I would leave the post office tomorrow but most of those jobs are seasonal.”

I left it at that…might have to do some more digging into this at a later time.

He complimented me on my hair…touched me slight a couple of times and he said at one point: “I’m sure being touchy feely” (makes me smile now).

Now we just wait and see what happens next.