Hey everybody out there, I’ve come across multiple posts the last couple days, of people who are voicing thoughts about death, and/or wanting to die. This is one of those hard times of year, for so many reasons. When I practiced psychiatry, this is the time of year when people had anxiety or mania go through the roof, and urges to relapse into addictions become so strong. Hormones, biochemicals, and neurotransmitters are stirred up with the return of the sun, and changing light levels, and earlier mornings and later nights. The fear of summer clothes and body image distortions flare. The bad behavior or others, who are also coming out of dormancy, runs smack into the vulnerabilities of the people whose paths they cross.
**Every year, for 10 years.
General public, and dear friends, we can’t “fix” things for others, and we can’t make any of these things go away, but there are some things we can do.
We can be real, and we can be nice–if someone appears to be having a rough day, ask them a question, say hi, smile.
We can remind vulnerable friends, that the brain knows how to tell us when we need help, and it looks like a white flag, or a red flag, and maybe suicidal ideation. Listen to your white flags; listen to your red flags. Don’t go back to the grind, pretending nothing happened.
We can remind people that during times of transition, and especially right after a big stressor or upsetting event, our neural networks slide back into old, scary, and dark places, but that we can actually build and strengthen new ones over time. It takes time, but it does happen. Don’t wait to get started; don’t make excuses. Find the right safety nets, and get after it. If you’ve wanted to die for a long time, talk about it. Don’t keep secrets from your loved ones!
Treatment’s not for you? Well–talk to me, and let’s see what can be done about that. Cost? Betrayed by the system? Therapists who didn’t understand? There are a million ways to sort through the barriers.
I’ve seen too many of my clients come out the other side of treatment with a softer place to land, for when life knocks them down. I’ve seen people quit early, too, at the first escape hatch.
It’s hard out there, and right now, I’m seeing it crop up here and there, so please–look out for one another. There’s no shame in being born human, with our fragile psychology. A brain is a brain. Get it into the light.