Monday, September 24, 2012

Where Do You Keep Your Self-Worth?

my final belly ache by child is a rebel, cc license
The other night a friend was asking me about my thesis (the first draft did make it in on time) and how I was holding up to the criticism inherent in that process (my draft was promptly returned covered in red ink). I responded that I thought I was dealing quite well. I know that my advisor wants me to do well, so her red ink and comments were there to push and guide me. It certainly represented much more work in the weeks ahead, but it did not represent a personal attack on my ability to write or think. This reflection gave me pause; I have not always reacted this way. In the not so distant past, some red ink would have prompted an angry defensive response or complete detachment and significant time in the fetal position.

Monday, September 10, 2012

5 Ways to Observe National Suicide Prevention Week

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we’re not alone” 
- Fred Rogers

It is National Suicide Prevention Week, so I thought this would be an appropriate topic and a great chance to jump up on a soapbox that I haven’t occupied in a long time. Suicide is part of the human condition and it is mentionable (see, I just mentioned it). Not only is suicide mentionable, it is important to talk about it. When we don’t talk about suicide, when we deny its existence, or when we believe it is something that only happens to other people, then we further isolate those struggling between life and death, we increase the stigma around suicide, and we create a culture that is hostile to help-seeking for suicidal thoughts. Perhaps it is the pervasive myths about suicide (many erroneously believe that talking about suicide will make someone think about killing themselves, or that asking someone about suicide will make them kill themselves) that make suicide such a difficult topic of conversation. Or perhaps it is the fear that if we talk about suicide we’ll have to acknowledge the severe psychological pain that many people endure. Whatever the reason, I think the good that comes from talking about suicide outweighs the discomfort. In general, I believe our world would be a more compassionate place to live if we were able to speak honestly about difficult things. Suicide certainly falls into that category.