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13 reasons why depression Hotline Responsibility suicide Uncategorized

Suicidal Thoughts, Depression and 13 Reasons Why

Originally posted on PsychCentral

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/06/suicidal-thoughts-depression-and-13-reasons-why/

I watched “13 Reasons Why” recently and it got me thinking about my own suicidal thoughts.

suicideprevention

(I am trying not to spoil it too much, but if you are waiting to watch it you may want to hold off reading)

I was an unhappy teen and had some suicidal thoughts but they were passing and I never acted on them.

I have only had one time where I had a plan. It wasn’t very long ago. I had a method and a date picked out. It wasn’t that I wanted to die. I felt like I was a burden and a failure. I didn’t want to exist. But, part of me wanted to live. I told people my plans, and eventually turned over my means to my husband for safe keeping.

But, the thing about having made a plan is that it is still there in my mind. Sometimes, I think of it. Like it is unfinished business.

The show did not delve into the girl, Hannah’s, mental state. The story is from her view and focuses on how others affected her. It touches on many topics and should spur discussions on suicide and prevention.

I liked it. One thing I did not like was that they depicted her committing suicide. They had warnings that there were graphic and disturbing images. What bothers me is that it shows you how. I know you can google anything, and it isn’t new information, but I don’t think it needs to be shown. Just my opinion.

Older adults have higher rates of suicide than teens and young adults and it is the 10th leading cause of death overall.1 Suicide is the second leading cause of death of teens and adolescents. The rates have been climbing yearly.2

There is hope and help. The show seems to send the message that kindness and friendships can keep one from going down that path. But, there are other kinds of help. There are help lines, therapists, psychiatrists. Antidepressant and other types of medications can help pull you out of a dark place.

The series also makes a point about personal responsibility. If one person had cared enough Hannah felt she would not had made that decision. I don’t know how I feel about that. Survivor’s usually have guilt already, wondering what they could have done differently.

I am glad I did not go through with my plan. I would hate to put my family through that and I am happy to be here today.

Crisis Line:

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide,
call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

  1. https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
  2. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/suicide
Categories
alcoholism CBT distorted thinking Uncategorized urge

Distorted Thinking and Urges for Alcohol

 

Originally posted in Psych Central

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/05/distorted-thinking-and-urges-for-alcohol/

thinker

I have abstained from drinking alcohol for 6 months. Day to day, I rarely think about it. I go to weekly meetings and have tools. But, occasionally I get tempted. I went to a restaurant where the drinks were flowing and they looked good. But, I just looked.

Then, I got an annual review at work. It was mostly good, but I focused on the negative comments. It upset me and I felt sad. I came home and I had a strong desire to have a drink to numb my emotions. But, I did something else. I distracted myself. My son had a concert and then I kept myself busy until I fell asleep. I made it to another day.

I went to my group and we did a cognitive therapy sheet. In this sheet, you look for the activating event, the belief(s) (distorted, irrational), consequence of that belief. Then you dispute the belief to come up with more effective ways of thinking, and better emotional consequences.

The activating event was the review and the consequence was the urge. I had all kinds of distorted thoughts. The main one I came up with was that it was “all” bad. The members helped me come up with more. Then we disputed the thoughts and came up with something more balanced. I thought the negative comments are things I can work on. Even if I don’t believe the new thought 100%, it helps.. And, I am not as anxious, sad, moody now.

You don’t have to have a mental illness to have distorted thinking. Anyone can. Based on the work of Aaron Beck, David Burns wrote about 10 types of cognitive distortions in his book “Feeling Good- The New Mood Therapy”1

The types of distortions he lists are:

All-or-nothing or black-or-white thinking. This is one thing I was doing where since part of the review was bad, it was all bad
.
Overgeneralization- If it happened once it will repeat itself.

Mental filter– This is another thing I was doing, where I was only seeing the negative and not seeing the positive

Disqualifying the positive– dismissing compliments, praise

Jumping to conclusions by Mind Reading or Fortune Telling

Magnification (Catastrophizing) or Minimization

Emotional Reasoning– Feelings are not facts

Should Statements

Labeling- Mislabeling or name calling

Personalization– attributing the blame to yourself when it is not all yours

By working through the Activating event, Belief, Consequence, Dispute Belief, effective ways of thinking and better emotional consequence, you can learn to deal with these distorted thoughts. They can help not only with urges but with anxiety, depression and just looking at things in a more balanced fashion.

1 “Feeling Good, The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns

2 photo credit

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Categories
alcoholism Co-occurring contemplation relapse stages Uncategorized

Stages of Change in Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

Originally published in Psych Central

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/triple-winner/2017/04/stages-of-change-in-recovery-from-alcohol-addiction/

stages of change

(Photo from SmartRecovery.org)

There are a number of stages one goes through when recovering from an addictive behavior.

1. Pre-contemplation — at this stage one is unaware of any problems. Others may point them out, but you have no interest in changing.

2. Contemplation– At this stage one is aware of the problem, but not sure how to change. You may be thinking about changing but ambivalent.

3. Preparation– You develop a plan to change behavior.

4. Action– Modify behavior to put plan into action

5. Maintenance-Able to stick with new behavior with minimum effort and strong commitment

6. (Termination)– In some recovery programs they have a step where you have completed and no longer have the addictive behavior.

(Relapse)-relapse may happen at any time. It is common, but not everyone has a relapse. A relapse is when you revert to the addictive behaviorI was in the pre-contemplation stage with my drinking for years. If people would suggest I had a problem, I thought it was their problem. I started having certain rules. I wouldn’t drink if I had to drive or if I had responsibilities.

When I contemplated changing, I was ambivalent. Not sure I wanted to abstain forever. Not sure it was a problem. I prepared and even started going into action and would stop drinking for a bit, but then I would relapsebecause I had not really made the decision to quit.

I had done cost/benefits (pros/cons) and knew it was beneficial to quit. I knew drinking wasn’t one of my priorities. I knew I would drink more than I wanted to and had trouble abstaining. But, there was a part of me that still said “you’ll miss out on the fun”. And, I may. I will also miss out on any consequences.

I am in active recovery right now. I have been going to meetings and sticking with a plan. I have worked on motivation and controlling urges. I am using cognitive behavioral therapy and other techniques to control my distorted thinking.

I can resist temptations. I have been sober for 5 months straight. Another month of consistency and I believe I will be in the maintenance stage. At my work, they are training a couple of people, including me, to facilitate a SMART Recovery group. Facilitating should help keep me focused.

The end goal of these stages, is to live a life that is complete without alcohol.

Categories
13 reasons why depression life lessons relationships suicide Uncategorized

13 Reasons Why (thoughts)

I recently watched the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. If you haven’t heard of it, it is about a teenage girl who commits suicide.

I don’t have a well-thought out analysis. It brings up many topics and I have no one to discuss them with. I have not read other writings on the series yet.

I am far past my high school years, my daughter graduates this year.  She has seen the show but doesn’t talk to me about much of anything.

SPOILER ALERT: There are spoilers throughout this post, and the series unravels slowly. so if you plan on watching it, read this afterwards.

 

I don’t know where to start, so I am going to ramble.

One thing that troubled me personally, was the suicide scene. Not so much that it was graphic or disturbing (they did have warnings). Just that it depicted how she did it. I know you can google anything, but some people don’t complete suicides because they don’t know how .

The movie tackles issues like gossip, social media, stalking, drunk driving. Objectification, sexual assault and rape.

It makes you think about some of the common statements people say about suicide, that people act out for attention. About suicide awareness or anti-bullying campaigns and how effective they are. And, that how it is said it was the person’s choice and no one’s fault. It makes you think about personal responsibility and if someone could have done something to stop them.

I thought it was well-done. You start out as confused as the main character and things slowly reveal themselves.

It is one viewpoint but it could spur discussions.

I guess I will go read what others have wrote. If you have seen it and have any thoughts I would like to hear them.

I think high school has changed from when I was a teen and it was not easy then. There was not social media. People did not drug drinks. Maybe I am wrong, but it seemed safer in that respect.

Bullying was not addressed and suicide was not talked about.  They didn’t have the number of anti depressants as today and  there was even more stigma on getting psychological help.

I was left wondering what the main male character, Clay, had done. He did what Hannah asked and had his own emotions. There was a whole series of horrible events that she would not have witnessed had he stayed when she told him to leave, but you can’t blame him for that.

It went into the realm of non-consensual sex and how not saying “yes” means “no”. How the young man felt since she came to his party and went in the hot tub she was willing.

There is so much more.

I am going to post now. I may edit and add as I think of things.