Anger can be deafening. It oppresses and creates an isolation that leads us to crave an escape route. Some seek this getaway from our internal negative chatter through various regimens of immersion such as the Internet, the news, the latest reality show/situation comedy, alcohol, drugs, etc.
The relief, though, is often false and fleeting.
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Each time these negative thoughts return, they intensify. Yet we continue to tell anyone who asks that we are
"fine" when we feel terrible, because that has been drilled into our concept of "manliness" since we were young. If we continue to walk down this negative and self-critical path, our destination will be intensively negative and self-critical. We arrive at blackness, at nowhere. This is when we will believe that we have nothing to live for.
When someone takes his life, it is because he had a plan, the means and the energy. Most attempts that fail are cries for help. You will know that you are approaching or have reached this breaking point; the point where you need to ask for help, when you experience any combination of the following:
- Poor sleep
- Poor appetite
- Poor self-care habitats
- Inability to enjoy the things you normally love
- Inability to communicate with the people you love
- Any pattern of substance abuse
This is not an exhaustive list, but a list of indicators that you have reached the limit of your private suffering. Remember that suffering is always temporary but only alleviated by transforming it into a path to self-acceptance. There is no shame in surviving depression, and only through connection can we survive. If you are becoming concerned – about yourself or someone else – take stock, reach out, speak out and make that life-saving connection.
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Alex Stadler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in private practice, and a mental health consultant to numerous NYC human service agencies with a private Chelsea office. You can contact him at 917-691-4574 or visit his website at effectivetherapynyc.com.