From someone who lives with it.
I’m taking a deep breath and telling the truth now.
Suicide rates boom over the festive season and it seems to be a trigger for many people with mental illnesses like depression or personality disorders. It’s mainly because they feel alone, hopeless, strained, useless, purposeless or utterly miserable. It’s difficult for them to watch the rest of society enjoying the festivities and celebrations, particularly when they feel like running away and hiding until its all over. Worse still, they may feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is too far away for them to reach.
Being a loved one watching someone close to them cope with this can be exceptionally difficult. Some will threaten suicide, while others withdraw as the thought continually crosses their mind. People with mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder threaten suicide on a regular basis. Some do end up achieving their goal and many others have made unsuccessful attempts.
The seriousness of suicide is that no one ever really knows when it’s going to happen. So when loved ones do threaten to end their lives or begin to slide into the ibis, those closest to them often feel compelled to intervene. The main problem is, most of us are unsure of what to do or how to help. The following list are recommendations from Lifeline about how to help loved ones in the prevention of suicide.
1. Ask them if they have been thinking about suicide. Be direct stating, “Are you thinking about suicide?” Chances are, if they have been having thoughts about ending their lives, they will want to discuss it with someone they can be honest with.
2. Listen to them. You know the old saying a problem shared is a problem halved? Simply taking the time and effort to listen to someone in need can make a big difference. Avoid getting distracted by others, technology and allow time for them to be heard and appreciated.
3. Check their safety. Being alone at a time when suicide is becoming a viable option, isn’t ideal. If you need to, offer to stay with them or have them come with you. If you can’t do it, organise someone who can.
4. Ask for a promise or get a written contract that they won’t commit suicide. If they have been feeling like they have let people down, they will want to stick to the agreement.
5. Don’t lecture them about how they should feel or what they should do. Many people equate suicide with selfishness and a first response is about this. When someone is considering suicide, they may feel that life would be better for others if they weren’t around. Telling them that they are being selfish is counterproductive.
6. No-one should support a suicidal individual on their own. It can be mentally, emotionally and physically draining. To look after yourself engage the help of others, which may include family, friends and professionals like GP’s, counselors, psychologists or psychiatrists.
Lastly, the most important thing you need to do to support them is looking after your needs first. They may want to lean on you for a prolonged period of time and this will be exhausting. They also need to learn skills to cope on their own. Therefore, it’s imperative you let others know the situation and seek help immediately.
If someone you know is in need of help, the following contacts are available.
- Emergency 000
- Lifeline crisis 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
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Do you have someone floating around the outskirts of your life who can only be described as toxic? Someone who makes you feel bad, brings you down, is an emotional vampire and generally has nothing positive to offer you or your otherwise peace-loving, positively fuelled, happy life!
You might be thinking, why would you have this person around anyway? Well, they are usually there out of necessity. They might be a work colleague or worse, a family member and the only reason they’ve remained part of your life is out of loyalty or a sense of duty. Maybe it’s to appease your partner or keep the peace.
So, instead of grabbing them by the hair and thrusting their head into the closest concrete surface, which BTW, I seriously don’t recommend; what’s a better solution to your toxicity problem? Sure, it might feel good to attack them, but rest assured, when you release them you’ll kick yourself for being manipulated into behaving like someone you aren’t.
There are always much better solutions to dealing with the token toxic person in your life and we’d like to give you some tips before you find yourself in the above scenario.
1. Honour your feelings
It’s ok that you don’t like everyone you meet. We each have a unique personality and sometimes personalities aren’t compatible. Don’t avoid what you are feeling or try to alter your feelings on account of others. Suppressing thoughts and feelings will only escalate a situation and make things worse.
2. Set boundaries and enforce them
Don’t allow yourself to be used as a personal doormat by anyone; including family members. Establish your boundaries and respect yourself. Be assertive in enforcing the boundaries without being nasty. It will be much harder to set boundaries during an established relationship, so get ready for the fallout! Keep emotions out of it and no matter how hard they push, remove yourself from the situation and don’t bite.
3. Don’t expect to receive emotional support from them
Toxic people don’t care about your wants or needs. Regardless of what they say, if you don’t expect anything from them, you will avoid the disappointment they can cause.
4. Be aware of their agenda
Toxic people aren’t interested in giving you their time or attention. Be prepared for them to lack interest in your life. Try to be one step ahead of what they want from you and only give them what you are prepared to have taken. This is not a reciprocal relationship and you need to be fully aware of that.
5. Don’t expect to be able to please them
No matter what you do, you won’t be able to please them. No amount of giving will be appreciated and they may neglect to remember what you’ve done for them. The best way forward is to stop trying to please them and accept them for who they are.
6. Refuse to be manipulated
Toxic people are very successful manipulators. It’s probably their best skill. They are used to getting their own way and don’t care who they hurt, disappoint or destroy along the way. Their lack of empathy for others allows them to take advantage, without any guilt or remorse. Don’t allow manipulation to undermine your integrity or alter your personality or behaviour.
7. Avoid criticism
Toxic people find fault in others, however, they don’t take constructive criticism or feedback very well. In fact, they may use criticism from others as a way to manipulate empathy. In you need to have them in your life try and find something positive about them. In some cases you may need to look exceptionally hard.
8. Protect yourself at all times – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually
The only way you can have this person in your life is to thoroughly protect yourself. They will ask for more than you can afford to give, in all aspects of your life. If you don’t protect yourself, you will get lost in their negativity. You can become that person you don’t want to be or even like, for that matter.
9. Stay away from them whenever possible
The only way to sustain a relationship with a toxic person is distance. If they try to manipulate their way into your home because they have nowhere else left to go; save yourself the heartache and torture. They won’t appreciate it and they will use you up and spit you out when they are finished with you. If toxic people are in your life, don’t invite them into your inner circle. This is where they will do the most damage. Keep them on the outer, be polite and live your own life.
10. Make the decision about having them in your life
Over time, this person will wear you down, emotionally, physically, mentally, financially and spiritually. You might result to behaving like someone who isn’t you because of the server stress they cause. Before it gets to that, regardless of how this person exists in your life, you need to make a decision to either tolerate them or walk away. If you are tolerating them for the sake of others, you need to be honest and state that you just can’t do it. It’s unhealthy and no-one should have to live with the level of toxicity some people provide.
No matter how hard you might try, at the end of the day, it ultimately takes two people to make a relationship work. If one party isn’t willing, you will need to resign to the fact that no amount of effort on your part will change it. In fact, the harder you try, the worse it can get.
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Ever heard of someone described as a narcissist? This term comes from a type of Personality Disorder (PD). Many people don’t realise it but PDs are amongst the most common of all psychiatric diagnosis. Therefore, chances are pretty high, that you know someone who has this or at least shows some PD traits.
There are 10 types of PDs which are classified by 3 distinct subtypes; Suspicious, Emotional and Impulsive or Anxious. The following is a brief explanation of each type of PD:
Paranoid personality disorder
The main characteristic here, is their inability to trust others. Therefore, they will vigilantly be looking for betrayal and mistrust. They lack the capacity to get close to others due to their suspicious nature.
Schizoid personality disorder
There people are chronic loners. They find little enjoyment in life and can be emotionally and intimately void.
Schizotypal personality disorder
People with this disorder can be odd and eccentric. They often use words from a made up language, are preoccupied with having special powers and feel anxious and paranoid in social settings.
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
This type of person is classically egocentric and will have been diagnosed with conduct disorder before they reach 15. They have no sense of guilt, will do anything to get what they want, lack consequential thought, strive for success and will be reckless and impulsive. If you’ve ever been ripped off by someone, chances are they have ASPD or at least identify with these traits.
Emotional and Impulsive
Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Mood swings, recklessness, impulsiveness, emotional, clingy; are all characteristics of BPD. They would likely have a history in self harm, substance abuse or suicide.
Histrionic personality disorder
If you know someone who thrives on drama, being the centre of attention, is over emotional, needs to entertain you and constantly seeks the approval of others; then they are exhibiting classic signs of this disorder.
Narcissistic personality disorder
Much like ASPD, except they feel they deserve special treatment and are above everyone else. They will resent success in others, dislike being ignored and rely on others for their self worth.
Avoidant (or anxious) personality disorder
With a chronic fear of rejection and inferiority, these poor souls avoid all types of social situations, including having to go to work. They expect disapproval and criticism, and feel a need to hide away to avoid it. They are often extremely isolated and lonely.
Dependent personality disorder
Due to chronic low self confidence, these sufferers need others more than any other type of person. They are unable to function, make decisions, take responsibility, be alone and are totally passive and submissive. They are almost childlike in their need for protection and care.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)
Similar to OCD (ritualistic need to perform repetitive behaviours) which many people have heard of, OCPD is characterised by a desire to control themselves and their environment. They expect the worst, often hoard things for fear of throwing items away, have unreachable expectations of themselves and others and fully believe they know best. If you have seen the TV show “Hoarders”, about individuals who are unable to disregard everyday items and what many considered rubbish; then you have witnessed what can classically be defined as OCPD.
Most PDs are identified by loved ones or those around them. Suffers are generally unaware of the severity of their traits and the impact it has on others. As a result, it is often those around them who demand mental health intervention and this is when a diagnosis is made.
If you think you or someone you love might have a PD, head to this website for further information: nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/personalitydisorders.html
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By Kim Chartres