After a Suicide Attempt – for the Attempter

treenage girl suffering with depression in a conversation with therapist or psychologist

You’ve been in a low point and it took you as far as you could go, so far that you felt ending things was the only way to get out of your misery. And it didn’t work. Maybe you were intercepted or your method wasn’t effective or executed in the right way. You’re going to have a lot of feelings interspersed with feeling nothing at all. This is normal, if anything can feel normal right now.

You might feel anger at your choices, your method, those who intervened, or God. You might feel worthless for failure at the attempt that was unsuccessful. You might feel just as (or more) sad, lonely, or depressed than you did before the attempt. You might feel guilty over the fallout to your loved ones, or inability to provide. You might feel numb, hollow, or empty – this one is especially tough as it is a protective factor, but means you cannot absorb any good feelings being sent your way during these times. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s okay. If you’re feeling something, that’s positive. Here’s the thing to note: feelings change. If you can feel this, you can feel something positive – maybe not today, but there can be hope. You’ve felt good feelings before, even if not recently, and you can feel good feelings again.

Please don’t try to do this in isolation. Maybe you can, but you don’t have to, and it’s too hard to try. When everything else is already so hard, let this part be easier. There’s hospitals for inpatient help if you need to be monitored for additional attempts and need round-the-clock care (search “psychiatric receiving hospital near me” and read the reviews to choose one), outpatient services like therapy (there’s different levels of therapy like weekly or multiple times per week, in person and online) and psychiatry. Psychiatrists prescribe medications, and it’d probably be good to look into this as your chemicals are likely lacking in one direction or another and need servicing like your car needs proper gas. I’d advise you to tell one person close to you about your attempt. Maybe someone already knows, or multiple people do. It’s okay to share as much as you’re comfortable with with these people and half your burden. Therapy is a great outlet for this, in addition, but do lean on your loved ones as they want to help you through this.

How do you get back to living? Do you just pretend everything’s fine? That’s too much effort. Be where you are. Take a break as much as you can. Step back in gently. Do a bit of work. Do a bit of hygiene. Do a bit of housework. The stuff that makes life feel normal, do some of it. If the house is still a mess, that’s okay, too. But spending 5 or 15 minutes doing the dishes or making a dentist appointment is what life is, that little stuff. And by gently, I mean even if you spend 15 minutes washing the same dish while zoned out, that’s okay. It’s still one dish down. Sometimes you have to plod along, and this is that transition point. Get by and get through.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Virginia. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Overwhelmed? Obsessing? A technique for you.

several plants in pots along a sunny windowsill

Zooming in/out

When I am overwhelmed, like thinking about war and climate change and politics, global issues that I have little to no control over, I am zoomed too far out. I’m looking at life through a telescope. I’m needing to change the focus to what is now, here in front of me, that I can change or have control over.

When I’m obsessing, like thinking about day-to-day stressors and my to-do list and all the little pieces that seem to need my attention, I am zoomed too far in. I’m looking at life through a microscope. I’m needing to change the focus to what is now, that I can accomplish and check off, that I can move in the priority if necessary.

I challenge you to change your focus. Notice if you are zoomed too far in or out, and move to a more comfortable middle ground. This is a skill and takes practice, so assume that the lens is going to get out of focus sometimes, and that’s okay, but it is also adjustable and you have the ability to adjust it to be comfortable for you.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Virginia. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Returning to Therapy

I was fortunate enough to receive a massage this week. The masseuse started on my back, which was tight. Once it loosened, I noticed pain in my neck which was later rubbed out.

When clients come to therapy, they often know what needs to be done, where they want to start, where it is tight, so to speak. Once we massage that area and the original item is loosened, sometimes there is a noticing of a pain elsewhere. Removing one problem does not create any other, but allows us to see where it was tight, but not as necessary to fix as something else.

Often, clients will come back to therapy in some months or a year because that new tight spot becomes uncomfortable. Or, there has been some new issue that causes inflammation to be massaged out.

If there is pain, there is a cause. Physical pain is a signal from the body that something needs to be changed. Emotional pain is a signal from the mind that something needs to be changed.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Virginia. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Self Care: Monitor Your Intake

I was recently discussing books with some people I know and they suggested certain books to me that are not in my usual genre. As an avid reader, I generally read 4 books at a time: 1 audio book in the car (fiction or biographical), 1 for-fun fiction book, and 2 non-fiction books, generally related to psychology or another of my work-aspirations. Whatever I’m in the mood for, I’m partway through one of them. But my for-fun book is always fiction, always set in some fantasy place or completely made up setting of a real place. I like wizards and dragons and magic and being transported to somewhere completely new and outside of my reality.

So when these other avid readers suggested murder-mystery books and books about interesting serial killers and the like, I wasn’t interested. In my practice, I hear a lot of stories and many are quite unpleasant, which is why they need a professional to clear that stuff away. I’m very skilled at leaving other people’s problems in the office and not letting that bleed into my life. I don’t stay up at night thinking about the terrible things that happened to my clients – not ever. This isn’t callous, this is how you keep from burning out and stay with the client in that moment, in control of the situation and not get pulled into the story. You don’t want me crying with you in session, right? Me either! How unprofessional.

Similarly, my husband and I were talking about horror movies recently and I discerned that I no longer like the kind with “realistic” happenings in them – serial killers, madmen, psychos – but I still like the kind with supernatural appeal – haunted places, things come to life, mythological creatures. Those just aren’t as scary to me as they could be real or not. There are really killers in the world. It doesn’t interest me to spend my free time on that stuff.

My free time is for fun and I want it to be completely fun. I also limit what sorts of depressing media I take in. I don’t watch the news, almost ever, and if I do, it’s BBC World News America because they don’t throw in a bunch of sensationalism and make you terrified. Who needs that? I sometimes watch The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight, but it’s comedy and not all truth.

Think also about who you allow in your life and what they bring to the relationship. Take care of you in your way. Limit what you take in. Monitor your intake and do what is right for you.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

Talk About Mental Health

by Beatrice the Biologist

For hundreds of years, mental health has long been talked about in hushed tones.

Is it any wonder, when we started out treating it as possession by evil spirits? Ancient skulls have been found with holes knocked in them to let out the demons. If this was the method of treatment, I’d keep any abnormal thoughts to myself, too, to avoid having to “get better” that way. Continue reading “Talk About Mental Health”

The Worst Thing About Being a Therapist

0drownFor me, the worst thing about being a therapist is seeing people in pain who are not  yet willing or ready to make a change. This includes people who resonate with the following statements:

  • I don’t think change is possible.
  • I’ve had these symptoms so long, they must be permanent.
  • Therapy can only take me so far.
  • Therapy hasn’t fixed it before, so it can’t.
  • I am my diagnosis.
  • If I’m not sick/mentally ill/in pain, who am I?

These statements are all arguable because the right therapy, the right techniques and therapist for an individual can overcome all of that. Continue reading “The Worst Thing About Being a Therapist”

The Chiropractic Model of Therapy

0brainTherapy is best served in a model like that of chiropractors.

Imagine you’ve strained your neck.

  1. When you are in acute physical pain, you come in for several sessions close together until relief is gained, usually over a week or two. Let’s say this is 3 times the first week and 2 times the second week.
  2. Now that your pain is moderate, but no longer limiting your range of movement, you come once a week for a few weeks until the pain is minimal. Let’s say this is 3 sessions over 3 weeks.
  3. Once that neck pain is minimal, but still present, you come less often until it is gone. Maybe this is a visit every 2 weeks twice and then every 3 weeks once.
  4. Once the pain is gone, the injury may still be present in the form of swelling or a ligament out of place or some misalignment in the vertebrae, so you come once a month twice and then every 3 months twice to finish the adjustment.
  5. The body is adjusted, and you follow up every 6-12 months just to check that all is well, provided nothing new is hurting the neck. Of course, if you have a new injury, you begin again on that area of the body.

Continue reading “The Chiropractic Model of Therapy”