World Suicide Prevention Day encourages you to be the light.
Creating hope through action encourages you to gain confidence so that you can become a beacon of light to those in pain: “You can be the light.” (IASP, 2022) Suicide is not a comfortable topic, especially when someone close to you is struggling. It can trigger feelings of worry, fear and anxiety. The topic can trigger strong physical sensations and distressing thoughts. It can be difficult to know what to say or how to say things. Gaining confidence to be a light for someone is not always easy but you can learn to shift uncomfortable reactions so that you are better able to hold space for someone who is struggling.
Creating hope through action requires understanding.
In 2014, I was shocked and shaken when Carter died by suicide. As a vibrant 18-year old, he appeared to thrive in life. He was loved by his family and he was surrounded by an amazing group of friends. As a university student, he worked hard to excel in sports and academics. He was the guy that we would trust to lead us. His legacy remains strong among his family and friends, including the placement of a wellness bench at his university. We move forward with lots of emotions and questions.
Logosynthesis has offered me an invaluable model to not only understand ‘distress’, but also to shift my automatic reactions to deal with uncomfortable and distressing situations. I have learned how painful memories, limiting beliefs and ‘worst-case’ imaginations can trigger distressing thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. These automatic reactions can be difficult to explain because they are energetic, not cognitive. They are irrational, not rational. I have learned how to use a simple and powerful model to shift my triggers for sustained relief. In some cases, the distress is intense and the memories and beliefs are complex. Yet being able to shift long-standing patterns can offer hope to move forward.
How does Carter inspire me to move forward? I view it as a three-pronged approach:
- I work on my response so that I can be more understanding and compassionate.
- I coach people to identify and resolve their energetic triggers.
- I teach people to self-coach using this certified method to experience relief.
Holding space for others.
Holding space involves being calm and present to be with someone when they are struggling. It is normal to experience worry and fear when supporting someone who is thinking about suicide. Distress can overcome your ability to think rationally about the situations. It can be challenging to be supportive for another person when you are immersed in worry and fear.
“What if I say the wrong thing?” “I shouldn’t get involved.” “I work through my difficulties. They should too.”
You may notice that your body is automatically reacting to the topic. Depending on the situation, this can range from tension and unease to an overwhelming distress.
Recently, Pamela (not her real name) expressed intense concern about her child. He was struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideations. He regularly expressed this in phone calls and texts. She felt helpless and panicky. She dreaded what might happen. Pamela was familiar with Logosynthesis and I guided her through several cycles of Logosynthesis. At the end, she felt calmer and more present in her interactions with her son.
In another situation, Mandy (not her real name) expressed significant agitation in dealing with friends that were struggling with mental health issues. As we processed two cycles of Logosynthesis, she realized she was upset and recognized her own frustration dealing with mental health issues. “I know how it feels.” The image of a friend who described their thoughts of suicide to her came to mind. After another cycle of Logosynthesis, a rainbow came to mind and she felt calm. After the session, I received this note: “Thank you for helping me clear block to keep me moving forward to live a colourful life.”
Many people who experience suicidal ideations express that they believe they will have to live with their distress forever. They don’t have a way to resolve intrusive images or intense physical sensations. Working with Logosynthesis, layer by layer, you can shift these patterns for sustained relief. For issues that have been with you for a long time or that feel extremely intense, it will require support from a trained professional to guide you. In some cases, people may not be suicidal and yet they feel frozen in their situation. Here is an excerpt of a testimonial from my website:
I have been working with Cathy for several months now. For the first time in over 20 years, I can honestly say, I am moving forward. I don’t feel frozen like I did. I compare it to being a frozen bottle of water that is starting to thaw. There is now movement in that ice.
I have a number of triggers that have simply disappeared. I never thought that to be possible. I had accepted that triggers were part of my everyday life …. I no longer accept that. I know there is more to life than pain, suffering, disassociation. The diagnosis given to me is no longer as limiting and heavy to carry. I am feeling freedom. I cope better. I am more accepting of my emotions. And I know I can contact Cathy when I am struggling.
Gaining confidence to create hope through action.
Regardless of your situation, recognizing your automatic reactions is an important first step. Pay attention to tension in your body and the sound of your voice. Notice your thoughts and emotions. If you are supporting someone who is struggling, it helps to resolve your stress response so that your are better able to be present with the person. It allows you to have a greater sense of calm to take more meaningful action. When the distress is resolved, you experience a greater sense of clarity about the situation. It creates a sense of hope to move forward.
This is not always ‘easy’ work but for me and many others, Logosynthesis offers a comprehensive model that we trust to support us in our own self-care and in guiding others. This work accesses your inner strength and knowing to shift stress responses to move forward with more ease and clarity.
Carter’s birthday is today. He would have been 27 years old this year. Carter is deeply missed by his family and friends. And Carter continues to deeply inspire my work.
Who inspires you to move beyond your comfort zone to better understand suicide and hold space for those who are struggling? I encourage you to have confidence to take one step at a time and create hope through action.