Woman in black dress standing with hand on casket in funeral home, holding white lilies.

Loss by Suicide-A Different Kind of Grief

By | Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Depression, Grief & Loss, Mental Health, Suicide | No Comments

At some point in our lives, we will lose someone we love. Grief can be a very complicated and heavy thing, that doesn’t necessarily go away but definitely gets easier. Everyone grieves differently, and there is no perfect way to deal with losing someone you love.

When you lose someone to suicide, the grieving process can be quite different. There is often shock, sadness, guilt, and anger tied to the loss. While the process can be different for the person experiencing the grief, it can also be perceived as different from the outside. Often when you lose someone to old age, an accident, or a terminal illness, the loss gains sympathy and compassion.

However sometimes when you lose someone to suicide, there can sometimes be judgement and blame from the outside. This is why the grief can be so different when suicide is involved. Not only is the loved one blaming themselves, the people around them can sometimes put that blame on them as well.

Focusing on the happier times with your loved one is part of grieving. Thinking back on fond memories, and talking about the more positive times can help encourage acceptance and fill the void of loss. However with suicide, the memories can be clouded with anger and sadness. When you don’t understand why your loved one took their own life, positive memories can be harder to remember than negative ones.

According to Deborah Serani Psy.D. and her article on Psychology Today, there are a few ways to help a survivor of suicide:

  1. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the death. 
  2. Ask the survivor if and how you can help.
  3. Encourage openness.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Listen.

Like any type of loss, the people that surround the survivor can be stuck with how to respond or act. And it can come off as neglect or like the person doesn’t care. But usually it’s a lack of knowledge on how to help. Making sure you are verbally letting the person know how much you care, and asking them how they would like to be helped during this difficult time can go a long way.

If you are the survivor of someone who has died by suicide, Dr Serani also has some tips:

  1. Ground yourself. Remind yourself every day that you are not responsible for your loved ones decision. Do not let guilt become a part of your process.
  2. Don’t put a limit on your grief. It takes time. And however long it takes, or whatever you need to get through it is okay.
  3. Plan ahead. Sometimes certain places, dates, memories can be difficult for a long time. This is normal. Know that grief also ebbs and flows. So if you’re doing great for a long time, and a memory sets you back, it’s okay. It’s still a part of the process.
  4. Make connections. Seek help. Whether it’s through a therapist, a friend, or a support group. It can be very beneficial to be surrounded by people who care during this difficult time.
  5. Give yourself permission. To be happy again. To still be sad. To be whatever it is you need to be.

 

If you or anyone you know might be suffering or having thoughts of suicide, seek help at the National Suicide Lifeline 1800-273-8255

Woman in white nurses uniform, holding a yellow awareness ribbon for suicide prevention month.

September is suicide prevention month

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Counseling, Depression, Mental Health, Suicide | No Comments

We are well into September now, and Fall is upon us. It can mean many things like cooler weather, back to school, and day light hours getting shorter and shorter. September is also Suicide Prevention Month. With the high profile death by suicides that occurred this past summer with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, our society is still mourning the loss of these very public passings.

Suicide is a very hard thing to understand to most of us. We have so many questions, and the answers are not always available to us. Especially if we have been affected by suicide, often our questions will remain unanswered because our loved ones are now gone.

Are their warning signs, or illnesses that might predispose someone to suicide? It is often hard to pinpoint what someone is going through internally, but some say if you are suffering from depression, anxiety or have had suicide in your family you could be more likely to have suicidal ideation.

Other social factors not to be overlooked are feeling overwhelmed with the state of our politics/economic turmoil. Experiencing financial burdens or stressors. Going through a divorce, or losing a job can also be triggers. Most often there is an intense feeling of hopelessness and helplessness felt by the individual. They often see no solution whatsoever for their current situation.

One key factor in preventing suicide is to speak openly about it. It is not something that should be hidden, or kept a secret. The more we talk about it, the more we can do to help and prevent it. Providing a safe environment around suicide, is important in understanding it and getting those at risk the help they need.

If you or someone you know is suffering, you can refer them to Biltmore Psychology and Counseling if you are local to Arizona. Or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great resource. They have a national number to call

1800-273-8255

and their website has great information.

Suicide Prevention

5 Simple Steps to Help Prevent Suicide

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Communication, Coping, Depression, Grief & Loss, Mental Health, PTSD, Stress, Suicide | No Comments

Earlier in the week we shared a TED Talk about how to start a conversation about suicide. In the last few months we have had a number of big name celebrities die from suicide. Our media once again has become saturated with those who many of us look up to and their decision to take their own lives.

Whether you think that posting about it, talking about it, or sharing about it glorifies suicide or supports prevention, there are a few basic steps we all need to be reminded of to help someone close to use who might be struggling.

According to Elana Premack Sandler L.C.S.W, M.P.H and her article on Psychology Today, there are 5 simple steps for suicide prevention.

  1. Ask
  2. Keep Them Safe
  3. Be There
  4. Help Them Connect
  5. Follow Up

It is hard to know what to do when someone we love has started to talk about suicide. Do we talk to them about it? Do we call for help? Do we ignore it and hope it goes away? Do we force them to get help?

These days there are a number of suicide prevention numbers and hotlines to call. 1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Hotline, and here in Arizona there is a local number called Empact 1-480-784-1514

But when you are close to someone and see them struggling, it’s easy to be unsure of what to do. These 5 simple steps are easy to remember, and can help someone you love get the help they need. Sometimes we are afraid of asking if someone is thinking about taking their own life, but we need to ask these tough questions. It opens the door for our loved ones to know that we care about them, and are concerned. When we take action to keep them safe, we can keep a situation from escalating. We can keep them on the phone, go over to their house if possible, send a neighbor or a friend over while we are connecting them with phone numbers or other resources for help.

It is important to follow up with our loved one and ask them how they are doing. By following up we are letting that person know we care about their long term health and happiness, and are willing to step in to keep them safe.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please give them the Empact Crisis Line phone number 1-480-784-1514 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

We are here to help as well. If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment, call our office at 1-480-999-7070.

 

 

Black and white photo wit woman holding a calendar with Friday the 13th highlighted and she is crossing her fingers.

Bad Luck or Psychological Reversal?

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Mental Health, Psychological Reversal | No Comments

Today is Friday the 13th, are you superstitious? A lot of us seem to have belief in bad luck, karma, or superstitions that can drive our personality and behaviors. Have you ever thought you have perpetual bad luck? It doesn’t matter what you do, but somehow terrible situations seem to always find you?

Psychological reversal is a subconscious condition of self sabotage. So instead of making well thought out constructive decisions, you seem to make decisions that will only bring you unhappiness and misery.

Does it seem like everything is going really well, and then somehow you make one decision that brings it all crashing down? This could be psychological reversal. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy when things are going your way, or good things are happening to you, you might start to feel like your expectations are getting too high. Nobody wants to get let down or not have certain decisions that do not meet their high expectations. So instead of letting the situation play out on it’s own, someone who engages in psychological reversal will subconsciously sabotage the situation in order to have control over the expectation level. By self sabotaging, the person knows they will be disappointed and miserable, and this gives them a sense of control rather than not knowing if something will disappoint them or uplift them.

Is there anything that can be done for Psychological Reversal? According to Dale Petterson an Energy Therapist, he uses muscle kinesiology as a way to treat clients who are so focused on the miserable outcomes.

In an article on Psychology Today by Susan Heitler Ph.D;

‘Muscle kinesiology works a lot like how a lie detector test works. The client’s arm serves as a lever that amplifies the slight physical changes that indicate a stress response.’

To read more about the way Dale Petterson uses this technique to help psychological reversal, check out the article over on Psychology Today!

Thermometer showing hot temperatures and blue skies

How the heat can impact our mood

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Depression, Mental Health | No Comments

If you are in Arizona right now, then you are completely aware of how hot it is! It’s Summer time in the desert right? The temperatures are constantly in the triple digits, and the sun is blaring down on us every day.

Do you ever feel like the heat is impacting your mood, or your emotions, or your behavior? If you do, there is some thought behind that. According to John M Grohol, Psy D and his article on Psych Central, there is research that shows that heat waves can lead to more aggressive and violent behavior, as well as more findings of substance abuse in the hotter temperatures.

When people are hot, their anxiety seems to go down, while their depression seems to go up. And we’ve all surely experienced being extra tired, lethargic, and low energy with the increase in temperatures.

As always the best advice when it’s so hot it is affecting you psychologically, is to get indoors where it’s cool and stay hydrated. Often waiting until you feel thirsty is too late when it comes to hydrating. There are also certain health conditions that worsen in the heat, like Multiple Sclerosis. Make sure you and those around you are aware of how the heat affects these conditions, and how to keep symptoms at bay.

There are some people who are not bothered by extreme weather changes, and who welcome to different seasons. And there are a lot of people whose moods and emotions change positively or negatively with the seasons. If you’re feeling like some of this extreme heat is affecting you in a negative way, our Counselors here at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling are happy to help with certain coping and management tools!