“You know the feeling…when you’re in too deep…and then you make it out, the taste, so sweet.”
-Dave Matthews Band
Most of you that read my blog know that I’m a therapist in the mental health field. While my passion lies in working with children & teenagers, I also see adults. I work in a small office, so I see all sorts of clients…people who have depression, kids with ADHD, those that are drug seekers, etc. It’s safe to say that I see a little bit of everything.
I love what I do, and while it can be draining, most days aren’t too bad. I hear several stories, about day-to-day life, about relationship problems, life at school, and life at home. I look for facial expressions and hand motions, noting the sound of my client’s voices as they explain their story. I help them process their feelings and try to make things better. Not every story is bad, not every story is one that rips my heart out and leaves me hollow. Some stories, however, stay with me. Those stories…they come home with me. They stay in my head, make me pray for those clients that are living with the experiences, the demons inside. Today hit me hard, especially after hearing a particular set of experiences.
I know I’m being awfully vague, but it’s my job to protect my clients and to keep their secrets confidential. All I can say about today is that I had someone call me after wanting to commit suicide. This person is one that I have established rapport with, have laughed with, have brought out deep, deep secrets that they forgot about and never thought they would express. The therapist-client relationship is a tricky one, and we had made such progress. Hearing the tone in the voice scared me-I knew this person was serious, and had a plan. That is what so many people don’t understand about suicide-the person that expresses intent, the person with the plan, that’s who you have to watch and believe. That is what puts me in crisis mode, ready to do what I need to in order to ensure that they are safe.
Luckily, my client came in. They are safe now. My thoughts, however, are still with this person. All the what-ifs are floating around my head. What if I hadn’t been there to answer the phone? What if I hadn’t heard the intent in this person’s voice? I know if something had happened, that it wouldn’t have been my fault, but it scares me.
I suppose days like today that begin with a simple play therapy session remind me that life is precious, and can change at any moment. I can get a phone call at any time, with someone who needs to vent, to talk, to know that someone cares. As corny as it sounds, that’s who I want to be for them. It’s more than just a job.
I think about suicide and those that have attempted, and those that have succeeded. I think about what their thoughts were like, and at what point their decision was made. I wonder how they decided on the plan…how they determined the way they were going to die. I think about what they were thinking when they bought the supplies, when they wrote their final good-byes. I wonder if they had anyone to write to.
I believe we’ve all been to the point where we’ve thought about suicide. Sure, we’ve never attempted, never went through with anything, but the thoughts might have been there and then left as quickly as they came.
I suppose this is a universal letter that I needed to write to my clients, my friends and family, to anyone that stumbles across this blog and needs to read these words. I needed to let you know that I never want suicide to be your option. There are people who do care for you, who want you to be ok. It’s ok to be depressed, and it’s ok to wonder how you’ll pull yourself out of a bad situation. There is hope, there is help.
If the thoughts are there, with or without a plan, tell someone. If you’d prefer, call someone anonymously, like the Hopeline.
You are important, you are worth something. I just needed you to know that.