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Thinking of Suicide? Think Again...
By Richard Schwindt M.S.W.,R.S.W.
This is the second in a series of two articles on addressing extreme emotions. And the idea of taking your own life is about as extreme as it gets. These feelings exist because malign forces at work have constructed a reality that claims you are the problem and you don't belong. With the force of the mob behind them this reality can be difficult to ignore. I am going to give you a counter message to consider if you ever have these thoughts, and some practical suggestions for staying safe while you move forward.
Richard Schwindt M.S.W., R.S.W. is a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist specializing in the emotional recovery of targets of workplace bullying and mobbing. He can utilize Skype and Paypal for Canadian clients. For more information visit www.richardschwindt.ca
You were selected by frightened and malice driven people because you were honest, excellent, vulnerable, nice or different. Outside of this toxic context—pay attention—you are a unique and loved individual. You have options and this feeling is temporary. You can and will heal. I'm not saying that it's easy just that you can do it. And that is simply true.
Swedish psychologist Heinz Leymann, doing his seminal research into workplace mobbing postulated that 17% of suicides in Sweden were the outcome of workplace mobbing. This is an astonishing number and I have little doubt that many of them were attributed to other things (how many distressed targets have been labeled with "mental health problems"?). At Telecom France 25 people committed suicide in an 18 month period. One note spoke to "management by terror". Some bullied and mobbed people may be vulnerable to depression (bullies would only consider this a bonus) but either way the emotional terrorism endemic in hostile workplaces can undermine the strongest individual. I spent 16 years on the front lines of the struggle against suicide in Northwestern Ontario and was astonished during my own mobbing experience to discover that for a time I entertained the idea. I completely reject that choice and yet...then...
Here are some practical measures you can take.
1. First, if these are just passing thoughts remember that lots of people have them for all kinds of reasons. Having thoughts is not the same as acting on them. They are disturbing but don't make you strange, they are a sign that it's time to make some changes.
2. This is important. Find someone trustworthy outside of work; spouse, friend, spiritual advisor or therapist. Tell them about these feelings and come up with a plan should they get out of hand (meaning that you are seriously considering acting on them). Do not swear them to secrecy; instead tell them that if should they ever believe you are going to act on these thoughts to do everything in their power to stop you.
3. Make a list of people or places you can call at any time. Include a local crisis number and the location of the nearest emergency ward.
4. Seek professional help. I don't think all our problems need professional helpers but I do for this. Doctors, social workers, and psychologists should neither be shocked nor deterred by someone's suicidal feelings. Their job is to get you to help or come up with a plan. If you feel ignored move on to another.
5. You have options. You always have options. Anything can be recreated, except your life.
6. Do I ever use guilt in these situations? You betcha. You think people would be better off without you? Think again—those who care about you would be devastated and terribly injured by your loss.
7. Look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are taking these dickheads so seriously. Screw that, time to get the hell out! The world is full of wonders, good and loving people. Let them control the agenda for a change. It's not time to take a life; it's time to build a new one.
Part One: Dealing with Rage
5 Part Series by Richard Schwindt:
Getting Help To Come Back From The Dead
Seven Principles For Recovery
Dealing With Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Thinking Makes It So
Richard Schwindt M.S.W.,R.S.W. is a social worker in private practice in Kingston, Ontario. His website is www.richardschwindt.ca
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