Battle

By Seneca Williams

Just because you don’t see my battle wounds, doesn’t mean they are not there.

If you see me break down and cry, please don’t just stop and stare.

I don’t need a savior, I KNOW you cannot fix it.

Trying to solve it, telling me “things will get better”, only makes me feel like a misfit.

Telling me “this too shall pass” just makes me feel like I’m alone.

I am in battle between happiness and depression, between healthy and unbalanced.

Just ask me more about HOW I feel? Just listen, love me, support me, help me, without judgment and without criticism.

Be still, with me, so I can JUST BE.

Give me space and time, to grow into what is, meant for me.

I want help, but feel pressure to get better, now, and it doesn’t work like that.

Yes, I seem more sensitive, it’s not just cause I’ve been through a lot.

You see my mind and heart feeeeeel, different, JUST do.

My senses are more raw, more vulnerable. Emotions flow in and out from my pores.

I love a lot harder and I hurt a little more.

You may think, I’m being difficult or that I just don’t care, but my life is like a burning building and I no longer want to live there.

To you it appears I’m weak, but of course to carry the weight of the world, while healing will eventually make you break.

I make survival appear effortless, so YOU can feel more comfortable, but then it becomes too much to bear.

Sometimes…..

I just need a respite, where time stands still, where I can heal my battle wounds, where I can cry and no one just stops and stares.


Mix a very stressful event with the inability or resources to cope over a month or two and tell me you won’t be anxious or depressed, even the slightest? If you say No, you’ve done well with numbing or detaching emotions. Most of us won’t become severely anxious or depressed to the point of a suicide attempt, but you’ll experience a emotional disturbance at some point in life, knowing is half the battle.

There is still so much stigma around mental health and suicide. Mental health stigma will end, when people realize that mental health is like physical health. WE ARE ALL on the spectrum, which is fluid, meaning that at any point in your lifetime, YOU can experience some sort of mood or anxiety disorder even if it’s mild and for a short time.

In 2008, my biggest fear about becoming a therapist was losing a client to death by suicide, but I walked into the profession, with faith that things would be okay.

I try to refrain from using the words “commit suicide”, because it not a crime committed against self, it’s a final respite an ultimate solution, but it is not a crime. A more accurate description would be _ died by suicide.

I didn’t realize how many suffered silently with shame and guilt about their emotions, until I entered the world of mental health.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. There are 123 deaths by suicide per day.

Those numbers are real. At this point, I have lost count of how many clients, I have had that had survived suicide attempts, that had active suicidal thoughts and clients that woke up everyday wanting to die.

I am not even considering those that were passively trying to kill themselves through drugs, prescriptions and alcohol abuse. They are unable to identify or acknowledge their desire to end their life.

I have never talked any client out of ending their life by suicide. The truth is when their mind is made up, they will make an attempt and they have.

I listened more than I talked, I tried to understand more that I tried to fix. They taught me how to help them AND it was nothing that I learned in any classroom or textbook.

I have had a client sit in front of me and just cry and they told me allowing them to sit there and cry is WAY more helpful, than me talking and trying to make them feel better in that moment.

I did not shy away from what they said, I did not shut it down and say “NO, you have so much to live for!”

We talked about all the ways they considered dying, how would they do it, why they would do it, when they would do it. Yes, I know that’s heavy and scary, but so far it has never made ANY of them attempt to kill themselves.

We talked about the aftermath and then we came to the conclusion, that another series of problems would be created for the family left behind and the client then decided that suicide was no longer an option.

I had another client that had the thought that everyday would be the last day, until we talked about self-worth and purpose in the world. How to hold the weight, by shifting it, how to manage the pain, by taking breaks and being free from the worlds expectations.

We talk about suicide as an option, until suicide is not an option.

If my client has a plan and suicide is imminent, IT IS THE ONLY option, then I have to call 9-1-1. Some states have laws like the Baker Act, where legally you can require that person is taken directly to a psychiatric facility for observation. If someone calls or texts you they want to end their life, keep them talking if you can, go over to their house, or call 9-1-1 and emergency rescue will go over to their house.

I can empathize with my clients. Sometimes, that feels like a gift and a curse to empathize, the way I do, because I hurt, when they hurt, especially if I cannot help them or I’m not the right fit. I have learned to guard my emotions, loving and caring from a distance, because sometimes I just cannot handle everything and everyone with it impacting my own emotional wellness. I can identify with my clients, because from the ages 13-21, I experienced a severe major depressive disorder. Unfortunately, I was not diagnosed or treated during my adolescence.

It’s only by the grace of God that I am still alive, because my family never addressed emotions or allowed freedom to express, at least not in a healthy way. In my Caribbean background, any outward expression of negative emotions and I would have been ostracized. I suffered a lot in silence, until I grew older and made my first appointment with a psychiatrist, during my first year of college. This colored girl considered suicide (reference to colored girls who considered suicides). I could’ve easily been one of those clients who had multiple suicide attempts or overdosed on some illicit drug. I wanted to stop living in fear and emotional pain. I considered running away many times, I tried. My illogical next step would be to start some form of addiction, but I knew I needed to get help, I figured out who and where to get it from.

We can’t hide from the conversation of suicide or mental health. It actually makes me angry, when people don’t try to understand it or criticize people for something they have not experienced themselves. We need to KILL that stigma. If someone you know is depressed, BEFORE you try to fix them, listen, they already feel defective. They may have already tried and failed what you are suggesting many times….and all they need from you is your ear for you to listen.

Ask them….

How do you feel? I am sorry you are going through this. What do you need from me? How can I help you?

Definitely DO NOT IGNORE THEM.

People that are going through a crisis, a lost, a major life change, intense anxiety and depression, ISOLATE! They retreat and they hide.

Every time another celebrity dies by suicide, I see my timeline filled with “You never know what someone is going through” “Just reach out for help” “Call this hotline”.

A truly depressed person is not going to make an announcement on Facebook or Instagram that they are depressed and need support. They are also not going through their contact list to “reach out” “call up all their friends” “talk to someone”. One of the hardest things clients have to do is say, something is wrong with me and I am not able to fix it. If it’s hard for them to talk to me, a therapist, imagine how hard it is to talk to people who DO NOT understand.

YOU have to GO get them, YOU have to CALL them, YOU have to VISIT them. If YOU want them to go out, to relax, you plan it, you drive to their home, pick them up and YOU PAY for them.

Sometimes, telling someone your deepest thoughts is not easy, even when someone asks if you’re fine, you don’t want to burden them, so the response is “I’m fine”. You don’t want to be judged so you say “I’m okay”. Sometimes it seems people are just too busy or caught up in their own lives and of course there is that darn mental health stigma. Will people think “I’m crazy”?

If you need help, try your best to seek help from a professional counselor. See the resources below.

If you have a friend that is depressed and suicidal don’t give up on them, don’t judge them, don’t criticize or try to fix, listen and support. If their crying or their expressed emotions, make you sad or uncomfortable, CHECK yourself. It’s not about you.

I am also available for FREE 15 minute consultations for online therapy and coaching. Send me a quick message.

Let’s end mental health stigma together and save some lives.


If you are having thoughts of ending your life?

Call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 9-1-1.

FREE SUPPORT

You need someone to talk to ?

www.7cups.com.

You need prayer?

https://www.unity.org

PAID SUPPORT

You need a therapist?

www.psychologytoday.com

www.therapyforblackmen.org

www.therapyforblackgirls.com.

www.senecawilliams.com

I am also available for FREE 15 minute consultations for online therapy and coaching. Send me a quick message.

There are many online directories for in person counselors and online counselors you can Google or you can contact your insurance company for a referral.

Source:

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

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