Ways to Stay Alive

Ways to Stay Alive

– program talks to two people responsible for the Big Fields podcast (& The Big Fields Club)
– a program about ways to live when you are feeling lonely & overwhelmed by distressing thoughts & emotions
– the program speaks to a person who had a breakdown in his early 20s & who experienced anxiety & intense panic/terror which prevented him from feeling in touch with his life
– he says he was searching for “a fix”, “an answer”, an explanation for why this was happening to him & what he should do – he says he was “deep in his shame cave”
– he saw mental health professionals & tried medication – nothing could help him see a reason for living
– he believes mental health is geared for “helping”/ giving a simple answer
– he said that the only thing that worked for him was “finding his tribe” – finding people who were also grappling with large existential questions & realising – through connection with others – that it is ok to wonder what is the point of life
– this helped him feel like he belonged on earth even when he felt awful
– he also talks about his partner experiencing a crisis & how honesty & presence helped them get through – this is difficult to do on a sustained basis beyond a few months & he speculates that it is human nature to wonder about what should be done differently to solve the problem
– he said he also felt responsible for another person staying alive, even though he says this is impossible
– program talks to another person who experienced Bipolar Disorder (with suicidal thoughts) at the age of 24 & how he experienced existential angst for the next decade
– he said he had the urge to kill himself & had to sit with it & know that such thoughts would pass
– he has written a book about his experiences
– he says the urge towards suicidality made him realise he had to learn about himself – he says time & space gave him reasons to think about why he wanted to live (more connection & nourishing life)
– he directs the company: Positive Thinking
– he believes managing suicidality is not about making people well, but telling the sufferer they have a right to a full & satisfying life – to be included in life
– the program also spoke to a person who had suffered trauma & abuse as a child – she first saw a psychiatrist at the age of 8
– when 26, she attended Roller Derby – & was drawn to it because the women players had big emotions & it was ok – so she began to play herself & she says the sporting community taught her distress tolerance as well as how to be a member of a team & that life was more than just being about shame, but that it was possible to get back up when knocked down in life – this sense of community was so helpful to her she says in moving forward
– as a consequence, she set up Alternatives to Suicide groups in the community – participants are encouraged to share & communicate their disturbing thoughts to others about suicide
– people in the groups validate other people’s experience
– she argues ultimately connection is important in assisting people to choose life not suicide
– another person talks about PEER Support which works on identity rather than a set of symptoms – Remember: just because life sucks sometimes, doesn’t mean you do.
– Also it is worth noting that no feelings are final

Source: ABCRN AITM | podcast date – 14 October 2018

Crisis numbers – Australia only
– CATT Team/Mental Health Triage (24 Hr service)
02 6205 1065 / 1800 629 354
– Lifeline 13 11 14
– Suicide callback service (24 hr service) 1300 659 467 (Free nationwide professional telephone or online counselling)
– Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 (Counselling and support for young people aged 5 to 25)
– Mental Health Self Help Resource – Headspace ACT: 6201 5343 (info & assistance for young people)
– Men’s line Australia 1300789978 (counselling and support services for men especially those involved in the breakdown of relationships). 1.


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