UNITED STATES—It’s apart of life, we all face a crisis when we least expect it, but it’s how you respond to that crisis that is important to what happens next. I experienced a Christmas holiday that dealt with one crisis after another that I never expected.
I’m usually good under extreme stress and pressure, but I will say, no one wants to deal with unwanted stress if they don’t have to. It has a detrimental impact on the body, but an even worse impact on one’s mind. The past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me, where I’ve had to come to grips with the notion that family is important, but a person’s cry for help is serious even if you suspect it at first to not be.
I never thought in a million years would my brother throw out the notion that he was suicidal. Like is this serious, is he joking with me? My body immediately went into alert mode, thinking of every bad scenario that could play out. I’m not a negative person by nature, but sometimes the world we live in is encompassed with so much negativity that it pierces into our psyche.
My first reaction was to talk, but I had to be careful with the words that I wanted to say compared to the words that I had to say. You never know how someone who is threatening to take their life will respond to certain trigger words, especially those words that heighten their emotions even more. Trying to explain to my brother that he had too much to live for, especially his children who see him as the beacon of his life.
It was something that he didn’t seem to grasp and that scared the hell out of me. He felt he would be less of a burden if he was no longer here, than if he was. Trying to explain that to him was quite difficult and nerve-wrecking amongst many other things. It was a conversation that took nearly 2 hours to get my brother to calm his nerves, but even in that instance, my psyche was not at peace.
We choose to have him evaluated at the hospital; there was even the threat of a 50/50 hold to ensure that he would not attempt to do any harm to himself. A social worker was called to examine him as well, and he has planned visits with a therapist to get him the help that he needs. My constant concern is will that be enough? How can I shake this feeling of helplessness that seems to be hovering over me? I have to think positive, I have to acknowledge that there are some things out of my control, but I did do all the right things to ensure that my brother got and gets the help he needs to prevent a tragedy from taking place.
I’ve never known someone close to me commit suicide, but I’ve heard stories from people I know who have encountered it first hand and it’s very haunting. The biggest thing I always hear is that question of: Why didn’t I see it? Or, could I have done more to ensure it wouldn’t happen? We place an extreme amount of guilt on ourselves on certain situations, sometimes things that we have absolutely no control over.
This isn’t just a dialogue to address the issues and concerns of suicide, but a crisis in general, because that same day, I got devastating news that my oldest brother suffered from a seizure. He had a seizure in the past, but it was so out of the blue, and it’s been years since it last happened, we suspected it was just odd to occur again. I mean sitting in the waiting room was torture, I mean six hours, just waiting for anyone, and anything to be told to us was driving the family crazy. No clear answer was given as to what happened, all I knew was that in a blink of an eye both of my brothers could have been gone, and I had to wrap my head around that.
Did it scare me? Without a doubt, because a level of fear and uncertainty is still haunting me; things that I can’t explain. I think the one thing I’ve come to acknowledge is that life is too short; we live in a world where we just don’t acknowledge the notion that it’s not a bad idea to just STOP, take a moment to yourself and to not worry about things that are not important.
In just one week, I learned WORK is not everything. I can’t be the energizer bunny all the time, I have to just shut-off, otherwise I become depleted and what good is that. The key to any crisis is to not panic, take deep breathes, evaluate the situation and realize all is going to be okay; you just have to think that way sometimes.