Finding Light in the Darkness: A Suicide Prevention Toolkit – by Jennifer Scott

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by Sharokh

 

It feels like heartbreaking suicide reports have recently been all over the news. We’ve been shocked by the celebrity deaths of beloved comedian, Robin Williams, and talented musician, Chris Cornell. There have also been far too many teenagers, adolescents and adults who have committed suicide – such as the widely-publicized death of 15-year-old Audrie Pott, who is now the focus of a new Netflix documentary. Indeed, our world has been rocked by millions of people taking their own lives because they feel trapped with no other way out.

Suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death for people of all ages. Suicide is also the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents and teenagers aged 10 to 19 years. Facts such as these have led many experts to suggest that the current suicide rates are a national “epidemic.”

Although these statistics sound grim – and they are – there is hope. Keep reading to learn short-term and long-term methods for helping yourself or a loved one who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

 

Suicide Prevention Toolkit

This suicide prevention toolkit listed in this article contains two parts: short-term (emergency) prevention resources; and long-term suicide prevention strategies.

    1. Emergency Resources and Short-Term Prevention
      If you (or a loved one) have recently been struggling with suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek help now rather than allowing the thoughts to escalate further. Suicide prevention hotlines, chats, and licensed professionals specializing in intervention can all be literal life savers during your time of need. These short-term prevention methods and emergency resources could help you (or your loved one) remain in the present moment and not give into suicidal thoughts during an emergency situation.
    2. Long-Term Prevention
      Suicide rates in the United States have recently climbed to a 30 year high, and some of the leading reasons include drug abuse (such as heroin addiction) and alcoholism. For this reason, it is crucial for anyone struggling with addiction or alcoholism to seek recovery. There are many licensed professionals with years of experience in suicide prevention, postvention and recovery techniques who can help regain one’s life and manage mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. In addition, daily breathwork practices such as yoga and meditation may also be helpful in treating symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress PTSD, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Maintaining a spiritual or religious practice, attending church, and deepening one’s relationship with a higher power can also assist in healing, recovery, and suicide prevention.


Author
JK Rowling once wrote: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Remember, there is always a light, even on your darkest days. Never give up and never lose hope.

With the suicide prevention toolkit listed in this article, we hope to provide resources for those in need – so we never have to lose any more beautiful lives to the pain of suicide. Good luck with your journey to healing!

~ Jennifer Scott

 

 

 

Best of 2016 Mental Health

“The more you gloat, the less you actually have… as eternal happiness can only be found in the soul.”

~unknown

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Clients, and Yogis,

You have not heard from me because I am in the process of publishing a self-help book about psychological trauma. I hope to release it in time for the holidays as it will be a great gift for many.

The above quote is about this email blast, as it is an announcement about being chosen for “Fairfield’s County’s Finest 2016” in healthcare, education, technology, nonprofit, and business.

“The more you gloat, the less you actually have… as eternal happiness can only be found in the soul”, sums up how I feel about self-marketing. There is a difference between humility and self-promotion and a difference between empowerment and pride. My hope with this email is that you know that I am coming from a place of deep gratitude, humility, and empowerment when I announce the “Best of 2016” with the link below.

http://www.proactiveresources.com/102716/

I learned a long time ago in musical theatre auditions that no matter how talented we are, there is always someone better than us! Also, we are all replaceable I am sorry to say. With that said, a lesson is to be learned in being able to take feedback as “feedback” and not perceive it as “criticism” which is a difficult task.

Particularly with writing my upcoming book I have been subject to lots of feedback, good and not so good, and have been able to take it with a thicker skin than years ago when everything hurt! My intention for you is to have a thick enough skin to NOT get crushed by feedback, but not so thick that you cannot accept love and encouragement and show your vulnerability and true self.

Thank you for reading and I will release the book information as soon as we are up on Amazon.com. The soft cover and Kindle version will be available in the near future so look out for upcoming email blasts about the book.

Till then I wish you L’shana Tova (Happy Jewish New Year) and Happy Thanksgiving if we do not speak before then!

Love and Blessings,
Pamela

 

My Miracle Peacock!

 


Just last week I had a visitor from the Universe or G-d. Whatever your beliefs are, this visitor came to me at a time when I needed it most.

We all have moments of defeat in life and sometimes it takes more than friends, family, resources, and mentors to lift us up.

I became lifted up by a Peacock! AND this was no ordinary Peacock. He was literally knocking his nose on my glass back door for hours so that I would pay attention… and attention was paid.

He is no longer at my home and Stamford Animal Control has been trying to capture him to keep him safe, with no luck. He flies away when they try to capture him, so I am hoping he will fly away when the coyotes approach. I love my miracle Peacock! I named him “Buddy” because as you can see in the video below, he responded when I said, “Hey Buddy!”

Here is the link to the video I posted on Facebook and some of the reactions I received from the posting:

“In Siddha Yoga the Peacock means that G-d was present.”

This comment was said after I told my friend he pooped 4 times on my deck:

“You get the beauty and the poop. That’s what G-d sends us in life. So you can appreciate the beauty and clean out the poop.”

The next comment was made after a conversation about men:

“Man is proud and walks like a peacock.”

Other comments were:

“Into our lives some crap must fall.”

“That is unbelievable.”

“Really cool!”

“Absolutely beautiful!”

And lastly:

“Given the moment it appeared…how could it not be G-d speaking to you? The Peacock hung around long enough for you to realize it wasn’t a coincidence, but G-d’s Divine word.”

On that note, I leave you with HOPE and FAITH that no matter how bad things seem in the moment, they will change.

With Love, Blessings, and Faith,
Pamela

 

 

Ski Therapy

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

What’s the best treatment for depression and anxiety?  MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness, or being mindful, is being fully aware of your present moment. You are not judging, reflecting, or thinking. You are simply observing the moment in which you find yourself. After skiing with my Yogini (female Yogi) buddies this weekend with wind chills below zero degrees, I realized that ski therapy is a wonderful way of cultivating mindfulness.

Being present does not allow you to ruminate about the past or to worry about the future. When you are on a mountain with ice and snow piles in between where your skis can get caught, you cannot be anything but present. All of the sudden everything you were obsessing about goes away because you must be present “OR DIE” .

This form of mindfulness can be done with any activity that pushes you to your most fearful edge. It can be snowboarding; zip lining, rock climbing or even riding a bike if that is difficult for you. Choosing an activity that pushes you to face your fears, work through them, and come to the other side can increase your self-awareness, self-esteem, and overall sense of courage.

It’s never too late to try a new activity and greatly advantageous to find the warrior within and the strength that you did not believe you had! Thanks to my daredevil friend Jackie, I was able to push through my greatest fears to have an awesome weekend.

Love to all of you and thanks for reading!

Namaste,
Pamela

Open Heart, Wise Mind

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

Open Heart:

What does it mean to have an open heart? From early on in childhood, we build walls around our heart from disappointments and hurts from family and friends. In Eastern Philosophy, we work with the Chakras (energy centers) and Bandas (locks of energy) in our bodies. Specifically our heart chakra can be open or closed. It is the radiant color of green (not red ) and it opens when we trust that things will work out. It is closed when we are fearful. That is a very condensed version of a complicated system. TRUST and SURRENDER to the universe or a higher power will allow you to have a vibrantly, beautiful, green, open heart chakra. FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) will close it immediately. TRUST is the key here, and I know personally (loving to control everything) that it is easier said than done. It is our life work to SURRENDER and TRUST.

Wise Mind:

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) we teach “Wise Mind” as a way and a place to live in and strive for. The diagram below illustrates how this works

 

You are usually fluctuating between “Reasonable Mind” and “Emotional Mind”. It is only when you connect with your true self or your higher self that you can be centered and grounded enough to be in “Wise Mind”. To get to “Wise Mind” you can do some form of meditation, visualization, Yoga, Reiki, or exercise. It is the zone where you feel confident and knowing in a genuine way; not in a grandiose, egotistical way. It is a sense of feeling things in your gut and understanding your truth. Again, this is a consolidated version of a complicated topic. “Wise Mind” 101 says that when you are in a place of peace you are in “Wise Mind”. When you lead with your heart instead of your head you are in “Wise Mind”. When you trust your instincts and do not allow your negative thinking patterns to interfere, you are in “Wise Mind”. And lastly, when you are your true, authentic self, you are in “Wise Mind”. A quote from the Bhagavad Gita (Yogic text) says it perfectly: “Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself”. Yoga is just one of the ways to get to “Wise Mind”. Skiing may be another way to “Wise Mind” . As long as you have a way to get there, that’s all that really matters.

To summarize, Open Heart, Wise Mind is a way to move forward in life with love, trust and faith while remaining mindful and aware. There is always a place to protect yourself and close off your heart… and you will only know this if you are in your “Wise Mind”. Does that make sense?

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. I love hearing from you.

With trust and faith from my Wisest Mind and my Purest Open Heart!
Pamela

 

Stay In The Light

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 


How do you stay in the light when darkness seems to prevail?
What do we mean by staying in the light?  The “Light” is all that is good in the universe. It is all that is holy or sacred. You can even refer to it as God or as the Divine within. Whatever your beliefs are there is no doubt that we are in a world of duality where there are opposites in many ways and darkness and light are just one example. The ideal would be to have this duality come closer to a unity where we embrace some of the darkness and permeate some of the light into the darkness. The goal would be to not hide from the darkness or act out in fear of it which causes all kinds of world suffering.


In layman’s terms we are talking about good and evil and we all have a little of both

In Judeo Christian beliefs, it is said that the meaning of suffering is to bring you closer to the Light; perhaps to learn a lesson within the suffering and to appreciate the good when we have it. In Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), it is also said that we may not understand the pain and suffering and we should embrace and actually bless it anyway because God is good and He would not give us anything we cannot handle and there is a blessing in disguise that has not yet been revealed.

In Hinduism, the belief is about Karma and that our soul carries with it an imprint of our past actions. he belief is that if we are suffering in this lifetime we may have done something in a previous lifetime that was harmful to others and we have to pay back the karmic debt because of the pain we caused others. The belief also states that by doing virtuous acts in every moment of every day we will create good karma that will help clear the bad karma. Specifically meditation and yoga can help clear out any bad karma that is lurking.

Buddhism has a similar view about past lives and karma and states that pain and suffering are caused by attachment and we need to embrace that everything changes. Once we detach from things that seem so important, we can lesson our pain and suffering. The belief is that nothing in our human experience can provide us with lasting happiness and that trying to force things to stand still and make us happy is the main source of suffering.

The Taoists believe that birth is not a beginning and death is not an end. There is an existence without limit because the soul is eternal. The goal of Taoism and Buddhism is to transcend life on earth as a physical being, and to achieve harmony with nature and the universe. Therefore, the view on pain and suffering is also about detachment to material things. According to the Tao, one can achieve Nirvana (bliss) through proper living and following the correct path guided by inner light. Therefore, pain and suffering come from not following this inner light and guidance and by making poor choices in life.

Pamela Tinkham LLC incorporates all these ideas and philosophies when dealing with this topic. Unfortunately, when darkness hits it seems to take over completely and we need to stay focused on the one percent that is still going well in our life, not on the 99% that is going haywire! Focus on what is hopeful, not on what is dreadful. Keep a gratitude journal and write at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. Trust and have faith during these times of darkness that it will change because life always changes. It may not be in the timing that you want and that is where patience comes into play. If you focus on what is good, positive or the “Light” in each situation the “Darkness” will start to dissipate… and over time it will be gone. With time and patience, the Light will return even stronger than it was before and your understanding and connection to the Light as well will be strengthened by the intimacy with the Divine that was caused throughout all the pain and suffering.

This may sound confusing and maybe even too religious for some tastes. Again in simple terms, we need to be the best person we can be and do the best we can do in this lifetime even when things seem to be beating us up. Don’t try to analyze why this is happening or have an attitude of, “Woe is me, this is the card I was dealt, I must be cursed!” Just make wise choices and continue being a good person and it will turn around over time. Continue giving and sharing and being open even if pain and suffering cause you to want to shut down and become selfish. To live a life of generosity is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and the world. Peace begins with one soul at a time and we can all make a difference. Even if it seems so small the reality is that love, generosity and joy are contagious and just small acts of kindness can bring about great change over time.

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with pain and suffering at one or many points in our lives and there is no easy way around it. The more we ground ourselves in meditation, prayer and doing joyous activities, the easier it will be to ride the wave when problems arise.

As said in the Buddhist Loving Kindness Metta Meditation:

May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you be free from pain and suffering
May you be safe

Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to sharing with you all the yogic philosophy I will be learning in the next two months.

Namaste! (The Light in me honors the Light in you)

 

Happy Holidays!

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

 

Happy Holidays from Pamela Tinkham LLC!
Holidays… What do they bring up for us?

Do they bring up joy, sorrow, community, family, loneliness, or happiness?  Each of us experiences something different during the holidays.  For some of us the holidays are fun filled and for others they magnify the loneliness that we feel.

This holiday season try spending some time in gratitude reflecting on all the gifts that were given to us such as our health, life, love, family, friends, career, abundance and opportunity.

For those of us that loathe the holidays instead of staying home and being alone this is a great opportunity to explore opportunities for volunteering.  One of the best ways to beat the self focus of depression is to focus outward by helping a person or an animal in need.

Volunteering is a beautiful thing to do at any time of year whether you love or loathe the holidays.  If it is not comfortable for you to volunteer than you can still focus outward.  If you do a Google search on the computer for “Holiday Charity” you will come up with ample ways you can positively affect someone’s life this season.

There is nothing more rewarding than making a positive difference in someone else’s life.  So if you are inclined to do so, may it come back to you a million times!

Pamela Tinkham LLC is grateful to know all of you wonderful people and wishes you a joyous holiday season!

 

How Do You Find The Calm Within The Storm?

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

How do you stay centered when everything around you is going haywire? How do the Buddhist Monks do it?  They seem to be so calm… even in the midst of terrifying events.  Serenity is achievable when things ARE going your way but what about when things aren’t going your way?  In fact, how can you possibly stay centered when things around you seem to be falling apart?

These are the million dollar questions!  The answers unfortunately aren’t so easy to do in the middle of a crisis:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Creative Visualization
  • Self Soothing Techniques

These are nice ideas but what about when you are right in the middle of it?  This is when you are on the roller coaster and cannot get off. You are in fight or flight mode and you need to act and be on high alert.  Adrenaline is pumping and you do not have time for relaxation. So, here is what you need to do and you can use this for panic attacks too:

Visualize a white light coming out of every cell of your body.  If you believe in a higher power, this light is from your higher power.  If you do not believe in a higher power, this light is from the universe.  The white light is around you and is coming out of you as a shield of protection.  You can visualize this around your home, children, pets, and whatever else you want protected.  If you are in the midst of a real storm, an emotional storm, a panic attack or any other scary event… take that white light and push away the fear with it.  Think of it as a shield and visualize the white light protecting you from any type of harm.  If you can breathe deeply at the same time as the visualization you will calm yourself down completely.

Weather the storm and if you cannot do any of this in the middle of the crisis then begin when the crisis is alleviated.  It gets easier with practice. Good luck and email or call if you have any questions.

Love and White Light,
Pamela

 

Training and Therapy Tips

 

by Pamela Tinkham, LCSW, C-IAYT, SEP

 

  1. Set short term goals
  2. Make a plan
  3. Journal your progress
  4. Dispute negative thoughts
  5. Have “me time” every day
  6. Be organized
  7. Share your goals with someone important to you so that you are accountable
  8. Figure out what is fun for you and do it at least once a week
  9. Do some form of exercise every day
  10. S………T………R………E………T………C………H  every day
  11. Eat right with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables
  12. Watch your fat intake… especially saturated fat
  13. Hydrate with H2O as much as possible
  14. Find a physical activity that feels more like play than work and do it as much as possible
  15. Have a gratitude book where you write what you are grateful for on a daily basis
  16. Don’t compare yourself to others…… we are all special
  17. Challenge yourself physically and mentally
  18. Allow yourself to have your negative feelings… just don’t get stuck there
  19. Try to always do the right thing
  20. Take a deep breath before reacting
  21. 5 minutes of working out every day is better than no minutes
  22. Get a good night sleep every night
  23. Watch your alcohol intake (think moderation)
  24. Live in the moment
  25. Love as many living things as possible
  26. Take care of your health
  27. Watch out for fear… don’t let it get the best of you
  28. Be optimistic
  29. Perform acts of kindness without needing recognition
  30. Give without expecting someone to reciprocate

Now if we could all do this all the time, how great would life be?