Solitude: Tuning Out & Tuning In

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Solitude. Photo Credit by Louis Roche

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” – Deepak Chopra

Being in silence or simply being alone is difficult especially in a busy city like New York. There are so many other things we could be doing other than being alone. It’s easy to get distracted from ourselves and how we are feeling.

Was there ever a time in your life when your schedule was so jam-packed busy you barely had a moment to yourself? Perhaps your inner voice or intuition was telling you, “It’s time to slow down! Get grounded. What about you and what you need?”

I definitely have had times like this. I intentionally would make my life so busy so that I could avoid going home early because I didn’t want to be alone. For those of you in relationships experiencing being alone may not be as often but for those of us that are single, being alone is an every day reality.

Regardless if you are single or in a relationship, taking a break from all of the busyness and intensity of our lives is necessary. Being alone is necessary for growth and personal reflection. Spending an hour a week just on yourself without any outside distractions will help you feel more grounded and in tune.

Solitude and being alone doesn’t have to be a chore or something we force ourselves to do. It’s an opportunity to learn about what we want and can be very therapeutic.

When was the last time you had a moment all to yourself without the cell phone buzzing with a new message, an email from your boss or a friend calling to make dinner plans?

We are instantly connected to the world around us that it’s just as important to instantly connect to the world within us. Meditation, spending time in nature, walking, writing, creating are just a few activities that can help us instantly connect with ourselves. However these practices don’t work for everyone. Where do you find the most peace when you’re alone? Go there and experience that be it through meditation, a healthy meal, or a hot bath.

In our solitude we can experience profound realizations and truths about ourselves and those around us. Write down or take mental notes of what you discover. Allow any fears of being in solitude to subside and just be. Your self will thank you later for doing it.

Suicide Prevention: Being the Light for Others

suicideprevention“Suicide sometimes proceeds from cowardice, but not always; for cowardice sometimes prevents it; since as many live because they are afraid to die, as die because they are afraid to live.” – Charles Caleb Colton

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a person dies by suicide about every 14 minutes in the United States. Just recently a famous country music star Mindy McCready shot and killed herself days after posting a video on suicide prevention to fans.  Suicide isn’t an easy topic to discuss and especially in our society, a very isolated topic of discussion.

Often times when people hear of someone attempting or committing suicide, they are at a loss for words. Our minds enter a slight state of shock processing how could someone possibly want to take their own life. We don’t really know what to say or fear that we may say the wrong thing.

I know because it happened to me. My mother has suffered with clinical depression and schizophrenia for as long as I can remember. In the past 6 months she has attempted suicide twice, first time by overdose and the second by razor and recently almost succeeded.

I have shared this story with some people and usually the responses are the same, “Wow. I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say, I’m at a loss for words.” It’s something I’ve decided to share openly today because in a sense not only do I want to honor my mother but I want to bring awareness to such a sensitive topic.

Being the loved one of someone who has a mental illness and has been committed several times for suicide is difficult to say the least. There are moments when I don’t even know what to say or process how I’m feeling. I have to experience my emotions in bits and pieces at times because it’s so intense.

Sometimes people assume that once someone is on medication that they instantly are better. Medication is not like a magic pill that fixes someone instantly. It takes time and proper treatment for people with psychiatric illnesses to show improvement.

Tips on how to help your loved one:

1. Show Love & Support

2. Show kindness & be patient

3. Remind them they have a purpose and of their accomplishments

4. Bring them something to cheer them up, i.e. favorite food/item/flower

5. Encourage them to follow up with treatment

 

It will only take time before you start to see any results with their emotional and mental state.

If you are a friend of someone whose loved one is ill and has attempted suicide, one of the best things you can do is listen and ask how you can help. Sometimes just a conversation can help heal a lot of the pain surrounding the experience.

If you aren’t sure about reaching out to your friends or family about your loved one who has attempted or committed suicide, don’t hesitate any longer. Reach out and build a support system for yourself. Seek therapy if necessary. Go out and bring positive experiences into your life. It will be too easy to fall into a rut and stay emotionally isolated from those around you.

Take one day at a time, be easy on yourself and on your loved one.  Be the light for that person and remind them that someone out there cares and loves them and that person is you.