It is safe to say most of us have lived under duress for much longer than we would care to admit. You could also know someone who is facing this issue and you are not sure what you would do to help. There is no shame in that; we are only human after all. We often don't have the right answers or aren't able to process how we're feeling at the time. What we have at our disposal is the ability to learn. Let's reflect on a few ways that you can help people who are in distress, including yourself, as the month of suicide prevention comes to an end.
Knowing The Symptoms:
Manifestations of distress don't occur all at once; their underlying causes accumulate over time. Beyond two weeks, if you feel irritability, anxiety, sleeplessness, mood swings, making jokes about deaths and futility of life, or suddenly withdrawing from conversations or at work, you are experiencing distress. Neither you nor anyone you know must have all the symptoms at once, but an overwhelming presence of a few symptoms as well should be acknowledged.
Check Up On People:
If there is any feeling that someone is distressed, then you should be extremely careful. In the course of experiencing distress, people usually exhibit a change in their behavior that is noticeable. Some people tend to shut themselves off from others, while other people become incredibly social. Despite the fact that you may feel like you're invading their personal space, it is vital that you keep an eye on people after hours. It is possible that your gesture may bring them relief and help them to seek professional assistance even if there is a high probability that they won't respond to you.
Always Assume The Worst:
While we usually keep a positive outlook, if you know a person who is going through a difficult time, you should always assume that they can do the worst to themselves. Don't call their new behavior a phase or make fun of their changed behavior. There can be times when a state of crisis can pass off as normal stress, and while that may be true in some instances. It is important to remember that what if it isn't, and how can I assist this person? It is very important for them to talk to the right people, and as their confidante, it is your duty to encourage them to seek professional help and to provide them with the resources necessary.
Ask The Right Questions:
Being compassionate while you talk and asking the right questions will help make the person feel more at ease and allow them to confide in you. When one is facing a crisis, there are no distractions like exercise, pets, or hobbies that can help one cope. Regardless of what's happening, make sure they know you're there for them during these tense times. Do not give them lectures about how selfish and cowardly they have been. Do not guilt them with questions of what their parents will think of them or how much you need them because they are already dealing with enough.
Handling Panic Attacks:
There are times when you might encounter someone who is experiencing a panic attack. This individual could be an actual victim of choke, thumping heart, intense crying spell, hyperventilating, etcetera in that case. In order to be a first responder, you need to be able to contain your speech and not panic since this will make theirs worse. Assurances are helpful, but you must not touch them; if you offer a hand instead, they will feel much more at ease. You can ask them to breathe out or provide a sip of water to facilitate their breathing. As soon as the situation arises, seek help and ask them to contact a psychologist.
It doesn't matter how difficult the situation is, you can always make it a little bit better by doing just one or two things in order to alleviate the situation. All of this helps avert disasters in the future.
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