Category Archives: Depression

How to respond to Worrying?

  1. Refocusing Skills: Notice that you’re distracted and refocus back to the present moments. Most of the traditional mindful breathing mindfulness exercises will help developing this refocusing skills. You can try the Benson’s method here.
  2. Observing Worries: If you happen to be in a private setting, try observing your thoughts. You can try leaves on the stream or the mind-train, being the observer of your experience and thought, realise that you have choice and control to not react. It requires some practice, and usually only possible to do it in private, not like when you’re in a social situation)
  3. Rapid Unhooking Skills (noticing, naming, refocusing) notice and name them “that’s my mind worrying” “that’s I’m not good enough story” “that’s something bad will happen story”, then refocus back to what you are doing.
  4. Acceptance of Physical Sensations: Quite often we are pulled to focus on thinking, worrying, being in our head, in order to run away from unwanted feelings and sensations in the body. Notice that you’re pulled into your head, then check feelings/sensations (e.g. sweaty palm, heavy chest, upset stomach, racing heart, numb fingers) in your body then try to allow those sensations.
  5. Use it as a trigger to reconnect with your values: if you’re worrying about your health, then obviously your health is important to you, decide how you want to treat your body, decide the behaviour to improve that, take actions, rather than just thinking about it over and over again.
  6. Reminder to practice Self-Compassions: life is difficult, a lot of challenges, obstacles and loss, acknowledge that it’s not easy and be there for myself, soothing yourself.
  7. Cue to start Problem Solving: Worry = fruitless problem solving. If it’s an important topic and a solvable matter, how about finding a time to sit down and properly solve it?

The Evolution of Human Mind

Why does my mind keep thinking negatively?

Why is my mind always looking for problems and threats?

Why is my mind always warning me when I’m trying to step out of comfort zones, and making me worry a lot?

Why is my brain always predicting the worst?

Why am I always thinking about the painful memories?

Why am I so scared of rejection and not fitting in?

Why is my mind always comparing myself to others?

Why do I never feel enough or contented with what I already have, and wanting more more more?

Watch this cute animation by Dr Russ Harris that might answer your questions, from evolutionary terms:

Did you realise that what your mind does is completely normal and natural? It’s just trying to keep you safe!

Support Group is running now!

Yes, since my post written in 2017, I’ve finally managed to organise the first meet-up for Support Group for Anxiety and related problems. It went really well and we were all very pleased to meet each other and made this happened together, despite our levels of anxiety! We will continue to meet monthly and welcome new members.

Meet-ups for Depression and other problems will follow soon…

If you’re interested, please fill in the google form here:

https://goo.gl/forms/PaFNW2LBfOkOOeUv1

 

A few criteria to fulfill:

  • You’ve been assessed or diagnosed with the problem you specified by a mental health professional (be it a psychiatrist or psychologist or GP or…).
  • You’re attending and participating in this willingly, not being forced by others.
  • You are able to arrange your own transport and pay for your expenses.
  • You are able to pay a small fees for administrative/materials purpose.
  • You demonstrate the ability to treat others non-judgmentally and with respect, and maintain confidentiality.
  • In between our monthly meet-ups, we stay connected in Whatsapp group, however, you will only be able to join the group after first showing up in the meet-up.

 

To read more about it, please check out my previous post:

Support Groups in KL/Klang

Suicide Survivor Support Group

Due to my attempts of organising support groups in Klang Valley (more details here), I have encountered people who are searching for support groups for all sort of things.

I just happened to come across this from Befrienders. Please go get in touch with Kenny at 03-7957 1306 or admin@befrienders.org.my if you or someone you know might be interested to attend.

suicidesurvivorbefrienders

Suicide with a Hostile Intent

In the past, whenever we talk about suicidal clients, it’s normally due to depression, they feel hopeless about the future and see themselves as a burden to the family and society, and see that ending their lives as the only solution to their problems.

But things changed. Today I’m not writing about suicide bombing or attacks, but suicide with a hostile intent, on a personal level.

So recently I’m seeing more and more young people who are suicidal, who have self-harm issues, or who have attempted suicide. Or, there are also some who have done any self-harm, but they are always telling others that they don’t want to live no more.

It’s not just me. When I was teaching suicide risk assessment in Beijing, many of the students (who are teachers/psychotherapists/counsellors themselves) express the same concerns. They are seeing more and more students and young people like that. They don’t quite seem to be depressed, but they are expressing suicidal thoughts, seem to be as a mean to obtain something, usually from their parents.

It’s difficult. Because you can’t really provoke these youngsters, by telling them that “stop seeking attention! You don’t really want to die! You say it to manipulate your parents” etc. Some of them are willing to “sacrifice” their lives, to make you regret and feel guilty all your lives, just because you don’t give them what they want. Sometimes I feel they don’t appreciate and love lives as much as the previous generations (Why?!).

It’s difficult. Because any expression of suicidal ideation is important and worth our attention, we can’t simply make assumptions and then ignore it. (But do you realise, it’s also because of this, we are reinforcing their behaviour… So they get what they want, they can continue to threaten or blackmail us etc.)

We can help them as much as we can, by being more emphatic and having more compassion. But I’m just wondering, what happens to our society, parenting and education systems, why are more and more entitled children growing up, who are fairly self-centered and do not care much about how others feel?

 

N.B. I don’t mean to discount the importance of helping anyone with suicidal ideation. Here I’m only talking about a small group of people who use suicide to blackmail or manipulate around, but there are definitely plenty of people out there who are really suicidal and in need of attention and help.

Please give yourself a second chance. Malaysia suicide hotlines:

The Befrienders
03-7956 8144/ 03-7956 8145
www.befrienders.org.my

Life Line Association Malaysia
03-4265 7995
http://lifeline.org.my/cn/

Agape Counselling Center Malaysia
03-7785 5955 / 03-7781 0800
http://www.agape.org.my

Euthanasia

This is the first time I came across this word. Euthanasia.

It’s also called “mercy killing”, or “painless death.” This is the definition from google “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.”

I searched about it after hearing a patient telling me about “legalised suicide” in some countries. She isn’t depressed, but she was for quite a period of time. When she was thinking about ending her life and making plans about it, she came across this idea – that it’s legal in some countries and even some with the assistance of a physician. (You may read more about it on google, especially the Belgium’s “Euthanasia Act”).

She asked me, “isn’t that nice? So it wouldn’t be so painful. And less trial and error. Maybe it’s just a pill and it’s done”

I’m aware of quite a number of patients of high risk suicidal, yet they are still around because they are scared to do it or scared of pain. I’m thanking god that they are scared of pain and hence they are still around, and hence I still get to help them.

I asked her, “Joey, do you still want to end your life now?”

“No, but back then yes. I didn’t do it because I was scared, but it would be good if it’s legal and I can die painlessly” (N.B. even if it’s legal it’s under certain kind-of-strict conditions, it’s definitely not that simple)

“So now you are ok to live on?” “Yes”

“That’s the thing.” I explained to her, “Joey back then wanted to die. That was Joey with depression wanted to commit suicide. But does Joey (without depression) want to die?”

“Ehmm I guess no” (She’s no longer depressed now)

Actually that’s all I want to say today. You feel like there’s no purpose to live on, you want to die, you might even feel like a burden to your family, or it’s such a suffer living… But it’s you with depression (or other mental/physical problems) who are thinking so. It’s not you. It’s like when you’re enraged (very, very angry) you shout that you want a break up or a divorce, but you don’t mean it at all. You regret it later on. So when your emotion is not like the usual you, you can’t make the decision to take away your own life, it’s not (the original) you, yes it might feel so real, but no, you don’t mean it. So don’t do this. Please seek help. It can be treated, and you can be like many of my patients, who are grateful that they didn’t/couldn’t make that move.

 

Please give yourself a second chance. Malaysia suicide hotlines:

The Befrienders
03-7956 8144/ 03-7956 8145
www.befrienders.org.my

Life Line Association Malaysia
03-4265 7995
http://lifeline.org.my/cn/

Agape Counselling Center Malaysia
03-7785 5955 / 03-7781 0800
http://www.agape.org.my

Related read (in Chinese): 识别自杀的预警信号