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This can be a touchy subject for some people. We will be addressing Protective Measures against Suicide. I will also talk about how to protect our self from Emotional harm, and speeding up our recovery from grief and loss. The reason for the title, Building a house on more than one Pillar is a metaphor. The House represents your emotions, the pillars that hold the house off the ground represents your Protective Measures.
So let’s look at suicide first. Suicide question tests are not a prediction of how likely a person may attempt suicide or will end their life. These questions are only snapshots in time of how the person feels and how much thought they have devoted to thinking about ending their life.
So why does a person loses hope and start thinking about suicide? If a person has had 2 or 3 protective measures in place and overtime or situations these measures are knocked down, and finally the last is dismantled the house falls to the ground and is seen as though it is demolished.
OK. In the real world this may look like this:
Jack is a fella with a wife and a child, he has a work that he loves. He devotes more time at work than he does his family. So he only has 3 protective measures in place; his wife, child and his work. His emotional house has 3 pillars holding it up.
One day after months of arguments with his wife complaining about his absence at home, she wants a divorce. Jack’s wife and child then move out while Jack is at work. Jack comes home and finds the house empty. After weeks of pleading with his wife to come home. He sees that she is not coming home, so he decides to have an alcoholic drink.
So we can see that 2 of his protective measures are now gone. To ease the emotional pain he starts drinking as a solution to protect his emotions. Till one day, months later, a police officer stops him and he gives a blood-alcohol breath test. Because of this, he loses his drivers license for 6 months. At work, his performance drastically decreased because he came to work drunk and would drink at work. As a result, his last protective measures was now demolished. This is when Jack will start thinking about suicide. However, a person can live at rock bottom for a long time with a faint hope that “tomorrow might be better than today”.
So, how do we protect our self emotional from causing our self-harm?
Firstly write your protective measures down. Make a list of them. It can include your pets, hobbies, car, bike or collection of CDs. It is the things that make life worth living.
Once that list is made up, with the same pen put a number next to each protective measures that indicate the amount of time you spend on that protective measures. You could use number 1 for the item that you spend the most time with. And high numbers with the protective measures that you spend the least amount of time with. By doing it this way will become clear soon.
So looking at Jack’s list before the family left him, would look like:
5 – Wife
5 – Child
1 – Work
Now, look at that list and think about priorities. With a different colour pen, a number down next to the preventative measure that is a high priority for you. Most important will be a 1. The least important is 10.
So if we look at Jack’s list in priority, should look like:
Now you know where you should spend your time.
If you need a bit of help in organizing your life to reflect your priorities. The first thing to help is to make a point to add them onto your appointment calendar. So just think, a person generally spends 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working. This leaves 8 hours a day to devote time to the things that make life worth living. However, if bike riding is a medium priority, that could be a once a week activity. Likewise, low priority activities can be once a month treat.
You can also combine your protective measures. For instance, I like BJJ and Karate. So I do it with the family.
In conclusion, you can see that the more protective measures you have the more stable your emotional house is. Also by setting up a priority list you are ensuring that your main supports are being looked after and maintained.
Please leave a comment with your thoughts.