Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Heavier Topic - Suicide Intervention Training

A month ago, I began training as a Telephone Crisis Supporter.  To date, it has been an incredible experience.  So many wonderful, amazing people out there, from all walks of life, coming together to give something back to their community.  It truly is heartwarming and inspiring, and they are a fun bunch to boot!

But there has also been some uncomfortable moments as we tackle the trickier crisis topics that we will be dealing with each shift on the phones.  I am certain that there are many more of these moments to come in the next couple of months.  It is the only way of learning how we can help others.

One of those topics is suicide.

This past weekend, as part of the training, I undertook a LivingWorks ASIST course.  ASIST stands for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.  There are several other courses offered by LivingWorks for different groups in the community.

Talking about suicide is difficult.  Most of us don't ever want to even think about it, let alone enter into a conversation about it.  But at the same time, it is a very serious topic that affects our entire society.  If it has not touched your own life in some way, you almost certainly will know of someone who has been affected in some way.

According to Mindframe, in Australia, in 2011, 2273 people took their own lives.  As a comparison 1291 individuals lost their lives on Australian roads that same year. (Department of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics)

What makes this so much more frightening is that this figure is simply recorded suicides.  It does not take into account the attempts by individuals to take their own life that resulted in needing medical attention, or those that did not.  It does not reflect the number of suicides that occurred but for whatever reason were recorded as another cause of death.  And, for myself at least, it sadly does not consider the number of people within our communities, possibly people we love, work with, talk to every single day, who have thoughts of suicide.

When you look at the situation in that light, it takes on a whole new dimension.  It is an enormous issue... But sadly, one that carries so much taboo and stigma that you can go weeks on end and not hear the word mentioned once.  And if you do, it often is referred to in humorous or crude terminology that makes light of the issue.  But it is in fact very very real.

I went into the training quite scared about my ability to deal with this particular form of crisis.  If someone I was talking to was suicidal, would I be brave enough to help?  Will I say the wrong thing and make things worse?  Can I keep my own emotions in check?  I think thoughts like that are quite normal.  It is a big, deep topic we are not familiar with.  We are not encouraged to become familiar with it.  It is daunting to face something so ominous head on.

But I am so grateful I did the training!

By no means am I wanting to test out my lessons in the real world.  I wish that I could go through life and never use them.  I wish that I could consider them like first aid, peace of mind to have - the end.  And it is a form of first aid - you intervene the suicide and make way for the safe progression into longer term forms of care and life management.

But if I continue through the Telephone Crisis Support training to the end (there are assessments and a probationary period to complete before it is official.) I sadly will use these skills.  Possibly multiple times in one shift.

But if I can help one person, that course will have been worth it, and so too my discomfort at having to face the subject head on.

Even if I don't make it through the training, simply being able to open a discussion, like writing this now, helps in some way.  I hope it takes us a fraction closer to a day where suicide is less taboo and the pain that life can bring us is more openly shared.  Maybe then this issue can be reduced in size a little, then a lot.

We can but hope.

If anyone reading this is in crisis, or feels the need to talk to someone, consider Lifeline 13 11 14.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ready to Bloom into Term 3!

With only one day of school holidays to go, it feels like time to get planning for TERM 3 of 2013!

We have had lots of rest time.  As it turned out, the holidays did not contain all that much activity outside park visits, computer games, movies (home and cinema), the kids playing "real minecraft" in the backyard with shovels and sticks and lots of lazing about.  Just what we needed.  It would have been lovely to add in some adventure... But there is time for that later!  We are all well rested and gearing up for getting on with the next phase of the school year!

Wow, how fast is this year flying by?

The other compelling reason for some planning is, we have passed the half way mark of the year! Only 5 and a little bit months until this year's dreams and goals need to be reviewed for next year's resolutions!  YIKES!

So, here are my hopes for the next 10 weeks!

  • Complete my Certificate III Education Assistant course, including placement for 2 weeks!
  • Take another belly dancing class!
  • Go back to yoga.
  • Work on my studies for Crisis Supporter for Lifeline.
  • Streamline how our home runs.
  • Declutter all the kid's clothes that are too small!
  • Do The Desire Map workbook! 
  • Run a Krispy Kreme Fundraiser for Step Up For MS 2014.
  • Revisit my Amazing Life and Biz Academy Incredible Year Workbooks.
  • Give this blog and it's Facebook page a kick start!
  • Get Christmas planning underway.
  • Celebrate my son's 8th birthday and begin planning for my daughter's 4th!
  • Pump some life into my Nutrimetics business and Facebook page.
  • Plan for the NEXT school holidays, including some adventure!
Well that's 14 hopes.  Some of them are rather hefty in time consumption.  But all we can do is put it out there and get to work on making it happen!  Some hopes are more flexible than others.  But I am really feeling an urge to make a HUGE IMPACT on life this next school term.  I feel ready for some big changes!  

Bring it on!  

Friday, July 5, 2013

School Holidays Are Here!

I am not usually a huge fan of school holidays.

I recognise how important it is for children to just relax and spend their day being children, rather than little sponges for the education curriculum.  It is also critical for our dedicated and very much overworked teachers, to lay down their Super Human Powers and just be Humans for a while.  It is even awesome as a parent to just han out with the kids and not have to worry about "school tomorrow" routines!  And the sleep ins...Ohhh the sleep ins!

What I am NOT a fan of is this...

  • "I'm bored!"
  • "I have nothing to do!"
  • "I'm hungry!" (Especially 2 minutes after eating something!)
  • The relentless niggling of siblings over toys, space to move, what's on TV etc...
  • Boredom escalating into misbehaviour.
  • Boredom escalating into fights over nothing, or something not worth the stress!
  • Boredom that results in whining and endless niggling at parents. (Particularly ME!)
Now I'm not going to say I'm not going to have one of THOSE school holiday breaks... I know I will ABSOLUTELY have moments of it.  BUT, WE NEED THIS HOLIDAY so much!  We've all been sick, we're all really tired and we've all had enough.

My intention is to give my family rest, recuperation, fun, to regroup, tweak a few routines, LOTS of sleep and to regenerate, so that we are ready to GO GO GO next term! I want this to be a holiday to recharge the batteries!

PLEASE NOTE:  As I'm writing this I'm having to remind one little angel that throwing toys in the house is not acceptable.  :-p

So, in order for my intentions to become my reality, a little smorgasbord of ideas...

  • Crafting with paint, pencils etc
  • Finish decorating the kid's rooms
  • Movies, popcorn and blankets!
  • Camping in the lounge room
  • Picnic in the park
  • Feed the ducks
  • Playgrounds
  • Revamping the outdoor play areas
  • Sleep overs with cousins
  • Going out for ice-cream
  • Maybe the cinema and/or tenpin bowling
  • Visit the library
  • Snuggling in bed with a pile of good books
  • King's Park
  • Dance party!
  • Plant something
  • DIY workshop at the hardware store!
  • Write letters and post them!
  • Cook
  • Have a day on a theme
  • Bubbles
  • Balloons
  • Go on public transport
  • Play with the bunnies!
  • Playdough
  • Visit the pool!
  • Go for a walk!
  • Work on some behaviours and earn rewards!
  • AND ANYTHING ELSE FUN THAT COMES UP!
It's not going to cost a lot, I refuse to schedule it all in.  I just want to go with the flow and ENJOY the family time and RELAX.  I DO want to avoid the whining that I know will happen.  But I want to minimise it.  :-)  

We can but try!

This afternoon we have kicked off the school holidays with a playdate with school friends, a visit from cousins and home-made fast food!  So far, the kids have been having a good time.  Me... I'm tired... But tomorrow we can all SLEEP IN!