A summary of the seminar given by Lesley Stevenson at the Melbourne Conference in January 2011.
EMOTIONS – are normal, how we react to life events, God-given, can be nice or unpleasant, individuals can choose reactions
CAUSES OF EMOTIONAL TRAUMA – loss of friend, school, job, relationship; broken trust; family conflict; bullying; sexual, emotional or physical abuse; injury or illness; death
EMOTIONAL FIRST AID – provides emergency assistance for emotional hurts and trauma, enables soothing and survival, is like medical first aid - preserves life, prevents further harm, promotes recovery, adds resilience; calls experts if needed.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE SURVIVE EMOTIONAL TRAUMA BETTER THAN OTHERS?
SELF-ESTEEM – high self-esteem gives confidence, low self-esteem is crippling and linked to mental illness. To build self-esteem avoid: selfishness, self-centeredness and self-focusing. Instead focus on these definitions: “Esteem is to think favourably of, regard as valuable.” Concise Oxford Dictionary “Self-esteem is to consider oneself to be valuable.” Christian Counselling, Gary Collins “Everyone has feelings of inferiority. The way to escape this trap is to stop comparing ourselves with others.” Alfred Adler, psychologist SELF-LOVE IN THE BIBLE – People just want to be loved. “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Lev 19v18; Jesus tells us to love God, love our neighbour and love ourselves; if we don’t love ourselves how can we love others or God?
HOW CAN I TELL IF SOMEONE CLOSE TO ME NEEDS EMOTIONAL FIRST AID? – drops out of the crowd, not sleeping properly, is out of control, feels down, looks and feels bad, has an attitude problem, can’t go out, feels restless or agitated, low self-esteem, lacking confidence, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, feels worthless, guilty or that life is not worth living.
OFFERING YOUR HELP – Choose an appropriate time and place, “I’ve noticed you’ve seemed down lately...”, “I’m wondering what’s going on?”, “R U OK?”, be a friend, watch out for each other, look out for warning signs, listen without judgment, take time to talk, seek help together.
WHY GET HELP? – helps sort out feelings, put things into perspective, releases tension, gives new insights and options, easier to get back on track with the right help early.
SECRETS – the burden can be too much and you may be in danger of harm if you buy into them or agree to keep secrets about bad things. Instead persuade person to tell someone.
COMMON SUICIDE MYTHS – only experts can prevent suicide, people who talk about killing themselves won’t actually do it or are just seeking attention, most suicide are caused by one sudden traumatic event or occur without warning, talking about suicide with someone at risk will plant the idea in their mind, a suicidal person wants to die, if a person has been depressed and suddenly seems better the danger of suicide is over and if someone tells they have thoughts of suicide but asks me not to tell anyone, then I am bound by confidentiality.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF – talk to your heavenly Father, take time out, keep things in balance, speak to someone, don’t carry your burden alone
GET SUPPORT –
Victorian Christadelphian Support Network 0402 159 106 24/7 call or text or organise face-to-face counselling (new number, updated 2016)
Lifeline 13 11 14
SANE helpline 1800 187 263
MENSLINE 1300 789 078
SUICIDELINE (Vic) 1300 651 251