A talk, on Zoom. Ran out of time to answer all the questions I received. So I wrote down the ones I missed, and I’m sharing the answers here in hope they are useful. NOTE: I’m not a professional, this is just a personal response.
Q. I always put others first, how would you recommend I take the first steps to look after my well being?
A. You could try thinking about your own inner 4-year-old, and ask yourself every so often if what you are doing suits her/him. The key is to build up a clearer sense of what your own instinct is, from one moment to the next – something that many dutiful people bury for years.
Q. What do you think about letting your experiences define you?
A. Things that have happened to me did happen to me. I can’t change that. I can only change how I respond to it. These days, instead of thinking that I’m a fundamentally broken person, useless because I had a breakdown, I think that my breakdown was like being caught in a thunderstorm: it wasn’t my fault, any more than the weather.
Q. I lost my mother to suicide and often think of suicide, without doing anything. Is thinking about suicide often a problem?
A. First of all, I’m very sorry to hear that. It must have been incredibly difficult, and I’m sure it still is. As for you, it’s not a bad thing to think of suicide, provided that you don’t act on it. It’s hardly surprising, given what you have experienced. But if you are thinking that way more often than previously, it’s a good idea to talk to somebody as there may be other things going on in your life that need to be addressed. (NOTE: I’m not a professional, this is just my suggestion.)
Q. How do you cope with the ups and down at work?
A. Better than I did, but not always well! It’s difficult. But accepting that it’s difficult is half the battle. How could it not be difficult, sometimes? One thing I do is try not to take the ups any more seriously than the downs.