Life is all about perspective. It’s not what happens to you or what you do but how you react to it and deal with it. That is what is important.
Nineteen years ago I had a row with my in-laws just before we went down South for four days before Christmas. It ruined my holiday. I could not concentrate, focus nor appreciate the beauty of the scenery, enjoy my husband and our (then) thirteen month old daughter. All I could think about was exacting revenge. I could not move on, put it behind me, have a fabulous time and resolve it when I got home. It was beyond my capabilities.
Since then I have learned that life is not fair, people are not logical and living peacefully with this dilemma is called life. Some people and family will love you, some will hate you and the rest will be totally indifferent.
Newsflash for all therapists of all orientations: Your clients are generally not stalkers, serial killers or axe-murderers disguised as the depressed, the anxious, the bipolar or the schizophrenic, they are mostly desperately lonely and needy people with compromised interpersonal skills and mostly require a bit of common-sense TLC along with their chosen therapy.
A warm hug can imbibe and instill in your clients a much-needed sense of relief, attachment, security and belonging to a newer and better role-model. Refusing a hug can so easily retraumatise and regress a depressed, mentally ill client and has a potential and tendency to remind them of the lack of love and affection from their family of origin.
In Greek mythology, there is a story of the Sirens who lured sailors to their death with a bewitching song. The Sirens lived on an island surrounded by large, sharp and dangerous rocks. They sang so mellifluously and in such an enchanting manner that sailors were drawn to the island where their ships were dashed against the rocks and they all drowned.
Jason and the Argonauts were saved from them by the music of Orpheus, whose songs were lovelier. Odysseus and his men escaped by tying themselves to masts and placing wax in their ears so they could pass through unscathed. It is said that the Sirens themselves committed suicide after failing to attract and entice the men to kill themselves.
In the past I have been tempted and drawn by the seductive siren call of suicide. I now realize it is more of an attempt to relieve myself of the excruciating pain of mental anguish rather than a wanting to end my existence. Life has always been precious to me, but this siren call to suicide happens every time the pain of life is greater than my perceived ability to cope with it.