Caregivers need care too….#grief #suicide #mentalhealth

For those of you who are finding my blog through this post,  last weekend my friend, and fellow member of the local community theater community Eric took his own life.

In the wake of that tragedy,  I posted this, attempting to help people understand why its hard to reach out for help when they are fighting depression,  and I posted this,  in explaining that suicidal people are not selfish and weak.

In the days since Eric’s death,  I have been working to help people understand,  and help people who are hurting.

I am honoured, and consider it a privilege that people trust me enough to let me help them through difficult times.

Yesterday at work, let in the morning I found myself suddenly,  and violently emotionally shattered.   I likened it to walking through a beautiful forest on a sunny day and finding an old well covered with some rusty wood and falling through.

I’m sorry, what…wood doesn’t rust?   Well then mr or ms smarty pants…go start your own blog where you can make proof-reading a thing ;).

It only lasted a few minutes but was surprising because at the time I was writing code.   Being a Codeaholic which means that Code is My Drug it was very surprising.  I was in what was supposed to be my happy place.

Some of you are going to be very surprised by this next bit.

I immediately let two of my friends know.

That’s right,   I,  David Rothbauer actually let two other people (who didn’t ask at the time if I was okay) that there was the possibility that I might need help.   I wonder what size winter jacket Satan ran out to buy…

I also immediately canceled a meeting I had today,  and while I stayed a few hours at work,  I took today off to take care of me.

After I climbed out of the aforementioned well, I went into analytical mode (because I do that).   I realized that we were in the 3 to 5 day window after a communal tragedy where caregivers and first responders start to drop.   I also realized that I was starting to see the cracks in others.

Many who gravitate towards the care giver role after a tragedy like this,  and I’m not talking just the professionals, have demons in their past.

These dark times are what gives us the perspective and experience that allows us to (hopefully) be effective when helping others.

Many of us also, me especially,  are mission oriented.   What that means is that our nature is to not stop until the mission has been accomplished.   I mean for real…not when some asshat hangs a “Mission Accomplished” banner on an aircraft carrier and has a press conference.

That’s what happened to me yesterday,  and it took me a long time to sort it out.

I found myself in a strange place emotionally.  I felt depressed, but not in that curled up in a ball on the floor and unable to stop crying depression….that I could’ve dealt with,  because for me, that’s normal.

After some thought I realized that I had accessed some very dark and scary places in my past in order to write the things I wrote, and to help people who needed it.

Think of it this way….you’re want to show a friend something that might help them understanding…no wait, I have a better one…

You want to help someone understand that its okay to not have a Mission Accomplished press conference,  so you start digging through boxes looking for a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Asshat’s Soul” (which someone gave you as a gift, because you’re not an asshat, right?).

In your digging you run across a picture of a clown,  and up until that moment you had completely forgotten about your deep and terrifying fear of clowns.

That’s what happened to me yesterday….except the clown was strenuously objecting to being shoved back into that box.

I was feeling lost and wavering and..I really didn’t know what, or why.

I ended up chatting with my friend Kristen Keller on Facebook when I thought I’d give this “Asking for Help” thing a shot.

I’m glad I did.

What followed was a long meandering conversation where there were some painful moments, but there was a lot of laughter as well.

I felt better after, and thanks to Kristen I could sleep.

I’m feeling a bit better this morning, but I can hear that fucking clown stirring.   Too bad its a proverbial clown, otherwise I’d just let the dogs take care of it.

Before I go, I want to ask you all to remember that we all come from different places and deal with things differently.

So if you think that someone isn’t “doing their part”,  or “Is being disrespectful”,  please take a moment and ask yourself if you know their story…..

There might be a reason that they show their grief in a way that is different from yours.


2 thoughts on “Caregivers need care too….#grief #suicide #mentalhealth

  1. Thank you so much for sharing and giving so much of yourself writing this blog. I gain insight into my self and others with each post I read and this morning I reread a couple I had read yesterday, with a fresh eye. Then I read a bunch of Colarado posts because I like dogs. 🙂

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