I would love to ask a question that is specific to you. In this might be a bit of a left turn but I think it would be, I'm personally very curious. If we could go back to your brother's suicide and I know it's probably not the easiest thing to talk about but that is a it sounds like it's hard for me to conceive of a larger. Event, at least in the vicarious trauma category. What are the things that help to the most, in terms of coming to terms with that or healing from that to the extent that you have? I'll start by saying. You know, I had no mental health education or experience at the time. So my initial response is like weren't very healthy. I felt like I was my fault, I should have known. I should have been a better brother. I was probably fairly depressed myself and drinking too much. And I mean, all sorts of other things that that I was still like going along with life, but feeling very depressed and feeling oppressed, not just externally, but So this idea that trauma changes how we think about ourselves. And then we're trying to recognize as, like, trying looking at the mirror and saying is that me, but you don't really remember what you looked like yesterday, right? Yeah, so, that was very scary, and a lot of the ways in which I handled, it were not helpful or healthy. So ultimately, when I think how did I get through that? It was interconnections with other people were absolutely indispensable that There were people around me who cared about me, who were then reflecting back to me. The like know, you're a good person and a terrible tragedy has happened to you, which is a very helpful because they they could see me because they knew me and they knew before the tragedy. It was me who couldn't see me and they were basically communicating this something awful has happened, but you're the same person you were before and that's a capable person and a caring person and that was immensely helpful to me and and some of that Was through friends and family. And also, I went and got some Psychotherapy, which people weren't really doing, like, where I grew up, people didn't go to therapy. Where did you grow up outside of Trenton, New Jersey? And it is wasn't in the culture. So for me, going and getting therapy, even was like, something. Do I feel embarrassed about that? Is it healthy people ever do that? Is that just for crazy people like that? You know, that was, that was how it was thought of. So I had to do something that I think did have some bravery to it of saying like K, let me I'll be honest with myself. I'm not doing okay. And I'm getting help from people in there, are people who care about me, but there's professional help to and I just found a therapist and she was very very helpful to me in that basic grounding way. So the impact of others was so helpful because otherwise, I think I probably is a good chance. I would have never seen myself the same way again in a way that could have just been worse and worse and worse and that's Ultimately what led me to is this kind of come to a full stop and look at how it was handling my life. And look, there's Silver Linings. I do believe if we work hard enough towards them. There can be Silver Linings to anything, no matter how bad it is and a silver lining was, I looked at myself and I, you know, I'd wanted to go to medical school, but I thought I'm too old why? Because I was 25. Like, that's not too old, but I thought it was, or I couldn't leave my job because I was making a good income. And, and if I went to medical school, I'm not going. To I'm going to pay and you know, all these things were in my head and people were saying to me, you're too old. You can't walk away from your job and it's going to cost through so many things that I realize that don't matter. I have my life and I'm healthy enough that I can go do what I want to do. Now, go do those things and it was actually quite helpful to me in decided. I'm going to leave my job. And even though I haven't taken a single pre-med course, I'm going to go apply and you know, it led me to feel embolden, but I had to get to a Place where I could see myself as a worthwhile and capable person. That's how I saw myself before his suicide, but there was a whole period of time when I didn't see myself that way. And it was really other people, both personally and professionally that the were sort of for me a bridge to a place. I was not going to be able to get on my own and I think that's the case for many of us and when people don't have access to people who care about them people who can help them. Unfortunately, there's a lot of secondary tragedies. That come of that because we're interconnected is human beings and we are not kind enough and helpful enough. They are, you know, I write about the compassion community and humanity. And these basic principles did I think we should be following? Because I don't think the rocket science. I think there's simple yet. We don't follow them and they were not there for each other in ways that I think we want to think that we are but we often we're not living that in the world around us. Thank you for sharing and Look if turned into one (expletive) of a bridge yourself cell. Thank you. Thank you. That means a lot to me to hear. Yeah, that's it's true. It's true.
Therapy Helped Paul Conti Come to Terms With His Brother's Suicide
#533: Paul Conti, MD How Trauma Works and How to Heal From It