April 12, 2022

TRIGGER WARNING: Heavy emotional content.

How did you spend your weekend? Relaxing? Unwinding? Me too, on Sunday. But on Friday & Saturday I participated in a fantastic 2-day workshop called ASIST – Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.

ASIST teaches people how to have powerful and safe conversations with someone in crisis. We learned to ask someone if they are considering suicide, talk with them through the “Pathway to Assisting Life” (PAL) model, and help that person find a way to be Safe For Now.

Before we started I was talking with the trainer, and I realised suicide has been present in my life from a young age. When I was in Year 3, a Year 4 student took their own life at school. Another student in my Year 11 Homeroom died by suicide over the Xmas break. And most recently, my own father died by his own hand in late 2019.

It was sorely tempting to go into the “What Ifs” – what if I had this kind of training earlier? What if I’d known what to say to my Dad when I thought he wasn’t doing so well? What would have changed? But I had to dismiss those unhelpful (and potentially dangerous) thoughts.

Reality: I can’t change the past. I can only change my present, and work toward a better future.

One of the major themes during the workshop was the fear of discomfort we all experienced, as we practiced role-playing through the PAL model. We each felt so afraid of “going there” in our role-play: asking about suicide, holding space patiently, resisting the urge to dive into “fix it” mode. All of these things felt profoundly uncomfortable in the moment.

But we lessened our discomfort through practice. Our ability to get uncomfortable is what will make the ultimate difference in a real conversation with someone who is having thoughts of suicide.

I’m sharing this with you for 3 main reasons:

  1. I am now trained and skilled in Suicide First Aid. If you – or someone you know – ever need or want to talk about your own thoughts of suicide, please contact me. I commit to being honest about my ability to have the conversation with you in that moment, and if not, I will pass you on to someone who can help immediately.
  2. I keep learning the importance of embracing my own discomfort, and I hope this serves you too – our deepest growth, healing, and expansion occurs outside our comfort zone. Discomfort only feels bad until it doesn’t. The more we embrace discomfort, and lean in to it, the more we come to truly know ourselves.
  3. The workshop helped me recognise my own passion and mission in the world: to help more men feel emotionally connected, willing to be vulnerable, and in so doing, create a more just, more peaceful and more loving society for all future generations to grow into.

If you feel constantly trapped by fear about your own discomfort, and you’re aware enough to realise that your fear is holding you back, and costing you way too much in your own life, I’m making available a couple of introductory sessions this month.

To learn more, DM me or email israel@israelsmith.com and ask for more information.

With love and gratitude,
Israel. xo 😃❤️🙏

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