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-   -   Triggering: Wow. :/ (http://www.teenhelp.org/forums/f14-mental-health/t110376-wow/)

bitesize September 28th 2012 04:29 PM

Wow. :/
This is very long, apologies.

Last night was my new college course's first night out together, and we had predrinks at the flat of one of the guys in my class, where we met his deliciously flamboyant and very friendly, outgoing flatmate, we'll call him S. We returned at the end of the night to have more drinks before everyone started falling into bed.

I can't quite remember quite how it started but after a drinking game which gradually got more and more sleepy, nearly everyone had stumbled off to bed and the only people left in the room were myself, a guy from my class who was fast asleep on the couch, and S, who was suddenly telling me about all the trouble he'd gone through in secondary school with coming out as gay. I sensed it was a very upsetting topic for him and let him talk and talk about it, and soon we were beyond the friendly-complaining stage and onto more serious stuff and he was in tears.

I let him keep talking for a long time, and then he was telling me about an experience he'd had several years ago in which three men had held him at gunpoint in his home and he'd ended up killing one of them. (Called a ambulance as soon as he realised what he'd done, police regarded it as self-defence and obviously he wasn't charged.) And how he'd found out afterwards that the man had had young children. How the eldest son had committed suicide three months later. And how he, S, had been in an agony of remorse ever since. By this stage he was very wound up and very upset and it was one of the most intense-shit things I've ever witnessed. He was in floods of tears and saying all these things about how he didn't deserve to be here and at one point he even picked up a large knife from the kitchen counter, which made me nervous, but I kept talking to him calmly and he put it down again a few minutes later. Eventually it wasn't just me letting him talk, it was me talking to him and trying anything to get him to see that he needed to move past what had happened and to stop blaming himself. He was calling himself the worst names in the book and it was really heartbreaking to see how awful he must be feeling. At one stage I burst into tears because I was so desperately trying to make him see that he had to stop feeling this way. By this time the sleeping guy on the couch had woken up but was sitting tight and just silently watching without saying a word, and we ignored him. I'm not sure how the whole thing came to an end - it seems like a dream now - but after a long time the atmosphere gradually started to calm down and both of us had stopped crying and were talking more about how it was really time to go to sleep, and after a hug and a thank you from him the three of us chatted easily about South Park and ghosts or something before he found me a blanket for the sofa and wandered away to bed.

It was one of the most intense experiences I've ever had and it really showed me what an awful job being a psychotherapist could be. Please don't think me callous or selfish for this but sometimes when I sense people really need to talk about something I try and see the situation from a counsellor's point of view and try to imagine what I'd do if this were a client and I were a therapist -obviously not assuming that I'm qualified to do anything in any way but I mean I try to concentrate on just letting them talk about the subject and come to terms with their own feelings about it. 'I have to say you've had really good counselling training' S said to me at one point last night which isn't true, I've never had any, but I was trying to imagine what one would do and say in this kind of situation. (At first anyway....by the time my own tears arrived I think I'd lost track of that.) I don't even know if I want to be a counsellor and that's a whole other bottle of fish (or whatevs) but it just gave me an idea of just how difficult the job could be.

I told S that it could be more help than he'd think to start talking to someone about all this, and he said he'd think about it but I don't know if he will. I'm a little worried. I don't even know him really - I'll probably see him again at some stage through his flatmate but I mean 24 hours ago I hadn't even met the guy. He was asleep this morning when we left for college. My classmate on the couch hasn't said a word to me about it, I don't think he will, and I'm hoping he doesn't to anyone else. He's a very shy, non-confrontational person and I think the whole thing petrified him. S told me only a few of his friends know what he's going through over this and that doesn't include his flatmate. He was sleeping when we all left for college this morning.

I don't really know why I'm posting this but like I said it was possibly one of the most intense situations I've ever been in and though I don't planning on really telling anyone about it - maybe my boyfriend - I felt like I had to write about it. Sorry for the length.

bitesize September 29th 2012 07:20 PM

Re: Wow. :/
This was bothering me a lot today and yesterday; I've had a lot of trouble getting it off my mind. But today I added S on Facebook, and a few minutes ago he messaged me and let me know that since talking to me on Thursday night he's gotten in touch with Victim Support and arranged to see a counsellor. It made me feel really good to hear that and I'm so glad I was able to get him to do that.

Magical Forest. September 29th 2012 07:28 PM

Re: Wow. :/
Wow that's a huge confession for him to make!! Well done for dealing with it so well, I'd have no idea how to react in that situation. I'm glad he found you to be so helpful.
It is a lot to take in, I hope it doesn't get to you too much. Writing about it was a good idea :)

PSY October 1st 2012 12:10 AM

Re: Wow. :/
I'm glad he's getting help for this! It's great that he opened up to you, but he really needs to see someone who can help him "contain" all these feelings. You handled the situation very well, and I commend you for thinking about what you could do for him afterward. The recommendation I would have given would be to call your university's psych services, explain the situation, and request that they arrange a meeting with him. At my previous university, students who blatantly displayed signs of being emotionally distressed, to the point of possibly being suicidal, were required to see a psychologist at the university a certain number of times each quarter. This was for their well-being, as well as for their peers' safety (and I'm sure the university didn't want to be held responsible if anything happened, too).

Yes, being on the other end of things (as a psychological professional) can be downright terrifying at times. In a situation like this one, the professional would have to do what they could during the 50 minute session. If the client was still agitated at the end, the professional would have to take additional measures, such as extending the session and cancelling other appointments, asking the client if they would be willing to have someone come over to pick them up/watch over them, and worst-case scenario, 9-1-1/emergency psychiatric services might need to be called, in order to ensure the client did not hurt themselves after the session. Crisis management is something we learn about in school, but even then, situations like this one can be emotionally exhausting.

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