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Mental Health Association of Central Australia


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Date:2008-12; Dated: Jul.-Dec. 2008




Mental Health Services -- Australia, Central -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Mental Health -- Periodicals

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Mental Health Association of Central Australia

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Alice Springs


no. 18

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42 At this years World Suicide Prevention Day ceremony on 10 September people were invited to contribute, either by a poem, drawing or story. Here Felix Meyer shares some of his story ... The Effect of Montys Suicide ... Even after 12 years it was very hard to write those words. Even though my family has never shied away from discussing his death openly. Even though we made deliberate efforts never to shove the issue into a closet and forget about it. Even though we always talk about our loss and our memories. After 12 years his death still has effects on my life that I had expected would fade away and stop occurring. I still get funny for weeks if someone near me loses a family member. I have physical reactions to suicide scenes in films and I still find it almost impossible to cry, even when alone. After 12 years I still sometimes feel like a 16-year-old boy who is lost after finding his dead brother. I still sometimes feel like I am at fault for not noticing something earlier or somehow having prevented the whole shit-storm occurring. I think the important thing to say is that I only feel this way sometimes and that I have slowly gained more control as time has gone by. But it is hard to extinguish things that take root on the fertile soil of adolescence and emotional trauma. It was strange to write this speech and to brainstorm effects that have occurred through Montys death. There have been many effects that have occurred through my brother committing suicideboth negative and positive, although positive effects is not the right way of describing what I am talking about. A better way of phrasing it is to say that his suicide caused me to adapt. I had to survive. I had to react to my changed circumstances, I had to evolve. At the same time as being weakened, I became strong. Since Montys passing I have been able to shoulder more burden than most other people I know. I can look through the difficulty and see that things are not as bad as what they have been. I force whatever is occurring to compare with the strain and troubled waters that I have already passed through and I keep wading. I am not saying that I got hard and now ignore my pain. I just try to look at things logically and give myself credit. Since his passing I have gained insight and an awareness of sufferingboth into my own and others. Subconsciously, I must be watching and listening for that hidden hurt that is trying to get through defences and be talked about. I am not saying that I feel like a saviour of humankind, striding through the sea of broken hearts and making everything alright. I can just feel it when people have pain inside and sometimes I can talk to them about it. I recognise how I behave with my hurt and fear and sadness and it makes it easier to see in others. That brings me to the topic of sadness. I wont linger here but it has been one of the major effects of Monty doing what he did. My sadness comes and goes and it is often gone for weeks. It often comes back for weeks too. It will lie on the couch with me, it creeps into my relationship, it hides under my desk at work. Sometimes I think that I know it and that I have it under control; I think that this is true most of the time. I also think that it knows meand knows when I am unable to shoo it out of the room or hit it with the fly-swat or, indeed, do what I want to do and grab it in a headlock, push it into a sack, smuggle it out to the airport and ship it off to Antarctica. In the past I ran away from my sadness. I got on a plane and lived in Europe for two years. I ran away from the family that reflected my pain and anyone who knew me. I would jump out of relationships that got too close. Sometimes after conversations with lovers I would almost back-flip out the window and run naked down the street. I recognise that I was fearful of losing the people who got too close. I would wallow in my sadness sometimes. It justified my anger. At times I became almost self-destructive in my refusal to move forward, to beat myself with longing and regret. I will admit that sadness can be seductive. It can give a perspective that is sweet and powerful and my best writing is a product of it. It was when I began exploring my sadness that things began turning around. I had always thought counselling was not for me; that it was something that I could do myself without some halfqualified quack fingering my brain with nicotine-stained fingers and making loose assumptions about my past, present and future. I was at university at the time and not really committed to it. I knew that I was depressed and decided to see the student psychologist. She was friendly, patient and nothing like what I expected. I went for a number of weeks and A Tribute to Monte by Felix Meyer

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