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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trigger warning:touchy topic. How many of you have a high tolerance for hearing someone saying that they're suicidal, self harm or think of dying? I know how to stay calm with such people, as long as their feelings aren't used as a form of harassment (ex: I will kill myself, if you don't do this for me). I have been in their shoes before too, so I'm not the type to shirk or stop talking to someone for struggling with suicidal thoughts. If someone is genuinely suffering, let me listen to you. I have noticed that some other people can be aversive to anyone experiencing these thoughts, and they think you're manipulating them? obviously, it's a problem when someone is leaning on you to be their therapist or emailing/texting you suicidal/self-harm statements daily. If that were happening to me, I would nicely tell the person to stop and recommend them to a crisis line. I wouldn't stop being friends with them.
 

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(I volunteer at a Crisis / Suicide Prevention service)

A lot of trained volunteers get the jitters for these sort of calls, but I actually find them to be the easiest to handle. Most of the time, I consider them heart to heart calls and I'll actually lean back in my seat and put my legs up -- this might be a bit. The suicidal thought in itself doesn't particularly concern me as I consider it actually kind of normal. Self harm in itself isn't typically to kill, but rather to feel -- I've had a few people cut themselves while they're talking to me with some describing it in detail. I usually explore their feelings about it or what it does for them. I'm actually forbidden from stopping or shaming them as it's like making a smoker quit cold turkey -- they'll go through withdrawal and we may actually have a serious suicide case here. It's interesting how someone cutting themselves while talking to me isn't really a big deal, but if someone says to me they're giving their stuff away then this is fucking code red.

Honestly though, I just follow the Socratic method when it comes to suicide prevention. I'm a bit laissez faire, not necessarily saying "don't kill yourself" (people will do what they do) and instead just asking them probing questions as to why they feel that suicide may be a solution of sorts to them. You really just keep picking away at them with questions and it eventually creates an element of self doubt that usually breaks their fixation on it.

Overall, I'm pretty de-sensitized.

However, there are some things that rattle even me...

(Trigger + mini story)
 
If you guessed child sex crimes you would be right.

The stories I've heard, whether it be over the lines, or from people in the real world are basically permanently imprinted on my mind. Imagine how it must have been for the victims though...

Without getting too descriptive, I'll tell you one call I received from a girl in her 20's or so who as molested by her father. She was placed in a dungeon of sorts and often sprayed with a gardening hose. Her mother resented her as she was getting all the "attention" while her sister (to her knowledge) was never touched in such a way. While we were talking she whispered into the phone all the things her dad would whisper into hers. At one point during the call she started crying AND what I believe was masturbating at the same time while she was pleading for him to stop. She was hysterical...

Damn, I have countless stories though.
 

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I've had some experience with the suicidal thoughts of others. Each experience was distressing; how could it not be? But I'm not offended or threatened by someone else experiencing thoughts of suicide or suicidal ideation. That said, all of these people who shared their thoughts with me are still alive.

My contribution in these situations was to enter into listening mode. A very serious listening mode, practically a meditation. When it is first revealed to me that they are thinking of suicide, I did have a million questions, but asking questions to elicit details isn't always helpful. I went with my instinct, which was to ask them to tell me about why they're thinking about suicide. And the reasons were varied, but each had the same thing at the core, which was a profound sense of disconnection, to themselves, to others, to daily life. Also, a very deep kind of self-loathing, which is the thing they seem to nurture and hold onto the most. It's not easy to hear someone talk about the countless reasons they loathe themselves. Actually, I find the self-loathing to be more difficult to handle than the suicidal thoughts, which makes sense: suicidal thoughts are just the shell of the matter; encased within the shell is that sticky yolk of Why Suicide.

Also, I agree with Lad. I'm always rattled by the same thing. I read the mini story, and though it's similar to the hundreds of others I've read or heard about, each one is uniquely disturbing unto itself. Btw, Lad, I think it's amazing that you take on such things in your volunteer work.
 

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Not threatened at all by complex situations like that. I actually helped (talked out someone) from second attempt of them taking their own life. They are in a good spot now , mentally and physically.
-Ob.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lad-i'm in the mental health field, so I know that you can't literally stop someone from cutting. Maybe I'm just desensitized in a way (in the sense that I've heard and seen everything). Your spoiler alert doesn't shock me, because trauma is something that I enjoy working with. I have forgotten the fact that people in the everyday world don't know how to handle hearing such things. I do believe humans project, and I have made the mistake of thinking that others have the exact same level of empathy and tolerance that I do.


When I myself was struggling with these thoughts in response to both my best friend's death and some unresolved trauma of my own, my friend (who is a therapist too) encouraged me to open up to her for help. I assumed that she would be okay hearing my stuff, but she bailed out and stopped talking to me. Ever since then, I've been very weary of who I open up to. I think it's sad that many have to keep their thoughts private, due to others freaking out.
 

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I'm not affected by the suicide itself but the reasons for it can be rather disturbing. What I end up disliking and feeling for is how they can play the victim role, push blame around, hurt their own self-esteem and even be manipulative or highly dependent on others which may not actually be all that much help.

To a large extent it has to do with how firm your personal boundaries are, how much responsibility you take for things outside of yourself which comes in part depending on how much control you think you have over things. That and how much you choose to care about the individual, at least that's how it's worked for me with the people I know.
 

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I feel cold when people start telling me they are think about killing themselves, or they self-harm, or hate themselves... Cold like scared. I don't know what I should do, maybe because I'm not a feeling type. I try to understand and give them support in getting out of that stuff, but in the end I guess we end up drifting apart naturally, because we can't relate to each other's point of view about life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The thing is that people, who feel that low, are in a state where they aren't always aware that they may be playing victim. My job would be to help them see things in a different perspective where they can take their power back. I can't see myself shaming someone that feels helpless.you feel helpless, bc you have a cognitive distortion of feeling there's no way out. If you have discovered all of the solutions and you still feel suicidal/self-harming, then I may not be able to help. It's interesting how my own self harming behaviors disappeared, once that woman stopped being friends with me. In fact, I'm happier than I've ever been right now. Taking responsibility for myself means being around the right people.
 

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This is an interesting topic, and I'm grateful you brought it up.

I don't have much useful to add necessarily, but for better or worse this specific subject has been "on my mind" of late. Let me be specific ...

I have an interest in volunteering for a listening service. I am only in the very early days of exploring this possibility, but the open evening I went to recently focused on this question a little. We all looked as close as we individually could to the likelihood of regularly having this experience. In fairness, from my own point of view I have worked with a number of clients who were suicidally depressed (don't forget kids, in my day job I'm a lawyer, so that's what I mean here by "clients"; when I've finished my counselling qualification and if I ever start to mean "clients" like that I'll be sure to make a big deal about it appropriately). None of them have killed themselves, though 2 died through other health complications.

I wouldn't say I'm at all inured to it, but at least I find I am - mostly - over the "shock" of hearing someone talk about such a taboo subject directly, but more than many I have at least heard people say it. I'm not sure how well I handle it usually, but I pretty much run a twofold operation roughly called "thanks for telling me" and "what's stopping you?" - although of course those are just inappropriately joke-y labels.

What I really mean is generally trying to sincerely convey to someone that you appreciate the degree of trust they are able to offer to the immediate relationship. It's a rare privilege for someone to offer you such direct access to the core of their internal narrative, and by itself that is a valuable gift - even if on this particular occasion the gift in question is a bit awkward and uncomfortable to hold. Out loud it usually sounds something like "I really appreciate that you feel able to talk to me about this sort of feeling, and I'm glad to talk to you about that if you like". Writing it down it is hard to convey empathy, but y'all know what I'm talking about right?

"What's stopping you?" seems to me to be too blunt a way to actually phrase it, but finding out why someone is talking to you about killing themselves rather than quietly actually doing it strikes me as useful knowledge in perhaps letting them have at least a quick check that they've fully mined this specific vein of value before making any firm decisions. It seems to let people focus, at least briefly, on something which might connect them back to life. Out loud you have to vary depending on situation, but mostly it sounds something like "what kind of things have you found it helpful to do if you've ever had these feelings before?".

The first time I was suicidally depressed, pretty much the last thing I would have wanted to do was talk about it. Probably the easiest way to explain that would be a kind of "fear", which is an odd word in the circumstances somehow, that if I did that they would try and talk me out of it. You have to kind of imagine yourself into the slightly screwy mindset I was in at the time to understand why I really worried about someone trying to talk me out of it, but perhaps being able to do that is half the battle.

At least in the UK, I believe I've read that the majority of men who kill themselves are completely unknown to the medical profession, and in most cases unknown to immediate family or friends. Certainly neither my friends nor family were aware, nor would I have gone near a doctor about it, so I sympathise with that majority to an extent. But on the other hand that's a really troubling kind of statistic in many ways, and it's one which only underlines how much of the population needs to get much more confident in being able to discuss suicide without feeling "threatened or disturbed" as the o/p had it.

It's difficult to make moral imperatives, I think. So whilst it would be inaccurate to say I am "pro-suicide", I'm conscious that it might be hard to not even be able to think of situations in which someone choosing to kill themselves ought to be respected. The only danger with just naively "letting people do what they want" is that many people, and in particular people who are depressed, are fundamentally confused and distorted in their own self-awareness of what they really "want" to do at all. People rarely think and feel at their clearest and most accurate when very depressed, so it seems to me that least one might do is to try and help people come to a clearer and more accurate plane of experience if they plan on making any decisions which they might find it hard to back out of at a later juncture.

Sorry to waffle on, though hope some of it was on topic. Thanks for your time.
 
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I always feel like if the person is willing to talk about it that is a good sign because that probably means there is a part of them that doesn't want to do it. They are just wanting someone to talk to. Not threatened or disturbed, just genuinely concerned. I get attached to people pretty quickly too so it's not hard for me to put myself in their shoes. I guess I usually have a lot of faith in being able to talk it out. Maybe that is kind of naive though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is an interesting topic, and I'm grateful you brought it up.

I don't have much useful to add necessarily, but for better or worse this specific subject has been "on my mind" of late. Let me be specific ...

I have an interest in volunteering for a listening service. I am only in the very early days of exploring this possibility, but the open evening I went to recently focused on this question a little. We all looked as close as we individually could to the likelihood of regularly having this experience. In fairness, from my own point of view I have worked with a number of clients who were suicidally depressed (don't forget kids, in my day job I'm a lawyer, so that's what I mean here by "clients"; when I've finished my counselling qualification and if I ever start to mean "clients" like that I'll be sure to make a big deal about it appropriately). None of them have killed themselves, though 2 died through other health complications.

I wouldn't say I'm at all inured to it, but at least I find I am - mostly - over the "shock" of hearing someone talk about such a taboo subject directly, but more than many I have at least heard people say it. I'm not sure how well I handle it usually, but I pretty much run a twofold operation roughly called "thanks for telling me" and "what's stopping you?" - although of course those are just inappropriately joke-y labels.

What I really mean is generally trying to sincerely convey to someone that you appreciate the degree of trust they are able to offer to the immediate relationship. It's a rare privilege for someone to offer you such direct access to the core of their internal narrative, and by itself that is a valuable gift - even if on this particular occasion the gift in question is a bit awkward and uncomfortable to hold. Out loud it usually sounds something like "I really appreciate that you feel able to talk to me about this sort of feeling, and I'm glad to talk to you about that if you like". Writing it down it is hard to convey empathy, but y'all know what I'm talking about right?

"What's stopping you?" seems to me to be too blunt a way to actually phrase it, but finding out why someone is talking to you about killing themselves rather than quietly actually doing it strikes me as useful knowledge in perhaps letting them have at least a quick check that they've fully mined this specific vein of value before making any firm decisions. It seems to let people focus, at least briefly, on something which might connect them back to life. Out loud you have to vary depending on situation, but mostly it sounds something like "what kind of things have you found it helpful to do if you've ever had these feelings before?".

The first time I was suicidally depressed, pretty much the last thing I would have wanted to do was talk about it. Probably the easiest way to explain that would be a kind of "fear", which is an odd word in the circumstances somehow, that if I did that they would try and talk me out of it. You have to kind of imagine yourself into the slightly screwy mindset I was in at the time to understand why I really worried about someone trying to talk me out of it, but perhaps being able to do that is half the battle.

At least in the UK, I believe I've read that the majority of men who kill themselves are completely unknown to the medical profession, and in most cases unknown to immediate family or friends. Certainly neither my friends nor family were aware, nor would I have gone near a doctor about it, so I sympathise with that majority to an extent. But on the other hand that's a really troubling kind of statistic in many ways, and it's one which only underlines how much of the population needs to get much more confident in being able to discuss suicide without feeling "threatened or disturbed" as the o/p had it.

It's difficult to make moral imperatives, I think. So whilst it would be inaccurate to say I am "pro-suicide", I'm conscious that it might be hard to not even be able to think of situations in which someone choosing to kill themselves ought to be respected. The only danger with just naively "letting people do what they want" is that many people, and in particular people who are depressed, are fundamentally confused and distorted in their own self-awareness of what they really "want" to do at all. People rarely think and feel at their clearest and most accurate when very depressed, so it seems to me that least one might do is to try and help people come to a clearer and more accurate plane of experience if they plan on making any decisions which they might find it hard to back out of at a later juncture.

Sorry to waffle on, though hope some of it was on topic. Thanks for your time.
. Thanks for the lengthy response and the great points. You pinpointed what I was trying to convey about someone that feels suicidal. People aren't at their best when it comes to thibking rationally. That's not a put down. It just means you're in so much pain where you may not always see the light. I just think if we had more empathy with handling these things, more lives would be saved. I recall an estj woman tell me that I was like an immature five year old to have suicidal thoughts. I disagree, bc many adults struggle with it if they feel there's no solution. Just bc you have the thought doesn't mean that you will act on it. If I start to have dark thoughts, I got to ask, "what's going on in my life that i need to change?"
 

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Others suicidal thoughts and vulnerable discussions don't bother me, if anything suicide and it's build up are causes I care about after personally seeing how fickle people can become at mere talk of low mood, let alone how easy people stigmatise 'weakness' they seek to avoid empathising with as, if will it become an airborne contagion consuming all in the vicinity.
Obviously 'the chronically suicidal' types that 'become suicidal' for attention are best avoided, since it is maturity they lack and self entitlement issues.
 

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If a person would verbally say to me that he/she's suicidal, wants to die, or what not, I take it as a good sign.

It means this person is calling out SOS.

The ones who did commit suicide often didn't cry for help or the cry been ignored.
 
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Lad-i'm in the mental health field, so I know that you can't literally stop someone from cutting. Maybe I'm just desensitized in a way (in the sense that I've heard and seen everything). Your spoiler alert doesn't shock me, because trauma is something that I enjoy working with. I have forgotten the fact that people in the everyday world don't know how to handle hearing such things. I do believe humans project, and I have made the mistake of thinking that others have the exact same level of empathy and tolerance that I do.


When I myself was struggling with these thoughts in response to both my best friend's death and some unresolved trauma of my own, my friend (who is a therapist too) encouraged me to open up to her for help. I assumed that she would be okay hearing my stuff, but she bailed out and stopped talking to me. Ever since then, I've been very weary of who I open up to. I think it's sad that many have to keep their thoughts private, due to others freaking out.
That is really sad that she bailed on you. I'm sorry to hear that this happened especially with a friend. I have noticed that some people cannot handle hearing these things. It really is their issue, not yours. In the past I got mad that there were people in my life who just did not want to hear about anything and thus couldn't offer support. I"m weary about who I open up to as well. Some people really struggle to empathize or understand or even listen actually.

In regards to your original post, are you hoping to talk with her about this at some point or try being friends again?

In my experience I think its just too hard for some people to handle hearing about this sort of thing. I can't say that I really understand it because I've been open to people my whole life and have been around to listen to people share their stories and their story would not be a reason for me to unfriend them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Lad-i'm in the mental health field, so I know that you can't literally stop someone from cutting. Maybe I'm just desensitized in a way (in the sense that I've heard and seen everything). Your spoiler alert doesn't shock me, because trauma is something that I enjoy working with. I have forgotten the fact that people in the everyday world don't know how to handle hearing such things. I do believe humans project, and I have made the mistake of thinking that others have the exact same level of empathy and tolerance that I do.


When I myself was struggling with these thoughts in response to both my best friend's death and some unresolved trauma of my own, my friend (who is a therapist too) encouraged me to open up to her for help. I assumed that she would be okay hearing my stuff, but she bailed out and stopped talking to me. Ever since then, I've been very weary of who I open up to. I think it's sad that many have to keep their thoughts private, due to others freaking out.
That is really sad that she bailed on you. I'm sorry to hear that this happened especially with a friend. I have noticed that some people cannot handle hearing these things. It really is their issue, not yours. In the past I got mad that there were people in my life who just did not want to hear about anything and thus couldn't offer support. I"m weary about who I open up to as well. Some people really struggle to empathize or understand or even listen actually.

In regards to your original post, are you hoping to talk with her about this at some point or try being friends again?

In my experience I think its just too hard for some people to handle hearing about this sort of thing. I can't say that I really understand it because I've been open to people my whole life and have been around to listen to people share their stories and their story would not be a reason for me to unfriend them.
. thank you, but this happened long time ago. The situation is dead. I was simply using her as an example, but I agree that it's her issue. Personally, I think it happened for the best. :)
 

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To me, suicide is expressing the need to get away from unbearable pain, not actually wanting to die, persay.

With that in mind...it's very easy to understand. I still get disturbed if it's from a friend or family member because...hey! I don't want to lose them!!! But not disturbing as in me thinking they're off their rocker.

And because this topic may attract it...to any of you out there who may be experiencing these thoughts right now...<hughughug> You can lick this shit. Just hang in there, okay? I'm here to talk if you need.

A more touchy bit:
 
I'm really, really leery of people using it as a method to "harass"...because in all honesty, I don't think people ever use it that way, except maybe the most psychopathic. Reporting suicidal thoughts is like reporting rape...false reports are very, very rare, but the surrounding situation may be sticky and not all black and white.

And, well, think about it. A person who uses suicide as a threat is often doing so because they want someone to stay with them. Because they're afraid of the pain and everything else they'll face without that person. "Unbearable" pain. Sure, there may be some gross overreaction too, but I think the sentiment being expressed is honest.

It's disturbing for someone who already feels a bit trapped in a relationship to feel trapped by that sense of moral obligation to keep the other from dying, but....I think they also should know it is never their fault they couldn't convince a person out of it, and no one would ever fault them from leaving an unhealthy relationship.

AKA, don't feel guilty. Get them help (you may even knock some sense into them when they see you're taking it perfectly seriously), but put your own well-being and safety first. That's something they teach in the emergency response fields for any kind of situation involving death, and it's just as applicable in the mental health arena.
 

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Yes. I don't really feel disturbed--at all--when people talk about suicide. I don't know, I think it's really common and I'm glad if people are opening up to me about it. I don't think about killing myself, but I do think about death and life and quality of life a lot. I wouldn't ever say that suicide is "the answer" but sometimes I do think, well, it's their life and who am I to say it isn't? I have been in the grips of some intense pain, both physical and emotional. Luckily I don't have to deal with either as much as many do. The longest my migraines ever last is 2 days, and there are times in the middle of them where I'm like, I would rather be dead forever than experience a month or even a week of this pain. Likewise, my emotional meltdowns are mercifully short lived, but some people experience that kind of emotional agony for weeks or months or years. Of course I would exhort everyone to get all the help they can. I am glad to listen to them and talk about it and help by giving empathy. I don't judge people who commit suicide as being weak or selfish or anything along those lines (but I do judge people who say that kind of stuff). Depression is an illness that clouds your judgment and lies to you. Ultimately I think everyone has (and should have) the choice of whether or not they want to be alive--nobody can live your life but you so the decision rests with every individual--but typically I don't think people who are depressed have all the information they need to make that choice since, again, depression is a liar.

I like the idea of taking myself out if I feel like it's time--I'm talking when I'm like 80/85, here. I don't want to live in assisted living or anything. I would rather die in my own bed or out in nature, where I can control the circumstances, than die like my grandparents in hospitals or nursing homes. Noooo thank you. I would trade a few years of poor quality life to be able to control for that.
 

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Thought I had high tolérance until I had to deal with it from a relationship perspective, and only 3 months in.

I had no idea what it could turn or be twisted into.

À bitch to deal with and the other needed therapy, pills (sertraline) and heavy nicotine use. Soon turned into a "they're a victim, I'm now not helping and emotionally abusing them" kind of situation where they are extremely sensitive to remarks, jokes, anything of the sort.

It's one when paid or part of a degree or friendship and another when you have to be the one living with that person everyday..... Had to also treat myself for panic attacks...
 
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