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Open thread: Interventions? No trolls, no MRAs.

This is for a continuation of the discussion about the ethics of calling the police when a friend is suicidal that started here.

No trolls, no MRAs, etc etc.  Trigger Warnings for discussion of suicide.

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pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Thanks fruitloopsie, I don’t blame myself as much as I did then, but there are still times where I think I could have done something especially as our senior boss was very good about psychological health. I still think about her sometimes and think the world would be a better place if she was in it – this was a person that nobody had a bad word to say about.

There is another element to this too. I remember one teenager overdosing (for obvious reasons I am not going to give much detail) and taking two weeks to die. Back then, there was no treatment for the overdose (there is now, but still not going to give details). So, he was conscious for most of his dying phase, his family visited him numerous times in hospital, and he changed his mind about wanting to die. At the end of the two weeks, he was dead.

I know this is another anecdote, but so is everything else being posted in this thread (bar the involuntary incarceration stats).

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Sorry, that second paragraph was triggered by cassandra’s comment above.

kittehserf
6 years ago

mildlymagnificent – yup, that’s cold! It’s 13 here, the apparent temperature is around 6. Looks like it’ll be hovering around 14 most of the week. It’s been blowing and raining all day (such fun when a whole branch from that rotten palm tree crashes onto the tin roof of the carport).

Cassandra – it looks like draught stoppers are sold online, if that’s any help.

We have a draft in the lounge and I can never figure where it’s from. Windows are closed, doors have draught stoppers, yet there’s this faint movement of cold air. Could be window frames aren’t sealed too well, I guess.

On the intervention question: what Leum said. We’re not talking about people who have dreadful illnesses and make the long-term decision that they don’t want intervention (I have a medical form stating very clearly that I don’t want intervention, being kept alive artificially, or any extreme measures at all in such a situation). This is depression and crisis.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Part of what’s being left out of this conversation is that a very high percentage of people who attempt suicide and end up surviving are very glad that they did. People change their minds. There’s no way to know for sure who will and who won’t, obviously, but it’s weird to be acting as if that’s not a thing that happens.

This. When it was raised, it was dismissed as cherry-picking. Bizarre.

Unimaginative
Unimaginative
6 years ago

I wish they sold those snake things that you can get to cover that part of a door here, but they don’t seem to exist since everyone I try to explain them to just looks at me funny.

Try a rolled-up towel, or a long stocking filled with stuff. You could probably get some wool, cotton, or some kind of synthetic quilting batting from a craft store.

I have nothing useful to add to the intervention discussion, except that in most Canadian communities there’s crisis prevention helpline. If you or someone you know is showing signs of suicide, you can call them for advice. Not the best option in an emergency situation, but helpful if you have a feeling something’s about to happen, or if you need help recovering after failing to intervene in time.

Oh look, other countries have them too! Good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

What about the people who, if an intervention is made, will change their minds? I know that “it’s a cry for help” is a cliche, but honestly, it’s often true. And I get that there’s no way to know for sure in a given situation whether that’s going on or not, but if it’s a person you know well you can tell that’s what’s happening, sometimes. In those situations are people really arguing that you should just go ahead and watch them kill themselves out of respect for their autonomy? Even if you’re pretty sure that if they could just get through this particular crisis point they’d probably be OK? Because there is no way in hell that I’m going to cosign that. Not when I know people who were suicidal in the past who’re very glad to be alive now.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

I experienced what is known in the literature as “intrusive suicidal ideation”. This was a couple of years ago. When I told my husband, he said, very meaningfully, “You ARE going to tell your doctor, AREN’T you?” So I did, and got therapy. He (my husband) made it very clear to me that any solution to any problem that involved killing ANYone was off the table. Not me, not the kids, not him – nobody.

I have told my son about this, to let him know that he is not alone in this. I know how it felt for me, so although it’s not the same, I can tell him that not doing it is preferable to doing it. Part of it for me, having lived through San Francisco in the 1980s, is that a lot of people I knew well never got to be as old as I am now. I know that, if I wait long enough, I’m going to die anyway. That thought, oddly enough, takes some of the urgency out of it.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@kitteh, maybe placing a candle in various spots would help you detect the source?

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Pallygirl

“Thanks fruitloopsie, I don’t blame myself as much as I did then, but there are still times where I think I could have done something”

We all had that feeling at one point in our lives but sometimes there isn’t much or really anything we can do, we are only human. Every situation and person is different about these types of things and what’s wonderful is that you tried.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Auntie Alias, that’s a good idea.

It’d better be a Scented Fucking Candle, I suppose.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

@kitteh, LOL!

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I don’t know if it gets cold enough in Australia to need this but plastic wrap, the kind you wrap food in is good for keeping out window drafts. You pull it flat and tight and tape it to the window frame with packing tape or duct tape. Then blast it with a hair dryer. It keeps out drafts and saves on heating bills.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago
kittehserf
6 years ago

WWTH – ooh, like shrink-wrapping things!

Cat Captain, yay!

Did you see this tee shirt design linked on that page?

http://www.neatoshop.com/product/Monster-Rhapsody

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Oooo… no, that’s funny. This is the one I particularly want: http://www.neatoshop.com/product/Look-Out-Schrodingers-Cat-Its-a-Trap

zoon echon logon
zoon echon logon
6 years ago

@Leum & Steampunked
Those are reasonable positions. I’m not sure if I disagree with you. If I do, it’s a matter of degree. It might be pointless to talk about this kind of stuff too abstractly–the details of individual cases are probably more relevant to making decisions than theory.

@cassandrakitty
I think I was overgeneralizing my own experience of depression. I don’t want to get all TMI about my mental problems, but it’s a very chronic thing. Any decision to kill myself would be the result of long-term deliberation, and is not something I’m likely to change my mind about. This is obviously not the case for everyone, and I should have taken that into account.

zoon echon logon
zoon echon logon
6 years ago

This thread needs cute animal videos.

kittehserf
6 years ago

All threads need cute animal videos.

It can get meta:

http://youtu.be/3JDwgsLgWn4

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago
WorldOfMycroft
WorldOfMycroft
6 years ago

Long-time lurker, but I wanted to make my first comment because I think this is a very important conversation.

I want to +1 Leum’s response to zoon echon logon:

I overrode my friend’s decision because she was sick. Her brain had had its normal desire for self-preservation overridden by her illness. This has happened to me. My experience, and that of several other friends who also exprience depression, is that I am glad I was prevented from killing or hurting myself when my depression was that acute.

Yes, this. I’ve been suicidal in the past, and I can say at this point that I’m very happy to still be alive.

I know it’s not an uncontroversial belief, but I acknowledge that suicide can be a rational, liberating choice, and not just for people with terminal or painful non-psychological illnesses. That being said, suicidality is also a serious symptom of psychological troubles – troubles severe enough to render a person incapable of making an informed decision in the moment. Given the failure modes of the two options – preserving the life of a person who didn’t know they needed and/or weren’t getting help, versus betraying the trust and autonomy of someone who had made an informed decision to die – in the absence of context, I will absolutely choose to call emergency services.

I would hope that if someone I cared about had made an informed decision to end their life, they might forgive me for erring on the side of caution – but I can understand why they wouldn’t. I would not be able to live with myself, though, if there was a chance that someone needed help and I did nothing.

wewereemergencies
wewereemergencies
6 years ago

I think WorldOfMycroft knocked it out of the park.

kittehserf
6 years ago

I think WorldOfMycroft knocked it out of the park.

Or hit it for six, in cricket parlance.

Hi, WorldOfMycroft, have a Welcome Package!

wewereemergencies
wewereemergencies
6 years ago

Ugh cricket. Really kittehs? 😛

kittehserf
6 years ago

Hey, at least cricket’s good for insomnia! 😀

wewereemergencies
wewereemergencies
6 years ago

Nah, golf is better for insomnia. Cricket is just terrible. (actually I don’t mind playing it, but when even the commentators are discussing seagulls rather than the game, well that says a hell of a lot)

WorldOfMycroft
WorldOfMycroft
6 years ago

Thank you, wewereemergencies and kittehserf! It’s so bright and scary out here… 🙂

wewereemergencies
wewereemergencies
6 years ago

haha I know the feeling WorldOfMycroft. Am I really smart/knowledgeable/aware enough to be talking to these people?

cloudiah
6 years ago

Wow, I missed some stuff. FWIW, I think I’m uncomfortable with issuing blanket pronouncements on what is always right or wrong when dealing with calling for intervention for a friend who is suicidal. There are too many factors to make that call. I do think anyone who does that should probably be prepared to lose the trust of the friend in question, which is probably an acceptable trade off for (possibly) saving their life.

I’ve never had to make that call myself, and I hope I would make the right call. I think Leum was trying to be the best friend zie could be, and I second the people hoping that zie doesn’t feel piled on.

Hugs to anyone who wants one.

kittehserf
6 years ago

wewereemergencies – reminds me of that episode of The Goodies set in “2001 and a bit”, where they revived cricket and couldn’t stand it, ‘cos it was so boring.

I must say my thoughts on cricket tend to go back to the 70s and the sight of the mighty Dennis Lillee burning down the pitch.

Confession: Mr K and the chaps in the family have taken up extremely amateur picnic cricket (like, about five players altogether) and even when it’s him playing I tend to zzzzz off. 😛

wewereemergencies
wewereemergencies
6 years ago

What is his wrist doing I don’t understand?????

Picnic cricket is great, but naps when other people are playing cricket is even better 🙂

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Cricket is an excellent excuse to finish the book you were trying to read for the past year. Fishing is another excuse, although the water may get choppy and someone may actually catch something.

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

So, I have an update on my friend, and it’s not good 🙁

She was traumatized by the police coming (I hadn’t told her for fear of her either committing suicide immediately or fleeing) and the police thought she was psychotic, not suicidal.

In the hospital, reading between the lines of an email she sent me, she lied to get released and plans to keep the fact that she’s suicidal a secret from her family so they won’t keep her from moving to a different city for college.

Basically all she seems to have taken from the experience is that she can’t trust anyone.

Fuck.

wewereemergencies
wewereemergencies
6 years ago

Fuck indeed Leum. I’m sorry, I have nothing else to say but that is terrible news.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Leum, I am so sorry.

Adelaide
6 years ago

I’m in Australia and I’ve been ‘involuntarily’ admitted into hospital twice (in different states). The first time was a decade ago now, I was feeling suicidal and went to a suicide crisis team who basically just dismissed me and told me to stop wasting their time (I had been raped and was having a lot of trouble dealing with it, and at that stage I couldn’t verbalise what was going on at all so it was assumed I was just attention seeking). I went home and overdosed, was found by my housemate who called the ambulance and I was in intensive care for a couple of days before being sent to the psychiatric ward for a number of weeks. I was told at the time they’re legally required to detain (not sure if that’s the correct word) you if you attempt suicide.

The second time was maybe two – three years ago. My psychiatrist was worried about me and sent the ambulance around one night to make sure I was okay (I was actually suicidal). I didn’t *have* to go with them but they seemed to suggest it would be a lot better if I did, so I went. Once at the hospital, they told me I was being detained involuntarily and I had to sign some stuff (I don’t actually know what) for them. I was only there for 48 hours or so.

Yes, being detained involuntarily is horrible. The weeks I spent in the psych ward in the first instance were not pleasant, I can hardly remember anything from them because I was so drugged up the whole time. I just remember being very scared, and I recall trying to run away from the hospital once I’d woken up in intensive care and was told I was being sent to the psych ward. It was honestly an awful experience.

The second time wasn’t so bad, but maybe that’s because I was a little more lucid and understood what was going on. I’m actually glad my psychiatrist sent the ambulance around for me because I needed help.

I think it’s difficult when someone you know is suicidal. One of my friends was a couple of years ago, and we (a few of her friends) took turns in staying with her until she could get in to see her psychiatrist. I think if we hadn’t been able to do that and care for her until she got help, I probably would have called the mental health/suicide crisis team. To be honest, I think that’s probably what I would do instead of calling the police. The crisis team here are mobile and will call on people at home. But that being said, it depends on a lot of different factors I suppose and I probably can’t actually make the call until it’s needed.

FWIW, I think I’m uncomfortable with issuing blanket pronouncements on what is always right or wrong when dealing with calling for intervention for a friend who is suicidal. There are too many factors to make that call. I do think anyone who does that should probably be prepared to lose the trust of the friend in question, which is probably an acceptable trade off for (possibly) saving their life.

I agree with this.

And also, Kittehs, I did lol at your description of Victorian hospitals being “Jeffed”.

I’m sorry to hear about your friend, Leum.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Adelaide, that’s awful. That suicide crisis team you saw the first time – mind boggling, aren’t they trained to talk to people who can’t necessarily articulate their distress?

Glad you got a laugh out of “Jeffed” – damn, we used that term a lot here back in the day. Hospitals, schools, public transport, you name it, he gutted it. He was Thatcher with a different bad haircut.

Tracy
Tracy
6 years ago

@kittehs (from the other thread)

Saying you’re uncomfortable is one thing. Jumping on people with nitpicking (Tracy) and blamey talk (Leum) is quite another.

I just wanted to say thank you for that, and for your support in the open thread. Made me feel better and I really appreciate it (and needed it).

Flying Mouse
Flying Mouse
6 years ago

I have nothing concrete to add to the discussion; I’m in line with what WorldofMycroft said upthread.

I’m sorry so many people are hurting. Thanks to everyone who’s trying/tried to do the right thing by a loved one. Hugs to anyone who needs or wants one.

Tracy
Tracy
6 years ago

My best friend intervened when I was suicidal in my early teens – she told my mother, and I got counselling. I was in no immediate danger and didn’t actually want to die, I just really wanted to destroy myself somehow. Long story. I wasn’t thrilled with my friend at first, but ultimately I was grateful to her because I finally got to a place where I could deal with what was going on.

As far as calling the cops? It wouldn’t be my choice unless the person in question was in immediate danger/crisis, ie: had taken pills, and only then because they have to come (along with ambulance). Mind, I’d call 911 and the dispatcher would decide who to send (and it would usually be EMT and cops in that situation)

Not suicide, but intervention related:

My good friend and neighbour ‘Jane’ (several units down from me in my apt complex) had been feeling unwell for awhile, and we’d been at her to go the hospital and get checked out. Her breathing wasn’t good. One night, Jane’s next-door neighbour heard her dog barking, which was unusual, so knocked on the door. She heard Jane wheezing, heard her falling, and tried to get in the apt but Jane told her to go away. She called 911.

Cops got there before EMT and broke the door down to find Jane unable to breathe. She collapsed into a cop’s arms, and died.

If Jane’s neighbour hadn’t called 911, she would have died in her apartment and been found… likely days later. Her neighbour was due to go out of town the following day, and none of us ever went into Jane’s apartment, she always met us in the park across the street. It turned out the reason she never let any of us up, or gave anyone else keys, is because her apt. was hoarded. Stuffed til bursting, and covered in a thick layer of dust and mouse droppings (which no doubt contributed to the breathing problems that turned into pneumonia and, untreated, killed her… also contributed to the health issues her dog, who also had cancer, had been having breathing)

So ok, autonomy. I think it’s important. I also think there are times when other people are justified in overriding your autonomy. And it’s a weird, tricky thing.

I loved Jane – she was a good friend. But I had no idea what her living situation was like. If I had known… yes, I would have tried to get her help, for the sake of her health and her dog’s health (the only family she had was her elderly and unwell mother, in another city). I have no idea what that would have meant. At the very least I would have tried to persuade her to get her dog* out of there. I may have called a social service to come and see her (hey I don’t know. Never had the chance.) and she likely would have hated me for it, and I would have been sad, but ultimately I’d prefer her alive and well and hating me than what the situation is now, which is her dead.

*Re: the dog – the cops initially took him to Animal Services, and another neighbour (who owns a doggy daycare) went and got him, and took care of him until he eventually died of cancer. We all took turns spending time with him throughout the day until he died – Jane and her dog were beloved around here. We had a park bench dedicated to them both… even the ppl who run the city services around here knew and loved them.

Tracy
Tracy
6 years ago

Also huge hugs to Leum and Robert and everyone else who is dealing with hurt right now. That includes you too Marie.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

@Cassandra

There are some skinny, pretty gentlemen on our department, actually. Because we certainly don’t turn away help just because they can’t hoist as much as I can. 😛

booburry
6 years ago

My father in law committed suicide after overdosing multiple times in one week and being hospitalized for it. He was a danger to himself as well as others (he could be very violent while using, which was constant) and yet the hospital never had him committed – probably because they knew they would never see the money for it. He was in a lot of pain and had overdosed many many times over the years that I knew him. I think that regardless of intervention he would have eventually ended his life and if I believed in an afterlife I would imagine he is a lot happier now, not being in constant pain (physical as well as mental). The surviving family is actually doing much better now as sad as it may be to say. We spend a lot more time with each other and its about a million % less stressful.

On the other hand, my best friend jumped in front of a train a little over a year ago and it will never not kill me inside. It didn’t really shock me that someone I made a morbid suicide pact with when I was 15 did this, though it was mostly a joke. I was really angry that he didn’t tell me, probably because he knew I might call the cops or something. Which I would have. The trigger for the whole thing was a relationship which I found out later via a note – and I absolutely think it was a much more rash decision that could have been worked out with therapy or just time than my FIL’s case. If I had known I would have 100% intervened if I had to steal a car and find him and hold him down physically.

I don’t know if I have a point, I just felt compelled to ramble after reading this thread. I have a hard time reconciling my feelings about these two incidents myself. On the one hand I felt very sad but also somewhat relieved all in all. The surviving family including myself were living in a nightmare scenario for quite a long time due to this person, and he was hurting so much as well. I feel very selfish being relieved, but I am.
The other scenario I still feel devastated like I will never get over it. I wish all the time that I could go back and do anything I possibly could to change what happened. I also feel really fucking angry at him. That makes me feel selfish too.

If I was better with words I would tie this all together with something about how situations like these vary so much so its not surprising that our opinions of how to handle them would vary as well. I don’t think either one makes someone terrible for what its worth.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Also, I have nothing useful to add to the ongoing conversation at hand.

Between myself and my family member who works with mental health patients, I’ve had a bit of experience on the other side of things. With the institutional folks who respond to calls for help, with the places where some people get sent after those calls.

And from the other side… it’s not immediately apparent whether we help or not from this side either, actually.

I lost my best friend when I was just 18 years old, and in a lot of ways, that’s shaped the person I am now. I’m so fiercely overprotective of my family and friends now that it scares me a little bit. I’d break a hell of a lot of ethical rules to save any of them.

scott1139
scott1139
6 years ago

I’m so sorry, Leum. 🙁 lots of hugs for you and your friend, if either of you want them

Redcap
Redcap
6 years ago

Going to leave my own experience with suicidal friends here:

A couple years ago, I experienced what I think of as the “Suicide Spring”. Within two-three months, my friend group and I had to deal with about eight suicide attempts by four-five people. Now, these friends were entirely online. We all lived far away from each other, and physical intervention was impossible. So many times over the course of those months, we spent hours online, frantically finding addresses, offering support, holding on with both hands to people until help could reach them. We called the police every time we thought it warranted (and it usually was). It got so bad that we constructed an address list -specifically- so we could call the police if we had to.

And y’know, I don’t regret any of it. All of those friends are still alive. Some got help as a direct result of our intervention. Some realized, finally, that yes there were people who cared about them. A couple are now on the medication that they so desperately and obviously needed.

Of course, the problems aren’t entirely solved. I left the group about a year after that thanks to a fiasco with a friend’s friend (and the fact that few people offered me the support that I had given them), but I hear now and again about other suicide attempts, other distressing happenings. I might not be able to help them as I used to, but at least I know that people are alive because of me. People who said, afterwards, that they didn’t want to die. That they were grateful we had called.

I don’t think that calling the police should be the first solution, but it was the only solution at that time. It’s really hard to provide needed support when you’re just text on a screen, and computers can be turned off.

Even now I shudder when I think about that time. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. And if I suffered so much, how much more did my suicidal friends suffer?

LBT
LBT
6 years ago

Long comment ahoy! I have yet to have the cops involved in suicide stuff, but I’ve been involved on both sides of support.

One of my darker moments in 2009 was calling a friend when they were suicidal. I got their voice mail, and I tried to empathize with the pain they were feeling. (They were poor, mentally ill, estranged from an abusive family… kinda like me during the Bad Years, only with stable housing and without health insurance.)

I failed. Hard. After class, I found a voice mail from my friend, which basically boiled down to, “This is not how you do suicide support. I almost jumped in front of a bus because of what you said. I only didn’t because it didn’t arrive on time.”

After that, they went from one of my best friends to one of my most devoted trolls. They told me that I was a privileged spoiled brat who didn’t appreciate my family, that one day I would cry on their graves because I would realize my ingratitude BUT TOO LATE, and they splashed my upcoming top surgery and rape history on a public comm, saying that I was doing the former purely to make my parents pay attention to me and my rape history was faked. They said I was an attention whore and someone who tried to kill them, and for a while, it’d come up about once a year. Thankfully far from me; I think they were afraid of me.

I spent months quaking in terror that I would say something that would kill them, and ended up quitting the Internet for a while. For years after, I felt intense guilt and terror; I still avoid doing suicide support for friends, because I know how FUCKING TERRIBLE AT IT I can be.

Then I became suicidal myself in 2012. I didn’t attempt it until a dissociative episode crashed on top of it and I lost all ability to understand reality. Thanks to about half a dozen friends and a shrink passing me off hand to hand to phone call, they managed to keep me from jumping off a bridge and get me safe into a friend’s house, where I stayed for days afterward, a zombie who mostly just sat and stared at a wall.

These friends saved my life. They arranged the end of my job for me, fielded phone calls for me, made me breakfast, got me into a mental hospital. Had they not been there, I’m not sure Falcon would’ve been able to keep me from walking into oncoming traffic. Dude has to sleep sometimes.

So I have these really conflicted experiences. I really don’t think the cops would’ve been able to handle me; in a dissociative episode, I look and act like I’m on drugs, and they likely would’ve treated me accordingly. But at the same time, I also know that I was really lucky to have friends and a therapist able to stick their necks out for me. Also, I had healthcare. A lot of folks aren’t that lucky.

On the plus side, I did get one very useful experience out of nearly jumping off a bridge, which in my opinion makes it worth it. The dissociative episode was triggered by my then-boss (quite reasonably) chewing us out for being so flakey and in and out of work sick constantly. However, had I successfully jumped off that bridge, it would NOT have been her fault. I was sick; she did not make the sickness, and she could neither cure it nor make it appreciably worse. She just happened to accidentally set off a chain reaction that she couldn’t have possibly known. And even if she had, it STILL wasn’t her responsibility.

It allowed me to realize that my ex-friend… they were sick too. Did I fuck up the support? Sure, probably. But it was also really fucked up of them to use that as emotional blackmail for years. To use it as a justification to cut me down and tell me I was a useless spoiled sack of shit. To take sensitive private information about my history and use it to point and laugh at me as a freak.

What I’m saying is, complicated.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 years ago

Not caught up, and not on topic, but kitteh, 13~14C works out to mid to high 50sF — it’s summer here and that’s what I’m looking at for tonight. I have no sympathy if that’s what you call winter! Winter here? It’s a blessing if it’s over 0C, and often less than -7C~ (rough conversions are rough)

Oh and Nemo dumped about a meter of snow in my yard overnight two years ago. Five. Fucking. Days. Snowed in with my father. The Moment we had the backhoe undig us (yes, backhoe, plows were useless) we were out of there. Cabin fever with an asshole?

Please, make my winters 13~14C!

Ok, time to finish reading the actual topic.

Gen
Gen
6 years ago

It *is* complicated.

I have a history of severe depression and suicidal behaviour, so I’ve been on that side of the fence. I’ve been involuntarily (and voluntarily, too) committed because of the high likelihood of hurting myself and it fucking sucked ape balls. I mean, I was treated like absolute shit, but I’m sure no one here wants the graphic details.

That’s just to say, I’ve been there. I’ve been on the “if they want to die so much, let them FFS” wagon for many, many years.

Until I was on the other side of the bed when my baby cousin died from a suicide attempt.

I can not describe the guilt, the absolute shame I felt at not having been able to help her. The devastation, the grief that’s made so much worse when someone takes their own life – there’s no way to describe that. I know she was in pain. I know she wasn’t my responsibility. But I thought that she’d be fine! She was diagnosed early (she was 17), she would make it! I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my twenties! Nothing to worry about! So I didn’t call her to check up, and I didn’t talk to her about it, and suddenly in the wink of an eye, she was gone.

So listen, I get the violation of bodily autonomy and involuntary commitment. Like I’ve said, I’ve been there. But I would do that to her in a heartbeat if it means she has at least a chance to TRY and get better, to finish school, to at least have a go at her dreams instead of starting the meds and then committing suicide when they started to work for the motivation but not yet for the mood. Because it CAN get better – and that’s something I didn’t believe either when I was at my darkest.

Gen
Gen
6 years ago

I just wanted to add: her suicide tore my family apart in every way possible. We were tight knit before, but now we barely speak. The consequences of this act for the people around you is just SO far-reaching, which I never truly understood before experiencing it first-hand. I’m STILL not even close to being over it, despite my own understanding of the disease and the battle. Maybe *because* of what I’ve been through, I *know* that if someone had just reached out to her in time…

*sigh*. It’s really, really complicated.

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

If I can bring the convo back to my friend, I’m not sure I did the right thing in her case. All it seems to have accomplished is to make her lose her trust in me, and I am feeling a ton of guilt and shame over traumatizing her for nothing; if she’d agreed to go in for treatment or somesuch I would have felt okay, but all that’s happened is that the next time she’s suicidal she probably won’t tell me and I won’t be able to help her at all.

I haven’t spoken to her yet, and I honestly don’t know if I can ever. Just… fuck.