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Passions in Poetry

the suicidal friend

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serenity blaze
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0 posted 03-19-2005 07:09 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Here's the scenario:

Someone you know is distraught, and mentions the possiblity of suicide.

Let's add to the mix that this has happened before--several times.

(Does that matter?)

I'm confused as to what steps, if any, can a friend and a "lay person" (meaning I ain't a professional) take to help in a situation such as this.

Suggest therapy? Um yes, but you can't drag someone there.

Remove the potential methods? Done--and now I've violated that person's trust.

Alert the family? Also done, with the same result, as above.

Even if it's an act of drama, don't you think that any mention of self destruction is a cry for help that ought to be acknowledged?

I'm desperate to know what my friends here at Pip think. I receive some very wise advice here, and would welcome any suggestions.

sign me,

growing grays in new orleans
Midnitesun
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1 posted 03-19-2005 07:50 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Such a difficult situation, and the only safe answer is to encourage them to get some assistance from a pro. It sounds as if you have done much already to show them you care, now, they have to take it from there, show they care enough to unburden you.
I had a similar experience, and it was totally draining, spiritually, emotionally and physically. An if it's a chronic problem, you'll forever be caught in the middle without any perfect answers. Hugs, I know how hard it is, especially when the person suddenly turns on you, trying to make you feel guilty. Don't.
serenity blaze
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2 posted 03-19-2005 07:56 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks Kace.

I confess my emotions are running the gamut here. Concern, fear, guilt, and yes, I'm actually annoyed too, and that's a hard one to admit.

I feel like I'm being held hostage emotionally too.

But she's just a kid...sigh



thanks for listening

I think I need to take a walk.
serenity blaze
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3 posted 03-19-2005 08:00 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

p.s.

prayers for her are most welcome too.
Local Rebel
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4 posted 03-19-2005 08:37 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

There's little point in trying to diagnose someone on a discussion board that I haven't met -- or for that matter -- someone that I have met.  

By now she should know that you take her threats seriuosly.  

If she's still threatening -- she obviously wants you to take some action -- which is always the safe bet.

If she's threatening to harm herself and you report it -- she will be forced to go in for at least an eval...

serenity blaze
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5 posted 03-19-2005 09:07 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Reb? In case I forgot to tell you, it's realy good to have you back.

I'm not sure what I wanted by posting this. Maybe I wanted to vent--maybe I wanted to be provided a checklist of "things to do"...

I just don't know.

It's sure a helpless feeling tho.

So thanks for listening.
littlewing
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since 03-02-2003
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6 posted 03-19-2005 09:19 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Karen,

first, I agree with Kacy about a chronic problem, and Reb about at least they will get tested but it is not YOUR problem, even though it is, you know what I mean . . . please know this.

This happened with someone extremely close to me (several times)and all I can say is my heart was racing more than theirs, I believe, but somehow, by the grace of God, I just sat down with them on the floor and let them talk . . . I didn't say a word, I didn't suggest therapy, I didn't say anything because this is what they expect from me.

To be Miss Helpful.

I don't know what to suggest, I mean, after I got down to their level (the floor, literally) and showed them they don't need to be so frightened and that I was here to help them without even saying a word - it was ok after awhile and they are OK today.

All I can say is the only thing you can do is be yourself and don't push.  Like you said, they have to help themselves, but we sure can show them we are not the enemy.

I am sure you have done all of that, but for me?  I had not, I am usually zip-zap Ok now lets do this, you need this etc . . . and this time I just sat on the floor and shut my mouth.

Bless your heart and Karen?
With you there, your friend has already received so very much.  It is not your guilt to carry, just please remember that.  We are human, we do what we can do and God decides the rest.

  

(After all my blabbing, I re-read and you are right, it should all be acknowledged, you never know when it will be real, I mean even if it is just a hug or nodding your head or smiling.  

Also, having been in the medical field so many years, see?  I try to see this from a non-medical point of view . . . and when I did that?

it worked.)

You can only do what is already in your heart, you know what that is.  And many prayers for your friend, that they see the gift of life and that that way out is not the answer . . . my candle is lit, K.

Be easy on yourself, I feel that tightness over here, Lady.

littlewing
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7 posted 03-19-2005 10:05 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Ok, now this bug is crawlin' around in my head because I did have another instance, like Kacy, and this person truly was crying wolf and you can tell when they are and I thanked God that my phone got disconnected because you know what?

They are just fine . . .

In their eyes, their voice, their tone,
if you have ever suffered from anxiety or depression you know what this feels like to be in thier shoes and the people who choose that path usually do not keep on about it, they just choose to go without warning.

sometimes . . . *sigh*

You can only offer your hand, which you have done.
serenity blaze
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8 posted 03-19-2005 10:18 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

thanks susie.

and if I'm not commenting much, it's just because I've had my words haunt me too many times.

I did tell her that life can change incredibly quickly. Give a chance for seasons to change. smile...and THAT sounds lame and inadequate.

Thanks sweet suze, for caring.

(I'm fighting the urge to bake something, too. Smile, I always cook when I'm anxious. Prolly why we are all fat over here, huh?)

Sunshine
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9 posted 03-19-2005 11:00 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Reb said
quote:
If she's still threatening -- she obviously wants you to take some action -- which is always the safe bet.

This all brings back vividly the "insight" I got one morning when taking my eldest [bipolar] child to school.

I turned to her and asked, "what are you hiding from me."

She blanched, then said, "pills". I told her to show me. [My husband always did "searches" so that she could hide them and he not find them surprised me!]

97 OTC sleeping pills. For some unknowing reason, I counted them.

"What in the world are you keeping these for?"

"For when I think I will let you and Dad down."

OMG...

~*~

"They" say that when someone talks about commiting suicide, they won't. When they don't talk about it, they will. But I have seen cases of both, and haven't kept national statistics.

I do know, however, that when they do talk about it? They ARE asking for help.

Sometimes, I feel, and I am not qualified, but I FEEL...that if you turn it back on them, ask them how they would feel if YOU were to ask the question, a whole new world of words erupting begins...and one learns a lot.  

I wish I had an answer, serenity...I truly do. Go with your gut. You're one smart lady...

go with your gut.
littlewing
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10 posted 03-19-2005 11:50 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

bake . .  bake . .  bake . . . I do the same thing . . . it does help.

and you have no need to reply here.
You asked us for our thoughts, silly.

Now go make me some cookies . . .
OMG a pecan pie . . . pleeasssee???
LoveBug
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11 posted 03-24-2005 11:59 AM       View Profile for LoveBug   Email LoveBug   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LoveBug

Most people tell somebody they are going to commit suicide before they do.

I did.

Just a couple of weeks ago I overdosed on antidepressants. So yeah, I know firsthand what it's like. I've thought suicide for year and years, but that morning I took action. I was in therapy and knew all the right things to do, but I didn't do them. Sometimes people make a wrong choice.

I told two people, my best friend and my boyfriend, both over voice mail. My boyfriend called me back after I took the pills and talked me into going to the hospital... even he was a bit skeptical at first. It's hard to tell over the phone.

Even if she's saying this for attention, she is disturbed, even if she decides not to do it. My older sister almost attempted (I just found this out after my attempt) just because someone told her "Oh, you won't do that".

I know it's stressful to be in your position, but God bless you for caring. Please get her help. If she is in your presence and she says "I'm going to kill myself", call 911. Her saying that is enough to at LEAST talk to a councilor. She'll get help she needs, even if she doesn't want it, and she will thank you later, when she realizes what you have done for her. Nobody WANTS to be depressed, help her out of it.

I'm doing better now, and realize that that was a very bad action to take. SHe will realize that too.

Sorry for being so long   If you need to talk more, please email me. enewsome@mix.wvu.edu

God bless

Love's a lovely lad
His bringing up is beauty
Who loves him not is mad
For I must pay him duty
-Anonymous
Susan Caldwell
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12 posted 03-24-2005 03:23 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Karen,

check your email.



Susan

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

serenity blaze
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13 posted 03-24-2005 05:24 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thanks suze.

and Lovebug, I'd love to talk to you about it too. I'll e mail you soon.

thanks
serenity blaze
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14 posted 03-24-2005 05:38 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I should add, too, that she packed her bags and left. We have no idea where she is now.

So yes, all prayers welcome. And thanks again.
GG
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15 posted 03-24-2005 06:07 PM       View Profile for GG   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for GG

When I was in the place where suicide was the only palatible option there was one person who knew. I was far from the faking type and I already had my letters written (about 30, for the people I knew would take it the hardest). And while I won't go into what I was going to do on an open messageboard for anyone to read, it wasn't the kind of plan that fails. But I had that one person who knew and I knew he'd take it hardest since he knew he was the only one to know. It was 4 AM and I knew he worked nights so I was gonna leave a message to reassure him that my death was not on his shoulders. When he answered it surprised me a bit and he immediately knew what was up. He was on a sick day, had the flu. Of course, there was a part of me that wanted him to answer, it IS nice to know people want you to live. And somewhere in that 3 hour long conversation full of stories about the amazing things one person can do, it held me through for the time. I think what helped the most was how he was willing to spend so much time... something I had thought no one really wanted to waste on me.

The funny thing, or rather more frightening thing, is that at this time period I was reccomended by my neurologist to see a shrink to see if maybe there was some psychological connection to my migraines. My dad's response was "What? No. She isn't depressed at all. She's one of the most balanced kids I know!" But the doc reccomended it so I went to see them, there were two. But I didn't like them much and didn't want anything on my record, so I lied. When I left there they both told me seperately that I wasn't at all depressed. That I was, in fact, a surprisingly happy girl especially for being in the pain I was in...

And I tell all that story just because it's the one I'm most familiar with. And to point out, as you already know, that it's different for everyone.

I've also dealt with the "cry wolf" people, and I've sort of had to learn to use my own intuition on what to do for either the real ones or the cry wolf onees. I always reccommend therapy but it usually takes months and months of a trusted friendship and a lot of pushing to get them to go. I try to appeal a lot to their happiness in the future (as in go off into some big long, yet realistic, story about how some day they might find Mr Right and involve them in the story like 'and what would mr right look like?' 'And what would you do on your first date?' And when they tell me I'll add it to the story and jazz it up even more so it sounds like something no one would want to miss.) I talk about whatever their biggest dream is and how terrible it would be if they were to miss out on that.

With other people its just been important to let them talk, to give up your time Sometimes that means while they're crying on a kitchen floor, sometimes it doesn't. And when it doesn't try to make it while you go on a walk or mini golfing or eating ice cream, it's harder to be depressed doing those things. And even being sad, they still make good memories, and when something good happens they may wanna die a little less.

The times that can be the most difficult is when you have to deal more harshly with the people who really just want attention. It's important to definitely let them know you care, but do NOT give up your life to satisfy theirs. They can learn to manipulate you and your time when they don't even realise what they're doing. They're desperate and really don't know what they need or want. Sometimes its good to tell family or authority sometimes (I think) it's better not to because that may just give them more attention. One thing I've done is to try and give specific direction "I need to go right now so what I want you to do is finish your excercises for the evening and then go straight to bed, stay there until morning whether you sleep or not. When you get up eat your breakfast. After that if you need to talk you can call. If not, I'll talk to you later that evening." Things like that that force them to look at the future even for just a few hours... and also full of enough love and toughness to slowly pull them out until eventually they can see beyond themselves and their situation.

Of course, these are only the things I've eperienced handling people in suicidal states. The best thing is for them to get to a good shrink.    Ack - this is way longer then I expected! Oh well. Hope it helps. And you know where to email me if you want to talk more about it.

(And just so no one is worried. The event with me was a long time ago and while I still may think heaven is greater, I'm certainly far, far, from ending my life!)
Always, Alyssa

He was a man of sorrows
...I am a girl of tears.

serenity blaze
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16 posted 03-24-2005 06:16 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm not likely to hear from her again. I blew the trust between us, I think--I told on her.

She confided she'd saved some meds--clonopin to be exact and I told her mother. Her mother found them and flushed.

I'm still not sure if that was the right thing to do, but I don't play...sigh.


Thanks GG. Those initials suit you.

I'm sorry if this all seems dramatic, but it actually is. It's so hard to know what to do, so I appreciate, very much, all of the advice and support as I applaud the courage of your confidences. Thanks again to all.
GG
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Lost in thought


17 posted 03-24-2005 08:44 PM       View Profile for GG   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for GG

Then just hang on to the fact that you know you did everything you could and should do.
Because, you did.

I'll be praying...


Always, Alyssa

He was a man of sorrows
...I am a girl of tears.
LoveBug
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18 posted 03-25-2005 12:24 AM       View Profile for LoveBug   Email LoveBug   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LoveBug

You've done what you could. You were right to tell about the meds, very right. Sometimes all we can do is pray. Some things are out of our hands, but they are always in God's Hands.

Love's a lovely lad
His bringing up is beauty
Who loves him not is mad
For I must pay him duty
-Anonymous

serenity blaze
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19 posted 03-25-2005 01:03 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

She's under state care now--I just got word a while ago, so thanks to you all.

I am sitting here hoping she's not too angry with me, but glad she is alive, yanno?

After a few weeks of rehab she will move on to an assisted living program, and well, I'm sure she's going to be pissed about alot things then. I told her that getting pissed about life was just inevitable...grin?

*wince*

It happens to the best of us.



thanks ladies

you are all a blanket of dolls
Aenimal
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20 posted 03-25-2005 01:58 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

believe it or not, uber-pessimist here has managed to talk 3 people out of suicide. most exhausting and painful moments of my life.

one of the hardest parts, for me, was not coming off as a total hypocrite. as i don't exactly disguise my pessimistic outlook on life, convincing people of all the reasons to keep living was something else. balancing between the things i've said/thought and what needed to be heard on the other end.

you come away with the thought, was i trying to convince them or myself? with every time the arguments sounded less convincing..

shrugs

there's my confessional/vent for the day. sorry you had to go through it k
serenity blaze
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21 posted 03-25-2005 02:00 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze



I'm more sorry for her actually. Right now she thinks the whole world is out to get her.

and thanks Raph, 'cause yanno, I was thinking something similar. The poor kid must be desperate if she's turning to the queen of self destruction for help, huh? Weird how some things work out.

Sheesh.

Aenimal
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the ass-end of space


22 posted 03-25-2005 02:18 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

oh of course sorry for her, for them, and not for us..just saying how much harder it is for those of us who understand 'those thoughts' to battle them in someone else..how it takes a piece of you sometimes, for better or for worse. maybe i'm not making sense. i'm ,quite frankly, a little lost/muddled today..shrugs

hugs sis k
serenity blaze
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23 posted 03-25-2005 03:34 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

smile



I sent what I hope is a more proper thank you via e mail.

nodding

I am out of sorts today. so thanks lovie, for your concern. Yer a doll.
GG
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Posts 3615
Lost in thought


24 posted 03-25-2005 03:43 PM       View Profile for GG   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for GG

Raph, boy do I know what you mean... and, for me, at least, every time I left I felt a little closer to the edge again. Not that I minded helping at all.

But I do remember when one friend was almost at that crisis stage (you know the one I mean) and I was finishing a conversation with the friend who knew about me, and I said "I am NOT ready to do this!" (At this point I still hadn't burned the letters I'd written - every night was a terrible battle with myself.) And he said "Apparently you have to be. I think you have a call to make. I'll be here praying. Love you. Bye." Um, that wasn't the answer I wanted. But really, I think its the people who've been there, or even the ones still struggling with it, that can help the best.

*sigh* Aren't you glad it's friday?

And Ser... see? You did know what you were doing. Not that any of us ever doubted that. She'll thank you later on. Well, probably actually slap you because she's still alive, but it'll be a good thing. I'll still keep praying for her...

Always, Alyssa

He was a man of sorrows
...I am a girl of tears.

 
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