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I understand what you are trying to say Magician but having been through the situation myself I can say with 100% certainty in my case, and I would guess that of others, that being told to ask for help 'like a man' is not the answer and in that situation all you will get is a terse 'I'm fine' or similar platitude even when the person isn't. It takes a skilled and professional counselor to bring a lot of people out of their shell and into a place where they can talk about their problems and often this is best when the counselor is an outsider.
Asking for help "like a man", does not have to mean you spill you problems out on the table, and all is going to be fine and well. It means that you recognize you need help, and you deal with that problem on a way that does not harm others more than it harms yourself. Seek professional help if that is what you need. Do it on your own, or ask someone to help you out. Speak to a friend, a loved one, or call a hotline. But
inflict your pain on the ones around you that care the most.
And that is exactly what suicides, or suicide attempts are doing. They are, in either case, passing your issues onto those around you. Most often, those that care for you the most.
As I said, I have been on that side of the fence more times than anyone ever should have. I watched my father being carted off in an ambulance at least a half dozen times from pill overdose's. I made at least that many more mad dashes across town because of threats made on the phone.
So while I may not know your exact situation, and every one is going to be different, one thing stays the same in every case. Its nobody's fault but the suicidal persons for what they are doing.
And it may seem cold as hell, but at least my Grandfather put a bullet in his head, rather than "attempting" to kill himself for attention. Dealing with a death is 1000 times easier than wondering every day for 20 years if "today is the day" you are going to find your loved one dead.
@Magician- Lets draw a parallel.
Lets say that you knew a woman who made a number of choices she regretted sexually, and would later claim that she was raped when she wasn't. Repeatedly, she would go off and have sex with men she barely knew, and then if she was embarrassed the next day, or if the person didn't want to associate with her after a one night stand, she would threaten to tell people it was rape, or would tell her friends that to make it look like she wasn't promiscuous. Rape is a really horrible thing, and someone who would bandy about the term for attention, or as a form of manipulation, is being cruel to the people she is inflicting it on, and unfair to the people who have actually been raped.
If this woman was someone you knew, someone whose behavior you witnessed, and whose destructive actions affected you, you would be disgusted. And rightly so. She was using something that was horrible and serious, and trying to gain advantage over other people by feigning it. However, if you were then to go on to say that ALL women who claim rape in cases of date-rape, or rape by someone they know, are faking it and just need to "accept their choices like a grown woman," you'd be doing a terrible disservice to many, many women who have been raped under these circumstances. It would be an ignorant, unfounded statement, based only on you taking your experiences with one person, and projecting them onto every person who ever claimed to be in a similar situation, regardless of how little you knew about them or the event.
This is the same thing. I am sorry that you had a manipulative father, who used the idea of suicide to be manipulative and cruel, but that doesn't mean that the rule is that most people who attempt it or talk about it are. Suicidal thoughts are something that can be very serious, and many people are conflicted about it. Suicide isn't really wanting to die as much as not wanting to deal with whatever is making their life so painful, and not seeing another way out. As such, people who are feeling that way might reach out for help verbally, trying to find an alternative that isn't death. People who are feeling that way may not be so organized and rational that when they decide to end it, they plan ahead and go buy a gun, or travel to a tall building to do it "right." If they are suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of hopelessness and wanting to die, maybe as the result of receiving some horrible news, they may take whatever option is closest at that moment- pills, a knife, etc. Just because someone doesn't plan a suicide attempt well in advance and make foolproof arrangements, or isn't knowledgeable enough about medicine to know how low their chance of success is with a bottle of Aspirin, doesn't mean it's not a real attempt. And some people, when faced with actually dying, will realize that it wasn't what they imagined it to be, and will call for help. None of these people are faking it, none of them need to "deal with it like a man."
It is irresponsible for someone to be giving such unfounded and callous advice about something so serious. Magician- your advice could kill people- do you realize that? If someone is on the edge, and reaches out for help, and on your advice the person chooses to tell them to screw off and man up, that could be enough to push them over. People who are suicidal feel alienated and detached from other people, and there is nothing that will reinforce that like having their feelings and desperation belittled, minimalized or written off as nonexistent by the people who they reach out to. I have never heard such dangerous arrogance on a forum. Even if you're right, and in 60-70% of the cases it's what you described, is it worth pushing the other 30-40% over the edge- is it worth their lives that could have otherwise been saved- to "out" the people who have other psychological problems but aren't suicidal? Would you recommend not giving medical treatment to anyone who claimed to be suffering from severe abdominal pain, on the idea that the people who would die from your advice would be balanced out by the people who wouldn't get free time off work or free benefits for pain they don't have?
@HiVolt- don't listen to Magician. At this point, your focus should be on processing your own feelings, and not judging or laying blame. You're going to feel guilt, you're going to feel the need to second guess yourself about whether or not you should have seen this coming, and you are going to want to know why. Just make sure you keep reminding yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty about- it wasn't your fault. Don't second guess yourself- it's quite likely he wasn't showing outward signs, and if he was one of your best friends I'm sure you would have tried to help if you had suspected. Don't go back and try to find a place where you "should have seen it," because your current knowledge will make situations seem like something you should have noticed, when by themselves they would have been unremarkable. Even if you were to find something, all you'd be doing is reinforcing your feelings of guilt and culpability, and that helps no one and is almost surely just not the case. Just keep reminding yourself that it was something in his own head that made this happen, and the people around him (including you) are not to blame. Most importantly, don't shut him out. This event is not even close to all of who he is, it wasn't directed at you or anyone else, and it's not something that will necessarily preclude having a good relationship in the future. The reason that suicide hurts so much is that the person it choosing to take themselves away from you- to sever those relationships and connections. If your response is to sever those ties regardless of them surviving, you're still going to be inflicting that kind of pain. If this became something habitual, or was part of an overall destructive pattern of behavior, then the relationship may not be salvageable- but there are a lot of people who have periods of serious clinical depression, or just general dark periods in their lives, who then pass through and live the rest of their lives normally- even if they attempted suicide during that dark period. Only you know what the situation really is.
But right now, for you, it's just about getting through it, and trying to make your emotions listen to your logic. It won't be easy, and I am sorry for the pain you're going through. I don't know that there is any advice that a stranger can give that will make it better, or pass faster, or make more sense. What we can say is that you're not the only person who has been in this position, and for what it's worth, you can get past it and have a good friendship, even after something this tragic.
Thanks, Elhonna. That really helped. I'll do my best to keep the negative feelings toward this situation out of my mind. And I won't let this hurt our friendship. But, I do feel like this is something that he and I will eventually have to talk about, and I'm wondering if I should initiate, or if I should just let that develop on its own?
Magician- your advice could kill people- do you realize that? If someone is on the edge, and reaches out for help, and on your advice the person chooses to tell them to screw off and man up, that could be enough to push them over.
I have discussed many times before my family's struggles, but you have
just how deep this subject runs in my life.
My grandfather killed himself before I was born, but I dealt with his mistake my whole life, because of how it affected my father. When I was 7, he slashed both arms so badly that he nearly lost one of his hands. He coded (died) in our driveway before the ambulance arrived, and 3 more times at the hospital. He took a full bottle (60 pills) of Xanax, and destroyed all the phones in the house so I could not call an ambulance. Luckily, at 10 years old, I had dealt with his issues so much that I waited until he passed out, and I poured a bottle of Ipecac in his mouth to force him to vomit the pills back up. I remember one night, searching through dozens of cargo containers (my dad worked for the railroad at a shipping yard), to find the one that he was unconscious in after another overdose. Thank God he carried a pager, and we had someone paging him repeatedly until we heard it beeping.
And these are just a small handful of examples. I could write 3 pages of the other incidents, not to mention the hundreds of verbal threats. And the worst part was, literally up to the day he was killed, I actually prepared myself every single time I walked through his door to find him dead. Just try and put yourself in that situation,
every single time
you walked through your parents door, you had to mentally prepare yourself to find them lying dead in the floor.
And, if you want to add to it, along with my grandfather, I had an aunt that killed herself because of credit card debt. Hell, change your phone number and trash the collection letters. File bankruptcy. No, she decided to close her garage door and kill herself over Memorial Day weekend. My mom and I found her body, after 3 days in summer heat.
I also had 4 close friends kill themselves during, or just after, High School. One friend took a massive overdose of Iron supplements, then came to school, where he bled out internally in front of our class. One drove his car into an embankment at 100+ MPH. We were standing less than a block away, and watched him die. Another friend hung himself on his front porch. And the last one shot himself in the stomach. He survived the gunshot, and died 3 weeks later when a blood clot released and stopped his heart. I was at his house when he literally fell over dead.
Now, if you can even fathom dealing with
for 25 years, would your post be so damn condescending of my low opinion of anyone who commits, threatens, or attempts suicide?
So sorry, but I have NO sympathy, NO respect, and NO concern about anyone who is suicidal. I stand by what I started my original post with. It is a selfish act. I would bend over backwards to help a stranger who asked for help (and I have done just that through NA sponsorship's and meetings over the last 10 years), but I will not bat an eye over someone, friend, family, or stranger, ever again that wants to use suicide as a "cry for help".
The case you bring up with narcotics addicts has a lot of similarity to someone who is suicidal.
Both can stem from similar problems- depression, anxiety, a desire to escape. People who have issues coping with life- either because of mental health issues or their life circumstances, often will do drugs as a means of ending or at least forgetting their pain.
Both are choices a person makes that are selfish and self-serving. The people around the drug addict suffer greatly watching them harming themselves physically, watching all of their drive to do anything but get high wither away and die, watching them steal from, lie to and manipulate the people who care about them in pursuit of the drug. Children live in fear that their dad will have another violent outburst against them because of the drugs he takes, or mom will refuse to move even to feed them. Family have to cut the person off to protect their property and their children from inappropriate behavior.
Someone whose family member is a drug addict has no less fear when they walk into the house that today will be the day they OD'd, and they'll find them dead. A child who watches a parent do drugs to the point of incarceration or hospitalization, and then get out and start those drugs again, is going through the same trauma as if they were consciously trying to kill themselves.
And drug addicts are killing themselves. They may not be doing it immediately, but many addicts to hard drugs know that they will kill themselves with them, and they accept that because they'd rather die numb than live with whatever pain they were trying to escape in the first place, or the pain of where they are now in their lives as a result of their drug addiction.
I know a number of people who could list all of the people in their lives who have hurt them because of their own selfish actions as a drug addict. I'm sure you could too. Yet you know that people who make selfish decisions out of despair or pain can move past it, and rebuild their lives. You know it because you have done it, and because you help people do it who you sponsor.
Knowing what you know, if some parent came on here looking for a way to cope with their child having an accidental OD that was almost fatal, and wanting to help them as they sought treatment, and then someone else came on and told them they need to cut off the child and let them "learn the lesson" by not offering any sympathy or emotional support, how would you react? Knowing how important friends, family and church can be to someone who is trying to recover from a drug addiction, how would you respond to the idea that anyone providing any emotional support to anyone who ever did drugs is stupid, and that those people deserve what they get? If the child had survived the OD, and wanted help to get better, would someone telling the parents that they should put some distance between them because the child was selfish for doing something like this before asking for help, be helping the parents or the addict at all, or would they be setting them up for more pain?
I'd imagine you'd want them to understand that while they shouldn't enable the addiction, that an addict is still a human being, and that just because they made self-destructive and selfish choices in the past doesn't mean that they are beyond hope and beyond worth caring about. i'd imagine that you'd encourage someone who was an addict, and really wanted to find help, to seek it and talk to people. I'd imagine you'd tell them that someone to talk to- like a sponsor- can make all the difference between whether they try to fight it or give up and sink back in.
So, yes- even though you have very good reason to be angry at the people who have hurt you, I would still be just as forceful about the advice you are giving, because I do feel it's harmful. If HiVolt did what you said, thinking it would be helpful, and then lost his friend, he would feel the guilt and burden of that his whole life. If someone really is trying to reach out for help- before they hurt themselves, because they don't want to hurt anyone else in their attempt to ease the pain- and they're told that they deserve no sympathy and should just deal with it, that they're "just looking for attention" that is very harmful to their will to fight it.
If every person who helped you emotionally through your recovery decided you weren't worth the effort- that because you had made the choice to use and impacted others negatively that you didn't deserve an understanding ear or someone who would care about whether you succeeded or not, where would you be? If every person who taught you about your faith- about how that can make all of the problems of the world which seemed to be insurmountable without drugs inconsequential- had decided that you should figure things out on your own and no one should give you the time of day, what would that have meant for your life?
Someone who can't handle their life, and seeks a means of escape, is often so miserable that they have trouble seeing past their own face. Whether they kill themselves, drink themselves into a stupor, cut themselves, do drugs- whatever they choose that seems to help with the pain- they are generally so concerned with that that it's hard to see anything else. That is a pitiable position to be in. When someone is in recovery, the first step is admitting they have a problem and asking for help. It seems contrary that when someone is feeling self-destructive in other ways, that admitting they have that problem and asking for help is crap.
Narcotics addicts do much of the same damage to friends and family as you described suicide as having done to you. If they survive long enough to ask for help, or to hurt themselves badly enough to realize how serious their problem is, that's where recovery starts. When someone who is suicidal reaches out and tells someone, or decided to call for help at the last minute, that's where THEIR recovery starts. Many won't make it- they won't have the willpower or the heart to push through their issues. But many will, and the difference for some of those is knowing at the end of their road, they'll have people who care about them- friends, family, etc. I think that telling people to write these people off, and dismiss their very real challenges as nothing, is going to hurt a lot more people than it helps.
$%^&ing thank you, Elhonna. What Magician seems to be forgetting is that oftentimes, suicides are a result of some form of
mental health problem
and attempts are cries for help. People who are clinically depressed, for example, are much more likely to be suicidal. Don't be so !@#$ing ignorant and propagate the problem by not acknowledging the issues they face. By downplaying the problems people who are suicidal are facing, you're making them more likely to make those kinds of decisions. Just how loud does a cry for help have to be before it's heard? I think trying to end your own life is the equivalent of yelling it from a mega-phone boosted vuvuzela directly into your ear.
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