Oh, Papa Bear,
I'm having some real trouble lately. In the past 24 hours I've had to talk two people down from suicide and now one’s gone and said good-bye. I don't know if he killed himself or not; no one can get a hold of him, and since he lives in another country I don't know how to alert anyone around him to it.
I was finally beginning to drag myself out of depression and suicidal thoughts myself, but all this is wearing me down. I feel selfish for feeling this way, for wishing I had never met them so I would never have to deal with potentially loosing them.
I feel sick and confused and like everyone around me is crumbling, I don't know what to do. I'm loosing sleep and spend a lot of my time crying now but I can't just abandon them. What do people do when they have so many people coming to them as one of their last resorts? How do people handle this?
I just ... I really want to know if I should keep chugging along or not. Every week someone is threatening their life and it's so scary and painful. I don't want my friends to feel like this.
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Hi, Good-hearted Person,
First of all, if you are having suicidal thoughts, you need to speak with a professional. I hope you have done so. If not, search for “suicide hotline” and you will find several services to help you for free.
Secondly, if you are getting messages on a weekly basis from different people threatening suicide, I really have to wonder with whom you are associating. Did you join some group of depressed people? If so, that is really something you should avoid given your vulnerable state. As someone who is not very stable herself emotionally, you are the last person who should be trying to help others with their depression. Seek help for yourself first. Then, maybe later, much later, when you feel you can handle it, you might want to talk to people in, say, a group therapy session.
Another thing you need to watch out for is drama queens. This might sound like an awful thing for me to say, but I have come across many people who threaten suicide as a pathetic bid for attention. I even had one person call me and tell me he was in the hospital for a triple bypass and he didn’t think he was going to survive so he was calling to say farewell. Turned out to be a big fat lie and he wasn’t sick at all.
Sweetie, it is not the people who threaten suicide out loud who are the one’s at risk, usually. More typically, it is the people who say nothing and, suddenly, they are dead. In fact, often, a person who is suicidal will seem the happiest and calmest just before they kill themselves. Why? Because they have reached a decision to commit suicide and that decision gives them peace.
But there are, indeed, signs to look out for in the truly suicidal. See here: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/10/08/common-signs-of-someone-who-may-be-suicidal/ for some information.
While it is great that you want to help others, doing so has had a very bad impact on your well being, and I would recommend you not try to counsel such people at this time. As for anyone who has already contacted you about this, you should try to contact their friends and family to alert them. This might be hard for your foreign friend, but there is only so much you can do.
Again, it's great that you care, but think of it this way: would you want a surgeon with a nervous condition that makes his hand tremble operating on you? Of course not. For the same reason, you should not be counseling suicidal people.
Take care of yourself first. This is not a selfish thing; it is the wise thing to do.
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Hi Papa Bear, thank you for replying to me so quickly, and I'm sorry for taking so long to reply.
I've been in therapy for a while now, but I've scheduled my appointments a little more frequently.
I've also taken your advice and taken a step back from my more troubled friends. I'm not too sure why I end up being friends with so many suicidal people, I guess it's just my personality or something. I still talk to them, but our conversations are now more friendly and bright! :)
I've gone from weekly suicide threats to helping only two people get a better view on life. I'm so much less stressed and worried myself now, I had no idea how much dealing with all that could bring me down and hurt me.
So thank you again! My life's gotten a lot easier now that I've started focusing on my recovery the most.
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