7 thoughts on “7 Things To Ask About Suicidal Thoughts

  • September 14, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Hi Tamara,
    Just the title of this article brings an adrenaline rush of anxiety. Do I “ignore” this article and not comment? Do I comment and if so, what do I say? I realize I don’t have to comment on EVERY article and I DON’T want to give the impression to others who read your work that I am selfishly taking space so I will try to be brief.
    Suicide is not an easy topic and I think it is taboo for most people. I have struggled with suicidal ideation from time to time since my teens and when I am really depressed it sometimes doesn’t even have the power to scare me enough to tell anyone (there are VERY few I would tell) because it is familiar. However, I also know the difference between thoughts and feelings so that is helpful. Aside from the ideation, I have made several attempts–the first one the day after Thanksgiving in 1998. Looking back, I can admit, a few were more of a cry for help in that deep down I don’t think I really wanted to die but rather, I wanted the pain to stop and felt desperate for relief. The other few times I do remember feeling that death was what I wanted.
    I have also been in the position of helping others who have been suicidal–a couple of friends once and also, I facilitated an online message board called “Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings” via ivillage for about 4 yrs. I don’t think that site exists any longer.
    Tee, the one thing I really hate is that at least around here, if someone is suicidal and talks to a crisis worker by phone, the worker may decide to call the police. I can logically understand that in SOME instances where the worker doesn’t have previous experience with the caller but I wish that it weren’t so because a suicidal person feels bad enough about themselves without being looked down on or “gawked at” by neighbors as they get into a police car. They are not criminals! I had that happen to me once years ago and it only escalated my feelings and triggered me so badly as I’ve never had any dealings with law enforcement
    A friend of mine went through this as well and HE was handcuffed! I felt horrible for him when he told me that as he has no history of violence.

    • September 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you comment on the articles that interest you. That is what this is all about. We’re here to stir conversation, bring up ideas, and share questions we have. That’s how we learn. That’s how I continue to learn too!

      Suicide is a very difficult topic for multiple reasons and for thousands of people. It’s a disliked and taboo topic, as you know. But this is what keeps people, who are having suicidal thoughts, embarrassed, afraid, and isolated. As a therapist, I often tell my young clients that having suicidal thoughts is not abnormal nor is it something to be ashamed about. Life is hard, emotions can be difficult to cope with, and just trying to maintain your daily motivation can feel like a job. You may hear some people say “I would never think to harm myself.” This may be true but everyone is different. For those “different people,” an online or community support group is wonderful Lori and I’m glad you have pursued this.

      As far as workers or therapists calling the police on someone who admits to having suicidal thoughts, judgement is key. When a client comes to me and says “I’m having suicidal thoughts,” I go through a process which includes a series of questions and then I try to work with the client on discussing the trigger and ways to cope. If the client is impulsive, severely depressed, or has a well-thought out plan with risk factors, I will ask the client if they believe going to the hospital is needed. If they say no and tell me they are adamant about killing themselves or I have a clinical sense that they are adamant, I will then call the police.

      But calling the police should be a last resort. A mental health professional should try to work with the client first before bringing in authority, but unfortunately, not all professionals operate the same. Not all professionals understand the law and the mental health field enough to navigate it correctly. Not all mental health professionals count the cost of what they do and how they go about making decisions on clients. It’s tough. It’s tough for both the client and the professional who may want to do nothing more but keep their client safe.

  • September 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I cannot understand why it’s considered a “reality” that someone cannot kill themselves at work or in school.

    • September 15, 2016 at 1:28 am

      Yes, I actually wondered about that too. Maybe because it’s probably a lot less common due to the number of people around who could intervene and thus,hopefully prevent it?

      • September 16, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        Wow, that CBS article is quite interesting–and news to me as I had not known that before. (I’ve not yet read the other article but I will.)
        It’s strange because my attempts were ALWAYS somewhere between 1 and 3 A.M. –and during those times I’d had nightmares, flashbacks and insomnia off and on. It never even vaguely occurred to me that these things could be a factor so thanks for sharing that!
        Insomnia back then though was mild compared to what it has been for the past year or pretty close to it. I have always been a night person–up til 11 or midnight at latest most nights with an occasional earlier bedtime. For awhile now though it’s been anywhere between 3 and 5 in the morning before I can fall asleep. That gets old after awhile lol!

    • September 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Hi “Clearweave,”
      Basically the idea is that most people, once at work or school, will often “forget” their suicidal thoughts or delay them until a later time when they are alone. Some people have less suicidal thoughts when they are in crowds or around large numbers of people. Some adolescents do try to kill themselves at school during times when there are no peers or adults around. But for the most part, most people delay harming themselves or trying to kill themselves until a time when no one, or less people, are around.

      Research suggests that most people commit suicide after 12am.


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