10 thoughts on ““Why Are You Suicidal?” 10 Triggering Responses

  • February 8, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    #11 (Quote from my ex-husband) – A serious person would just kill themselves and stop talking about it.
    #12 (Ditto) – Your being depressed and suicidal just sucks for me.

  • February 9, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Hi Tamara,
    I’m glad you decided to write about the issue of suicide again because, as you point out, it is a hard topic for many and also, talking about it can take away some of the stigma and power. It is no longer yet another “secret” to keep.
    Several of my family members have responded in a few of the unhelpful ways you’ve written about with regard to my brother. My sister thinks he needs “tough love” and has actually said to him in a firm and sometimes harsh voice “Grow up!You need to quit talking out your ass!” I tell her that is unhelpful and could make an attempt more likely. She says that “if they talk about it they aren’t going to do it” and I said I don’t agree with that. She also said she tells our brother to quit talking like that if she knows he is drinking because that is when she feels like it is just attention seeking.
    My mother will say to him “Don’t talk like that” but at least SHE adds “it would break my heart” and she asks if he will go talk to someone. He won’t. He ultimately reassures her that he “wouldn’t do that” which, I have to admit, then makes ME wonder, is my sister right? Is it attention seeking? Then I feel guilty because I once had a paramedic yell at me, threaten me with arrest (“Suicide is against the law, you know. I could have you arrested!”) and he said it was attention seeking. At the time, attention was the LAST thing I wanted! It was years too late for that in my eyes.
    I know when I’ve felt suicidal in the past, I don’t EVER tell family or friends. It has always been my job to protect them yet in the aftermath of my overdoses, it seemed pretty obvious to me but not one family member even MENTIONED suicide or asked if that was what I’d tried to do. I still felt guilty for worrying them but also felt like I was a burden to everyone at the time.
    Are you getting that snowstorm too? It’s due to hit us on Thursday sometime. Stay safe!

    • February 12, 2017 at 10:19 am

      Hi Lori,
      Thank you for your comment. I hope you were okay in the storm. I did get it and my drive into work was challenging but I think I learned how to drive more defensively. 🙂 LOL

      At any rate, although families can be loving and supportive, they can also be detrimental to your psychological and emotional health. Some of the things family members say to someone who is struggling with life can push the person over the edge and give them a reason for wanting to leave the world. I have had very mature adolescent clients say “why should I stay alive if my own family can’t understand me?” Although suicide may will their lives short and be a snap judgment, I can’t blame them for thinking this way. Your situation sounds similar to this reasoning. If I were your brother, I would be thinking this way. Sadly, when people say things similarly to what your sister said they are either distancing themselves emotionally because it is too painful to accept, is insensitive and cannot understand it, or lacks knowledge about the seriousness of psychological and emotional pain which often leads to suicidal thoughts.

      It’s saddening Lori that you have had to hold in what you really think for fear of others’ responses. This is what I’m hoping I can change through what I have learned from having clients throughout the years. We need sensitivity to this topic.
      Take care

      • February 13, 2017 at 2:00 am

        Hi Tamara,
        Still snowing here but I am okay, thanks. This current storm started around 2 this afternoon and is predicted to go on til tomorrow afternoon.
        I think you are right re: my sister’s response to our brother. She doesn’t really have any depth of knowledge or understanding of mental health issues and especially not suicidal thinking. I also think she uses her frustration with him on that topic as a way to distance herself and deny it could be that bad.
        As for me, yes I guess it IS sad that I feel I have to withhold a lot of feelings but I at least have my therapist twice a month and I like that you give us the opportunity to share thoughts and feelings on issues you write about here. That helps me — and others I’m sure so thanks again!

  • February 9, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Most of these expressions are what I used upon myself from the time I had suicide impulses in my early 20s without any seeming pathological source.
    I once mentioned them to a doctor who said “Well as your obviously not depressed, then you ought to think about keeping yourself busy so that your less self absorbed. ”
    Point taken , but nevertheless the triggers were specific places which I then chose to avoid, but the thing seemed to follow me like it was attached by an umbilical cord, and I was kind of ashamed to have it when it appeared that my relatively sanguine disposition created the opposite impression.
    So it was shoved under this veneer, while I hoped that time and tide would eventually let it pass.
    Hell no, it stalked me for 50 years until a fluke conversation threw up a real horror story about my early childhood.
    My own take on an unremembered time was that since I had no memory of this time then I assumed it was Ok because well I was kind of cheery
    until some damn silly illogical reoccurrence of the trigger factors.
    What transpired from this conversation was the reason for my impulses, though the first therapist I chose was not a trauma specialist, and so while I got the abandonment issues resolved, the remaining abuse part was left unresolved, largely as I was ,as I said, a kind of positive type.
    In time the vacuum created by resolving one part allowed the suicide impulses to expand until ten years later I decided to opt out because I was surrounded by the sheer mockery of a rather unfulfilled life, and zero self esteem.
    My plan was brilliant and simple in its conception, I would complete what my father had started and my demise would be neat and fast.
    However, nature intervened in the form of a bloody great downpour while I walking my pooch to say goodbye to her and I ended up in a furious tantrum exclaiming “If that idiot had killed me in 1948 I would not be in this shitty mess .”
    At that moment the quiet little voice of reason piped up with a “Well he did”
    Yes well the vernacular got worse until I released that in the context of my age and the witness descriptions then, the sorry state of the child that I had been in 1948 and the speech and memory loss which accompanied the incident , were saying something akin to this seemingly illogical conclusion.
    To cut a long story short I found out I had been enduring PTSD for more or less 60 years, and that syndrome was the driving mechanism which was undermining my life..
    Such an experience at that age could also be regarded as a near death experience, . No wonder I had the behaviour traits of a well pissed off little boy .
    In the now this stuff has mostly been resolved through long study and practice using the tools made available through the scientific study of neurology and psychological practice, and I can report that those places once filled with fear are no longer inhabited by the whispers of the angel of death calling to me.

  • February 9, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    I have attempted suicide more times than I can count. Several ways, with several items, etc. I am currently unemployed and have no friends. No therapist to talk to, and only my boyfriend as a social life. However, if I bring up how im feeling, just lije when I was a kid, it gets me yelled at, shamed, or just ignored. He almost left me today because I talked about it (at his request, “what is wrong, talk to me” etc). Then he came back and decided to stay. I cant decide if I should get drunk and take sleepers, or jump off my balcony. My last tgerapist was more focused on past drug use (almost ten yrs ago) than mental health. I am on medicaid and have limited options for proffessional help. Not that it has ever helped in the past. Some people dont want to talk about suicide because they know that the person so “aflicted” really has no other choice.

    • February 12, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Hi Lizzie,
      Thanks for commenting. I wanted to ask you if you thought your therapist was trying to gather infomraiton about former substance abuse because it has a strong influence, current or past, on suicidal thoughts? For example, individuals who have a history of suicide attempts have a greater chance than others at attempting again. Substance abuse also provides clues on how the person copes (which is a negative coping skill in the long-term) and what the chances are of the person returning to negative coping skills. There may be multiple reasons for why he wanted to focus on this.
      Take care

  • February 25, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Dear Tamara….I appreciate your writing on the topic of suicide.Having lost 2 male family members ,both in their 40’s I became determined to learn,read, study, go to conferences, and talk to more individuals than I can count who lost a loved one to suicide.I even took training-certification etc on top of current educational licenses held,to become a grief support group facilitator to those who lost a loved one to suicide.In truth that training was mainly for me so. Could learn why??why it happened,but that is an answer never to be answered.What I have learned is this,and I write also as someone with traumatic and treatment resistant depression etc of a clinical nature.My traumatic grief and loss is only complicated solely on its own and with a clinical depression that is lonely and isolating.Before I write of me, I after my losses looked at what my brother and nephew desperately needed before they took their own lives…they fought desperately hard and shared their emotional pain but it was always downplayed or dismissed!Most needed for anyone in this emotional hell of fire, is a support person, even one who does not judge,have a ready reply and can listen and hear, and hear and listen….And yes far easier said than done, which I can personally attest to!! The reason I stress this is in our despair, myself included I have picked almost always people and family, and friends etc who just did not get it!!and have learned and am still learning that one person, just one, is far better than for me to continue to share, even a tiny bit with those closest to me…..the ugly stigma around the word mental health I hate and will not use as the usual reply is,the assorted, oh I have been depressed, count your blessings etc…..I thought now and have often thought that if I could I would have written on a prescription pad the follow g for my brother and nephew it would read as such……Dear Matteo…”I am here. You are fine the way you are.I love you.And together we will get through this….. for I am here to listen listen listen and hear hear and hear… ( please refill this re 24/7)…. easy to write now perhaps but Ithat would be my wish for someone, anyone to still to this day write to me.It is the aloneness and the stigma and the judgement of others that plunges us into deeper despair..only if only along with our invisible torture and unrelenting pain could have a visible clue as well, all would be different!!What if in addition to my traumatic and complicated depression I could have my arm in a sling….well how I wold welcome that for I would receive immediate and acceptable attention,I assume and then I could Segway into my emotional distress…and then a professional or individual would then Have to listen to me!!Years ago Ads was the curse,and the misconceptions were everywhere, but a backlash of support etc in time has brought AIDS out of the woods and into the 21st century… but depression and its horrific side effects untreated and misunderstood…remains in the medieval ages.. if only I have often thought I had this illness or that instead off depression which to this day is still generally considered your own fault and a weakness.So for those who are suffering please just be careful who you seek support from, and if in the beginning that person or persons do not get it…they most likely will not…so do not try to get them to understand if the cannot or wllnot for you may become stuck, and that will not serve you well.Prior to my losses and many years ago I did go to NAMI meetings(15 years ago) and what that taught me was to how to understand and help those with emotional distress,now still called mental illness which. Hate( case in point Kanye West had his unfortunate emotional breakdown and eventually received A+ medical care but what I most resented personally(as I still suffer) was the enormous compassion and millions of get well wishes extended to him…I state that as why is Kanye in truth and his depression and mental health more imp than mine ?or more imp than the 22 veterans who daily take their own lives due to depression and PTSD etc.. do no I matter, you matter, we all matter????Who is our voice for help hope change?? Insurances also if any cover mental health and who can afford to get well out of pocket…and finally it is preferred when referring to committed suicide to use died by suicide , and why??? In brief criminals committ crimes, etc but if we state die by suicide we are stating that this invisible disease that captures the brain and drags it through hell is the cause ,for no logical healthy person wakes up and says for no reason and with clarity I want to kill myself… it is a hasty action with a permanent result…so for all those hurting I am there with you and am awaiting as we talk of building walls or not to Remove the walls we currently have that no one seems willing to penetrate or dis assemble… the walls of stigma, shame and blame and how they apply to issues of our mental and emotional health the silent disease of stigma which continues to cripple, shame, blame and never seems to change…. lets go viral and smash those walls down and what does that take?? And who will speak first and go brazenly into the night and demand help…talk about a national crisis,a bubonic plaque of emotional hell and misery! Until those, these walls are blasted open for all our epidemics of depression and those with substance abuses as well remain in seclusion..it has been my thought for a long time also that substance abuse begins with feelings of depression and emotional starvation that can evolve into abuses of many kinds..that may stem from disease of the brain, mental health , etc that untreated manifest themselves in several ways .and .. the end, for all emotional health and depression and mental health and all other associated broken brain illness’s( my frustrating description)…Please do not take your life, please as you will be missed by me, even though you do not know me, for the world will not be the same….I also am searching for a professional who will listen and hear and care…..and perhaps Mr Kanye West may someday read this?? ( I do believe in miracles) and.,….use his celebrity pulpit to demand attention and change and care, and help…for although painful he did not have to suffer alone as so many of us do …abandoned and discarded by friends and professionals who give our pain not the 5 star status it deserves….I pray some walls of better mental health care can fill our streets with protests that exceed those currently in process throughout America… for I matter, you matter, and we All matter, and especially those who suffer and struggle with the invisible diseases of depression, bipolar and mental health etc…if not for me,does it not infuriate Americans that 22 veterans die daily and that the 3rd leading cause of death for those between 14 and 24 is Suicide… let’s at last erase our blindness to, ” oh that’s not my problem, our problem, and why care , because that can never happen to me-us….we are at war home here in the USA, and I can not fight it solo any longer!!My idyllic dream wold be to proclaim…at last, fear no longer for help is on the way!!!….and the I dream speech ,may be elongated, and morph into the here and now where every single individual matters…as does their heath and happiness…it is not enough to have a solution but to be part of the solution for the greater good of all.The time is now and we all are deserving and worthy. Thank you.Gavianna

  • June 29, 2017 at 4:07 am

    I am a psychiatrist in child and adolescent mental health in Kenya, where we are quite disadvantaged in terms of human resource and therefore tend to try and create public awareness as much as possible. I have mostly been talking about signs to look out for in your teen, and what to do…. I do however like this angle, I hope you don’t mind me borrowing a leaf from this for my next talk…..

    • June 29, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Hi Judy,
      You are certainly free to use with the right citation/reference.
      All the best!


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