Ten things not to say to a suicidal person

In July 2011 I wrote a post entitled, “Ten things not to say to a depressed person.” It was the first piece on this blog to attract a large audience and I own much of my blogging success to that post and its companion piece, “Ten supportive things I’m glad somebody said to me.”

I’ve decided the time is right for a similar piece on dealing with suicidal people (although I’m definitely not expecting the same number of readers for this post!). Suicidal thoughts have been a problem for me since around Christmas and the wide variety of responses I’ve received to my blogs and tweets, along with training to be a Mental Health Instructor, have given me cause to think about how people respond to individuals they know to be suicidal. A common response is feeling that they must throw some logic at the problem. What people don’t realise is that not only does suicidality work to a logic of its own, many attempts to reason the person out of their thoughts aren’t actually as logical as the would-be helper thinks. Another view is that the suicidal person needs a jolt, a shock to the system. Still others offer platitudes and “positive thinking”. All of these approaches have flaws, and here’s my guide to why.

1)   But you have so much to live for! Well, but you see that’s your judgment, not mine. Each of us gets to decide whether we have quality of life, because no one can ever really walk in our shoes and experience our unique suffering. History is littered with amazingly talented but mentally unwell people, from Virginia Woolf to Vincent van Gogh, who took their own lives despite phenomenal achievements. Think that’s because they lived in the days before psychiatry and medication? Think again. Only last year official National Treasure and President of Mind Stephen Fry disclosed that despite being an incredibly successful writer and broadcaster, he had recently attempted to take his own life. Where you see success, I may see an unending bleakness. Where you see reason, I see a person who won’t acknowledge my pain. And if you won’t acknowledge my pain, how can you be on my side?

2)   You are so young, you have your whole life ahead of you. Let’s unpick the logic of this one. Suppose you were in acute physical pain. Suppose you’d been in this pain since adolescence, maybe even childhood. Suppose you’d been told there was no cure for your pain, that medicines provided respite for some but might or might not work for you – there was no way of telling. If someone pointed out that you were only twenty-five, would you think, “Goody! I might have another sixty years of this!”? Of course not. You’d most likely be scared by the prospect of living on in pain, a pain you were already struggling to cope with. Pointing out how many decades of suffering could expect would hardly improve your attitude to your situation.

3)   I hope you’re not planning on doing anything stupid. I unfollowed someone on Twitter just recently for saying this to me. If you feel trapped and desperate and believe nobody can offer you a solution, wanting to remove yourself from the equation actually feels fairly sensible. Sure, some suicides are impulsive (especially if alcohol is involved) but actually it’s often something people have often thought long and hard about. Many take all the steps they can to minimise the impact on their loved ones, putting financial and practical affairs in order before they do the deed. When you tell me my careful plan is “something stupid”, you’re dismissing its importance – a fast track to alienating me. In fact, it makes me feel like you think I must be stupid. If you’re worried, say so, but don’t dismiss it as stupidity. What’s wrong with saying, “I’ve seen/heard you mention suicide, and I’m concerned about you. Are you safe? Is there anything I can do to help?”

4)   Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. This perennial internet favourite is, like many positive thinking soundbites, both trite and inaccurate. Yes, some people have single episodes of mental illnesses and go on make a full recovery. And yes, for those with more severe and enduring illnesses there will probably be periods when we are relatively well and we do want to live. But bipolar disorder is not a temporary problem. Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are not temporary problems. Borderline personality is not a temporary problem. There are, as yet, no cures and for many of us, the fluctuation is part of the problem. It’s hard to stay motivated, to stick with medication regimens and self-management plans, to work on applying our learning from therapy (should we be lucky enough to be offered it) knowing that on one unidentified day in the future, we are going to relapse. Maybe it won’t be such a bad episode; maybe it will be horrendous and we’ll end up in hospital. We have no way of knowing, and little control over our situations. So excuse me if, 29 years into my condition, my problems don’t seem that temporary.

5)   Think of the damage you would do to your nearest and dearest. You know what? I do very little but. Suicidal people are well aware that if they carry out their plans, somebody’s going to get hurt. For many that could be a spouse, parents or children. It might be friends who would miss them terribly. Professionals can be devastated to lose a client to suicide. There is no way to make a clean, painless break. Knowing this makes us feel awful, selfish, a terrible, terrible person. And what does feeling like a terrible, terrible person do to someone who already acutely depressed? It makes them feel still worse. Getting them to dwell on the harm they might cause is counterproductive. You think you’re giving them a wake up call? You might actually be increasing the risk they carry out their plan.

6)   You need to stop dwelling on your problems. Leaving aside how all consuming it feels to be suicidal, severe and enduring illnesses are genuinely life-threatening. Each year about 5550 people in the UK die by suicide and worldwide this figure is around one million (World Health Organisation). A 2013 study found that people with my condition, bipolar disorder, were 20-30 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. This is massive and ignoring it isn’t going to go away. I’m sorry if it makes you uncomfortable but the severity of my condition is a fact. Suppose I had cancer? Suppose I had a heart condition? Would worrying about that be considered navel-gazing? Would a friend find a preoccupation with a physical illness morbid or boring? If you’re worried I have too narrow focus help me find other things to think about, but be constructive, not critical. Take me out, Write me an email. Send me a card. Lend me a book. Give me a gym pass.

7)   You’re just looking for attention. Yes. Yes, I am. And my question to you is: since when has it inappropriate or unacceptable for someone in acute pain to want/need attention? If I were in physical pain you’d urge me to pay attention to the signals I was receiving; why should emotional pain be different? Sometimes I want attention because I’m scared. I’m scared that I might carry out my plans, I’m scared of the intensity of the pain, and I’m scared that nobody will understand me. I crave reassurance and the kind of attention that might help me stop feeling so awful. Often that’s going to look like NHS intervention but when professionals ask me, “What would be helpful here, Charlotte?” I often have no idea, then I get scared they’ll withdraw their help. So yes, I want supportive attention that says, I am here. I am here for you and I’m not going away. But not….

8)   I’m calling 999! There will be situations when it’s appropriate to call 999. If someone is on a bridge, perhaps, or holding a knife to their wrist, or if their feelings are part of psychosis and they are very unwell and disconnected from reality, maybe it’s time to call the emergency services. Mental Health First Aid training makes it very clear you should never try to intervene physically in a high–risk situation. But in general when someone discloses suicidal thoughts, use the first rule of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC! Panic gives the message that the disclosure is just too awful to accept, right when I’m feeling dreadful in the first place. That creates distance between us, which isn’t helpul. I’m not expecting you to be inauthentic. It’s OK to share that you are shocked or concerned to hear I am thinking of killing myself, but I can do without shrieking, swearing or giving me the message that I’m a freak.

9)   You won’t do it – nobody who talks about it ever does. This is one of the biggest falsehoods in mental health. Again I’m not really sure where it comes from, only that it’s been around a long time. Very many people who take their own lives have mentioned it to someone, even if indirectly (“I sometimes think everyone would better off without me” or apparently tangentially (“I should really put my affairs in order”) so the Samaritans list it as one their myths on suicide. It’s also possible that someone very distressed might just take this statement as a challenge:You don’t believe my pain is real? Well, then I’ll show you!”

10)   You’ll feel differently next week. Oh, you have a crystal ball! Well, I have experience. My depressions have often lasted months, every day feeling like torture. Being asked to hang on for a week has felt totally impossible. In any event, in the case of bipolar “feeling differently” is often part of the problem. Yes, I might feel differently next week, but differently doesn’t usually mean I will be experiencing normal mood. I could be hypomanic. I could be paranoid. I could, worst case scenario, be in a mixed mood state, which is the same as saying suicidal only I’ll be agitated rather than sleepy and slowed down. And what if I do feel the same next week? And the week after and the week after that? Are you going to give up me? What I want is for you to be realistic. That’s not the same as giving up hope. That’s not the same as giving me the message I’m never going to get better. I just want some acknowledgement that we don’t know when I’m going to be well, that this is a horrible situation to be in, and that not knowing is part of my pain.


So there we are. Another facet of bipolar, another ten things I wish I didn’t have to hear. I could’ve written more than ten this time, but round numbers work better. I hope others will add their own suggestions – and perhaps more crucially, what they do like people to say when in a suicidal crisis.


About purplepersuasion

40 something service user, activist, writer and mother living with bipolar disorder. Proud winner of the Mark Hanson Prize for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards #VMGMindAwards
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163 Responses to Ten things not to say to a suicidal person

  1. fuzzwalk says:

    Reblogged this on fuzzwalk.

  2. fuzzwalk says:

    Thank you for writing that, it’s useful, not only from the perspective of helping people understand what not to say to a suicidal person but it also helps me validate how I’m feeling x

  3. Sam Candour says:

    To be perfectly honest, I never know what to say to a suicidal person apart from “Can I help?”, which is daft because clearly I can’t! And this is despite having had suicidal patches and attempts myself. Thanks for writing this though, I hope it helps people understand. Or at least think before they speak!

    • Terry Bardy says:

      When you say to think before they speak like the number 3 the statement the same as don’t doing anything stupid?

    • ZeDingo says:

      Sometimes “Can I help?” is all the help a person needs. It says “I’m here to listen” without saying anything that could be taken as hurtful and it gives them a chance to unload. When I’ve been there and someone asked me that, I started talking, which made me rethink each thing I talked about, and that alone made me feel better. Not happy, but better. As each little thing that weighed on me was piled on, I refused to think about it again because “thinking about it will only make me depressed,” and one final horrible new feeling would set me off into heavy sobbing and plotting the quickest route to my end. When you tell a story, you have to think differently than when you’re talking to yourself in the language of your brain, so you quickly analyze every facet of what you’re telling. Because I immediately dismissed something after determining that it was depressing, I never saw any hope in it, but looking at it again I start to see ways to deal with the problem.

      Usually it’s what people say that triggers a depressive cycle in me, not what they don’t say. Reading lists like this, especially with these explanations of why each statement is the wrong thing to say, is all you should need.

    • Christopher Ockman says:

      It’s as simple as “I’m here for you. You can talk to me about anything, and I will listen. If you ask for advice, I will give it.”

  4. Sue trainer says:

    A wonderfully written peice of work as usual Charlotte, and I agree with every word of it, my husband worked with a man who was threatening to commit suicide, everyone ignored him until they found him hung in the workshop, his note simply said ‘I told you’ and my own brother-in-law who was an architect and seemingly had ‘everything’ to live for hung himself in his garage and to this day we are left to speculate on his reasons for doing so! Hope my reply has not upset you, it is not intended too, it just fits in with what you have written. My best wishes to you

    Sue. T

  5. Discover Your Recovery says:

    Reblogged this on A Mental Health Recovery Blog.

  6. Charlotte, you write always directly from the heart, no, from the guts, of you. I’ve spent so many times — many hours — with my friend when she has been feeling suicidal, and we have talked about the subject of suicide many more times. Some of what you write here is familiar to me, some new. I make mistakes with my friend, of course: say something dumb, fail to understand where she is in that moment, how deep her despair and pain might be. I’m sure I will make mistakes in the future, in approaching her, being with her at such times. With others too. But what I have learned with her, and what your blog expresses so well, is that what she most needs is for me to listen, to be there with and for her. To acknowledge her situation and feelings, and the fact that I am unable to make it all go away, but that I’m not going to go away either.

    • Exactly, exactly. Just like in Mental Health First Aid. Listening and reassuring are two of the most important and powerful things you can do. We all make mistakes, I am sure she doesn’t mind in the long run if sometimes you don’t get it right 100% of the time, because who does/can? You are so big-hearted and she is so lucky to have you around xx

  7. M.K. Hajdin says:

    “4) Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. ”

    My answer to that one has always been: “Life is a temporary problem.”

  8. Lynne W says:

    I have a great friend who always seems to gauge how I am feeling. Last week she arrived armed with Costa coffee and some old crockery which I had great satisfaction hurling them at a brick wall in the garden! She never once asked what she could do to help, she simply stayed with me until I told her I would be OK for now. She never asks me to call to let her know how I am, she just calls me or comes over. I won’t say it stopped my feelings but it certainly helps!

  9. I don’t think there is anything you can say in this sort of situation that would help. All you can do is listen and not act shocked or appalled. I hate it when I open up to someone and they freak out. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. Ryan says:

    Great writing and advice. Any thoughts on the flip of this and what can help / be done / be said to support a friend in times of great difficulty

    • When I wrote Ten things not to say to a depressed person I ended up writing a companion piece on what people might say I stress. So watch this space…!

      • Ryan says:

        Thank you, I will

      • Terry Bardy says:

        You sound like a nice person, and I’ve told all those 10 statements and trust me, I live in a hick town where there are no resources and the therapists either yell at you, smile and say nothing, or say , “I don’t know, what do you think?” Here’s another one which makes me sick, ” There are other people in this world, so count your blessings.” Blecch! And I’ve been trying to get help, and all I get are numbers to call that no longer exist. Suicide is easier for me..

    • mynamerhymeswithmason says:

      Terry, were you able to get good help?

  11. Reblogged this on Author Amy Dunne and commented:
    Incredibly honest and thought provoking.

  12. Recently I was very low and speaking to someone I trust hugely. I was talking about how worthless I feel and she said “You mean so much to me, you are worth so much to me. You aren’t worthless and I will help you to get through this”…

    Whilst it might sound like nothing, the fact that someone believed that I would get through and that I was worth their support was a lifeline right then.

    Thank you, great post.

  13. verlorenzaak says:

    Reblogged this on VerlorenZaak's Blog and commented:
    Fantastic blog on what not to say to a suicidal person.

  14. Thanks for sharing this, wish I’d been able to show something like this to people I did talk to when I’ve been suicidal in the past. Mostly I’ve instinctively hid my distress until it became unbearable – so much need for education – I have opp to do some suicide awareness training in the next couple of months – is it ok if I share this piece? x

  15. This is wonderful! Is there/will there be a counterpart to this one too? A ‘what you SHOULD say to a suicidal person’?

  16. Atheismcriticised says:

    Agree with some of the later ones, but not all of these.

    ‘You have much to live for’ should be fine if done in the right way. Likewise the point about feeling low perhaps only being temporary. And reminding the harm caused to friends/ family may have its uses if done carefully. The sufferer will be aware of it, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t benefits in reminding them.

    What on earth ARE we to say to someone suicidal?

    My concern is someone might end up saying nothing for fear of offending someone.

    • Hi, this same issue came up when I wrote the original “Ten things” for depression. I ended up writing a companion piece to give suggestions of better things to say. I didn’t want to phrase it as “Say THIS!” because I know that something I find very affirming may not suit another, but at least it gave people a general idea of why certain things people had said had had a positive impact on me. I can see it getting more and more likely that I do a companion piece, so watch this space….

  17. Alex Dale says:

    Great post! Really enjoyed reading it and it resonated with me. Thank you for being so frank and honest 🙂
    Best wishes – Alex

  18. I have Bipolar I and suicide isn’t really anything I’ve seriously entertained or have discussed with others, at least. I don’t agree with a lot of this. Well let me rephrase this. I possibly agree that you may not want to say this stuff to a suicidal person. I’ve had suicidal friends, and the only thing I do tell them is that I love them and hope they understand how selfish it is to kill themselves. I tend to keep my suicidal thoughts very privately because I don’t like stressing others. Bipolar I has brought me extreme stress in my life, especially in my worst incident of mania, but the “suicide is selfish” argument is what I always throw at myself whenever I even THINK about it. It is selfish. It’s one of the most selfish things you can ever do, and it’s not something I’d ever want to do to my loved ones. If bipolar really is making you THAT suicidal, it may be time to change your meds. My bipolar is somewhat mild and I refuse to go on meds. I know some people suffer greatly from it, but even in those cases, many things can be done to lessen the symptoms.

    I get the impression that you feel that it’s ok to discuss suicide with your loved ones and suicidal thoughts. I actually think it’s not ok to do this. I guess I never understand the point of suicidal people expressing their suicidal urges to anyone but their therapists. All it does is cause unnecessary stress and anxiety on both ends. These kinds of discussions are for you and your therapist. If you discuss how you feel about killing yourself to your loved ones, how do you expect them to react? I’m not surprised they’d say one of those things because they’re probably confused and don’t understand what you’re going through. What exactly do you want them to tell you? Is this another one of your blogs? The top 10 things to say to suicidal people? Maybe that would be a lot more effective than things not to say because 100 percent of the time I will tell a suicidal friend that it’s selfish and then try to get them some professional help since loved ones aren’t equipped to deal with these kinds of issues.

    • Ah, but A) what about people who aren’t “in the system”? I think you’re American – not sure you appreciate how few people have a therapist in the UK. Care is led by medically training general practitioners and psychiatrists and there are horrific waiting lists (I have heard as long as 18 months) for therapy unless you can pay for it yourself, which of course many people who can’t work due to their mental health simply cannot do. B) I teach Mental Health First Aid, a rigorously researched and quality assured programme. Just like physical first aid, the idea is that if skilled up, a stranger could save your life by helping you in a mental health crisis. And the MHFA line on talking about suicide is that you absolutely SHOULD encourage people to talk about their suicidal feelings; that if you suspect, you should ask; and that you should ask outright if the person has a plan. C) On a personal note, when I start keeping suicidal ideas from my partner this is a REALLY bad sign. Bringing the dark thoughts into the light reduces the risk tremendously.

    • Myrtle says:

      As PurplePursuation says, very few people in the UK have a therapist – and it’s not just 18 months waiting list, often you cannot see one at all. This is due to (a) limited types of therapy offered, and limited sessions, so if 10 sessions of CBT is inappropriate for your needs you’re stuck, and (b) they often decide people are ‘too high risk’ or their lives are too much in turmoil to be allowed to access therapy. So if you’re suicidal they want to wait until you’re ‘stable’ before they even put you on the waiting list! (So don’t go having any breakups, job lossess, homelessness etc. or bye bye therapist!)

      **This is not an argument against socialised healthcare. if done properly, mental health care would save the government £££’s in other costs, even the mental health system would not cost much more than now because a lot of people would fully recover, whilst others could get help when they needed without having to get extremely ill first.**

      As for suicide being ‘selfish’… That makes me feel more suicidal when people have said it. I already feel like a selfish, worthless waste of space who is doing the universe a terrible disservice by existing. I already feel trapped, and that no-one understands. Why compound all that in one phrase?!
      Why is it selfish? – because it upsets people. So why does their pain matter more than the suicidal person’s? (especially poignant when the people calling it ‘selfish’ do not care a jot and are not supportive). I’d suggest it’s selfish to want that person to keep living in such intolerable pain.
      In addition, a chat and cuddle with a close friend, them understanding I feel terrible and can’t think straight so offering practical support/wrapping me in a duvet/making tea is actually something that helps… Whereas being taken to hospital by strangers to be assessed by more strangers and sent home (most likely) or put on a frightening ward with nothing to do and more strangers, is actively unhelpful. Makes you feel more worthless and unlovable.

      And then there’s the people with BPD (which due to dodgy diagnosisng seems to be anyone who feels suicidal more than once, unless they have a ‘more serious’ diagnosis eg. Bipolar, schizoaffective disorder, etc.). Being suicidal is seen as a ‘symptom’ so basically ignored/called ‘attention-seeking’ and not only is there VERY limited help offered, but stigmatising words and attitudes from staff. Given the living hell these people endure, with no kindness from most others, how DARE you call them selfish if they want to end the pain!

      • Sarah says:

        Its selfish because you’re putting yourself first with no regard how many dominoes will fall in your wake. The disservice isn’t to the universe because of your existence, it is to your loved ones when you choose not to exist. The pain you feel when suicidal is only a fraction of the pain they will feel after your gone, believe me I know from experience. Dress it up however you like but IT IS WRONG to take your pain and forever dump it on loved ones.

      • I suggest you read some of my other posts, like this: https://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/the-seductive-whisper-of-the-suicidal-voice/ It sounds like you have had a loss close to you and you’re clearly very angry, and that’s justified – but being angry with suicidal people certainly doesn’t help or stop them. A truly suicidal person CANNOT think the way you want them to. That’s a simple fact. They are no longer connected to the people they love and very often truly believe that they can never get better, that their loved ones would be far better off without them, that they an awful person and no one would love them if they knew what they were really like. They are in no way selfish, they are sick. If you’ve never been acutely suicidal, how can you possibly know the horror the person lives through? And how and why could you possibly seek to compare the pain of a person driven to take their own life with the people left behind? No one can ever truly know what is in a person’s mind so comparisons just aren’t possible. I hope you manage to come to terms with your loss – but I also sincerely hope you never have to be where I have been. It’s a living hell.

      • Anon says:

        Sarah, you sound like my sisters. My sister was constantly told how selfish she was when she made suicide attempts and the same to me. We didn’t have a very good life and us two were in pain unlike the other two who were in denial. The “selfish” comments made her worse as they do me. Sadly, one of my sisters attempts worked. I believe if she had been shown some kindness and not told she was selfish, she would still be here today. I’m not angry at her, I understood her pain. Unfortunately my sisters didn’t learn from that and they do the same to me. I feel like a piece of dirt and if I cause them so much stress with my condition surely they’d be better off without me? Suicidal people cannot win, they’re either selfish for being sad and moping when alive and when you relieve their burden you’re selfish for that too. I see it from both sides because I am experiencing both grief and being suicidal. Luckily I’m recovering because I’m ignoring those horrible cruel comments

    • Jenna says:

      Love your comment! My husband also lives with Bipolar I and I actually am okay for him to discuss his suicidal thoughts with me and explore them, we’ve both done a suicide first aid course, so we can work it through. He doesn’t really want to do it and just has the urge to do it so working it through then deciding when to get back to the psyche follows. I have learnt to trust him and support him yet I have told him I cannot watch over him 24/7 as my own PTSD goes like haywire and I can’t live like that, also my counsellor said well what if he sneaks out at night, you are NOT responsible. Luckily his love for me overrides his impulses and he knows how destroyed I would be. Seriously I agree it is the most selfish thing when you get repeat attempters who will not call the helplines or therapist but traumatise and victimise so called loved ones. So not thoughtful of others, that is a myth.

    • I don’t think keeping a life-threatening issue to yourself out of fear of causing another person anxiety is exactly the best course of action. If a person has a physical condition that could cause them to die at any moment, I’d think they’d have the decency to tell their loved ones rather than keep it to themselves until they just, you know, die. Especially if telling other people is a possible route to recovery, and it is.

      And not everyone has a therapist. Not everyone has a diagnosis. Not everyone can afford the professional help that you urge them to seek. Not everyone is prepared for the moments they’re in crisis. For some, their friends and family are their only support system.

      I also hope that you maybe in the future refrain from telling suicidal people that they’re selfish when they say they’re feeling like killing themselves. Different things work for different people, and while that fear of being selfish may work for you, the thought of being a selfish person and having selfish thoughts tends to lead me to a deeper depression. I’m sure you’re well aware of this, but when someone’s depressed, they’re already beating themselves up an immeasurable amount. Telling them that what they’re feeling is selfish is, in most cases, not really going to snap them out of it.

      I don’t think you intended to come off quite as mean as you did, but your tone is quite harsh and your post seems to suggest that what has worked for you should work for everyone else. You really come off as though you’re looking down on others, here. I hope you didn’t intend to, and that next time you post something you’ll give it a quick once-over to avoid sounding quite so condescending.

      Anyways, I am glad that you managed to find something that worked for you, and I wish you the best of luck with your condition moving forward. It’s not an easy thing to live with.

    • Rachel says:

      You may suffer from mental health issues but it sounds like you have very little understanding about them. Your comments are the reason SO MANY people don’t get the help they need, for fear of being judged by ignorant people.

      Suicidal people aren’t thinking in their right mind. Suicide is often a symptom of depression. When a depressed person decides to end their life, they have no way of making a good decision because they are suffering from a MENTAL ILLNESS. They truly believe their loved ones would be better off without them. So how is that selfish?

      I’ve lost loved ones to suicide and it hurts bad, but I don’t feel angry that someone was “selfish” and made us all suffer because of that. I feel extremely sad and I would have given anything for them to have told me how they were feeling first.

      I think your comments are extemely rude and ignorant. I find you to be rather selfish for being unwilling to listen to others express their pain.

  19. Raeyn says:

    Oh deity, number six. Right, I’ll stop ‘dwelling’ when my brain quits gnawing on my sanity like a deranged beaver attacking a tree. While I wouldn’t wish intrusive//obsessive thinking on anyone in the long term, it’s on the short list of reasons I wish I could put someone in my brain long enough to understand just how hard it is to get by, survive, live, and maybe occasionally thrive with a broken brain. I probably couldn’t even momentarily wish to inflict me-when-suicidal on anyone else though, since it comes up on me out of the blue with ‘Okay you need to die immediately’, which um. Yeah. ><

  20. iknowthat says:

    I have three other, ‘what not to say/dos’ to the list (great list, BTW)

    A few years ago, I made a number of attempts. I told the person I was closest to (but who was falling out with me over my mental health issues). They were supportive after the first time and said to tell them in future. Every subsequent time I told them how I was feeling, instead of being given comfort, or sympathy, or hope, they reminded me of all the bad things about me, how horrible I was etc. Also not the way to speak to a suicidal person! Likewise, I had some CBT during that time and it wasn’t that helpful – I always ended the sessions feeling worse than I came in and the therapist knew this and knew I was more likely to attempt in the couple of days following but never did anything to address this issue such as help me make post-therapy plans, consider what in the therapy was triggering the response etc. Again, not useful!. And my final things not to say/do – the A&E crisis team would ask me if I would do it again and I would always say yes. And then they’d pack me off home at 3 in the morning with no advice, support or encouragement to get me through it.

    • Funny you should say that about therapy, my worst part of this week was after a session with the crisis psychologist! It was *useful*, in that it helped me focus on what the key issues were. But it made me feel lower because, um, well it made me focus on what the key issues were! Really sorry to hear about your friend’s bizarre response. I can’t think of any logic by which it would seem like a good idea to tell someone very low how horrible they are :-S

  21. I have answers for all of those questions whenever I am feeling down.
    There is another one I would add because of my orthodox Jewish background: Our belief is that our life & our bodies are gifts from G-d that we should protect and preserve, but frankly if someone mentioned that when I am self harming or feeling suicidal, it would do more harm than good. In short don’t try discussing religion, I’m not interested at this point I’m in too much pain to care!

    • Gershon Brooks says:

      I thought I would add something that has helped me. I am lucky to have very supportive parents and siblings. At one point someone told my parents “You must take away all his cards and money, so that he has to ask if he wants to buy anything even a magazine.”
      They did not subscribe to that, even when I was self harming they helped me to come to the decision of handing over my pills and scissors etc. by myself. If someone were to force that on me I would never trust them again.
      The effect on other people is a powerful one for me. I will always remember the guilt and shame I experienced when my 8 yr old little sister walked into my room after I’d cut myself.

  22. MarkM says:

    Seems like we’re not allowed to say anything to a suicidal person. Some of these wouldn’t bother me if I were suicidal. I was close to doing it when I was 12. I don’t think we always need to walk on egg shells when dealing with suicidal people.

    • Well, maybe it’s OK to say these things to someone like you what wouldn’t mind. But clearly from the responses I’ve had, lots and lots of other people DO mind. I draw these not just from my own experience, but from contact with literally thousands of people on Twitter with a variety of mental health problems.And since you can’t tell by looking who’ll mind and who won’t, surely it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than potentially push someone over the edge? Also, you do not mention how old you are, although you do mention being close once when you were a child. Perhaps being close once is not the same as being close day after day, episode after episode, for years or even decades. Also, the LAST thing I am advocating is walking on eggshells. I am saying, ask about it! Talk about it! Ask the person if they have a plan! Just don’t be thoughtless, callous or selfish about how you do that. Be gentle and supportive.

  23. rosiejbrown says:

    Reblogged this on rosie brown: fighting the stigma and commented:
    This is a fantastic blog post by a fantastic blogger. I agree wholeheartedly with her thoughts. I am suffering a bad depression at the moment and am having suicidal thoughts. I empathise with the need to encourage sensitive conversation and thoughtfulness, rather than flippant, ill-formed comments (like those in the examples!).

  24. arranbhansal says:

    Amazing post, having been with someone who suffered from mental health issues, I can relate.

  25. arranbhansal says:

    Reblogged this on Confessions of a published author and commented:

  26. jeremymayo says:

    This was very good. I am a suicide attempt survivor and I think that you captured the essence of the triviality of the helpful words people say sometimes. Thanks for having the strength to put this out there. Very good job

  27. C says:

    Excellent post! Taking away “logic” and a gung-ho positive attitude to problems – well that leaves your friends with not much more than empathy to help with suicidal feelings. The urge to solve the problem needs to submit to a need for listening and empathy. That empathy – I hope – will engender kind support of a random Useful kind, like providing that coffee and smashable crockery to fling at the garden wall. And probably getting it wrong at times but still staying connected. As we all like solving problems and always being right there’s some personal development work ahead for all of us.

  28. Pingback: Ending it… | Dizzy's Squeaks

  29. Jen says:

    Thank you soooo much for this blog! After half of my life struggling with a roller coaster of emotions and a list of excuses doctors have thrown at me, I ended up in the hospital recently in a manic depressive and suicidal state. 2 days of intense therapy and 3 hours with a bipolar specialist, I find out that I have bipolar 2 and have been rapid cycling for the past 3 years with a lot of mixed episodes thrown in. I stumbled upon your blog and have been absorbed in it since. Every time I start to dwell on the never ending roller coaster I pull up your blog on my phone and knowing that there is someone else out there that feels remotely the same as I do helps. I am sharing this article in particular with my friends and family who keep asking what they can do and saying “I don’t know what to say”…

    • That so good to hear, Jen – well, obviously not that you relate to some of the painful stuff I write about, but that it helps in some way. It can be really useful to see others’ experiences and relate, that’s what happened to me when my diagnosis was returned to one of bipolar – I started to see that my thoughts/feelings/actions were not “normal” but they were “normal for a bipolar person”, if that makes sense. C x

  30. csh says:

    Hi Charlotte

    Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I hope this isn’t too intrusive to ask, but I can’t help but wonder how you are going? There is such a feeling of crisis coming through your posts and anyone who reads your work would have a hard time not wondering how you are going. I check back here regularly for updates and because there hasn’t been one for a while I thought I might ask directly.

    • How kind of you to ask, I am really touched. As a matter of fact my mood began to lift about 10 days ago and I am no longer in crisis – so happy to say that! I remain with the Home Treatment Team even though I am not so desperate as they are overseeing my referral to a national specialist. The only reason I haven’t blogged lately is I have been away and had a lovely break. Thanks so much for asking 🙂

  31. Victoria Epps says:

    Dear Charlotte, I wanted to tell you that I am thinking of you every day and hoping that there will be brighter days ahead for you soon. I am recovering from an acute episode last year and it was only from reading your blog that I realised I was also rapid cycling and was able to look at things I could do to take action. Thank you so much for what you share, it is invaluable. For many years now I have practiced therapeutic Eurythmy which is a movement therapy and this has been enormously helpful to my condition, also bipolar. Also I have recieved Rhythmic massage, a very holistic treatment that works on balancing the organs to achieve greater rhythm and stability. Just a couple of ideas you may want to look into. I wish you love and light Charlotte x x x

  32. Hannah says:

    This post is really helpful. I just recently found out that my step-sister has been having suicidal thoughts and I struggle to know what to say to her, especially as I’m not really supposed to know, I just happened to find out by chance. I find it really difficult to get across to her that it would be a totally different place if she weren’t her without sounding patronising or making things worse. Thanks so much for writing this!

    • Oh, I’m so glad! I started a companion post on things that I DO find helpful for people to say but I got sidetracked by going on holiday! I must get it out and dust it off!

  33. Caroline says:

    I think this is a brilliant article. Thanks I think it is a really problem that mentioning suicide can lead to unwanted admission to hospital, so it is not mentioned, when actually talking about it could help. The most useful response I had when I was suicidal and did talk about it was “I really hope you don’t do it, but if you were to I would hate to think of you being alone and I would want you to let me know so I could be with you”. It felt like the reality of my feelings was acknowledged and there was a genuine desire to support me.
    Conversely I can’t imagine telling someone it is selfish to kill themselves would be either new information or helpful in any way.

    • Thanks, Caroline. I think it’s SO important not to dismiss someone’s feelings. It’s helpful to know people care and worry like you say, but when it turns into a guilt trip I think people are focussing on their own needs more than those of the suicidal person x

      • Sherie Luffman says:

        I’m 65 years old. I’ve struggled with major depression and Bipolar II since I was 18 years old. For me it’s genetic – my father, two of his brothers and my grandmother (their mother) all killed themselves. I think it’s just a matter of time before I will too. I’ve attempted suicide in the past 4 times, but failed. I think I failed because I didn’t really want to die – I just wanted to quit suffering.
        It’s different now. I honestly can’t think of any good reason to stay alive. As I grow older, I’m less able to do the physical things I once enjoyed and I only see it getting worse, not better.
        Nothing makes me feel worse than my family telling me that they couldn’t stand to lose me, that they love me and need me. Well what about MY needs? Is it o.k. for me to continue to suffer so I can spare them pain? I’m beginning to resent their love because it makes me feel guilty and I’m so very tired of the pain. I’ve survived a lot of deaths of people I love. Why should I have to suffer so they will be spared? If I died of a physical illness, they wouldn’t blame me, but since it’s a mental illness it seems to be my fault and I’m evidently the one responsible for keeping them from hurting. I’m so very, very tired of being alive.

  34. Jen says:

    I just wanted to thank you for your honest insight.

  35. Ernesto Vaughn says:

    I was 16 years old and I witnessed the death of two of my friends. We were walking home from school and there was a robbery at the gas station. My friends ran to help but ended up being shot. I saw everything with my own eyes. For weeks I wondered why I didn’t die… Why them? I was in a deep depression… After a month I couldn’t handle it. It was the first time I ever thought about suicide. I started off by cutting my self but it got worst. I began to cut places I shouldn’t have. I cut my self so bad once that I couldn’t control the bleeding. Next thing I knew I woke up in a ambulance. My parents put me in counseling, it actually helped. I am now a survivor and want to help other kids in need.

  36. Pingback: Suicide isn’t selfish | Delusions Of Candour

  37. Just a human says:

    Thank you so much, I wish I could show the world this. I’ve shyed away from telling people how I’m doing because of comments like these. I’ve actually been told I’m lazy (I had to drop out of school four years ago due to mental health issues) and it hurts especially when I’m trying. I’ve had a shitty three weeks to be honest and not been able to sleep really and I laid in bed the other night and I was like maybe I should kill myself, but then I was like no can’t do that to my mom no matter what. So I tried my hardest to stop existing. I mean erase my existence no one would know who I was I would finally get relief it be win-win. Then there’s the whole yes i’ll feel better temporarily but some how things end up shit again and I honestly feel like people are lying to me when they say you have so much to live for. But the thing is they believe those lies and you want to believe them, too, well I do because they’re so optimistic (not everyone I feel some people just feel obligated to pretend to care).

    • It’s really, really hard when you put yourself out there, knowing it can be a risky-feeling thing to do, and get back these kind of comments. I do get that people are nervous to talk about mental health, but mostly all it takes is a little thoughtfulness and empathy. I really hope you’ll take a risk and speak up again and that this time the person is more supportive x

  38. Rachel says:

    This was an incredibly helpful post. My boyfriend has been mentioning suicide a couple times since we’ve been together and, when we talk about it, it seems like there’s nothing I can do to get his mind off of it. I’ve endured a bout of severe depression but I was one of those fortunate enough to stick through it and get “better” (some days are better than others). I’ve also had plenty of times when harming myself seemed like a better idea than living with the emotional pain, but I’ve always held true to the fact that killing myself was not the answer.

    When talking to him, I’ve noticed that he doesn’t seem to be afraid of death and he seems to talk about suicide somewhat nonchalantly. It makes discussing it with him and talking him down from it a tad bit difficult.

    I haven’t had the chance to scroll through the comments to see if someone has already asked this, but from an inside perspective, do you have any suggestions on what to say to him when he gets like this? Better question–what could someone say to YOU that might make you reconsider these thoughts and provide some semblance of solace? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • I meant to write a companion piece with suggestions, but I didn’t manage it – I guess I was too ill at the time. TBH, there is nothing you can argue that will change someone’s mind if they are truly suicidal. What is more important is being with them and trying not to be judgemental about it – just because one person can come to feel that suicide is not the answer, does not mean another can/will. Warmth, love, listening, showing that you understand just how much pain the person is in, helping them to make a crisis plan for getting the professionals involved, not leaving the person alone – all are probably more important and effective than trying to talk someone out of suicide. Is your boyfriend in treatment? If it were me that would be the angle I would be pushing, to get the most effective and appropriate treatment possible because it sounds like he is in a place where he can’t think differently. So if *he* can’t change, something around him has to change.

  39. Bone says:

    I’m printing this out and placing copies all over my job and dorm… Maybe someone will get the hint and actually listen…

    Great article it’s taught even me a lot about these things and I could use all the help I can get

  40. RieRie123 says:

    recently had a short bout of severe depression, and for the first time in my life, death looked beautiful to me. I did reach out to a few people, and 3 of them said ridiculous things! One was my step mother, who’s an idiot and I expected nothing less than a stupid response because she just IS.
    One meant well, and mentioned leaving family behind, and frankly, there’s only one family member I’m close with and she’d understand. We’ve discussed it.
    One know it all b!tc# that I. Mistakenly thought was a friend said she had been suicidal in the past, and went on to say a lot of idiotic stuff that made it obvious that she had never been to the depths of darkness. Her words were very “flippant”.
    I’m better now, but not thanks to her. She lost me as a friend the next day when she pretended to be right about everything and was non-apologetic about her attitude.

    • One of the things I find hardest is when people think they have an experience similar to mine and then they say something that makes me realise they have NO idea after all. Every so often people will say to me, “I even thought about suicide once!” It’s hard not to feel bitter or sarcastic when I’ve been regularly troubled by suicidal urges since I was 13, often daily for month upon month.

      • Jenna says:

        So when you beg the person to get professional help and they refuse to then what? Stay manipulated by their repeated attempts and guilt trips? Surely it’s okay to admit you don’t understand and that you can’t counsel them and have little energy for the drama that swirls around it all? It’s very tough being friends with someone who gets a buzz out of this I tell you. Such a waste of energy. So hard to stay friends when all you get is drama and be the shoulder to cry on.

      • You sound very angry. If you honestly believe your “friend” gets a buzz out of being suicidal, if you don’t feel you can help them and you hold negative views about them such as that their distress is a ploy to “manipulate” you, why do you carry on? There seems very little about mutual caring in what you have described. I don’t know either of you, but your interaction on the issues sounds so dysfunctional you could both be better off with you walking away. Perhaps examining your own motivation for staying might be more productive than pinning all the blame on your friend.

  41. Reblogged this on Trans* Cister and commented:
    Reblogging this after the tragic suicide of Robin Williams. If you are feeling suicidal, please call your local suicide prevention number, call 911, or go to your closest emergency room.

  42. Pingback: So Someone You Love is Suicidal: A Guide | Miss Kitty Stryker

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  44. Jenna says:

    Yes so walking away I have recognised I’m being played and enabling so just waiting to get blasted for that too. I have not expressed anger to the friend, yes she claims I am her best friend I am taking my stuff to my therapist and counsellor and yes I will save myself because I can’t help which believe me I have as have gone through the training but gee comes a time hey? All lives are valuable and worthy are they not? I have the patience of a saint but limits can get reached and it’s frustrating when people don’t get help when we have a lot of services here, 24/7 for suicide actually. Think I got to sadness today because I know the pain of being in a bad place I really do and it is awful, indescribable for anyone who hasn’t gone through it. “Pinning all the blame on her” well she’s the one using it not me, but I’m thinking now if I withdraw as clearly I’m not helping, perhaps she will move on to someone else and of course inevitably at the end of the day it is her choice. DH has this problem but has a very different way of dealing with it thank goodness. He doesn’t threaten he just gets frightened and we developed a safety plan to manage it. With professional help and meds this has decreased immensely. I’m so proud of him and happy for him as it is possible to manage. Probs friend has a more serious illness than what she has told me. Don’t know. Bless your work, thank you

    • Sometimes we try and try and it just doesn’t work. I have had to step away from friendships because trying to help the other person was making me more unwell. It’s not been something I’ve done lightly or happily, but in the end I’ve not been able to see any other way. Two unhappy people together making each other more unhappy is not a good situation. Only you can make that call, but when I have had to make it – the relief has been huge, even if it’s tinged with guilt.

  45. Alaina Adams says:

    This is brilliant. I’ve heard so many of the wrong things to say all my life, that some of those things had started sounding right to me. Thank you!

  46. Ana says:

    My therapist has pretty much all these things to me, that explains why nothing is getting better.

  47. Crystal says:

    I have been struggling very much as of late. I am facing being homeless in the snow in only six hours. I have no money, no food, and I fear freezing to death. So being in this vulnerable state the only two people I reached out to both hurt me so intensely. Both told me since I feel so hopeless to go ahead and get it over with. The “shock” method! All it did is reinforce the realization that not only am I facing all this but now I realize just alone I really am. I will continue to try to stay alive but they have made a horrible situation worse. Please if you care about someone don’t ever do that to them.

    • Oh Crystal that is so, so awful. No one should ever say that! I know what you are saying, they thought they would shock you into realisation that either you actually don’t want to, or maybe that you would rally round and decide you would “show them” by getting on with life but it really doesn’t work like that. I am so sorry that this happened to you. Sending love, Charlotte x

  48. Pingback: what they say about what to say about suicide | blahpolar diaries

  49. Reblogged this on StarkravingInsanity and commented:
    This deserves a reblog because I’m sure I’ve heard nearly all of these things and they all don’t help, for reasons said here. Brilliant post.

  50. Reblogged this on Suicidal Transgirl and commented:
    I have wanted to say many of these things but could never get the words to come out.

  51. mm172001 says:

    Reblogged this on Marci, Mental Health, & More and commented:
    Great post! Especially for those with chronic mental illnesses. A must read, even if it’s just the bold titles.

  52. Pingback: Listaliciousness: Weird Al with “Yoda,” Amateurs, and Jealous Batman | Rose with Thorns

  53. pvirant says:

    As though feelings respond to logic. Agreed, most of these reasons suck. The one that didn’t suck was simple, honest and counter-intuitive; he said: “I’ll miss you.” And that did it.

    • Sarah says:

      Been feeling extremely depressed lately and feeling suicidal as of now. I spoke with my partner about it to help me talk things out. She got mad at me and slammed the door in my face. She also said she wish I didn’t tell her that because now she wants to break up because of her religious obligations if I did commit suicide. This is probably the worst thing to say to someone who is suicidal. I feel completely hopeless and thought I could go without my meds and do acupuncture. Which is helping. I did let my psychiatrist know. But it’s 1:30am here and no one is responding.

      • pvirant says:

        Sarah, I’m sorry. I know what it’s like to feel alone and I don’t like it. I also don’t like feeling judged or rejected. Maybe, and I’m no expert, taking the meds as directed will help. My experience is that talking to other people who understand does. Perhaps you’d consider reaching out to them and sharing your struggle. I’m not meant to bear my burdens alone. Maybe you’re not either. What do you think?

  54. manyofus1980 says:

    Reblogged this on Many of us.

  55. kat says:

    Reblogged this on Me: Finding the Missing Pieces and commented:
    Something I wish everyone knew…

  56. The Angel From Hell says:

    Reblogged this on The Angel From Hell and commented:
    I agree, quite strongly. I find it interesting as well as slightly infuriating that people say these things to someone who says they want to die or who tries and fails but as soon as someone commits suicide, the same people praise the person for their beauty and intelligence and perfection.

    I don’t understand why we treat suicial thoughts or even any mental issue with such neglect until someone dies.

    I was watching Daria last night and in the episode where the football player died, everyone in the school goes “it makes you think”.

    Daria (or Jane, not too sure) mentions that people only praise those who pass away because they themselves are afraid it could happen to them. Which is kinda selfish, however so very true.

    I think as a global community we should all be supportive towards those with any issue however, this will probably never happen.

    The Angel From Hell

  57. Reblogged this on Nightsong's Nebulous Narrative and commented:
    I’m not Bi-Polar, but I know many that are, and I am far too familiar with the depths of depression. This is so incredibly well-said!

  58. Pingback: Trigger Warning | Just Gushing

  59. carrie says:

    I swear I need to forward this to my father. I myself have suicidal thoughts and I suffers from a few mental health issues and you know what my dad tells me “to get over it”. There is far to much stigma toward mental health a specially suidice and it drives me insane. The fact that my own family members know about my struggles and still call me selfish is truly worrying for them.

  60. wtf says:

    okay then what the hell are you supposed to say to them?? this is a pointless article, this literally takes away every possible thing you could say. don’t say “just listen to them”, because how do you listen? not everyone is a good “listener”, if you really want to help others with an article, write an article of WHAT TO SAY.

  61. Stephanie says:

    I have been told everything you are not suppose to hear. I closed my Facebook and stop talking to everyone however after reading this I reached out to a counselor that’s also a friend for help. I’m taking psychology almost have my Bach’s, just to figure it out, but now I realize I can’t do it alone. Thank you for posting this

  62. R says:

    Hi there – I really appreciate your post. I just ended a relationship with my boyfriend of 5 months. He has been experiencing suicidal episodes for awhile because of what is likely PTSD from an event that happened 2 years ago. Of course, the break up has triggered suicidal thoughts and I’m struggling to support him in the right ways and have struggled through it for most of the relationship. He does not have many other people in his life that he can talk to and he refuses to join a support group/seek therapy or any kind of professional help. I am the only one he is able to talk to and because of my empathetic nature, it has really taken a toll on my own mental health and I haven’t been able to properly support him. There were many reasons for the break up – but a lot of it stems from his refusal to get help and speak to others (of course you can tell by this statement that I have violated a number of the things on your list!). I know that it is selfish, but I figured if I removed myself from the relationship, I could support him better without taking his problems and making them my own. I’ve allowed myself to be hurt by the repercussions of his episodes and I don’t know how to fix it. He has said/done a lot of hurtful things because of his pain but I feel as if I am abandoning him. I know this is a complicated issue but what are your thoughts on this? I’d like to figure out how I can support him but keep myself healthy at the same time.

  63. Deborah Gessell says:

    I’m feeling unworthy and no one is listening. Time to get my things in order.

    • A dreadful feeling. I hope you find someone to help you through. A friend was quite blunt with me about ending up sectioned or in ICU. Tough love! But it worked. I was just two days away from implementing my plan.

  64. Anom says:

    God thats how i feel

  65. Hannah Winnen says:

    My best friend, who has been my friend for 10 years, even had saved me from my own suicide attempts, is thinking of ending it. I don’t live near her anymore, and though I am in town, I don’t have her address , she having moved a few months before I did. We talked over Skype, and I understand the feelings of suicide, being a near victim myself. She wouldn’t listen to a word I said. In fact she countered everything and made it out as another reason she should go. Because I know her almost as well as I know myself, if maybe a little better, I knew I had to stop the conversation before she blocked me out completely, so we both said goodnight…. She promised she wouldn’t do anything tonight…. But I’m not sure if I believe her…. And looking all this up, I’m afraid I made things worse. It’s freaking me out…. I took her seriously, I know how serious it could be. I told her, several times, that I was there and that I care for her. But what I’m afraid of, is the fact that I told her things would get better. I didn’t say when, but I did tell her. I also told her that suicide isn’t the answer. And after looking around, those two things seem to make it worse….. I was speaking from experience, but how can I be sure it didn’t push her away? I didn’t say “you have so much to live for” or “you have your whole life ahead of you.” But I did say “life is precious, and you shouldn’t waste it.” And things similar. Was that bad? Being on the end of suicide or on the end of supporting a suicidal friend is different….. When about to attempt suicide, you hardly listen to reason. You dwell in your thoughts. But when helping, you just don’t know what to say or how to say it, so it comes out wrong and makes things worse….. Like I said, I spoke from my own personal experiences. And I’m certain she knows that. But I don’t think she realizes that….. I’ve left the choice up to her…. The last thing I said was “good night” and I’m wondering if it will literally be the last thing I say to her….I know she’s stubborn, and I know she will go through with it if I’m not careful…I also know that the danger is very immediate…. But I feel helpless… I feel I’ve egged her on, and I can’t even call anyone to send help due to not knowing her address, nor be there physically due to our distance and interlinking schedules….. I’m afraid of what she’ll choose, and if I helped make her decision….. Was I in the wrong?

  66. cece me says:

    As a suicidal person myself , id like to tell you all to NEVER say any of this stuff because it WILL NOT help them!! They want to know what they mean to people and that someone is there to listen and understand. Not give them reasons to live bc they will not listen.

  67. Lost and unimportant says:

    My husband thinks suicide is a personal decision and has no empathy for me at all. On Sunday I finally just asked for a divorce and he responded by asking if I needed anything from the grocery store and left for the weekly shopping. For some reason I did not OD and he found me fully clothed cut and medicated and I woke up in bed the next day. The next day he told me we have a lot of tramadol still in the house, you know, for my pain. The next day I wrote out the divorce docs and he left for a blood test.

  68. Socially Awkward says:

    You ever get to the point where you want to get emotional support from your spouse/friends, but you 1. Feel they might think you’re just looking for attention 2. Start wondering if you’re feeling suicidal and wanting emotional support for attention (suspecting your own motives) 4. Not wanting to bog down loved ones with the weight of the topic and 3. Feel shittier just for wanting to be open about how you feel? It feels selfish to want to tell someone. This only reinforces how I feel. It’s not that I can’t think logically, it’s that I don’t want to. I want to die.

    I’ll struggle really hard not to send someone a message about how I feel. It is hard to hold on every day I feel this way. Some nights it only makes me feel more calm to fantasize about killing myself. Other nights it’s like I’m trying to pluck up the courage to finally try again. I’ve tried to OD before, but that was spur of the moment unplanned, and obviously didn’t work. Right now the prospect of my therapy appointment next week is what I have to look forward to. I can be relatively okay all day, until evening. I start getting seriously depressed for almost no reason at all. Instead of sending messages I use google to help me either find a good way to end it (I’m not risking anything that would leave me handicapped if failed), or to try to find emotional support through reading blogs.

    It feels like I’m choking on my own throat. I feel trapped in this feeling. I’m struggling to hold on, but every day it gets more difficult.

  69. Val says:

    Another one..

    “This is not you. Bring back the /old/ you.”

    It drives me crazy and I have to hold back an awful wave of retort whenever someone says this to me. I pretend not to care, yes. But it is a thought that I painfully indulge in every time it crosses my mind. There’s the fact that I tried to be good enough for them but they didn’t see that. They wanted the “old” me back. Why is present me no good? I took the blame. Blame myself. There is no other choice but to pretend… until the deed is done.

  70. BrizzleLass says:

    Reblogged this on mentalhealthvoices and commented:
    It can be very easy to say the exact wrong thing… These are some of those things.

  71. Natalie Jones says:

    I stumbled across this during a very difficult time in my life. I don’t know what I was searching for but reading this and knowing others understand the thoughts and pain was comforting.

    I’ve been battling depression for 6 years now and have been suicidal for even longer. You’re absolutely right, it’s not a temporary problem, and I can’t stand hearing that. For me, it’s an everyday struggle that seems like it will never end. Shoot this “temporary problem” has lasted through all of my youth and continues at the age of 23.

    It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally crippling. I’ve heard every one of these, and It’s not good to hear any of them. Especially the “think about your family.”
    It makes the pain worse and then your mind just races with more confusion and thoughts. Absolutely right, as if it’s not bad enough already feeling like a terrible person, this only makes it worse.

    I read another article the other day that in my opinion perfectly described the struggle. It said something close to this; having this pain, this disease is like being trapped in a burning building on the highest floor. Everyone is begging you not to jump but they can’t see the flames inside or feel the heat.

    Anyways, I think one thing that bothers me quite a bit is when someone says “Other people have it a lot worse than you do.” Drives me up a wall. Yes, I understand there are people that do have a harder life than mine but I’m reaching out for help. Don’t need to rub that in my face and make me feel worse than I already do.

    Anyways, sometimes there’s nothing you can say to someone dealing with this. Actions can speak louder than words, just being there for them shows a lot. Although honestly, if they bring it up, listen. They’re pouring their hearts out to you.

    Hopefully I won’t lose the battle but if I do that’s my decision. Good luck to everyone out there battling the pain that’s invisible to others.

  72. Michael says:

    You seem to be a big fan of these don’t say lists. While it’s very useful to know which land mines to avoid, do you plan on making lists of the top 10 things to say to people with mental illness or who’re feeling suicidal?

  73. aquamanatee says:

    Lucid, succinct, cogent, professionally warm and appropriately fuzzy. Hmmmm. Really, there are no words that seem quite right to praise and thank you for your brilliant recommendations. A friend is now engaged in suicidal ideation. But first, let me backtrack. One thing I adopted since first being diagnosed bipolar 12 years ago was a special abhorrence for DSM speak. The therapist I started working with then wisely suggested I think and speak not in terms of nervous breakdowns in the ’70s or manic episodes in the ’80s. Describe your especially difficult periods as just that, with some details of how your life changed, he said. He suggested I stay far away from books about people with mental and emotional illness, whether psychology textbooks or autobiographies. If you like, read stories about inventors, heroes and people who changed the world. Or, books about everyday people. Your 10 points might be the longest piece on psychology I’ve read since then. Thank you so very much. It would be a better world if everyone could absorb your wise counsel.

    • Ooh blimey, thank you very much! It’s only my own little thoughts from my own little experience. Sometimes however if pieces strike a chord people do print them off and show them to staff members 😉 Unlike you I read a lot on MH topics but I am not always satisfied so then I write my own 😀

  74. Flower says:

    I was just trying to find something to help me understand my feelings and this has really helped me. I don’t feel so weird as other people have said what I want to say too. I have disclosed a few times how much I want to take my life and the first time my care co-ordinator seemed concerned and I felt a lot more supported to express my feelings and I managed to work through it. Several months later, today in fact, I tried to tell her about how I’ve been seriously thinking about it again so much so that I’ve been pretending Im relatively ok, having little contact with the services and haven’t told her how significant a month this is for me (as its a year anniversary) so that she couldn’t know how I was feeling. She seemed to understand and said she would get he crisis team to ring. They did and seemed not to care at all. The lady I spoke to sat there telling me about how these different places are being shut down and didn’t once ask me how I was feeling or if I was safe. I wanted to talk about my feelings as they are terrifying but she didn’t give me the option. In the end I sat there having been told that they all just want the best for me but she’s got to go as an emergency has come in.
    I was so upset because: 1) it made me feel like I was being ungreatful for their help.
    2) that my feelings about taking my life were not important.
    3) that they didn’t believe i have been or would ACTUALLY kill myself as if I was just bored one afternoon and decided to say I did.

    I rang back in a bit of a state and said “I just want someone to understand how much I don’t want to be alive anymore” and was told that she’d spent half an hour talking to me and couldn’t spend any more time “helping” me because there are other people who need her help and she can’t spend all her time trying to help one person as it wouldn’t be fair.
    I feel like I am a nuisance for trying to get someone to help, feel like my feelings arent important or valid or even remotely real and this has literally pushed me to the edge.

    I think at the moment I am more angry than sad as I’ve taken a few of the things they gave me to stay calm and they’re just kicking in so I’m getting a bit foggy.

    What upsets me the most is that my feelings are real. They hurt. And being made to feel that I am just a massive pain honestly doesn’t help. I don’t know if they think that, if I feel guilty enough about taking up their time and effort, I won’t kill myself because I’ll feel bad…? I don’t know.
    What upsets me is that I know one day I will take my own life. The statistics show that the majority of people like me will die by suicide and that doesn’t seem to make any impact on them.

    What I think I am trying to say is that these people should be the experts and be sensitive to everyone’s feeling no matter what their personal belief is and it seems that the more often you express suicidal thoughts the less and less they see you as a risk and then quite honestly couldn’t care less.

  75. Stiffpilchard says:

    When I told my wife that I was having suicidal thoughts, she told me that everyone felt like that at some time. My mental health problems were ridiculed. I am now divorcing and am in a much more healthy relationship with a woman who does not put herself first all the time. Perhaps this line could be added to your helpful list. Thanks.

  76. K.M. Waitman says:

    It’s hard to live day to day hoping things will get better, but feeling like they never will. I once told my parents of my own depression and thoughts of taking my life, and the first response I got was “You’re just looking for attention.” It was the worst thing someone could have said to me at the time because it was spoken with such spite. And then there was “Well, maybe you should go talk to a counselor.” That only made me feel worse because it was like they didn’t care. I think it was supposed to be an attempt to help me, but it felt more like someone saying “I don’t want to hear it. Tell someone who can deal with it.” And then the real icing on the cake was “You wouldn’t even know what it’s like to be depressed. You have such a good life that you have no reason to be depressed.” I’ll add that this was followed by a story of why my dad was allowed to be depressed and I wasn’t because my life is great and I have no reason to be depressed. It has always been my belief that it is impossible to help someone with their problems by simply trying to one-up them with your own. By telling me your life is worse than mine in order to make me feel bad for talking about my own problems, you have become a part of the problem. I’m all ears for someone to talk about their problems and vent or ask for advice. But don’t use your experience to make me feel bad about myself when I already hate myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. They’ve made sure I have what I need in life. It’s not possessions that make someone happy though. I don’t need a reason to be depressed. There are certainly things that trigger some of my worst times, but the feelings are always there. For anyone reading this that may not understand depression, please just hear this: if someone trusts you enough to confide in you the way they feel, please hear them. You don’t have to have an answer. You don’t have to know what it feels like. Just understand that they are hurting and they are reaching out to let you know. Don’t make them feel worse about the things they feels. Just let them know you hear what they are saying and be there when they need you. It’s the hardest thing in the world to feel like you can’t talk to someone because they don’t care enough to hear it.

  77. D says:

    The one article I’ve found with sensible, truthful and useful insights that I can totally identify with. I also have bipolar, am painfully lonely, have a stressful minimum wage job I can’t escape (and don’t qualify for Government assistance) and I think of suicide nearly every day. Your article sets it straight, does not patronise and made me feel less alone. Thank you for writing it.

  78. Me says:

    That all made me very sad and it got my mind back on suicide. I guess it’s my fault for reading it. Can u give any things that you can say to people who are considering suicide?

    • I’m really sorry to hear that 😦 you’ve given me some food for thought… I’ll see what I can come up with!

    • audedu says:

      Do you have someone to talk to who acknowledges your pain and stands empathetically with you? A dear friend did that for me and gave me an adult coloring book and some colored pencils. I know there are a couple of people I can talk to more than I do; I just choose not to. What has helped me more than anything is discovering that my pain serves a purpose by equipping me to other people in their darkest moments, not afraid to sit with them in the dark until my friend agrees to let a little light in. I was very encouraged by Eric Jensen’s brain research and his mantra: “the brain can change.” I find comfort in studying neurogenesis, which is the process of regenerating the brain. I have tested and found true the theories about increasing hydration and oxygen though drinking more water, eating cleaner food, and increasing physical activity by walking or dancing. Sometimes I don’t feel like doing those things but it comforts me to know that it is my choice; I know I got have a moment of joy or a spark of energy if I exerted the effort (just the comfort of knowing its within reach is enough). I also adopted a Christian worldview over ten years ago and that made a significant impact on my perspective. There are some bloggers whose words resonate with my heart: Purple Persuasion & Summer Saldana. Look up Summer’s January 20, 2016 blog post titled “A Letter to our Children About Anxiety.” The perspective of this letter really helped me reframe my thoughts (which tend to turn inward this time of year). I have found it helpful to think about my thoughts and try to catch and name whether I’m thinking inward or outward. If my thoughts are inward and I’m agitated, anxious, angry, bitter, hopeless, deflated, or sad then I intentionally shift my thinking outward by taking action that forces me to think differently (this usually means writing a letter or card to someone, responding to someone else’s blog post, coloring, working on school or ministry related tasks, planning my kids’ birthday celebrations, reading my Bible and/or working in a prayer journal, going for a walk, going to visit someone, accepting an invitation to an event I might really want to avoid and going anyway because it serves as a useful “behavior excercise,” watching a movie: my latest favorite is The Road Within on Netflix). Hope this helps 🙂 :::Hugs:::

  79. audedu says:

    Thank you for posting this. It affirmed I am navigating appropriately with my 20 year old son who says he doesn’t care whether he lives or dies. He has said that he felt hopeless. I asked him if he was safe, if he wanted to go to the hospital for a few days, or if he just needed more face to face talk time with me. He assured me he was safe and accepted the offer for more face time. Being limited with time (having a 12 & 7 year old as well as a husband and full time job), we also supplement with Google Chat time. I’ve put together comprehensive plans, goals, & support documents for him but I’m concerned it may be too much information. He tried medicine and didn’t find it effective. He agree to go to counseling starting next week. In the meantime, my husband (his step-dad with whom no relationship between the two of them exists) insists that if I fail to establish an agreement that promises consequences for lies or failure to commit to or follow through on pursuing a job (he quit the one he had), then I am sustaining an environment of risk in which his likelihood of suicide is far greater than if I push for some momentary discomfort (like having him served an eviction notice and offering to drive him to our town’s ministry homeless shelter). I want to help my son and despite his years of denial, I know he’s been depressed over half his life; he’s admitted to it within the past few months. As I struggle with my own depression, it is encouraging to hear that at least I haven’t said any of the 10 worst things. If you have any advice about what to say instead, please share. I have given him a gym pass, books, and tons of empathy. I have shared how I cope and researched social stories to help script him through some of the social interactions he shrinks away from. Open to more ideas and insight 🙂

  80. anne says:

    That list of ten things not to say… Ive been suicidally depressed for two years and my Mum has said just about all of those. She loves me completely, and apart from my ex she’s all I have; but when I turn to her I feel worse. 😦

    • Oh I am really sorry to hear that, Anne 😦 She means well, everybody who says those kind of things means well, but it can feel so invalidating and isolation when they do (((hugs)))

  81. Sara P says:

    I was diagnosed with depression 9 years ago. I find its the ebb and flow of it that is so exhausting and gruelling, ive attempted suicude three times now, i even hate that statement because my failure to do so is laughable….. I went to my gp this week to tell them of my recent attempt a few days before and to ask to be on some different/stronger meds……. I left feeling even more alienated and foolish then i already do.

    The doctor (i had never met her before as there are many at my surgery and emergency appointments cant come with requests) made me feel so stupid.
    1) She told me one day i will feel guilty for what i feel today (guilt is the only reason ive made it this far).
    2)She told me that since we dont know if there is another life after this its crazy to want to die.(i dont care about an afterlife, i want peace, i want nothing.)
    3)She was surprised that i have a degree as though only a unintelligent person would be suicidal. And then looked at me with serious judgement and lack of respect then asked me why i work at nandos if i have a degree….. (because only the uneducated and aimless work in restaurants?!….oh wait, i am aimless…)
    4) she also told me i am not the only one that has problems “infact if you ask a two year old if they have problems they would say they have”……

    Yes i hate that i am alive, yes i feel guilty becasue i feel this way. Yes, i realise that people are dying with terminal illnesses and i am selfish for not appreciating life…..but i can promise that if i could take their place so that people more worthy could live and i die instead, i absolutely would. I know other people have problems too, i know many things, my problem isnt a lack of knowledge, my problem is my heart and my guts. They cant think, they only feel.

    It is as though i must be stupid because i dont subscribe to what the rest of the world does, i would if i could….. But alas, in the eyes of my gp, i am merely stupid or attention seeking. From now, i think silence will do me better. When i asked for help, i feel i just got belittled instead, am i really that crazy that a ‘trained medical professional’ delt the need to talk to me this way????

  82. Mr. Nobody says:

    Responsibility keeps me from doing it. Not Love. How funny is that. Not the thought of people crying. But the thought that the people I support financially will be screwed. Tears will dry up, homelessness is harder to bounce back from.

  83. Kerstin says:

    “Positives”. Exactly the things I did. And didn’t listen to his pain but thought, as usual, he just needed some space to sort things out. It was just a few days ago. And he actually said he was frightened. Me? I was “exhausted” from listening to other people’s pain for a living, and didn’t even read that text properly at the time. Too late. And I, rightly so, have to live with this knowledge that I didn’t take his pain that seriously as suicidal. And because I was “busy” and therefore “exhausted” I didn’t even read properly. And every other excuse. And in one month, this is not even the only time. Another friend had reached out as well and i didn’t see the red flag then either. But now, there is a third. Another ex has recently texted me that they have told their parents they’ve been depressed and suicidal. I’m not going to make the same mistake this time …. but yes. Listen to them, Make time !!! xo

  84. I wonder if you might have some advice. My sister has been manic depressive/suicidal/bi-polar for as long as I can remember. I have always been there for her. She is going through another episode of suicidal thoughts but the fact is, I really don’t have anything left. I cant keep propping her up all the time. She gets like this every time I do anything at all that doesn’t include her and quite honestly I am getting tired of always having to be there. I am dealing with a lot of my own issues and major health problems and I simply cannot lift her up as well as myself at the moment. This sounds terribly selfish I know, but I have been there for 20 years now and just once, I need to put myself first and get myself healthy. I don’t know what to do anymore?

    • Really sorry Steph but I’m really unwell right now and not in a place to give advice. Hope you find some answers elsewhere.

    • Someone recently put it to me like this:

      When you fly on an airline, there is a safety demonstration where the flight attendant tells you to secure your own oxygen mask first, then help the people around you, even if they are in need. The plain and simple truth is that if you run out of oxygen, you will be useless to those around you who need your help.

      Its the same here. You have to look to your own well being so that you can continue to be support for anyone else. What good can you be to anyone if you’re dead?

  85. Cat says:

    Just stumbled on this blog. It’s a great read and I was surprised at some of the things you suggest not to say to a suicidal person but came around to your point of view. My first suicidal attempt was when I was 14 and I’m nearly fifty. Ridden the emotional roller coaster my whole life. Presently I feel depression just white anted my life. A couple of weeks ago I was jolted out of depression by a friend’s terminal illness. Feeling very guilty because depression makes life hard to live and death appears as an escape. But I’ve been fortunate to always be/feel connected to people and that pulls me through. Suicide ideation is a physical/emotional hell and what has stopped me these last few years of relentless depression is focusing on how selfish the act is( it would devastate and anger those who love and depend on me) and talking about it to my partner and therapist. They do not judge but discuss it like any other topic. It gives me mental space to disconnect from my misery. I was only thinking recently how good it would be to have a space like this blog to access. Depression laced with suicidal thoughts is lonely. I feel fabulous at the moment, calm and have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and the responses. It is a validation of all our experiences and gives us hope to just surf the wave and make it back to the shore. Read a great book last year ” Understanding the suicidal mind”. It has helped me disconnect my mind from my body and not punish the body. Take care and I’ll keep an eye on this blog.

  86. MyTimeIsComing says:

    Another thing I hate hearing is, “It’s the cowards way out.”

    Do they not realize, what we are doing is not cowardly. It takes a lot of strength and guts to pull off a suicide.

    And not only are you calling me a coward, you’re just pushing me to prove to you, that I can, and will do it.

  87. Anon says:

    Very very true. Well put. I think the comment “think about your nearest and dearest” is the worst for me. I’ve experienced it from both sides. My sister committed suicide after many failed attempts over the years. She left behind a 6 year old child and it sent me into an anorexic mess. However, I also see it from my side. I’ve always been suicidal too, in and out of hospital for attempts. Only the past two years I have stopped the extreme attempts. When people say to me “you’re being selfish, think about your loved ones” it makes me want to do it more. They make me feel selfish for being here anyway so why wouldn’t they want me to just die? They constantly moan about my mental health yet I definitely don’t invite them to my door to witness it. I’m not angry at my sister, never will be. I understand. Don’t think it’s possible to understand the pain til you’ve lived it

  88. Anon says:

    P.S. Totally agree with the comment “it takes more courage to injure yourself enough to die”. It’s so true. It does hurt alot and it’s absolutely terrifying, especially when you think it’s going to be a sudden way out, sad that at the time that’s you’re only thought

  89. Anon says:

    I have spent the past 8 years sick to death thinking my partner diagnosed bipolar might kill themselves. Their episodes can be so explosive and intense, aggressive and bordering on violent towards me that staying in that situation is hard and dangerous. If I leave I feel terrible and fear they might do it but I have also stayed and physically had to try to restrain them to the point where I am having a panic attack thinking this is it they’re going to do it. I honestly don’t know what can be said to defuse the situation when the suicidal ideas come up. I love my partner with all my heart and soul, I can’t bear to think of the pain they feel.

    • I am diagnosed as Bipolar II with anxiety and panic attacks. I am 71, a woman, and have periodically been suicidal since I was about 15. The following has been my experience:
      1) Nobody “gets” what it is to be bipolar unless they’ve been bipolar, except a very good psychiatrist. There is a waiting list over a year long for new patients for every psychiatrist in the second largest city in Oregon and within a 200 mile radius.
      2) I am going to be homeless in less than six months because my husband of 48 years decided he wanted to redo his life by divorcing me. I have no living relatives who will help me in any way.
      There is a waiting list over a year long for public low cost housing here. There isn’t even a room for rent that I can afford on my Social Security of $824.00 per month while still managing to eat and pay utilities, let alone do anything else like own a car or pay insurance, medical or prescription bills. My Social Security is such a small amount because I have been restricted to part time work for over 36 years. I once had a very successful, high paying career and was regarded as being high functioning. Unfortunately, bipolar spending and the failure of my husband to protect me financially led me to have minimal savings, now long gone. My husband is refusing to pay spousal support and what he could pay wouldn’t help much. I have a Master of Business (General) Degree, haven’t worked in over 11 years and have mailed out over 400 resumes in six months. I’ve had only two job interviews in six months, neither chose to hire me. I have several moderate physical disabilities but could still work if someone would hire me, which they won’t.
      3) I was treated by psychiatrists for over 35 years before being told I was finished with therapy. I am still depressed, but am the most insightful depressed person imaginable.
      4) I’ve heard all the ten worst things you can say to a suicidal person, even from intelligent, well educated, well meaning persons. Other people who say these worst things as well often have in their lives (past or present) encountered someone else who is depressed and/or suicidal and given them the “Can’t you just pull yourself together?” speech and become angry. People who say these and other worst things are frustrated and often are verbally abusive when the sick person doesn’t and can’t “pull themselves together”. Then the abusive, angry person feels guilty. The truth, as I see it is that if you haven’t experienced the disease yourself you “don’t get it” and there are few who are as angry as those who don’t get it because they have been abusive in the past and feel guilty. There are none so ignorant and as likely to say the worst ten as those who don’t get it because they don’t WANT to get it. They don’t want to get it because they are carrying guilt about past abusive treatment of those who have it.
      5) I doubt I will last the six months until I am homeless. My consolations are that I’ve already suffered enough and am really tired of coping and that at 71, there is little time left anyway and, under my expected future circumstances, no quality time left.
      The truth is that while most people run out of time, I have run out of space. Soon there will no longer be a place for me on earth. I wish all of you good luck. Do what ever helps you, by all means and do your best, but don’t expect too much.

  90. suicidal says:

    A truly evil article. The author comes across as “I am in the health field so I am the expert”. Most of the things on the list have prevented suicides. Once upon a time, there was a student who shared how one of these statements was told to her is what stopped her from suicide. Death is permanent. This author has no business in the health care field.
    This list is an illogical angry rant… reminds me of a person who did counseling who had his clients leave his office in tears. He acted like he was the one in the know, when he was often not… Lots of arrogance from health professionals who do not have a clue, but when they get a job title, they damage clients and teach things such as this mostly false article–which looks like an elementary school student wrote–“crystal ball”–what unprofesional craziness.
    Maybe being in a mental institution and having been very suicidal and having one’s life saved by these statements… one who has gone through it knows… but this author–no.

    • I am not, and have never claimed to be, a healthcare professional. In fact, the strap line of this blog is “by a mental health service user”. I said quite clearly that this list was created by a person who has frequently been suicidal – in fact for almost 30 years – and has heard a lot of extremely unhelpful “advice”. If you had taken the trouble to look at some of the comments you would see how many people who have been suicidal agree with me about how hurtful some of lines in this list can be. Perhaps as you have not read the article properly and have totally misunderstood my background, yet are clearly extremely enraged, you may wish to consider who is mounting the illogical, angry rant. I wonder where that vitriolic response is coming from. Perhaps you have tried to help in the past and don’t like to hear that your well-meaning attempts might not have been quite what was needed. Maybe if you did read the article fully and open-minded my you could see that everyone makes mistakes – the road to hell is, they say, paved with good intentions – but there might be other, better ways of communicating that you haven’t previously considered.

  91. helen maboloc says:

    it really helps…thank you

  92. Here goes, I am Bipolar since age 8. I also have borderline personality, PTSD, and panic anxiety. But wait that’s not all. I have fractured my neck and back at 18 due to a suicide attempt when I drove about 90 miles an hour into a ditch, I ruptured a disc in my lumbar spine and bulged out the surrounding discs when I slid in water at the age of 21, then when I was 23, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Behcet’s syndrome which wreaks havoc all over and is potentially fatal. I’ve been diagnosed with gastrointestinal disease when I was 24, then diagnosed with bursitis in both shoulders, then diagnosed with tendonitis in both hands and wrists when I was 35, then I was diagnosed with C.O.P.D when I was 40, so I quit smoking, that helps, then last year I was diagnosed with Endometrial cancer and adenocarcinoma and had surgery, then I was told I have Lynch syndrome which is a gene mutation that makes me susceptible to a multitude of cancers. With all these things, the damn government will not award me Social security benefits, because I play drums for a hobby. I have lost almost everything. Now if that doesn’t count as a good reason to commit suicide, then I don’t know what does.

    I’m in pain both physically and mentally every day. I have no family, or one that will talk to me anyway, no significant other, no children not even a cat because I can’t afford one. I have a counselor, but all the pills and counseling in the world will not change my sucky life.

    I believe that some people are meant to suffer and some are meant to lead a charmed life. I am one who is here to suffer. There’s really nothing more I can do to change it. I have tried so many things, but it just keeps getting worse.

    I will find a way that is painless to take myself out of the game, as I feel I have served my purpose and it’s time to go on to the next life beyond. How can anybody blame me? If you do, you need to remember, you’re not me!!!!!

  93. My friend helped talk a woman out of jumping off a railway bridge this afternoon. Many people were gathered around the woman asking what was wrong (police, ambulance, members of public), and of course the woman wasn’t answering.
    My friend waited for the woman to make eye contact, and then said to her, “Please DON’T DO IT. My schizophrenic cousin tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a train. He wasn’t killed but lost an arm. Please DON’T DO IT. I’m sure there is something someone can do to help.”
    In my opinion, my friend showed incredible empathy and compassion. Because she had been in a similar place herself at one point. She had to leave soon afterwards, as the tears were welling up strongly in her eyes and it was best that the woman was helped by emergency services.
    When she got back to her workplace, which overlooked the scene, she could see the woman being helped down from the bridge.

  94. Louise says:

    Alternatively, they just don’t care that much about you. A lot of these statements seem like defense mechanisms. Distancing themselves from you, ignoring your problem, to keep themselves feeling good and okey, and to self sustain.
    People don’t like pain or problems and they will do anything to keep it at bay.
    Even the people you think love you, will turn out to be loving themselves more when shit hits the fan.
    I have experienced this behavior since childhood with my mother. When you were loving towards her and there were no problems with you, she didn’t treat you bad, still of course ignored you, or simple couldn’t understand that you were a real person with psychical or emotional needs. But, if any problems arose; maybe you had problems with academics in school ( my patents never cared about school or homework), maybe you were being bullied, maybe you had to get a winter jacket or maybe you were sad and wanted someone to comfort you; then you were a strain and a problem, and demanding to much of her poor self.. you see, she needed you to not need a thing – you know like real kids are; like pets, that only need food, water and a place to sleep, and the weekly cuddle, when she feels like it to.
    Sorry to sound bitter, but some people shouldn’t have kids, if they only do it for their own needs for love or companionship.

    As to things to say to a person who’s suicidal, I think it depends 100 on who you are talking about. A person who really cares will not distance themselves from you to self protect, they will actually engage, and ask you about these thoughts and feelings you are having, actually talk to you and not at you, and at the same time look like they give a shit. If that’s not happening, don’t waste you time, and don’t let these people make you feel worse in the proces. Parents/people who are empathetic, don’t distance themselves when they hear pain or thoughts of self harm, period. And that includes paid “professionals”.

  95. Pingback: Ephemera and some light housekeeping | patronizedsaints

  96. Pingback: Talking to someone who is suicidal – The LonePack Blog

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