How do you Cope with Someone’s Suicide Ideation

This might be the one of the worst subjects for me to open up for discussion and some might view my opinions as a little controversial or maybe even cruel and unsympathetic. I would be interested to hear what other people think, even if it is to help me see the error of my ways.

There were times in the past when I was just as suicidal as the next person who suffers from a mental health condition. I imagine most of us have experienced this kind of dark ideation. I do get that.

I seldom say that I feel suicidal, although I may well have used that terminology as a means of expressing the sheer hopelessness of depression.

I remember once admitting to a Psychiatrist that I was a suicide risk, but my intentions were purely to seek the appropriate help I needed at that time.

I understand and admire all the reasons why someone would be brave enough to admit their suicide ideation.

What doesn’t sit well with me is when a person chooses to elaborate on the ins and outs of their half-hearted attempts at suicide without any apparent purpose to their testimony, other than to express how bad they’re feeling.

Maybe I should feel more sympathy, but I just can’t identify with this need.

We are all partial to various degrees of self-pity but there are other ways to indulge, rather than talk for an hour about an insipid set of events, which supposedly portray a serious suicide risk.

I don’t want to listen to stories about climbing to the top of a tall building, only to remember that vertigo stands in the way of jumping off the edge.

I would rather not know about someone buying two bags of heroin to swallow with the very last £20 state benefit money, even though she is currently on a medication that cancels out the effects of the drug.

While I do know how it feels to sit at home isolated and unable to answer the phone, I do question why anyone would then take a call from a relative, just as she begins to feel ill from taking an apparent overdose.

“Sorry, auntie, I can’t talk because I am just about to die,” is hardly the voice of someone wishing suicide.

I have watched people in seizure and as far as I am aware, they usually experience amnesia before and after the event. I am sceptical if someone describes a convulsion in detail.

When I have listened to someone’s wishy-washy endeavours to die for an hour, my patience runs out.

I am not a mental health worker. I have no responsibility for anyone who is on a ‘woe is me’ trip and neither do I need to take it seriously… I just wonder if I should, morally.

Maybe I should have more empathy. Maybe I should feel more concerned for someone’s state of mind and safety. Maybe I should, but I don’t. The only emotion I feel is anger, which feels confusing to someone who usually possesses bundles of compassion.

I tried last night to think about any experiences from the past that might contribute to my lack of empathy for this kind of scenario. I don’t know if this is it, but I had a flashback to my mother’s depression.

Mum was a very moody and temperamental character and we all know how everyone in close vicinity suffered the brunt. I remember her speeches of martyrdom and even though dad provided a comfortable life, she was always having such a terrible time. Her suicidal depression was my fault.

They say psychotherapy unlocks memories buried deep within our subconscious and perhaps this is the root of my agitation. Nevertheless, the realisation does not help me feel any more compassion.

I would love to know how you deal with other people’s suicide ideation.

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65 thoughts on “How do you Cope with Someone’s Suicide Ideation

  1. jamborobyn

    It makes me angry too. Feels like an extreme form of manipulation to me. Needs a clear and definite border, IMHO. My last response to this kind of thing, even though I felt a little guilty at the time… “oh my, I completely forget I have to be somewhere else right now.” Does this person have a therapist? If I had to listen to that for too long I would end up feeling very depressed. So I’m glad your self-protection mechanisms are in full working order (ie. anger). BTW, apologies for my last comment, Cat, that was like a fast tracked power-depression I just went through. Back now with the gold. It was probably worth it because I had a few illusions about myself to drop and now all this empty space feels like fresh air and freedom instead of a black hole.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I felt it was manipulations and seemed to pick holes in her very vivid memories from the start, maybe the insecurity is what I picked up on.

      No apologies needed for your comment, Robyn, I completely understand and only too pleased you could express yourself – better out than in! I also know how it feels to be facing up to a few realities about ourselves, tough, but doable

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  2. Priceless Joy

    Seems to me your past experience with your mother has a lot to do with how you feel. But then, anyone who announces they are are going to commit suicide just to get attention, doesn’t have my empathy either. I know though that all “serious” suicide attempts are really a cry for help. I get that. I have empathy for that. (Really, anyone that talks about or attempts suicide is really crying for help, even the “attention getters”). There are two people that I really loved and cared about that completed suicide and there were no obvious cry for help beforehand. I sure wish there had been.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Interesting, I hadn’t thought about the past until I was wrapping up that post, it maybe plays a little in my response, but maybe I was also picking up in insincerity and that’s hard for me to take. It is hard to lose someone close, but when it’s from suicide, it is even harder to accept and question why you didn’t see the signs.

      I will listen gladly to people feeling suicidal, but not when they’re trying to glorify it with a set of unbelievable events. Anyway, thanks Joy 🙂

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  3. edwinasepisodes

    For those that truly have suicidal thoughts, I have a great deal of sympathy, and really feel for them . I would do anything I could to help someone like that. However when someone threatens it to get their own way or to manipulate a situation to their advantage, then makes a half-hearted attempt at it, I get a little annoyed, I appreciate they need help and should get it, but to deliberately cause no end of trauma and grief for their loved ones, is not acceptable.

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    1. Cat Post author

      And I think these people tend to forget the effect it has on whoever is listening. It can be a brutal act of violence and is not easy to listen to. I too have sat with someone suicidal, but I just cannot abide a running commentary of a set of events that maybe didn’t even happen. Anyway, I am relieved most people don’t want to lynch me… mind you, a good whipping might cheer you up! I can just imagine you in all that rubber gear… oh God, on second thoughts… that image will be burned into my retina forever… how did this conversation manage to go from something serious and dip so low into dirty trivia

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  4. Ellen

    I think your experience with your mother is a powerful influence here Cat. That might be where your angry feelings belong.

    I definitely do not believe that a person who talks of suicide is ‘just trying to get attention’. My own experience with something like this was in group, where a member was about to admit herself to hospital because of her issues. I felt overwhelmed in that case, and also that group was not the place to deal with this overwhelming problem, and so also angry that I was having this experience. However, I never actually felt it was this member’s fault. That was my experience.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It was so strange to reach the end of this post and suddenly have the memory of mums suicidal depression and how this must have had an impact on my attitude, although I still feel impatient of this kind of talk, regardless.

      I am not sure if someone is necessarily seeking attention, but certainly laying the stories on thick to describe how grim the depression is, but to go on for almost an hour in the group and be allowed to continue…..gggrrr

      At the end of the day, I am analysing my own experience and response to the situation rather than what she said to piss me off. It brought up a lot of stuff for me. This weekend has been very difficult trying to process it. I was almost annoyed for going to group in the first place. I was feeling down, anyway, and my downs tend to be accompanied with agitation. On a different day, I might have responded with more compassion.

      Thank you, Ellen. Jee, therapy, who needs it, eh?!!!

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      1. Ellen

        God yes – who needs it – is my thought today also! We are suffering together. It’s especially distressing if therapy makes you feel worse, when you’re already struggling.

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  5. littlevoicetalks

    All true. My own part has just been about shutting up noise. But self-pity and woe is me is part of the process but when in a serious episode, I really don’t have any recognition of events, timescales, what I left, what I said, until I come back home to myself.

    However I do have great remorse and shame when true association to my own body comes back.

    Distress can be so overwhelming that living is so painful and dying seems so much more like a time out. I guess my own shameful worrying of people recently came as a cry for help. I felt I just wanted someone to take over and save me. But that is my job. And when the mind is working with rational thought, I realise this is my duty to myself and to deny myself that accomplishment would be heinous crime as it would to leave behind all the people who have done their very best by me.

    I make no excuses for it when the sanity returns. But I guess psychosis is one biological reason it can occur. And in moments of clarity, I also feel some people find support in expressing something that is seen as a taboo subject. Much like most mental health issues.

    It’s a funny old life as my dear Nan would say. The polarity of my moods euphoric and low probably express themselves right or wrong in an a weird excitement for life that is neither a correct experience or so low the thought of suicide is neither a moderate or appropriate reaction.

    Thoughtful post. Xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Self-pity and ‘woe is me’ is not only part of the process, it is necessary to our healing. Like you, my serious episodes are a blur with gaps in time and perception. No one wants to die, but it feels the only way out of pain and helplessness.

      Please don’t feel ashamed about your blog post, that is not in the same league as what I am writing about here. What you shared was perfectly acceptable and I would only encourage people to speak out whenever they feel this way.

      Thank you for sharing, it means a lot

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      1. littlevoicetalks

        I guess with anything, if someone is repeating claiming anything, there can be a kind of fatigue and threat of suicide is lost a little like ‘crying’ wolf if it is used to manipulate or control.

        I get injury-fatigue. People rejoicing their ill-health and expecting me to be interested when they are sat on a spin bike and should clearly be in the bosom of their families if they are that close to death.

        I also get pregnancy-fatigue. Piles are piles and regardless of them being your piles, it’s what you decided on when copulating for baby-purposes. I’ve sat through endless conversation of ‘my baby’s poo is so cute!’ No, really it isn’t. It’s poo. Xx

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  6. Borderline Functional

    I agree that perhaps your ongoing life experiences with your mothers martyrdom may have an impact here, as you’ve endured years of someone avidly expressing false pains and this may have lowered your tolerance or changed your understanding of such expression.

    I also think that it can be hard to hear things like this from others when we are feeling so low and shitty so much of the time and don’t express it. It can feel like people who express it seemingly frivolously are making a mockery of such feelings.

    Sometimes I get angry or frustrated by peoples recounts like this too – and I don’t know if it’s just because I don’t believe the weight of that specific person’s words or because I’m lacking empathy at the time (although I’m usually completely over empathetic). The situations I’ve been in where I was called to the aid of someone describing their suicidal intentions have never seemed seriously legitimate. There was one time shortly after a suicide attempt of my own where someone texted me saying their goodbyes and I frantically called and called, rushing out to look for them, only to find them sitting happily at home with their partner, not out and near to death as they had described. This infuriated me and I’ll never understand why they did that, but seeing someone invoke such a serious thought and project it so carelessly had me beside myself.

    By contrast, when I read things regarding suicide or suicidal thoughts here, or hear them from people whom I know quite personally or someone else enduring mental illness etc, I don’t dismiss them whatsoever, so I think that it often comes down to the person.

    I don’t think that all people who express their ideation are attention seeking and I know all too well how it feels to be consumed by a suicidal state, but as I that I have not been one to threaten, mention or even utter thoughts of suicide to others, it can be hard to interpret these kinds of expressions from someone else.

    It’s generally a very complex thought process, so I feel it’s best to give the person the benefit of the doubt first up and inquire more to seek out what’s behind the thoughts or experience, this way I can determine the best course of action. Of course if you are in the position where a professional is able to deal with these thoughts (such as group) I think it’s perfectly acceptable to take a back seat and focus on your own feelings in order to try and understand your reaction. It may help to lessen the anger if you understand whether or not it’s because of your own pain or because of the person speaking that you feel so uncomfortable. It may not go away all together but perhaps it will at least benefit you in other ways, or even just help you pass the time.

    A very thoughtful post Cat, thank you for being brave and sharing it! 🙂 xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      The ‘mum-memory’ is definitely a popular theory among commenters and I would tend to agree it must play apart in an unusual lack of compassion. Don’t get me wrong, I will encourage anyone to speak up when they’re feeling suicidal and I will do whatever I can, but maybe it was more to do with recounting pathetic events that became difficult to believe.

      I was feeling very low to begin with and as soon as I mentioned my mood in the group, this character spilled forth, on and off for an hour. As you know, whatever is an issue for you in group, is usually a problem in the big bad world. So, I tend to look within, once I get over the initial anger, and try to fathom my own responses.

      Thank you, I appreciate your comment

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    2. Anxious Mom

      A (rather distant) in-law relative announced on Facebook once that he had nothing left to live for and was killing himself, don’t call. Well I saw it and freaked out, had my husband calling, my MIL and FIL calling, etc. Everyone was terrified. By the time someone made it to his house, they found him out back fishing and seemingly clueless as to what the upset was over.

      From other things the guy said, I got the idea that maybe has suffered from some depression and he needs to know he matters to others, and that was his way of doing so. I dunno. I won’t pretend to understand it, since I know the times I was low enough to seriously consider that the last thing on my mind was telling one person, let alone 800 on Facebook, but I won’t judge either since I know everyone is impacted by that stuff differently. And handles it differently, obviously.

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      1. Cat Post author

        I suppose it’s not so much about understanding the behaviour as it is recognising the desperation behind the woe is me. As you say, it’s not good to judge this type of scenario. Thanks AM

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  7. hbhatnagar

    I’m no one to judge and I don’t, as a rule. If you feel no pity or sympathy for people who you think are just asking for attention, that’s fine. You don’t have to feel guilty about it, or even wonder if you should feel bad about not feeling guilty. We are all built differently. We all might say the very same thing and yet mean something very different each time. Do some people ask for attention when they talk about attempted suicide? I’m sure they do. Are some of them just emo teenagers with no real idea about what they’re talking about? Of course they are. Are some of them just getting it out for the heck of it? Yes. Are some of them seriously talking about what brought them back from the edge? Yes again. Can we figure out who is who in this cacophony of voices? I can’t. Do I feel pity for every dumbass out there talking about suicide like it was the next big fad only to post the next day how effing “awesome” it is because so-and-so called them up and wowie, isn’t the world just full of colour? Maybe not. Do I then try to talk to everyone who talks about suicide or just shut the eff up and wait and see? I try not to wait, I try to send a couple of messages across and see how they respond. Some are in tears that someone bothered to reply to their post, some of them are plainly emo, in a few posts I get the general idea. But still, I don’t see why you shouldn’t react differently. It takes emotional energy to deal with such people and we don’t have unlimited supplies. Hell, I shut down and take a break from time to time. The thing is, you feel what you feel and there’s no reason to feel bad about that, Again, I’m not judging you at all. Please believe that. If you don’t feel up to this, don’t do it, it’s not your responsibility. Do what you can to help who you want to. Be honest to your feelings and I guess that’s the way to peace…
    That’s a long comment! I’m making a post of it on my blog! 😀

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    1. Cat Post author

      Your message is very comforting and validating. I do usually have compassion, but it is okay if this sometimes runs dry. That might seem a small fact, but it is quite a significant realisation. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Heathers Helpers

    This was a tough one to read but I do understand most of what you say. I agree with a lot of it too. There are a lot of people that use suicide as a threat, a way to control others, a way to make others feel guilty etc.
    Then there are people like myself who was suicidal for years and never told a soul. I never admitted it and I wore a smile brighter than anyone else in the room. NO ONE would have ever known that the only thing I was waiting for was for my children to all be adults and then I was doing them all a favour by removing my screwed up self from their life. NOW that seems crazy. I can see how messed up that is. I couldn’t then though. I was too far down, too trapped, too confused to find my own way out of it.
    So yeah… attention seekers are annoying as hell but true suicidal ideation comes with none of the manipulative tactics that you mention.
    And I must admit that when I read things like this, I feel even more guilty for ever feeling that way but I didn’t know how to get out of it. If you knew my life… and the fact that 3 of my sisters completed suicides, you’d find your empathy for those in TRUE trouble really fast I am sure.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I do have empathy and respect for those who share their suicidal feelings and I have experienced someone in need who had my undivided attention, but this was just different. Still, his need was to tell everyone how bad he felt and my reaction probably comes from hearing to many martyrdom speeches.

      Thank you for sharing, Heather

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  9. CUCH

    Trust me, when somebody is suicidal, they won’t broadcast it to the world. I know of three men who took their own lives and told nobody.

    I myself felt suicidal nearly three years ago and though my brief dalliance on the top of a cliff was a fleeting moment, it was a serious consideration. Had I planned to go there and jump, again I would have told nobody because I wouldn’t have wanted anybody to try to stop me.

    I wouldn’t be disparaging of people who do broadcast it because it is clearly a cry for help. Nor would I be quick to label people “attention whores” because of how they choose to act upon it.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I agree, people who are serious seldom broadcast, but you’re so right about not being disparaging. Thankfully, I controlled my own emotions and didn’t tell this person how their ideation affects me, but I do need to work through an appropriate response for next week and messages like yours really help me to do that fairly, thank you

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  10. Ruby Tuesday

    I think what you’re describing sounds a lot like “para-suicidal” behavior: people making attempts that they believe are real, but on another level believe they will ultimately be saved from — a serious cry for help that is repeated when they tell the story to you.

    I had to cut ties for a time with a friend like this, a very close friend, and even though she is doing really well now, I still hold her at a distance; not because of her past cries for help, but because I ultimately still fear she might screw up one day and get it right.

    But you’re right, you aren’t a professional. While this may be something real to them, you can and do have every right to establish firm boundaries for your own mental health.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Ruby… parasuicide is not a term I was familiar with, interesting, I may even have acted out a few of those behaviours in the past.

      It’s very difficult when a friend cries suicide like you describe, but fortunately, this wasn’t a friend, so there was even less tolerance.

      It has been great to hear what people think, thank you so much for taking the time

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  11. Sharon Alison Butt

    We’re human so we may get it wrong one day and realise the person was dead serious (‘cuse the pun) but that is no-one’s fault.

    Your blog made me laugh even though you didnt intend to be amusing. I was waiting for the wrist one: they want to slash their wrists but hate the sight of blood.

    I know someone who is a serial attention seeker who has ‘attempted’ to take her life a few times. I can’t vouch for the others but I know that she is too selfish to kill herself coz she loves the attention too much.

    She has ‘fainted’ many times and wobbled and even though she has claimed anorexia for three years, her calves are 4 times the size of mine.

    I watch people fussing over her as I once did and it makes me cross, so I understand your fury.

    Genuine depressed people need the attention but she just likes to waste people’s time.

    Unfortunately you seem to be describing such a person but on a good note, you are wise enough to spot it.

    Dont feel guilty for not succumbing to their games – I know you would go out of your way to help someone you thought was geninue and deserate for help.

    Do you remember that clip in ‘Crocodile Dundee’ when a man was stood in the ledge of an office building waiting to jump? He just put his hands in his pockets and said, “Okay I’ll wait because I need to pass.” 🙂

    Keep doing that. Your discernment will tell you when the person is serious about suicide.

    The other thing is attention seekers can sniff out a guillible victim so never give in to them. I see this girl studying people and as soon as someone shows her too much attention, out come the stories.

    You are right, you can do without the actors and actresses in your life.

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    1. Cat Post author

      “Dead serious” indeed, lol. I had to laugh at bits of the experience too and I am pleased we share a similar sense of humour. Oh, I’ve also experienced the attention seeking fainters and the convulsing on a very convenient soft surface! It can be more annoying to watch people being sucked in by this kind of behaviour, I just want to give them a good shake, but if we say anything, we might be vilified instead of them.

      Discernment is everything and perhaps this was why my patience was at an all time low

      Thank you, Sharon, your comment helps 🙂

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  12. rootstoblossom

    Group therapy often makes me angry. I think anger is easier for me, if I’m going to feel something out of the void it is something like annoyance and anger first. That can deflect the more powerful emotions I may get triggered into feeling perhaps, not sure about this yet, still learning. I know some of the anger I also felt when it seemed the group counselor was not taking control, letting someone go on and on, forcing us all to listen with no end and no point, with what felt like wasting my time (like high school). Like I have this inner self-importance? I mean I lost my job due to this horrid illness, how could it be wasting my time to listen to other people’s experience’s? All I have is time now. Is it because we can’t find the value, the kernel of truth to take home, or is it because something does hit home too closely? Are we afraid we sound like that or possibly could someday, or are reminded of someone who did (like your mum)? Is it our inner shame getting us too? I don’t have any answers for you, but I think this type of discussion and emotional analysis can be truly helpful for us all. I feel boiling angry when others speak sometimes, just screaming silently in my head “shut up, shut up, shut up” and I think I can’t take it, that my head will literally explode. At the same time I tell myself to calm down and grow up, amazed at how strong my reactions can be to someone simply talking.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Group therapy can be so difficult and regularly invokes angry emotions in me. You’re so right, it seems easier to cope with anger than some of the other painful emotions. The only problem is, anger tears me up, it is self-destruct at its best, and this is actually what I am looking at more than what this character said to annoy me. If someone upsets us up in the group, IME, it usually signifies something within, like a reminder of someone difficult from the past or a sense of something we don’t like about ourselves.

      I need to respond to this person at next week’s group and in many ways, writing this post is a preparation for that event. I need to be very careful not to tip her over the edge, while being honest about what lies within me.

      Thank you for your very thought provoking comment, it helps immensely

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  13. therabbitholez

    Interesting topic, When growing up with the kind of mother you had, it was just a guilt trip to make you all bend to her will,comply in her rampant narcissism, how terribly cruel that is.

    Over the years I’ve known several people who seemed to me always on the verge of suicide and even made half hearted attempts, only to be saved at the last minute, which always pissed me off, because i’d been sucked into their drama, and their abilty to talk about in detail, which always tended to be about the act and rarely the reasons behind it.

    Always though at the back of your mind, there is the thought what if they really want to die, so it kind of keeps you there just in case, which of course is their manipulation and your own guilt that if they did and you walked away what kind of friend were you, it does open up all these type of questions.

    In my own case I didn’t tell anybody, just planned it, but when it came down to it i couldn’t do it, that is my cowardice, but more than that I got frightened that I’d come to this and picked up the phone, which was my salvation, when the last more serious bout bout of depression hit, suicide entered my thoughts, but this time It wasn’t about doing the deed it was about not waking up, which of course I did ans glad I did, and it was not until I started blogging again that I let it be known, and since have told a few friends who were of course shocked, one even commented that I could have been there for weeks and no one would have known, which was true.

    I see often on blogs here, “cries for help” to be franks scares the life out of me because there is no way i can do anything about it, and you can spend days waiting to see if they post again, as that is your only indicator that they didn’t go through with it, even sometimes with the reply “I’m ok now” hmmmm.

    It’s not always easy to articulate the why, sometimes it just seems like your only course of action, many do find a way, and sadly too many do not, but also it’s impossible to gauge how serious a person is, there are a myriad of triggers, each unique and not always possible to understand.

    Those who talk about their many attempts like they’re talking about a new dress I’m very wary of, because it’s dangerous to glorify suicide, especially as a way to gain attention.

    Cat thought provoking and has given me my next blog topic, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this subject.

    Cay xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Being sucked into someone’s suicidal drama can be very challenging and, as you point out, we need to stick with it just in case they might do it this time.

      It’s chilling to think of my own dangerous self-destructive behaviours in the past and going to bed praying never to wake up. I never broadcast my own darkness, I would have been too ashamed. Nevertheless, I do understand those cries for help, it’s the crying wolf that worries me.

      Fortunately, I am sensible and compassionate enough to keep my views to myself because they can be unhelpful to the person in despair. Writing this post and reading the comments has been helpful to work out my response for next week. I need to be able to express the anger without tipping her over the edge.

      Thank you, Cay, for your comment, it helps, and I look forward to reading your own post on the subject.

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  14. painkills2

    One time in a group setting, I saw this person reading a book while another person was talking. I thought that was pretty rude, and maybe even made the person talking feel like what she had to say wasn’t important. Silly me, I spoke up about it, and then was firmly reprimanded by the therapist. During the next session, the selfish person who had been reading started talking about her problems — and she talked for the whole hour. Talk about boring. But the therapist let her ramble on and on, as if the two of them were the only ones in the room. Actually, it was more like the selfish person was the only one in the room. Talk about rude. I sat silently during that session, and then just stopped attending. The End. 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, your experience sounds similar to my own and the Therapist sounds as helpful as the two we have, sometimes I wonder what they learn at training. Thanks for commenting

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  15. kat

    i feel, at its best, it can be a point to which others who also reach(ed) this point can gravitate. these are immense, overwhelming dark moods, periods that affect a lot of our ‘regular’ life, even if they are mere thoughts.

    conversations on this point can therefore open up a dialogue for the group where it is ok to talk about it, and so each can support and express ‘the knowing of the feeling’. this means now, these individuals are not alone in this feeling, but are a group.

    this means, that there are ways out. that SI is not the end, not the only solution. this means, these people can be made aware of other techniques to help reach to the side of wanting to live, and maintaining it. then the road to physical and mental health and growth can begin.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, I would agree, Kat, but perhaps there is a fine line between identifying with one another and it being all about one person in the group and I am not sure how helpful it is to go on about a set of events that didn’t even sound real. Thank you

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  16. Andi

    Embellished conversations about suicidality are frustrating for me to sit through. I mostly feel sad for the people who obviously need the attention and sympathy. I wish they could simply ask for it, rather than procure it through a means I deem to be quite manipulative.

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  17. cardamone5

    I get panicky, like oh shit, now if you really go through with it, it’s on me. i could have stopped you, but I didn’t. Then I am annoyed at their selfishness. Then I remember how awful it feels when you are in that place, and I feel guilty. Then I get angry again that I feel guilty. The thing that pisses me off the most is that mental health professionals want to know, in detail, about the suicide plan, but then they don’t seem to have any clue how to really help someone out of it. Oh, I am sure there are exceptions, but in my experience most mental health professionals just suck at actually doing anything more than documenting said plan, and usually just make the person feel worse with their “you need to do this to feel better.”

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    1. Cat Post author

      I would usually go through a similar process, but for some reason it didn’t go down well on this occasion, I was more annoyed than sympathetic and that evidently bothers me. I agree about the MH professionals, most are useless and often encourage, but then I suppose they can never afford to be blasé. Thank you, Elizabeth

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    2. Cat Post author

      Hi Elizabeth, I have tried connecting to your blog a couple of time lately, but it only comes up as the gravatar profile page. How are you? Is everything ok?

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  18. mm172001

    I think it often depends on the relationship with the person who is talking about suicide and what manner they are addressing it. I have been guilty of saying I want to die, but it’s usually followed up with a please help me and that’s why I brought it up in the first place. I feel if people know I have mental health issues they feel more comfortable talking with me and I feel honored that I can stomp out the silence and stigma. But if they are glorifying it or being to graphic I shut down, I don’t think you need help or I can’t give you what you need. The biggest thing I think is your relationship with the person speaking. Are they in a group therapy with multiple people using up most the time. Not okay. Is it a parent saying it to their child. Never okay, I went through this. Is it someone you just met in a psych hospital, it goes back to content. Is it a good friend, or someone I know that struggles, or someone that has no one else to talk to. With any of those I’m okay. People need to tell their stories and not be ashamed. But be mindful of who you’re sharing it with, why, and specific content. I do not put up with any people that brag about attempts.

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    1. Cat Post author

      You’re spot on, Marci, it does all depend on the relationship and the manner they address their experience. Unfortunately, this was a group setting and the person is habitually taking up too much time, which only added to my impatience. I have also said I want to die and there were times I prayed never to wake up after taking what could be seen as an overdose, but I didn’t tell anyone, only years later while reflecting with my Therapist.

      I will give all my time to someone in this state of mind, but it just didn’t sound genuine. At the end of the day, it’s about seeing past the attention seeking behaviour and this person is evidently in a desperate state.

      Reading all the comments has helped me gain a better perspective, thank you, Marci

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  19. Pingback: On Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts | Echoes of My Past

  20. mandy

    I see you were right when you commented on my blog today that we’re thinking on the same lines. How crazy is that? I really get what you’re saying–it can be hard to listen to the people who go on and on; unfortunately, a couple of people who have and then finally followed through with the threat–boy did I feel terrible. I’ve had those ideations myself but I always felt so ashamed of those feelings I never told a soul–and I really needed to tell someone. Like you, I think growing up with a mom who was always on deaths door–in her mind anyway–I became immune to the threats. But I think it’s helped me differentiate who is using it to manipulate and the ones who really need an ear–and I’m usually more than glad to lend that. I think we have to be able to be honest when it’s just more than we can handle though, and try to direct them to someone who really is able to help. It’s good you could step outside of it all and trace your feelings of wanting to keep a distance to your child hood experience with your mom.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, I did chuckle when I noticed our similar topic. Unfortunately, it’s our fear that someone may well commit suicide that keeps us focussed on them. I get that and have gone along with that type of scenario in the past, but sometimes people manipulate attention and time with their tales of suicide attempts that were as risky as crossing the road. I have had my fair share of ideation and even attempts, but only shared those years later with Paul.

      It has been great to read there people’s point of view and it helps me work out a response for next week. I need to remember the desperation behind the tales. My focus has been more on why it affects e so badly and why I have a problem dealing with anger, rather than how she pissed me off. Thanks, Mandy

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      1. mandy

        I wonder if the feelings of past manipulation is triggered when some people start sounding “familiar” to us? I used to let myself get dragged in for the long haul and came away feeling worse than ever. I’ve since learned to set my boundaries–and that’s hard for me. I will be interested in hearing if you come up with a concise explanation.

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        1. Cat Post author

          Lol once again there’s a little telepathy going on because, just as your comment came through, I had just started typing out the other side to this suicide ideation story, which is an explanation, but I’m not so sure about the concise part 🙂

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  21. betternotbroken

    I was in a relationship where someone did this to me and it was beyond harrowing, actually now in retrospect I see it was part of the abuse cycle. I tried to help the person, but if it happened today I would call and report their plot to the police or suicide help line. That is a large burden to place on someone and I am sorry they are struggling but what do they expect you to do for them? Group settings can be hell, there always seems to be one person who hijacks the group or “cannot” be helped and in return harms others trying to get the help that will not “help” the person going on and on. I am sorry you have been in that dark place, I hope you continue to find the light when you need it or the light finds you.

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    1. Cat Post author

      Yes, I experienced a similar relationship, so I appreciate how harrowing it can be. I guess we never know how serious a person is or how dangerous their plight becomes. I think the group setting and hijacking of time probably contributed to my impatience and lack of empathy, but the comments here have helped gain a better approach. Thank you for your contribution, much appreciated 🙂

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  22. D.G.Kaye

    Your mother’s depression was not your fault, and part of that sickness was leaving you feeling as though it were. My own mother, a narcissist, loved to martyr and used threats of suicide for attention. She’d take a few valiums, and drink then tell someone she took a bottle; a ploy for attention. It scared the hell out of me as a child. Some parents should just not have children. 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      Those kinds of dramatic bids for attention are sickening and they manipulate us with the fear that they might just do it this time. I don’t think parenthood should be a right for everyone. A narcissist is bad enough, but a martyred narcissist is a lethal mix and the only people to witness the true ingredients of that mix are those who see the martyr behind closed doors, everyone in the public eye only ever sees it through the martyred mothers eyes

      Thank you, Debby

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  23. D.G.Kaye

    You got that right my friend. 🙂 Thanks again for letting me know what you can and cannot see on my site, it’s in bad shape. Been on with tech support for half a day. Crossing fingers it can be fixed. 🙂

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  24. Glynis Jolly

    I know some attempt suicide to wake up people around them to the unfulfilled needs they’re having. It really is a cry for help. There are those others though who really want to leave this life. They don’t was sympathy, empathy, help of any sort, or attention of any kind. They feel it’s time to leave. It could be because they’re angry, disgusted, or just plain exhausted with the whole idea of living. How do I react to people wanting to commit suicide? I ask them why they want to do it.

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  25. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this. I completely understand where you are coming from. For me, it depends on my emotional state at the time. Sometimes I can’t handle hearing about others’ pain, I am too wrapped up in my own. Other times, I want to know how people end up in such dark places and come out of them.
    Until I had my own “failed attempt,” I never really understood the “attempt” part. I always attributed the “unsuccessful” attempts to attention seeking behavior or, as you said, a cry for help — while I attributed the completed suicides to mental illness and gave them more validity. I recently wrote a short post about that revaluation. https://bumbleblurb.wordpress.com/2015/07/15/honesty/
    Again, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I can totally relate to feeling too wrapped up in our own pain and it is right to take time to ourselves whenever we feel that way. It’s also nice to share and listen to other people’s experiences.

      I’m pleased you left a link to your blog because you’re gravatar is anonymous it says “someone” I’ll be over to have a look at your post. Thank you for contributing here. It’s always comforting to know we are not alone

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