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notsoblond's avatar

What do you do with suicidal thoughts when you know you won't actually make the attempt?

Asked by notsoblond (2487points) 2 months ago

asking for a friend

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28 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

I’m in pain, day and night, awake and asleep.
So far they can’t diagnose me.
I won’t bore everyone with all the details, but after years of this not letting up, rather steadily getting worse, I find myself seeing interrogation scenes in movies and think, what a puss.

When I was told a year ago that I had ovarian cancer, I was sad for a little while, but then I started hoping it was inoperable.
The biopsies came up clean, and the cancer turned out to be scarring. The doctor was excited to give me the good news. I got depressed. I had been hoping to get doped up on painkillers until I died. I felt that way because I had thought numerous times about suicide, but knew I could not actually do it.

Espiritus Corvus talked me through a lot of it, right up to a few days before his passing. He kept urging me to get writing, get published, and make enough money to get better doctors.

notsoblond's avatar

I’m 40k is student debt. 15+k in medical debt and climbing. I had to write a bad check for my husband to see a doctor so he could return to work. That’s $150 because we aren’t insured yet. The ER asked for a $250 deposit that we dont’ have. Not counting the bank fees for bad checks. Uhaul wants an additional $475 for our move. This on top of everything else. I can’t take much more. And we have no living room furniture. My husband has been sleeping on old wicker chairs because laying down in our bed is too painful.

notsoblond's avatar

Im ready to jump in Lake Mendota a block away and be done with the suffering. I was close to it last weekend.

rebbel's avatar

A friend of mine had the same; at certain times in his life he had periods in which he had suicidal thoughts.
But going alongside with these thoughts he was aware, or convinced, that he wouldn’t act on it.
He was not that convinced that he thought it was a good idea to just let it be, to not deal with said thoughts.
He was, fortunately, wise enough to tell someone, in his case, his girlfriend, and a bit later, his GP.
In other words, he took it seriously, he gave it the attention he was sure it needed.
The idea of being freed of worries and hardship was very calming, in a way, but he also was shocked when he thought that he was going to miss out on all the things he so much loved.
Mainly his girlfriend, his parents, his brothers, the children he cherished.
Together with the help of a psychologist, his girlfriend, and his will to fight, he got into calmer waters.
He took on his pile of problems and worries and obstacles, one by one.
And with every obstacle ousted, his energy, his confidence, his joy, slowly slowly, came back.

Right now, my friend, mý friend is doing well.
I sincerely hope your friend will talk to someone they trust and have confidence that they can be of help in, and be well.
Bless them.

SaganRitual's avatar

I can speak with authority on this one, having botched my one attempt, and having found myself still imprisoned on this horrid planet when I woke up in the hospital. But I haven’t tried again. Why? Because (1) I’m afraid of suffering and (2) the drugs I used for doing it painlessly were easy to access, because I had a drug-addicted girlfriend who kept herself stocked up. I stole a bottle of soma from her, and started downing pills (soma just makes you fall asleep, no pain).That was years ago. I broke up with her not long after that, and she got herself cleaned up. I don’t know where to get more. And I can’t afford them anyway.

As I say, I’m afraid of suffering, so I went for the drugs, rather than strangling myself or jumping off a building. Sitting here at home over the last ten years, usually unable to go out the front door, I’ve found myself trying a few different things: putting a plastic bag over my head, trying to “choke myself out” with a belt and leave it tight, so the blood wouldn’t start flowing when I passed out. But you know, either I did that choking out thing wrong, or there’s something no one tells you: there’s a moment during the process when it feels worse than any feeling I’ve ever felt before, very similar to the feeling of panic you get when you hold your breath too long (or put a plastic bag over your head). I couldn’t push my way through that awful feeling. So I’m stuck here.

What do I do with the thoughts? I just suffer. I watch my birthdays creep by with maddening slowness. I cry all day on the New Year, as it reminds me painfully of how many years I still have looming in front of me: at least 40, if I live as long as the other men in my family. That’s a long time.

I disconnected myself from all my friends, so there won’t be a big uproar when I’m gone. I have one friend left, and one family member (I was already estranged from the rest of my family). I can’t seem to shake these two loose. They have both given me a really hard time about my one attempt, and insisted they would be absolutely devastated if I were to kill myself. Although it sounds terrible, I have wished death on both of them, so I can be free of this place. (I don’t mean I’ve told them of my wishes. I just mean sometimes it gets really bad.)

I do other things too. I go to the psychiatrist, because my remaining friend pesters me mercilessly about it. My psychiatrist gives me drugs that lift me up from suicidal to just pissed off that I’m stuck here for another four decades. The drugs also make it nearly impossible to have an orgasm. That is going to make forty years a really long time. I mean, it was going to happen anyway, but I could have gotten ten more years, I’m sure, and a tapering off, rather than a sudden loss, like an amputation, like losing my best friend.

I also see a therapist regularly. For a couple of years, I went twice a week. Then I ran out of money, because I couldn’t stay employed when I stopped going out of the house. But I can afford once a month on my Social Security income—for which, by the way, I thank you and all the other American taxpayers here. If your friend can afford therapy, tell him to do that. See if a therapist can help him to work through his feelings. Many people get a lot of benefit from therapy. And a therapist can say whether a visit to a psychiatrist is advisable.

Also tell him the usual things: eat better, meaning less sugar, less processed food, more food that doesn’t come in a package. Drag him out of the house to get exercise, the more the better, but even a half-hour walk every day is useful. He needs to find a hobby. Helping other people is really rewarding. Of course, being mean to them is fun too. Whichever works best. And you, pester him, the way my friend pesters me, by not letting me sit home alone in the dark. She texts me at least once a day to make sure I’m still here, using up oxygen that would surely serve a better purpose in someone else’s lungs. I hate her for this, but your friend might benefit. I’m told that I’m an exceptionally hard case, which is why the doctor had to give me so much medication that I can’t even enjoy playing with myself any more. I guess most people have better brain chemistry and don’t need a handful of horse pills every day.

Tell him to do all the above things, and with any luck he’ll feel better. Tell him he’s not alone, and there’s hope. Peace to both of you

janbb's avatar

I think the friend needs to address both the practical problems in their life, how to get out of debt, any family issues, etc. – and in therapy address why there are these tremendous downs and possibly mood swings that need to be evened out. Perhaps there is a free mental health clinic where they can get therapy.

I am teaching an essay by Barbara Kingsolver called “High Tide in Tucson” in which she says there are times in her life where she says “let me be a good animal” today, that is, all she can do is function on a basic level.

If your friend is in debt, I would suggest they try to spend very little on extras and really work on reducing the debt.

For me, having a plan of activity for the day helps me keep going but at nights, the anxieties come to life. Right now, I have no virtually no relationship with one of my sons and my grandchildren and I have no idea why. I think about it for a while, then I push it back down.

chyna's avatar

After my divorce almost 20 years ago, I was in horrible shape. I had 58 ambien pills. I would lay them out each night and think about how easy it would be to take all of them and never wake up. Then I would think about what it would do to my family. And I kept saying it would get better. I would swipe them all back into the bottle just to do it all over again the next night. I don’t remember how long I did this, but it was quite a while. Eventually it was less and less as other things started taking up my time.

janbb's avatar

Another thought, if they have a hobby such as art, music or photography, I would suggest they try to spend time each day doing that. My walking group helped me get through the end of my marriage and painting classes helped a great deal when a guy I loved broke off the friendship.

notnotnotnot's avatar

I would tell your friend to try to work through the inevitable rage that s/he feels at being told to buckle down financially. The fact is – it’s a fucking crime that your friend is in such a dire financial situation. This is not your friend’s fault, and s/he is definitely not alone. Anyone who thinks there is something s/he could do or should have done and places the blame at her/his feet are apologists for a system that has benefited them at your friend’s expense.

As for the suicidal thoughts – I have people that depend on me and would be hurt if I were to check out. And hearing about your friend’s pain and situation has my blood empathetically boiling.

Please ask them to reach out for immediate help if they feel very serious suicidal thoughts creeping into something close to action. Suicide helplines, etc. Also, righteous anger can be a good thing that can help motivate people to fight for economic justice in a way that improves the lives of everyone.

I’ll try to pm later.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I just watched a TV program on people who had had laser eye surgery and depending on the patient 1% had complications right away or years later, they were checked as all OK but it wasn’t until this year or so that a a world specialist with superior equipment discovered why these patients were suffering in silence and repeatedly told that there was nothing wrong and that it was all in their heads!
Some had searing pain hourly in there eye area and therefore suffered for years !
It was discovered that even though there ophthalmologist tests showed nothing irregular that this specialist discovered that these eye doctors equipment were outdated and therefore not able to detect that in the initial laser treatment that there nerve endings were deleted under the Cornea too! This cannot be repaired and the human eye needs these nerve threads.
Many had suicidal thoughts and feeling of hopelessness of course as they were not taken seriously either.
I suggest perhaps that your friend find an expert in the medical field to better assist her possibly mistreated treatments for relief. Get an expert (top level) to check her out as he/she may relieve the pain entirely! Not all medical staff accurately solve a patients medical check with may help .
Here is the link to that show that I saw:Laser surgery gone wrong and patients not taken seriously.
W5 Episodes S53 E05 · The Unkindest Cut

I hope that this encourages some to seek better medical help to relieve their pain correctly.

Inspired_2write's avatar

At one time in my life I lost everything as I had to sell my furniture or actually downsized to an single apartment from a 3 bedroom Townhouse.
I only had a sofa,a bed,and an old TV of which I placed on packed boxes as a TV stand.
I was on assistance for a few months and in selling my furniture had a damage deposit and first months rent for this new place.
I got onto Credit Counselling and they assisted me by first applying for bankruptcy for my student loan debt of which in 4 years with a suitable plan and budget it was paid in full.
I regained credit and sensible in not taking on more debt or buying things on credit etc
I worked three jobs to pay off and clear my debt and stabilized my life better. At times to make it I worked 6 days per week to clear the debt faster. As soon as debt paid I then only worked one main job and had time to socialize and live a better life .
My suggestion is to go to a Credit Counselor who will get the creditors off your back and plan a way to live comfortably all the while paying systematically the debts. At lest check them out and decide if this is for you and your husband. Strength comes not from falling as throughout our lives we will fall many times, but strength comes from getting up again and the more one does that they in fact DO become a stronger person for it plus they get the confidence to KNOW that yes they can beat any problem! Good luck I hope that this helps someone who feels hopeless now? We all go through pain and suffering but know that it can be overcome with the right assistance. Good luck.

kritiper's avatar

Everybody considers suicide. It’s normal. If you have those thoughts and you won’t act on them, then they are nothing to be concerned about.

flutherother's avatar

Student debt and medical debt. Your friend should be angry rather than suicidal. Having to pay $150 to get back to work?? I hope your friend remains alive to enjoy life and remembers to vote!!!

Zaku's avatar

Sometimes it’s time for something to die. It’s usually not your physical body, but your way of relating to your life. When you dislike your life that much, it often means you’re ready to let that die.

rockfan's avatar

When I used to have suicidal thoughts, I would look around the room I was in and focus on specific objects to make myself present and mindful of my surroundings. It really helped me with my racing thoughts

JLeslie's avatar

I remember what someone once told me when I was a teen. Most suicidal people don’t want to die, they just want out of their current situation. That was like an epiphany for me. Do I want to be dead? No. Do I want to be out of pain? Yes. Whether the pain be physical or emotional pain (including things like stress, sadness, depression, and basically anything that is hard to cope with).

My way of coping with life is a balance between being very cautious to try not to wind up in difficult situations, and not protecting myself so much that I get paralyzed by overanalyzing things. Sometimes it’s unavoidableto about bad situations. Sometimes, when I try to protect myself, I make things worse. Nothing is perfect.

Do everything you can to feel better is what I would say. When someone is so depressed they are suicidal sometimes it’s hard to enjoy anything, so it’s a difficult task. For me, I plan things I enjoy, so I have things to look forward to.

I understand what @Patty_Melt spoke about. My sister and I cal it passively suicidal. It’s when someone is ok with dying, but they don’t actively “commit” suicide. I went through a time when I was ill, when some treatments I did I really thought might kill me, but I just went ahead with them, because I was in so much pain I was ok risking it. I don’t think I was quite at the point patty_melt was, I didn’t want to die, but I basically had no pleasure in my life at the time. It was all day just getting through and dealing with pain.

The thing is, after about 8 years of chronic pain, I finally was able to get significantly better. You just never know.

Patty_Melt's avatar

@inspired, I am the one in pain, not a friend.
I have been to doctors in multiple states and including specialists. This has gone on far more than a decade. When I see my regular doc in a few weeks, I am going to offer an ultimatum. I’m giving her four months to find a diagnosis, or a specialist who can, or I give up permanently on the medical community. I will self medicate.

@notso, you have how many kids again? How much do you expect them to endure? Poverty can be overcome, but kids tend to miss their mommies. Do you really trust that your widower would marry a wealthy new mommy for them?
Better just hang in there and tough it out, so that on graduation days you can hear, “I’m thankful to my mom for all she went through to get me here.”
One more thought which has kept me going, if you suicide on a rotten day, you have chosen to give up having any more good days, ever, and; who wants to die on a good day?
Be greedy, and stick around to see how good the better times get.

tinyfaery's avatar

That’s tough. I know exactly what that feels like. The best thing to do if you absolutely cannot get psych help is take care of yourself. Get enough sleep. Sleep can effect everything else in your life. Exercise. Eat well. Talk to friends and family so you don’t feel so alone.

Whitecoyote's avatar

I dont know and scared…people have said frightening things to me here and it is normal I see…I wish that I would not be in great pain but I do not know why it is okay and normal…

Zaku's avatar

@Whitecoyote Did you mean that as a reply to this question from @notsoblond, or to one of yours?

Whitecoyote's avatar

how do you reply?

Zaku's avatar

@Whitecoyote By reply I mean answer, but reading your answer above, I wasn’t sure what you wrote applied to anything in this question or its answers, and it seemed more like something that might fit some of your other questions, so I thought maybe you had posted to a different question accidentally, as I have done a few times.

canidmajor's avatar

@Whitecoyote has left the building.

notnotnotnot's avatar

I’m uncomfortable with the fact that @notsoblond has not logged into fluther since posting this for her friend. Anyone know if her friend is ok?

janbb's avatar

She is.

augustlan's avatar

Number one: medication, medication, medication. I cannot stress enough how getting on the appropriate medication saved me. Therapy is also extremely helpful, but medication is quicker and can get you to a place where you can actually appreciate and make use of that help. Friend should ask their regular doctor about meds for depression and anxiety asap. If the first one doesn’t work, keep trying!!

As for what to do about the thoughts when you know you will not actually do it…I assume there is a reason the friend isn’t acting on the thoughts (family, children, fear, etc.) My personal reason was that, apparently, I didn’t actually want to die…when I hit my lowest point and had the means and motivation, I couldn’t do it. That was a huge relief to me, and I could sort of ignore those thoughts pretty much permanently. I now take suicidal feelings as nothing but a sign that I am not doing well mentally and need to examine why and try to get better.

But, if whatever is keeping the friend from acting is a temporary situation (not until the kids are grown, not until my husband is well, etc.), one could try to make a contract with oneself to revisit the suicide idea ONLY once that reason no longer exists. Every time the thought enters your head, tell it to GTFO, that this isn’t its time. Meditation/mindfulness might help with that. In the meantime, of course, you’d be doing everything in your power to fix and/or feel better about things – making that future revisit completely unnecessary.

Lastly, remember that people love you. No matter what. <3

notsoblond's avatar

I had to log out. I’m sorry for worrying some of you. I’ll respond when I can but for now I came to thank everyone who answered and messaged. Life is a rollercoaster right now and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been without my SSRI’s for over a month. My son keeps me going.


happyfeet's avatar

I simply try not to stop myself from seeking for help. Yes a lot of people let me down, yes sometimes it added on to the misery, but as far as I remember, almost everything or anything used to add up to the ever draining thought process. So, the solution I found for myself was, constantly reminding not to stop taking it out by talking to connected ones, to concerned people, in positive spaces because you will always find somebody “WHO CARES”
And I would want to Thank you for sharing the thought here and would love to say “We Care”
and you can connect with me any time if you feel like talking :)

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