Suicidal Thoughts by Melissa Mashburn, guest blogger.
Her blog is at http://www.sugarfilledemotions.com/
September 5, 2010 through September 11, 2010 is National Suicide Prevention Week. World Suicide Day is September 10th.
I thought about providing information about the warning signs of suicide, but I decided that there would be plenty of blog posts about that this week. I thought about providing links to informational websites, again there are probably going to be loads of posts with that information. I even contemplated creating a list of things you can do to provide awareness about suicide, once again, I figured there would be loads of that out there. What I decided to do is just talk, and explain why it is so important to intervene when someone is exhibiting signs or expresses out loud that they are suicidal. Interestingly enough, I was interrupted while writing this post due to a suicide death in my extended family. It has given me a lot to think about, and has changed some of what I was going to write.
Any time someone is on the verge of suicide, one thing you need to keep in mind is that they are sick. Some of the symptoms of their illness are suicidal thoughts. When a person gets to a point where they are so sick that they are having suicidal thoughts, you should think of it as if they are dying, because they are. They need immediate and intensive care. In other words you must do whatever it takes to get them the care that they need, NO MATTER WHAT THE SUICIDAL PERSON SAYS.
If someone you love was having a heart attack or a stroke, life threatening events, you would not hesitate to get them help. You also know that they would receive intensive care to give them every chance of surviving what has happened to them. You should think about someone having suicidal thoughts in the same manner. The mental illness/mental health issue that is causing the suicidal thoughts is as real and life threatening as a heart attack or stroke.
The problem is that many times a suicidal person can talk their family and friends into believing that everything is okay. Sometimes they do this because they do not want to take the chance of a psychiatric hospitalization, other times it is because they want to carry out their suicide plan without interference. Because it is difficult for family and friends to accept that their loved one wants to cause themselves harm, they are often more than willing to allow themselves to be talked into taking no action.
The best thing you can do for someone having suicidal thoughts is to show them Tough Love. With someone who is having suicidal thoughts, Tough Love means that you are willing to risk them hating you in order to save their life. You need to be tough. You need to be strong. You need to be loving. Interfering with their suicide plans will make them angry. They might say horrible things to you. You must remember that no matter what they say, you are getting help for someone who is dying.
A dire situation calls for drastic action. Someone being suicidal is a dire situation. To save their life you may have to call 911 (or the emergency number where you live), call a local suicide crisis line and see if they can send a crisis team to where you are, you may even have to trick them into going to a local hospital emergency department to be evaluated by a mental health professional.
I know how hard what I have written sounds. I know that it sounds like a harsh view point to take, however, I speak from experience. I have been in that place where my mind was filled with thoughts of suicide. I have been that sick, and it truly felt as if I was dying. I had one suicide attempt under my belt and I still had thoughts of suicide. It took a crisis intervention team coming to my house and being committed into a psychiatric hospital and extremely intense therapy to save my life.
I was mad at everyone. I hated everyone, especially the people who stuck me in that hospital, but it was where I needed to be. Once my mind became clear, and I no longer felt sick, I began to understand that the things the crisis intervention team had done, as harsh as I thought they were, kept me alive.
If you have ever attempted suicide and would like to be part of a community that was created to support those who survived their suicide attempt, please join me and many others at http://suicideattemptsurvivors.ning.com/