“I’ve been praying for someone to save me, but no one’s heroic.” — Lyrics from “1800 273 8255” by Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid.
Newsflash: I am not a superhero, and I cannot read other people’s minds. In fact, it is probably the same for you reading this. I mean, it would be so much more helpful if other people could read my mind when I am in a crisis, but unfortunately we do not live in that kind of world (and how weird would that be if we did?).
This is why it is so important to communicate, advocate, communicate and advocate for one’s self when in, or preferably before, a crisis.
But, how do we do that? And, what is the etiquette for doing so?
Yes, you read that right; there IS etiquette for handling a crisis situation over text message. First, it depends on who we are talking to.
I would not always disclose hefty, heavy details to my parents when in a crisis, but I would be more likely to discuss those details with a friend.
Essentially, it is important to know your audience. Know how much you can get away with saying that will not alarm them so much that they cannot help you and not so little that they do not have a clue what is going on. Of course, this is under the premise that you are comfortable reaching out to them to begin with.
It is also important to find out before a crisis occurs who you can contact in the first place. About a year ago with my previous therapist, I sent out a group text message to several friends asking if they would be all right with my contacting them if I were in crisis. This allows them the option to say no, if they are not comfortable with that (for whatever reason that may be) or they know they are often too busy and would hate to miss the red flare.
After setting aside who I could contact in a crisis, my current therapist suggested the etiquette that inspired this article.
Back in March 2017 I sent out an ill-advised text message to multiple people. I said something to the line of ‘Hey, if you could contact me back there is a high probability that you will save me rather than if you do not intervene, thanks, bye.’ Essentially, I put all the responsibility on them, which was irresponsible of me.
Refer back to the song lyric at the top of this post. It is not fair for me, or anyone else, to put all the responsibility of my own actions and choices on someone else. If you also struggle with this, repeat after me: I can take care of myself. I can trust myself. I can keep myself safe–and if I cannot, I can communicate this need to others so I can be in a safe place again. I am responsible for my actions. I control my actions.
I have been on the flip side of this scenario, where a friend reached out to me and I was terrified. I can only imagine how much worse that could be for someone who has no experience in the realm of mental health conditions and therefore has not a clue on how to respond or what to say.
Instead, my therapist worked with me to take it down a few notches. I could text my group of friends a message along the lines of ‘Hey peeps, this is going out to multiple people and I am having some trouble right now so if you could chat with me that’d be great. If not, I will call a hotline and do some coping strategies, thanks!’
In this scenario, if people are busy on the toilet or not around their phone (it does happen) they do not run the risk of freaking out when they see my message of help. They can be more rest assured that someone else, if not myself got extra support.
All in all, remember this: Text multiple people, not just one person. Have a back-up plan if friends cannot respond. Use your adaptive coping strategies. Call a hotline. And know you do not need someone else to save you, because you can save yourself.
Also: it takes bravery to open up to people and you are much stronger than you think, realize or feel right now. It will get better and this crisis will pass. Go out there and radiate badassery.
If you or someone you know is in an immediate suicidal crisis off campus, call 911. Other resources include the Counseling Center, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1800 273 8255, and Craig Bidiman.
Hey everyone! I was GOING TO DO A LIFE UPDATE I SWEAR but then I finished this article, so ploot! *sticks tongue out* We’re just going to leave this up here, for now! 🙂 I don’t know for sure if this will have a picture for it or not, depends on a few of my future articles.
I am also going to be doing a part 2 to this post under a different title called (for now) ‘Rescue Me?’ because I think that plays a part in this article but wasn’t something I could expand on in it. So yeah!
We’ll see how everything else goes! I’m pretty happy, this is my second completed article this week! 🙂 Also, the paper has added in the Health & Wellness section again, which makes me even happier!
UPDATES TO COME SOON I SWEAR!
Thank you guys so much!!! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
Written August 9th and 11th 2017.