Apparently, in titling this article I found out the difference between “tattle tailing” and “telling.” Tattling, as it were, is reserved for those who aim to have someone else get in trouble by revealing other’s secrets. Telling is for reporting to another individual that someone is struggling or otherwise needs help (definitions as listed by Safe 2 Tell Organization of Colorado).
In this way, it’s only fitting for this series to have a look at the most fundamental rule of dealing with a person struggling with suicidal ideation: to tell and to tell loudly.
Assuming that you are close to an individual that has told you whether directly or indirectly that they are having suicidal thoughts, it’s important that you: ask for additional information, assess if they are a current danger to themselves, get them extra support if they are and take care of yourself after the fact, too.
It’s not easy to ask someone: “are you having thoughts of killing yourself” but it can be entirely life-saving. I know that suicide is a very loud word most often not spoken about, but I swear that unless you’re talking about specific suicide methods, you won’t be planting the idea into their head when you ask them outright if they’re thinking of killing themselves.
In fact, I’ve always found it a breath of fresh air when someone has asked me directly. Yes, it can be uncomfortable. Yes, I might not reveal all of the pertinent information. And yes, it could be the one thing that prevents me from ending my life–because it means someone has noticed me, someone has noticed the pain I’m in and that I don’t feel like I can go on living with that pain as it is right now.
There’s something about my experiences with suicidal crises that are the picture definition of ambivalence: I want someone to hear me, see me, acknowledge my existence, my pain and I also want them to leave me alone and not try to help me. But at the end of the day, I do want help. Because maybe I don’t have to die, maybe what’s being said in my head isn’t true at all and maybe there’s another avenue of help and hope that was just within my reach if I hadn’t followed through on suicidal plans.
I mentioned in my article “Treatment 101: Resources Part 2” that the hardest decision I had to make in my life was to choose to live and the second hardest was to tell someone. In my years of getting treatment, I was almost always the relatively responsible one in the relationship that would tell someone, even if it meant creating a middle man situation, that I was suicidal, had a plan, had intent and was still uncertain.
I think back then I told because I was actively in treatment, much like I am now. I told because that little sparkle of hope was still inside me and I knew from witnessing a NAMI IOOV presentation that that hope had a reason for existing.
When I was at the crossroads between choosing to live and choosing to die, I thought about what ending I wanted to be told about my life. Would I want to be the one telling the story about what I did to overcome the darkness or did I want to just give up and let the story end prematurely? This is a concept I still use in my current day-to-day treatment.
I know now that from being stable for so long that I’m really not the sum value of my experiences with suicidality and mental health conditions. Back then, I didn’t have this yet, but I believed it could still be there for me if I just kept on breathing another breath.
I’ve also mentioned before how just holding on for the moment can be the most important thing, too. When weeks and months are too long, too complex for me to stay alive for, I work with the minutes and the seconds instead.
Maybe because the root of my suicidality was OCD I never truly wanted to die. In some ways, I believe this to be true but I also want to add caution to this idea as well—over time a person who is suicidal will try more dangerous and more severe attempts to end their life. Unfortunately, with time a person can learn how to be more effective in ending their life.
So, yeah, maybe John is just saying people would be better off without him or that Stacey saying goodbye is just abnormal behavior for her, but do you really want to take that chance? If a suicidal individual tells you to keep their intentions a secret—don’t. They may hate you for it, but at least they’ll be alive to hate you. The same cannot be true if they follow through.
Article written: 10.23, 10.25, 11.7.2018
PD A/N: Boy, I am EXHAUSTED. It’s currently Wednesday when I’m either publishing this or sending into a schedule post for Th. Regardless if you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that Wed I did a lot of coursework so I’m feeling super exhausted about that now and am ready to just end the evening on a high note and go to blissful sleep.
Additionally if you follow me on Twitter you’ll also know that I wrote some fanfic (a new story) the other day and I actually had time and inspiration to write more for it today which is really awesome. Although I want to edit a video I also really want to get offline so who knows what’ll happen next.
For now, that’s all I’ve got. I’m utterly exhausted lol. We’ll chat more later.