Thursday, June 14, 2018

13 Reasons Why You're Probably Annoying Your Suicidal Friend

As someone who has been suicidal as long as they remember having emotions, I'm plenty familiar with the sorts of things wanting-to-live people think are helpful for suicidal people to hear. Turns out those things are actually just helpful for life-lovers to hear themselves say. Here's a list of 13 such pre-mortem faux pas and how to avoid them.

1. You think suicide is selfish. That’s selfish.
Way to make this about you. Suicidal people often think of themselves as a burden. They want to get rid of that burden for everyone else. How is that selfish?

2. They know they have so much to live for. That’s the problem.
Life, itself, is overwhelming. Why would they want to be reminded that there is so much more of it?

3. You don’t need to remind them of what could be wrong, thanks.
Trust me, they’re quite capable of rationalizing their own emotions. They don’t need you worrying for them.

4. They don’t need to be told how much they have going for them.
They probably know this, but think whatever flaws they have outweigh their accolades. Sometimes people need to be able to feel like a worthless fuck-up for a few hours.

5. You’re really intent on fixing things that they aren’t.
It’s tempting to try to find a solution, but as any mathematician can tell you, sometimes a solution does not exist. The more time you try to solve your friend’s problem, the less time you are spending listening to your friend.

6. They know you love them. That might be a burden right now.
In all likelihood, if they need your feelings, they’ll ask. Right now, they probably just need to be able to be weird and deathwishy and not have you freak out and judge them.

7. Do you really need to talk so much about the future?
Yes, things will happen in the future. But in all likelihood, your friend is probably sick thinking about the next few days or months much less the future you’re talking about. Just let them be in the moment.

8. They don’t want to be reminded of long term plans. That’s a lot right now.
You don’t need to remind them of their goals and aspirations. They know about those. They’ve had them a lot. Right now, they probably feel more like shackles than targets.

9. You’re afraid to ask questions.
You want to tell your friend a lot of things, but you seem afraid to pry. Why is that? Are you afraid that you’d be the cause of your friend’s untimely demise? You’re being selfish again.

10. They don’t need to get to the root of their emotions. They need you to listen to them.
In all likelihood, your friend has difficulty even putting their emotions into words, much less trying to attribute a cause to them. They need help with articulating their emotions, not with trying to figure out where they’re coming from.

11. You insist on treating this conversation as somehow separate from all other conversation.
You can laugh at your friend’s suicide jokes. It’s okay. Just be there for them, too.

12. They need to explore the conditions under which they would actually do it.
Your friend has elaborate plans by which some station in life would enable them to finally leave the mortal coil. For some it’s failure. For others it’s success. Talking through this helps them deal with their present situation and also attunes you to when you should actually be worried.

13. You only ever reach out at times like this.
Your friend goes through periods where they isolate themselves. Maybe they post about it online. You hope they reach out. Everyone hopes they reach out. They feel like no one reaches out. Reach out.