Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Depression and Suicide: What Not to Say

  1. #1

    Default Depression and Suicide: What Not to Say

    "I'm going to kill myself."
    "I have nothing to live for."

    We see these words posted from time to time and our immediate response is to reach out and help. I have been amazed by the compassion, care and tenacity of Adisc to help its members through rough times in their lives.

    It takes a lot of courage for a depressed or suicidal people to come forward and share these feelings. They can be genuinely scared that the person hearing these thoughts may not grasp how 'close to the edge' they really are, or that they will judged negatively. The first response is critical and can play a significant part in whether the person chooses to get help, or goes in the opposite direction. Just listening is probably the most important thing you can do, letting the person vent, and giving options of help available in IRL is preferable to thinking you will solve the crisis for the person.


    There have been several threads recently where survivors have stated some of the things they found most offensive that were either said to them, or statements heard that represented a poor understanding of how to help a person in a crisis situation. I wanted to post some of these statements along with reasons why they may have an adverse effect on a depressed person.


    You can't do it. You've got so much to live for.

    It may appear to an outsider that that the person has everything, but the pain can lie underneath the material possessions. A mental health breakdown cannot be satisfied by material possessions or status. Depression does not distinguish income, gender, or talent and render them immune, especially if the cause is physiological. Just think of the high profile case of Robin Williams. It's something that can affect any one of us. This statement can also convey a sense of disbelief and not understanding.


    You just have to pick yourself up by the bootstraps.

    I think this would probably be the statement that most rankles the feathers of anyone who has suffered from depression, and deservedly so. It offers a simplistic response without providing any real help. It appears judgemental, and does nothing except make the person feel guilty and lazy. It avoids the complexities of what it takes to work through depression, and leaves the impression the depressed person is at fault for feeling this way and not doing anything to help themselves.

    I assist people on social assistance who often get bashed with this statement. They are there after ending up unemployed at late stages in their lives, leaving domestic violence, or they are in groups that have high rates of unemployment and disabilities. I recall a real estate person saying to me "I used to discriminate against people on welfare. Today I'm on it." You can't judge others until you've walked a mile in their shoes.


    Suicide is a cowardly act.

    I think this statement offers no help except to add shame to an illness that requires treatment. In addition to dealing with low self esteem, situational crises, and an inability to see any positive changes ahead, the person has just been given a harmful label with this statement that he or she just doesn't have any courage.


    Think of how your family would feel.

    There's nothing wrong with talking to a person about their relationship with their family, but this can just add more guilt and negativity on top of how they're already feeling. In many cases, the person feels that they are a burden to their family and ending their life would be relieving them of that burden. Also, the family itself may be adding to the depression, and this could be seen as blaming the person by supporting a family who may not have been sensitive to the person's issues.


    You think you've got it bad. Other people are a lot worse off/
    Things could be a lot worse.

    These statements is often made to give the perspective that there is always someone worse off. It doesn't matter! It's not a competition. Comparing them to someone else who is coping better will likely only worsen the person's sense of self worth. It's like comparing a person who lost his job to a person whose spouse just died, and summarizing that the second person is worse off. It doesn't change the fact the person lost his job and finds his own personal situation intolerable. It could also appear to be minimizing the depressed person's feelings since the other person's problems are seen to be more important.


    Suicide is a selfish act.

    Again, it is a judgemental statement and it just pours more guilt and shame on the person.


    Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    I know this statement means well, but I've rarely seen a case where depression has been a short term problem. Even in a situational crisis, such as eviction, loss of employment, or loss of a loved one, the effects can be devastating and lead to a long term change in the quality of life, permanently altering the quality of life, income, and status of an individual. For younger people, even a breakup, or failing in school, can lead to a very depression, and young people, limited in their years, do not see these problems as temporary. Also, the word 'solution' still implies that suicide is a way to end the suffering, albeit not the best.


    You keep talking about doing it, but you haven't done it.

    What if you were to say "You keep talking about, but you haven't done it... yet?"
    The fact is that many people who have been successful in committing suicide have made previous attempts, or threatened to do it often enough that people stopped taking the threat seriously. A statement worded this way can be seen as a challenge to a suicidal person to either do it or shut up. It can simply shut down communication. There could be alternative ways of addressing an ongoing threat, such as setting up rules and parameters, but this type of 'challenge' should be avoided.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________________


    Adisc is a very diverse group so it is natural that we will provide different kinds of responses in these situations. I'm just posting this thread to offer some suggestions based on past threads and experiences. I wouldn't mind hearing people's thoughts on this, or other statements that could be added. I may put in a request to have an adapted version of it added to the Suicide Prevention Article.
    Last edited by Starrunner; 14-Jun-2015 at 01:34.

  2. #2

    Default

    As someone who has spent a great deal of time battling depression, suicidal thoughts, and internal torment, I would like to say that this post is a great idea - offering advice to those who console the afflicted is a great idea. Obviously every situation is going to warrant different responses, but I would like to add a few things if I may.

    I completely agree about the statements regarding "think of your family" and "suicide is a selfish act". These responses always got under my skin because I felt that it was very selfish of others to expect me to put aside my pain in order to prevent others from feeling guilty.

    I see great value in telling people that are going through depression that they are not alone in their struggle. I never want anyone who I try to talk to about depression to think for a single second that I understand the pain that they are going through. Depression and the pain that comes with it, in my opinion, is caused by and is constructed by circumstances as unique as fingerprints, and as such, everyone deals with depression in different ways; expressing it differently and feeling different pains. But it is always important to let the other person know that they are not alone in their struggle. They have a voice, and we will listen. Venting is sometimes just the best way to get past something, God knows I've done my fair share over the years and I credit my venting (and those who listened diligently) for helping me.

    And while the pain that others feel may be unique, I still think its important to convey that they DO have a lot to live for. Regardless of the circumstances in which someone finds themselves, there are still so many little things that you can find in this world to bring you a sliver of happiness. For example, whenever I'm starting to feel down, sick of life, etc., I usually turn to the little things around me that give LIFE MEANING. Watching the spider spin the web, watching the lightning spit out of the storm clouds in little streaks, enjoying the smell of a fresh baked loaf of bread. One thing that turning to religion taught me in my dark times was to be thankful for every little thing. EVERY little thing. I found myself being grateful for the feelings of relaxation, stillness, confidence, and contentedness. Oddly enough, I even found myself being grateful for some of the negative things: sadness, tears, emotion. Why? Because these things make me feel alive. We tend to look away and forget that we are a magnificent, wonderful species, complex in every sense of the word, right down to very cells that make up our bodies. Taking a moment, even in pain, to understand and appreciate the complexities that create our sense of the world can be enough to make me forget my troubles, even if temporarily.

    I also think that aside from advising the person suffering pain to seek out assistance in real life, it is important to softly convey how inward reflection can be a major trigger for depression and can be one that exacerbates the pain that one feels. I don't think I'll ever beat my depression, but I do believe that I can rise above it through getting my mind off of myself. When I am in a quiet room by myself, feeling down, I turn on myself, I start thinking about my problems, my pains, and I tend to lose sight of the fact that I in fact have a purpose here, I just don't know it yet.

    There is no fix-all for depression as everyone here is well aware. We all have to find our own paths in finding peace and contentedness. Those pathways will all be unique, but I believe that every one of those paths can be found by first finding help, and also knowing that there are so many others who have been through their own versions of hell, and who will care enough to listen and console is incredibly comforting and wonderful. I'm even thankful for the ears and audience that we all have with one another to vent our fears and troubles.

    That is just my rambling addition. Thank you for letting me have the opportunity to leave it here.
    I hope you all find peace in this world - it is never easy, but it is out there.

  3. #3

    Default

    I went back and found a link from twitter that I like, because the suggestions on it are ALL things that I wish the people I was open with could have done. Instead, people get scared, won't talk about it, and close off. When I was scared I would shoot self, my wife would say, "you can talk to me about it." and I would, and she would completely flip out. Because it's hard to have someone you love really struggle.

    https://twitter.com/infamousfiddler/...99004760096768

    So, these things are very helpful when you have friend that's going through a rough spot.

  4. #4

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by shibapawz View Post
    As someone who has spent a great deal of time battling depression, suicidal thoughts, and internal torment, I would like to say that this post is a great idea - offering advice to those who console the afflicted is a great idea. Obviously every situation is going to warrant different responses, but I would like to add a few things if I may.

    I completely agree about the statements regarding "think of your family" and "suicide is a selfish act". These responses always got under my skin because I felt that it was very selfish of others to expect me to put aside my pain in order to prevent others from feeling guilty.

    I see great value in telling people that are going through depression that they are not alone in their struggle. I never want anyone who I try to talk to about depression to think for a single second that I understand the pain that they are going through. Depression and the pain that comes with it, in my opinion, is caused by and is constructed by circumstances as unique as fingerprints, and as such, everyone deals with depression in different ways; expressing it differently and feeling different pains. But it is always important to let the other person know that they are not alone in their struggle. They have a voice, and we will listen. Venting is sometimes just the best way to get past something, God knows I've done my fair share over the years and I credit my venting (and those who listened diligently) for helping me.

    And while the pain that others feel may be unique, I still think its important to convey that they DO have a lot to live for. Regardless of the circumstances in which someone finds themselves, there are still so many little things that you can find in this world to bring you a sliver of happiness. For example, whenever I'm starting to feel down, sick of life, etc., I usually turn to the little things around me that give LIFE MEANING. Watching the spider spin the web, watching the lightning spit out of the storm clouds in little streaks, enjoying the smell of a fresh baked loaf of bread. One thing that turning to religion taught me in my dark times was to be thankful for every little thing. EVERY little thing. I found myself being grateful for the feelings of relaxation, stillness, confidence, and contentedness. Oddly enough, I even found myself being grateful for some of the negative things: sadness, tears, emotion. Why? Because these things make me feel alive. We tend to look away and forget that we are a magnificent, wonderful species, complex in every sense of the word, right down to very cells that make up our bodies. Taking a moment, even in pain, to understand and appreciate the complexities that create our sense of the world can be enough to make me forget my troubles, even if temporarily.

    I also think that aside from advising the person suffering pain to seek out assistance in real life, it is important to softly convey how inward reflection can be a major trigger for depression and can be one that exacerbates the pain that one feels. I don't think I'll ever beat my depression, but I do believe that I can rise above it through getting my mind off of myself. When I am in a quiet room by myself, feeling down, I turn on myself, I start thinking about my problems, my pains, and I tend to lose sight of the fact that I in fact have a purpose here, I just don't know it yet.

    There is no fix-all for depression as everyone here is well aware. We all have to find our own paths in finding peace and contentedness. Those pathways will all be unique, but I believe that every one of those paths can be found by first finding help, and also knowing that there are so many others who have been through their own versions of hell, and who will care enough to listen and console is incredibly comforting and wonderful. I'm even thankful for the ears and audience that we all have with one another to vent our fears and troubles.

    That is just my rambling addition. Thank you for letting me have the opportunity to leave it here.
    I hope you all find peace in this world - it is never easy, but it is out there.
    Thanks for the insight and deep thoughts. Sometimes the worst thing we can do as listeners is to try and come up with an answer 'to make everything right' all in one post. The truth is the person may need the opportunity to simply vent, and the best response can be to listen... simply and emphatically, listen to the person. It can take a long time before a person opens up about depression and suicidal thoughts, and a lifetime of negative feelings can't be summed up or solved in a single post. The person needs to know first and foremost that they are being heard. Rather than try and 'solve' the problem based on limited information, it may be more beneficial to simply ask "How can I help.?"

  5. #5

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Starrunner View Post
    Thanks for the insight and deep thoughts. Sometimes the worst thing we can do as listeners is to try and come up with an answer 'to make everything right' all in one post. The truth is the person may need the opportunity to simply vent, and the best response can be to listen... simply and emphatically, listen to the person. It can take a long time before a person opens up about depression and suicidal thoughts, and a lifetime of negative feelings can't be summed up or solved in a single post. The person needs to know first and foremost that they are being heard. Rather than try and 'solve' the problem based on limited information, it may be more beneficial to simply ask "How can I help.?"
    You are absolutely right - the best thing that can be done in most cases is just to try and listen. One thing that helped me through some tough spots was going on YouTube and watching some folks on there talk about their depression and their issues. Sometimes just having someone to be able to relate to the guilt, the pain, and the anguish is enough to help. I believe that a lot of the folks that are depressed are "repressors", that is folks that build a response to a bad situation by bottling it up or turning on one's self. I know this isn't the case for everyone, but this anguish never really goes away, it just keeps building and building and depression just tends to get worse.

    One thing that has helped me immensely lately is my introduction into the diaperfur world. Not only have I met some amazing people who have been wonderful listeners (you two know who you are ) but I've also tapped into my "happy side" - or at least the side that contains all of the butterflies, rainbows, stickers, glitter, etc. etc. But seriously, the diaperfurs have helped me to tap into the part of me that I always repressed - my admiration for cute things. I remember repressing these feelings as a child and it caused me anger and sadness. I remember crying because I wanted to buy a plushie but I denied myself the privilege on the grounds that I was too old for a plushie.

    Even today, I repress those feelings because guys aren't supposed to awe and coo over sweet puppy pictures and videos, right? Wrong. You need an outlet to tap into something that unlocks your happy side. It has greatly engulfed my sad side and left me with a wonderful general feeling. I don't mean to take this opportunity to say "what has worked for me" or "look at me I'm happy!" - please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. My general point is that we all need to find something to connect ourselves to something positive in this world or negative emotions can take over and build up. But every person is unique - from the very color and type of hair down to the very genetic and chemical composition. It is this uniqueness that prevents a "cure-all" so everyone must find their own way. But at least we can all agree that venting, to some degree, is a very positive thing to do sometimes.


  6. #6

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by whiskeybravo View Post
    I went back and found a link from twitter that I like, because the suggestions on it are ALL things that I wish the people I was open with could have done. Instead, people get scared, won't talk about it, and close off. When I was scared I would shoot self, my wife would say, "you can talk to me about it." and I would, and she would completely flip out. Because it's hard to have someone you love really struggle.

    https://twitter.com/infamousfiddler/...99004760096768

    So, these things are very helpful when you have friend that's going through a rough spot.
    Thanks for sharing this information, Whiskeybravo. There's some great tips and information in your link.

  7. #7

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by shibapawz View Post
    You are absolutely right - the best thing that can be done in most cases is just to try and listen. One thing that helped me through some tough spots was going on YouTube and watching some folks on there talk about their depression and their issues. Sometimes just having someone to be able to relate to the guilt, the pain, and the anguish is enough to help. I believe that a lot of the folks that are depressed are "repressors", that is folks that build a response to a bad situation by bottling it up or turning on one's self. I know this isn't the case for everyone, but this anguish never really goes away, it just keeps building and building and depression just tends to get worse.

    One thing that has helped me immensely lately is my introduction into the diaperfur world. Not only have I met some amazing people who have been wonderful listeners (you two know who you are ) but I've also tapped into my "happy side" - or at least the side that contains all of the butterflies, rainbows, stickers, glitter, etc. etc. But seriously, the diaperfurs have helped me to tap into the part of me that I always repressed - my admiration for cute things. I remember repressing these feelings as a child and it caused me anger and sadness. I remember crying because I wanted to buy a plushie but I denied myself the privilege on the grounds that I was too old for a plushie.

    Even today, I repress those feelings because guys aren't supposed to awe and coo over sweet puppy pictures and videos, right? Wrong. You need an outlet to tap into something that unlocks your happy side. It has greatly engulfed my sad side and left me with a wonderful general feeling. I don't mean to take this opportunity to say "what has worked for me" or "look at me I'm happy!" - please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. My general point is that we all need to find something to connect ourselves to something positive in this world or negative emotions can take over and build up. But every person is unique - from the very color and type of hair down to the very genetic and chemical composition. It is this uniqueness that prevents a "cure-all" so everyone must find their own way. But at least we can all agree that venting, to some degree, is a very positive thing to do sometimes.

    As far as finding our own answers to depression, it has always amazed me that there is such diversity in what works for people. It can be 'trial and error' before finding the right path. For me, I found stability when I took up long distance running. I went from being a shut-in, suffering from alcoholism and depression,, to becoming a runner and eventually a competitive marathon runner. No one ever expected that, including me.

    I always remind myself that the strategies that worked for me may not work for other people. For example, long distance running will not cure clinical depression, nor would I expect anyone to be motivated to attempt it. I would never advocate that a person goes out for a ten mile run and expect it would make sense to anyone aside from myself. I'm a great believer in sharing answers, but we all have to find our own path. The best we can do is support a person in coming to their own conclusions in their quest for self acceptance.

Similar Threads

  1. Depression and Suicide
    By JazzBaby in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 24-Feb-2015, 14:12
  2. Depression, suicide and physical disabilities
    By PyreheartWolf in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-Aug-2012, 01:17
  3. Suicide
    By cavemans in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 02-Dec-2010, 20:24
  4. Suicide - What to Do?
    By dcviper in forum Mature Topics
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 17-Jun-2010, 00:30
  5. Suicide
    By Vladimir in forum Off-topic
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 13-Feb-2008, 04:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
ADISC.org - the Adult Baby / Diaper Lover / Incontinence Support Community.
ADISC.org is designed to be viewed in Firefox, with a resolution of at least 1280 x 1024.