As you know, I have suicidal ideation. I think this gives me a different perspective on suicide and depression. I know many of my readers also struggle with this issue. And I have a few friends in real life that do as well.
One such friend, was recently going through a difficult time in his life. His relationship had ended. He was going through a vicious custody battle. He suffers from depression. And he had once been hospitalized for previously attempting suicide.
We all know that nobody kills themselves just because they are sad. Or because something bad happens in their life. The story is never so simple.
This friend confided in me that he was starting to think about suicide. That it was on his mind all the time. That it seemed like a reasonable response to what was happening in his life.
I was glad he told me. He is the first person that I have ever talked about my own suicidal ideation with. I was a relief to hear him tell me all these feelings that I myself have felt. And to know that I could speak to him from experience.
I was very concerned for his well being. He asked me to promise to not call anyone. He did not want to be Baker Acted. I made the promise. But he doesn’t know how close I came to breaking it.
I felt that being hospitalized would only make him more apt to kill himself. That does happen sometimes. But I was determined to help him.
I called him every day, multiple times a day. I let him talk for hours. I stayed up till late into the night and early morning, listening, giving him advice, sympathizing.
He came close several times. Maybe even closer than I know. Once he called me in the hopes that I could talk him out of it.
But I am happy to say that he is still with us. And he has since told me, that him being hospitalized would have been the worst thing for him. And that knowing I was available to talk any time helped. That knowing that I was there, listening, letting him feel his feelings, was more help than any doctor could have given.
I know he is not out of danger. People with suicidal ideation will always be in danger of acting upon it. I have tried to get him to go to therapy. But he has resisted.
I urge anyone that is feeling these feelings to tell someone. Talk to someone you can trust. Get help if you can. But talk if you can’t. Sometimes our feelings really are a matter of life and death.