Wednesday, 20 November 2013

On Responding To People Mentioning Suicide

I'm not a stranger to suicide. I have been on both sides of the fence, talking to friends and acquaintances who were right there on the edge, trying to somehow find a way that they can find their way back to the road of life. The other side found me ready to terminate my life in any way possible. I won't go into graphic detail here because I do not wish to traumatize anyone or bring back any unpleasant memories for those who have been there. Just take it from me that I know what suicide entails, to the point of directly experiencing it on multiple occasions (and failing at it, apparently).

In my previous blog post I described some of my recent dreams involving suicide, in addition to mentioning the thoughts about suicide which keep haunting me during the day. I also express how gladly I wish that these thoughts would just vanish so that I can focus on living, instead of figuring out efficient ways to kill this body I inhabit. I mention that it'd be ironic if I were to commit suicide to escape these thoughts about suicide.

The responses to this post were, frankly, astounding but not unexpected. The suggestions that I should see a psychologist, or sympathy for me having trouble with being intersex, despite that not being the issue at all, it was all there. It reminded me a lot of back in 2011 when I was downright suicidally depressed with everything seemingly lost. People would often talk to me, offer a listening ear, or refer me to certain specialists and techniques which were sure to help me. The one thing virtually none of them ever did was to address the actual issue.

When I talked with those friends who were ready to commit suicide I didn't dismiss them as easily like that. I listened to what they said, but I asked the questions which would allow me to figure out what the underlying reasons were. In one case it was an undiscovered intersex (XXY) condition. After discovery this friend became a totally different person. Her life wasn't suddenly roses and sunshine after that, but at least the sore spot had been found and dealt with.

The whole point of dealing with suicidal people is to find out why it is that they're suicidal and fix that. The important thing is to take it seriously, but don't call in or refer to external parties. What they desire is intimacy, a place where they can shelter for a moment with someone who they know and explore the intense pain until its source has been found. To ensure that they will falter and fall is to dismiss their complaints (refer them) or suggest a treatment for the symptoms (medication, meditation, etc.). When a suicidal person comes to you for help, that means that they trust you and you can not fail them. Ever.

With the survival instinct of a human being so strong, it takes something extraordinarily to push an individual to the point where he or she will consider self-termination to be a viable option. This isn't something where meditation, breathing techniques or any psychologist or psychiatrist is going to help. When I was heavily suicidal I found that practically nobody understood what it was that troubled me. Some would express their sympathy for my situation, often evoking tears on my side, but in the end it didn't matter. I felt alone and by asking for help I just got further confirmation that I was alone with nobody understanding my plight.

Do I feel understood at this point? Slightly more than back then, sure. Do I still feel alone and often misunderstood? Most definitely. I can not describe or in any way make clear how horrifically difficult and traumatic it is for me to go through this relocation to Germany. Even though I loathe the Netherlands as a country and institution it still pains me to leave it. Even though I like the location where I'm moving to I can barely keep up with pushing away the memories which keep overlaying my thoughts. Memories of the time when I was moving to a place I forced myself to like but which ultimately resulted in me nearly succeeding with my suicide attempt. Memories of previous humiliations, failures and feeling out of place.

When I can already see myself there in Germany during the first night alone in my new place, being all miserable and crying because it all feels so wrong, I can not possibly feel happy or joyful at things, even if I keep telling myself that it won't be like that. I can not convince myself. I'm just me, after all.

What I need... what would help ease my fears would be others showing me that it won't be like that. That they're just silly fears as they take them away. That things which have repeatedly happened in my past won't have to happen again. While I can conceivably wrestle through this all myself it'd be far less... agonizing with a helping hand or two. Not that I'd want to force anyone to do so, mind you. Help not provided out of free will is worse than no help at all.

That said, I have today conceded that I won't be finding a house to rent in the Karlsruhe area any time soon. I'm now looking for just an affordable place in the same region. Just getting to Germany has the top priority. Looking for a house, although important too, is not important enough to kill myself over.

This post written to 'Pictures of You' by The Cure.


1 comment:

Tiresias said...

Thank you for your post. I understand that you refered to me as well as somebody trying to console you but not succeeding. Know that I have lost quite some people through suicide and have contemplated it myself perhaps a hundred times. But I would not want to reach out to everybody. I reached out to you, and I still do, because of some strange intuïtion. Even though I cannot understand what's bothering you without knowing you, I only wanted to support you for a second and say that you are welcome.