Predictions


Honestly.  In the conflation department, I keep reading comments about how much a need there is to have a reliable tool to predict suicides.  Well, that ain’t happenin’ until there is effective, available and safe treatment which reduces distressors.  Otherwise, all of the rewards and incentives are lined up squarely against anyone admitting suicidality, let alone seeking incarceration quaintly and deceptively referred to as containment and hospitalization, applied emotional trauma, humiliation and intrusiveness which is all the “standard of care” does in the US, at least, when someone admits to suicidality.

I have been explicitly instructed by three psychiatrists on how to dodge a suicidality assessment in order for us to play charades:  me, so that I escape imprisonment and them to escape legal risk and actually intervening to alleviate my distress.  So why in the world would I seek out any “help” at all when it is clear that there is none to be had?  Sheer lunacy, (irony alert).

And so, the world goes on without me. Silence punctuated by external noise. Unending hell. No reason to get up, go anywhere, do anything. There is no intervention for ostracism.  Untouchable, literally untouchable. Enduring social death until physical death.  Hurry up, already.

For those who have friends and family, a recent large scale study examined some of the factors involved in them not intervening or providing help when people close to them are suicidal:

As the suicidal process unfolds, significant others are required to make a series of complex decisions about what is happening and what, if anything, they should do about it. They must collect and weigh evidence from a range of sources, correctly decipher and assess the significance of both signs and countersigns, identify the appropriate actions to take, and then summon the courage to take them. Risks are involved at every stage; cherished relationships are at stake. Significant others must weigh the danger of doing nothing against the perceived dangers of saying or doing “the wrong thing.”

Experts agree that a clear and unambiguous warning message is a prerequisite for effective disaster planning and crisis management.29 Our data suggest that, in a suicidal crisis, members of the family and social network may not always receive a clear and unambiguous warning message. This may be because the person fails to give out a clear enough distress signal or because distress signals are given but significant others cannot decode them correctly at the time  Equally, they may not be able to bring themselves to accept that anything is seriously wrong or that suicide is a possibility. Writing in another context, about clinical identification of child abuse, one author comments: “[It] is a difficult intellectual and emotional exercise. . . The biggest barrier to diagnosis is the existence of emotional blocks in the minds of professionals.”30 The emotional blocks that can operate in clinical practice are magnified many times in close personal relationships, where every word or action may be emotionally charged and gauging the right response is critical. Our findings suggest that those very relationships, generally believed to be a protective factor for suicide,31 32 may sometimes heighten risk by acting as barriers to both awareness and intervention.

….critical errors in judgment often result from the so-called “normalcy bias,” defined as the tendency of people who have never experienced a catastrophe to disregard ominous signs and behave as if nothing is wrong. The strong desire for everything to be normal inclines people to believe that it is, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.33 Our findings suggest that this same principle may operate at the private level, particularly in the context of family life. The cycles of avoidance model, proposed by Biddle et al to account for non-help seeking for mental distress, provides an alternative framework that also fits our data well.   Our data show that lay people may go to considerable lengths to avoid pathologising the distress of those close to them; their thresholds are repeatedly pushed back by powerful emotions, especially fear of the consequences (for themselves, as well as for the distressed person) of acknowledgment and intervention.

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3 thoughts on “Predictions

  1. that’s my life too, not killing myself one day at a time. thank you for writing this blog, I’ll keep an eye on it.

      • well, my strategies defer distress, not necessarily reduce it. shit rolls back in over my head every morning even if I’ve had a decent day before. but here goes:
        – I work freelance, so whenever I can, I force myself to take my assignments outside, grab a coffee and just focus on the job. being reliable and professional is a major part of my identity, so it gives me a boost;
        – computer games help a lot, especially multiplayer ones when I can interact with others as a character who’s not me. again, being decent at my role helps;
        – polishing the details of my exit strategy, or designing fight scenarios. it’s another way to redirect attention from feeling miserable to a concrete task;
        – self injury;
        – I have a few songs that do my crying for me, so I put them on loop and let them show what I’m feeling, it’s better than doing it myself;
        – driving around at night.

        there’s also a person whose presence picks me up, but I gather you don’t have that option. and anyway it’s as unhealthy as my other coping strategies, if not more so.

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