I’d like to invite one and all who think about dying, wanting to die, plan your own death, attempt(ed) to die, study these thoughts, beliefs and behaviors or care for or about those who do, to help me in my exploration of alleviating distressors “upstream” from suicidality.
It occurred to me that survivors of suicide are usually described as family and friends of those who died by self inflicted death. But what about those of us who remained alive after our attempts? I haven’t found a term for that. Isn’t that interesting?
And what about those of us who find no relief in having remained alive after suicidality? Or who don’t find relief from suicidality?
Perhaps there is belongingness and worthiness to be found in helping those who are navigating – mostly alone – these very rocky shoals. Maybe bringing your wisdom, experience and perceptions in how to regain thwarted belongingness and regaining a real and abiding sense of purpose and meaning to someone who is suffering will help you to acquire the same attributes.
I was thinking about the study out today that demonstrates a deep and broad lack of trust by people with depression of their physicians. Then I thought about the known problem of medical students’ reluctance to seek help for mental illness. I think there may be a lot of overlap in these two studies in the following areas:
There is fear of the negative consequences of reporting symptoms of mental illness – stigma, loss of career, loss of income, loss of health insurance, loss of healthcare (after a psych diagnosis, the quality of healthcare goes down significantly and dramatically as symptoms are chalked up to psychosomaticism and preventive healthcare doesn’t include aggressive care for psychotropic medication adverse effects),loss of personal relationships, loss of home, loss of social standing, loss of social roles, loss of self worth. There is also the fear of coercion in accepting treatment. And there is fear of undesirable effects of treatment.
But in admitting suicidality, there is a real danger of losing one’s civil rights, of being detained, incarcerated and treated against one’s will, of being publicly humiliated and shamed, and worst, of being intrusively assessed and evaluated with no care which alleviates intolerable distress. Every single time I tried to bring up suicidality and how to deal with it, the treater instantly launched into the “dangerousness” assessment. I eventually learned to clam up immediately and not to bring up suicidality again.
Is it any wonder that we scratch our heads and can’t figure out why people attempt suicide then? It’s really because no one wants to know the lived experience – the phenomena – of suicidality.
The psychological autopsies are largely stupid, in my view. There are living, breathing, distressed people who are more than willing to explain if only someone was there to be open enough (and not terrified) to listen and to help work through the distress.
I think that “someone” is those of us who experience suicidality. We may be our own best resource.
So if this speaks to you, consider yourself welcome. Bring your best – critical thought, analysis, resources, references, support – and help to build ways to lower distress, prevent it in the first place, and find some relief for yourself.