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When To Ask For Suicide Help

Question:

How does a person decide when to ask for more help with suicidal or harming thoughts when they can hardly talk to anyone about how they feel? If you feel like you can’t just stop thinking about it but are not sure why or if you would do anything anyways but the question is there and the fantasy of the idea just floats around waiting to see what happend in time…What do you do with that?? How bad is that?? Why do I not feel like I care about this topic enough to get help…why would it feel like a rush to think this way???

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Answer:

You should seek mental health assistance now if you are experiencing chronic suicidal thoughts. This said, therapists know that thinking about suicide is different than actually planning and acting on a plan to suicide. The reason to get help now is not so much that you need to be restrained from killing yourself (you might need that, but if you are only thinking about suicide and not acting on it, you might not need that too). Instead, the reason to seek help now is because having suicidal thoughts is a primary symptom of depression, and depression is a treatable illness from which you can emerge feeling a whole lot better than you do now, and to not get yourself such treatment would be a terrible shame and waste of your life and potential and the lives and potentials of others who care about you or depend upon you.

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p> Thinking about suicide is actually fairly common, at least amoung depressed persons. Suicidal ideation (ideas) are one of the criteria for depression. They are often accompanied by feelings of worthlessness and self-depreciation, lack of desire (except for desire to hide and withdraw from social company), and often a fairly severe dysphoria (fancy word for painful depressed, heavy, empty, blue feeling). Though depression has a way of distorting reality so that everything seems much more terrible than it actually is, often times depressed people are reacting to real crappy, stressful life events too, and depressed people sometimes have some reason for wanting to make the world go away. This is why suicidal thoughts are seductive sometimes – they seem to promise a ‘solution’ that will make all the otherwise unavoidable (so it seems at the time) pain go away. Suicide can feel like a way out, and hence it can be an attractive thought to a person in pain.

<

p> Thankfully, most of the time, suicidal thoughts just sit there rather passively. They might take the form of , “If only I was dead, I wouldn’t have to deal with this … “. There is no plan, no sense of “I’m going to kill myself this evening, with the pills I’ve been hording”. So long as there is no real plan or motivation to act, most therapists are going to be cool about the fact that the thoughts are there and not act to hospitalize. Therapists get concerned about suicidal ideas when it starts seeming like the patient will actually act on them. This is a judgement call on the part of the therapist, and it will necessarily be based on the therapist’s understanding of the patient’s situation and personality; historically as well as presently. Because therpists often have a legal and ethical duty to protect their patients, they may sometimes jump the gun and initiate a temporary several-day hospitalization (or at least attempt to get one started), but when this occurs in error, it is a “better safe than sorry” sort of thing.

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p> Don’t be too alarmed if you go for mental health help and your therapist starts asking you about how suicidal you are. He or she needs to do that; it is his or her job to keep you safe. So long as you can assure him or her that you will be safe until the next time you meet with him or her, you should be free to go at the end of the session. No one is particulary interested in hospitalizing patients when this doesn’t absolutely need to be done. If you can’t make this promise, then you need the help that a hospital can provide, anyway.

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p> If there is reason to put you in the hospital, it will likely be a short stay. At least in the United States, the purpose of hospitalization is crisis management, not extended therapy. They are interested in stabilization first, initiation of a (medication) antidepressant treatment second, and third, getting you into some form of ongoing therapy/monitoring thereafter. You might be there three days or a little longer.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    a word of advice, be careful how much you talk about your suicidal feelings. i've been thrown in the hospital twice for no reason even the therapists at the hospital said that i didn't need to be there. just be sure that you know the therapists policy on handling these thoughts of suicide before you go blabbering off at the mouth or you may end up in a similar situation

  • Anonymous-2

    I told my therapist that i had never had any htoughts about it when i actualy did, well i felt so bad afterwards that i ended up telling him. He asked me alot of questions but in the end it was definitaly worth it!

  • Tina

    I agreed with previous comment, with a past therapist everytime I brought up the subject I had to go to the ER. If I did not go she threatened to call the cops, which actually happened. Then I'd go to the ER explain that I was just talking (had no actual plan but just sick of life and no desire to live) and usually they let me go after spending the night there. Of course after this happened a few times i said I was fine even though I am consistantly acutely miserable. Nevertheless after 13 therapists and 3 psychiatrists I abandoned the whole endeavor as I've gotten the impression people really aren't interested in helping someone who has chronic severe depression which doesn't respond to medication and is based on the depressive personality style.

  • Anonymous-3

    I was terrified I'd get thrown in the hospital when I went to see my psychiatrist. As it turned out, she didn't care about me, only my insurance money. So long as I went to appointments and told her I was fine, I was free.

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