Posted by Dinah on June 10, 2003, at 20:49:47
In reply to Expectations of the board with suicidal ideation, posted by judy1 on June 10, 2003, at 13:38:17
I thought of posting something at the time this was being discussed. But I felt and feel uncomfortable, because I understand the differing views of it.
It is true that this is a vulnerable population. Many of us do have hot button issues with suicide or self injury. But I guess I've always thought, if not here then where? Obviously if someone is in imminent danger, they should seek real life help. But sometimes maybe they need a bit of a reality check, or validation, or something that they should do that. I know that I would be hesitant to present myself at my emergency room door, no matter what my condition, because I would have this desire not to make a big fuss. Weird I know, and something that people could probably talk me out of. But something I would probably need talking out of.
Then of course, many of us struggle with ideation and need a place to discuss it among those who realize that ideation is not intent.
I see you guys as my friends, and the sort of friends that I can say the things I might not be able to say to face to face friends. Or even close online friends who might feel a responsibility to intervene. So if I'm struggling with suicidal ideation, I'd be inclined to talk about it here. Same with self injury urges. I think I'd be really careful to spell out what state I'm in. Am I obsessing about it, do I feel like I'm in danger of acting on it, etc. I know that there are very few if any of you who could do anything concrete to help me in real life, but in many ways that would make it easier to discuss. I wouldn't be afraid of being locked up somewhere.
I don't think that I would post a statement that I was about to kill myself, then disappear. But I find myself worrying about people who are regular participants and disappear without word, especially if they were noticeably distraught before disappearing. And of course, there are less direct ways of expressing intent that a suicidal person might not even recognize as such. Like if I came here and wailed that my therapist had terminated me.
As far as cries for attention are concerned, I agree with mmcasey. They're part of the illness just as much as suicide attempts are. Just because something feels manipulative doesn't mean the attempt is to manipulate. Or rather, I accept Marsha Linehan's view of suicidal behaviors. It may be the only way a person knows of asking for what they want or need.
My own decision about what to do to protect myself is to realize my limitations. There are only a very few people here who I have any possibility of physically helping. And on a forum like this, suicidal crises will occur from time to time. It's scary because I would hate to say anything that might make matters worse. But I have absolutely no expectations that anything I say could make matters better. I just don't have that power. And not saying anything is an action as well. So, since I wish to participate here, I just have to hope for the best, but remove myself from it a bit emotionally. Accept my impotence. Even find safety in my impotence. Extend a hand, maybe, but feel no responsibility if it isn't taken. That's my own way of making it possible to participate here. Others have their own ways.
But I would really really hate to discourage people from expressing suicidal ideation, or urges, or intent. Expressing those things is such a valuable thing to do. And there aren't many places you can do it.
But agreed. People should also seek real life face to face help if they are in physical danger from themselves or anyone else.