Disservicing suicidal members with the best intentions?

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by jimmy88, Dec 19, 2010.

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  1. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    Hi, in the past half year of being suicidal I've seen a lot of behavior that I find questionable on support forums such as this (though obviously done with the best intentions.) I want to identify some of these behaviors and state why they may not be great tools to service the members here. Agree with them or totally disregard them, just want to get this off my chest. This is done out of hope for better accomodating all SF members on the "suicide spectrum" without alienating any.

    "I care..."

    Thanks, but if people I can't see (and don't even know) caring for me had a positive impact on my life then imaginary friends would be the key to all the loneliness in the world. Yay, you care for all humanity! But people seek conditional, face-to-face acceptance. Not acceptance as a result of "being human." Acceptance as a result of the qualities that make them a unique person; qualities that can never be truly appreciated from the vantage point of a computer chair. Sure everybody can care over the internet but is that really relevant to the person? "You got lung cancer, wife left you, kids don't talk to you, haven't seen your friends in years, up to your pasty beer belly in debt... but I care!" Does that not seem the least bit condescending?

    "Please, talk to us!"

    Ahh yes, my favorite line that always follows hyper-emotional posters about to do themselves in (but 99% of the time they're just waiting for the automatons' aforementioned line to unload his/her latest tribulation.) Must we encouarge these posters by responding with words of equally dramatic connotation? I don't understand it. If their intention isn't seeking help (by posting relevant info that others can use to respond constructively) are they not just seeking attention? Depression is certainly grounds for this type of behavior, no doubt. But isn't responding to it in the way described only making these people more emotionally dependent and crippled? "Sally smerked at me in the hallway today, I'll go throw a fit on SF... they'll powder my ass for me!" I am not advocating ignorance (or even tough love) for depression oh no, but is this really helping anyone? Hmmm, maybe I'm just talking out my ass.

    "Permanent solution, temporary problem, yadda yadda"

    The ultimate act of downplaying and subsequently crapping on a person's suicide-inspired problems is done by reciting these lines. It's a blanket term that might as well be called a "pillow cover" term on the "bed" of suicidal people. These people are usually impulsive in nature and react to emotional events accordingly. They usually aren't the type to think things out rationally or attempt to view their situation with a degree of objectivity. They aren't going to reflect on their situation by seeking advice on a support forum and if they are, they probably aren't gonna act out anyway. Most people here I'd assume don't have a "temporary problem." They have a lifetime's worth of problems of all types that have rendered them the suicidal people they've become.

    The past is ALWAYS a compilation of the present... nothing temporary about this people.

    "I want to die... BUT PLEASE DON'T KILL YOURSELF!!!"

    Probably the trickiest one to avoid. I'm sure we all agree that the suicidal state we find ourselves in is highly subjective in nature. I'd like to think we all agree that we don't want to see others take their own lives. So we become hypocrites. We forget the fact that we are all students of this "mental cancer" and slip into the role of advice giver, of teacher. We betray our own feelings and render them invalid by deeming others in similar situations as irrational or mentally sick. Are you (anyone who is guilty of this) irrational or mentally sick? If you think you are, why are you giving advice? If you claim you are of sound mind (and still suicidal), why are you betraying the "validity of your subjectivity" on the most fundamental level? Like I said, tricky to avoid but very offensive and contradictory from a logical point of view.

    "Assembly line Advice"

    Probably the most common of the "non-productive acts" on support forums is to give assembly line advice. We've all done it and surely will continue to do it...

    "Hi, I am lonely, what to do?"
    "Go out into the world and make friends, silly... would you like this advice wrapped in paper or plastic?"

    "Hi, I'm totally bored and no longer find meaning in life, what to do?"
    "Go out into the world and find an interest you like, silly... oh you forgot your reciept!"

    "I've been depressed for years and my life is ruined!"
    "Honey go to a therapist."

    "I've been depressed for years and my life is ruined, I'm thinking of killing myself soon!"
    "Honey go to the doctor and get some meds."

    "I've been depressed for years and my life is ruined, I'm thinking of killing myself NOW!"

    Is it me or does all this seem a little counter-intuitive? Are we solving problems or are we just delaying them by reiterating obvious solutions from the view of a soapbox? Do suicidal people want blind affection or genuine acceptance? Do they want advice or understanding? I remember watching the movie "White Men Can't Jump" with Woody Harrelson and Rosie Perez. In a scene they're both in bed and Rosie says to Woody "I am thirsty." He pops up with the intention of getting her a glass of water from the kitchen. She stops him offended and says something to the effect of, "I don't want you to get me a glass of water!" Woody is dumbfounded at this point and asks what the hell she wants. She says, "I want you to say 'I understand and know what it feels like to be thirsty.'" Even though the point of the scene is to stereotype women as emotionally complex creatures, the same logic applies. And it's true, imo...

    Before my accident I know I got more out of reading and relating to others' problems then hearing tired solutions to my own. That is what got me by. Reality is complex. It's never been paint-by-numbers so why should reality's problems be any different? Anybody can give advice, not everybody can understand. That is what should separate the support forums from the therapists with their fancy degrees. That's my philosophy. I don't know if any of this makes sense or if I'm just retarded but I think the general attitude around here needs some fine tuning. Sorry if I offended anyone, just trying to improve the overall service support forums provide for people like us. (Also I have completely nothing to do with myself and enjoy voicing my opinion.)

    So ignore this post or have at me!
  2. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Well-Known Member

    I couldn't have said most of that better myself. I've already been seen as insensitive for pointing out clear hypocrisy earlier today.
  3. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    I agree with what your trying to say but think its wrong. You see what you trying to say is people on here and other support forums is what you percieve as automatic responses. A lot of people are going through the exact same thing over and over again and it seems that yes it does seem to be automatic responses given but imagine this scenario.

    Someone has just joined and is suicidal and has just posted something to the effect of im suicidal and have been for years i want to die. The response given is:

    A. One of those automatic responses that is given saying talk to us tell us how your feeling and what brought you here

    B. No-one says anything at all and they leave feeling ignored and even worse.

    Which would you chose? What you have got to realise is that not one person on here is a trained or paid psychiatrist. We are all people with various mental health issues, and the vast majority of us are going through our own stuff as well. But instead of ignoring someone people actually try and make them feel heard. Or is that so wrong?

    Just because you have never met someone face to face doesnt mean you dont care but yeah you are right someone cant care about someone else who they have only just seen online.
  4. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    i only know what helps me when i am suicidal. i like to hear that i'm not alone, that i'm not going crazy, that someone cares. i like a reminder to go and see my psychiatrist. a reminder that i'm ill and it's likely the bipolar taking over my thinking again. i don't mind hearing most of the things you object to hearing. they help me.

    what helps you when you post on a forum when you are feeling suicidal?
  5. plshelpme

    plshelpme Well-Known Member

    um...somewhat valid points...
    but a very unproductive post...
    suggest something positive, instead of listing all the negatives...
    what use is your post?
  6. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    I also suggest this thread get moved to the soap box thread before it gets locked because i think this is actually a good thread that needs discussing
  7. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Only one comment: many of us are here due to neurological problems which can be solved or at least improved by meds. It's not bad advice to tell someone to see a doctor; therapists are a bit less efficient and a lot less certain but can also provide significant improvements to quality of life.
  8. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    You see only the negatives you don't see the suffering to sadness you don't feel others pain here i don't understand If you say you suffer too then how can reaching out to someone like you be wrong. How can telling somone you understand their pain because you have been there and have pulled yourself out be wrong. It is sharing ones experiance and suffering it is sharing ones coping skills that help This forum shows people they are not alone in their mental illness and that there is help there is hope and a reminder of where they can go helps a reminder their is access to several types of help out there. You must not be in a position of pain or you would not condemn a forum that reaches out and actually truly cares for the people here. I DO CARE okay and i can feel people caring back through their words the sincerity of their words sorry you can't.
  9. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    <mod edit-gentlelady-quote from deleted post>

    I'll take that as the booze (from your buzz?) talking. I may have injected a bit of humor in this but everything I've said I believe in 100%. Being someone who KNOWS they're not gonna be around much longer, I want to prevent other suicidal people like myself from failing to get the best out of the resources they pursue.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  10. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Well-Known Member

    Speaking of xxxxxx? Unrelated to the topic at hand, but you know... You're the first person I've met who actually cares about helping, rather than just giving an illusion of help.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2010
  11. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    I think some of you are missing the point.. I'm listing negatives because I don't think they produce positives. Do you want to one day leave this suicide forum and lead the best life you can live or do you want to be apart of a hugbox for the duration? Caring on the internet is nice and even moral yet ineffective. Care, but care through understanding not through stale advice. I mean don't you think people know where the doctor's office is?
  12. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    I appreciate that you can "understand" where I'm going with this. I'm pro-choice... but this place is pro-life so that type of info is non-trespassable territory around here.
  13. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Well-Known Member

    Could've guessed as much.
  14. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    I broke my back and pelvis, neurological problems know me well. I didn't need a support forum to pursue a doctor to give me ineffective meds like gabapentin and send me on my way. What I did need was the knowledge that others were through a similar predicament, and even then it didn't work. Sometimes personal expectations (and lack of achieving them) trump whatever a place like this can dish out. Still, empathy is key. It's the last resort and if you're in a place like this, you need that last resort.
  15. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    Why does it have to be tired advice or ignorance? That's the easy way out. I can give advice on here, drink coffee, and read the sunday comics all at the same time. It takes effort to understand and to let the person KNOW they understand. That is what saves lives.
  16. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    So what is it that your trying to achieve through various support sites then? A lot of people come here to talk, and find it helpful. Tarring everyone with the same brush isnt really fair because i know a lot of people on here who give their time and a lot of effort to talk to people to try and help them in some way shape or form.

    On the other hand some people dont want to goto their doctor or a therapist because in a lot of countries they need their parents consent and most people dont want their parents to know how they are feeling

    I think you need to go and read the rules. No-one on here is going to give you advice on the best way to kill yourself
  17. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Yeah but your missing the point, every single person on here has some sort of mental health problem. Thats the best advice some people can actually give because they havent been trained to give practical advice. People try their best thats all you can hope for but not everyone is like that at all which is what you seem to be saying.

    Can i ask how old you are?
  18. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    Chuck, I'm here because I like to be in the company of people who are in the same situation. It's comforting to know I'm not 1 in 6,000,000+ that is going through these completely alien emotions. Being accepted is the key to recovery, imo. If your problems are accepted/understood here, maybe you can start to accept yourself. Then you can go off into the world knowing your feelings are valid producing confidence and a more fulfilling life (maybe, eventually.)

    Or you can give black and white advice (with a touch of internet caring to produce that warm fuzzy feeling.) If this approach worked, places like this would be revolving doors with high member turnover.
  19. ezi

    ezi Member

    Are you sure everyone here has a mental health problem?? I am ending it wednesday (as this is the latest I can leave it) because of nasty financial problems (admitedly I have these because of my wife's bipolar issue).
    I hate the idea of leaving my family that i love very much and have fought many years for, particularly so close to christmas but this will stop the violence etc that will follow otherwise.
    Everyone here is an individual, no doubt there are some do-gooders and some sincere people. I am pro choice rather than pro life but that is only my opinion.
    If there was a site that was for suicide partners (just to make it easier - what a coward) then I would be on it rather than on here. Maybe I can persuade other people that there is some hope as from my perspective their problems are not so great but would never wish to preach nor be dismissive of their issues?
  20. jimmy88

    jimmy88 Well-Known Member

    I'm 22.
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