Newbie, worried about friend threatening suicide

Discussion in 'Welcome' started by beth4416, Mar 23, 2011.

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  1. beth4416

    beth4416 New Member

    I joined because it seems like a great resource and I am very worried about a good IRL friend of mine with serious cancer who keeps talking about suicide. He started with vague threats and thoughts but is getting more specific, last night texted me to say he'd loaded his shotgun, then sat outside on the deck with it thinking about killing himself, then unloaded it and texted me.

    I take every mention of suicide seriously and respond immediately with a phone call or visit if possible (he lives about an hour away.) I communicate with him every day in one way or another. I have told him that if he worries me enough, I will not hesitate to call 911.

    But...I'm not sure that he actually has intent, or if his telling me these things is an attempt to verbalise how afraid and bad he feels. But either way I take every mention seriously.

    I have made a pact with him that he will talk to me before he does it for real.

    I have stressed to him that many suicide attempts are unsuccessful and could leave him in an even worse physical and mental state than presently.

    The cancer he has is probably terminal - within the next year possibly, within 5 years most likely. Obviously I can't tell him "things will get better" because they probably won't (as far as the cancer is concerned.) However, he can control how he responds and deals with it going forward.

    I have also let him know that his talk of suicide is very distressing to me, because I care a lot for him. I am the only person he talks to about this - so far he has been reluctant to see a counselor, a cancer support group, something, although I keep suggesting it - and although this may sound selfish, I am feeling a bit emotionally bludgeoned by this...it puts a lot on me. He has a pretty limited social circle. If it matters, we are platonic friends, not romantic. Maybe I'm off-base but I think he would benefit from having a wider support network. He's not a computer person really, so I doubt he'd ever join any forums or email lists.

    Anyhow. I didn't see a sub-forum here for people worried about friends or family specifically, thought I'd put this out here, and will probably lurk around for a while...thank you so much.
     
  2. lostbutnotfound

    lostbutnotfound Well-Known Member

    Hi beth :)
    Welcome to SF. By the sounds of it you are a really good friend and are responding in the best way you can. You are right to take his suicide threats seriously, as he is obviously distressed if he is telling you about this. It is understandable that you feel a bit overwhelmed by all of this.. this does not make you a bad person, this makes you merely human. People can only deal with a certain amount before it starts getting too much, especially when you in turn are distressed by these threats.
    I know it must be really difficult to hear about someone you really care about contemplating suicide, and you are doing really well in being so strong, but I guess.. I personally can't imagine how he must be feeling to be told he has a terminal illness. I guess it is hard to deal with it and move forward when you know the choice of life or death is out of your hands.
    All I can suggest is to keep talking to him about seeing a counselor, as that would be beneficial i should imagine, and see if you can win him around. As for you, please reach out and be supported here. You can private message me if you need to talk, as we all understand how difficult this must be for you. Please bear in mind just how well you are doing, he is very lucky to have you. Take care of yourself too. I know you want to be there for him, and understandably so, but please remember that YOU are important, and you need to look after yourself, if you want to help look after anyone else. It sounds really hard for you and your friend at the moment, I'm so sorry to hear that. Take care :arms:
     
  3. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Its been proven time and time again that people who threaten suicide are the ones who dont go through with it. If your gonna kill yourself then your gonna do it no matter what anyone else says or does
     
  4. betteroffunknown

    betteroffunknown Well-Known Member

    Welcome to SF, and glad to see youre reaching out concerning your friend. If I may ask, how was your friend before the cancer diagnosis? Do you feel he's simply trying to come to terms with this?

    I would strongly encourage you to google natural remedies for cancer. From what Ive seen thus far there are proven (over n over n over again) remedies for cancer. The one that comes to mind was actually proven multiple times to clear up the cancer, and two individuals (off the top of my head) went on to live another 21 & 30 someodd years cancer free. One even has the registered trademark (this one was proven in the early 1900's), but there are more than just this particular one. The one Im speaking of just happens to be a substantially proven help with it, and impressed me the most.

    Hang in there, and again welcome.
     
  5. Stranger1

    Stranger1 Forum Buddy & Antiquities Friend

    Welcome to the forums Beth,..I'm sorry your friend has such a bad diagnosis.. Is he getting chemo??You truly are a good friend.. I agree with the other person who said you need to look after yourself also..If he goes thru with it you need to be prepared for it..You are so close that it will affect you..Keep pushing therapy on him..It will give him someone else he can talk to about whats happening..
     
  6. beth4416

    beth4416 New Member

    Thanks. :)

    lost - I don't know how I would feel either, with a diagnosis like that. I actually called a suicide prevention line last night just for a reality check and to ask if there was anything I could say or shouldn't say....funny thing is I have quite a few years volunteer counseling (domestic violence and sexual assault) which is all about empowering/active listening but I really don't know how to deal with this or if the same principles apply. The person I talked to was very nice, but did try to get name and address from me after I mentioned the word "shotgun" and I understand that...but didn't provide that info. Thank you so much for your words.

    Anger...is that true, really? Seems I have read the opposite. I suspect that this is not real threats (although I don't know) and he is having a hard time saying "I feel terrified/hopeless/unhappy beyond belief/" so, being a man, he resorts to more concrete statements to express himself? I don't know. I asked him to try to be more honest and precise; if he means x but says y, that is not fair to the listener, or to him, and won't really get him the support he's looking for?

    rhino...he has pancreatic cancer. The prognosis is pretty awful, although his was caught relatively early and with heavy-duty medical intervention a small number of people make it past five years. I have previous experience with other cancers (not me personally) and honestly, there is no natural remedy in this case that is going to change much or effect a cure. Although it is certainly possible that some supplements and dietary changes will make him feel better and stop the weight loss. The d/x was about 7 weeks ago; so yes he is having a hard time coming to terms with it. I've told him we're all terminal; just that most of us don't know when. But that maybe sounds sort of Hallmark-ish and irrelevant to someone with a diagnosis like this.

    I will ask him to give me his shotgun for safekeeping though, I think.

    Stranger, yes...he is getting radiation and chemo 3x a week. Luckily he has good insurance, is still working, and finances aren't a big issue. The treatments have stopped the growth so far, which is excellent. He is still in pain and losing over 10 lbs a month, though. Pancreatic cancer messes with food absorption and of course the meds make him feel nauseated...I'm going to pick up some cans of Ensure or something. Myself and a work friend have been doing some cooking for him to keep him eating.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2011
  7. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Yeah it is true, the people who shout about oh im gonna do this im gonna do that actually just want help and dont know how to cope, sure occassionally someone does end up doing it after years and years of saying their going to but that doesnt happen often.

    Even the people who claim to have attempted are just really in pain and dont know how to express it. Before anyone jumps on me for that, the pure amount of information on precisely how and the wherefores are all online so if you really wanted to make sure you would.

    I feel for your friend but ultimately the decision is his, the best thing you can do is just be their when he needs to talk.
     
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