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What do you do...

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when you think regularly about suicide and 1) you're a social worker and 2) you actually work on a suicide prevention hotline...?

Well, not that I'd actually kill myself (I've worked with way too many people to know how much that hurts those you leave behind), it's just interesting how I can sit on the phones and counsel other people, turning my depression off like a switch.

It's just interesting how one can make a career of helping other people feel better when at the end of the day, I'm really just a loner who can't stand the sight of himself. After awhile, the meds just seem to not work anymore, not for this nagging melancholy that leaves you thinking a few times a week, if only for a few seconds at a time: "What if I am just a complete hopeless reject who just needs to walk away from this while he's ahead"

I see my therapist tomorrow, but it just wears down after awhile. It's like: "Yeah, feeling suicidal, I should get back on meds" not depressed often enough for meds to actually be affective. Really, they should make an "I'm sad-right-now-and-just-need-to-get-through-this-temporary-feeling-of-hopelessness pill"

total eclipse

SF Friend
Staff Alumni
I get you totally i work in a field of helping others as well but everyday suicide ideation pops up in my head. If they could make such a pill but no the meds have to be built up in your system to work so even if you feel well you need to take them to be effective. hugs to you


Staff Alumni
Hi and welcome to the forum,

Sorry to hear that you're struggling. I am not a social worker but I work in a mental health field and I think you'd be surprised at how many people who work in this field have suffered or still suffer with depression. About 6 months ago a social worker in our team actually ended his life after a long battle with depression.. it's tragic really and I often wonder whether people who work in mental health fields find it harder to reach out for help because of the concerns of people/colleagues finding out.

But i totally hear what you're saying about being able to switch off from your own issues in order to help others. In a way I think that can be quite helpful.. whatever job we do it can be useful to be able to really get in to it and distract ourselves from ourselves.. i guess the problem comes if you're not able to look after your own needs too, if things become too overwhelming. I personally think that I would rather speak to someone on a suicide helpline who has been through suicidal feelings.. so they can actually empathise more and not just say 'there there, chin up'!

Not sure this reply is of any use whatsoever.. i guess I want to just let you know that you're definitely not alone. I hope your appointment with your therapist was helpful. Just a thought, and you are welcome to ignore it.. but i wonder whether working on the suicide helpline could be triggering you? I know you said you're able to switch off from your own issues but i wonder if there is something else you could do instead that could be more 'happy' (sorry i can't think of the word!).. not to deminish the sense of satisfaction you may get from working on the helpline though, just wondering if it's the best thing for YOUR mental health?

Anyway, take good care of yourself
I think that there is a high rate of suicide and depression among people working in mental health professions

part of that may be that people who are depressed may have a greater interest in the field. part of that may be the stress of counseling. part of that may be that people who care a lot about others go into this field, and then are just more vulnerable to an already high level of stress

it sounds like you are saying that the main issue is how you feel about yourself and your life circumstances. is it that alone, or do you think that the work is making it worse?

if you feel the suffering of others all the time, it's not really something that you can sustain. I think that it's good to take a break sometimes

you might want to look into another field of work. also, exercise and taking good care of your health. if you haven't checked into this already, you might want to see if you have vitamin deficiencies or other physical issues that might contribute to how you feel

so connecting with other people might help. have you done anything to try to connect?
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