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What happens if you call a hotline?

Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by Phrick, Mar 19, 2015.

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  1. Phrick

    Phrick Member

    I've always avoided calling a hotline because I assumed it is a one-way ticket to the hospital. But I'm regularly awake and depressed and obsessive at 2:30 in the morning when the only real people I trust are asleep. I can't help wondering what would REALLY happen if I called. Anyone able to offer your personal experience? Are they actually helpful? Do they just throw nice words around, but nothing substantially useful? IS it an automatic trip to a locked ward?
  2. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Hi there, I don't know where you're from but here (uk and Ireland) have the samaritans. They are not allowed to give advice. It is a listening service only. As far as I'm aware they will not call the police/paramedics to you. I have had some really good experiences with them. I think you should give them a try for those sleepless anxious nights.
  3. Phrick

    Phrick Member

    oh, I guess location would have been helpful. I'm in the US - California specifically. Thanks for your reply Petal.
  4. ChestnutMay

    ChestnutMay Antiquities Friend

    The answer to your question is....it depends on the hotline itself and the specific volunteer you reach. I have called hotlines several times, including one in San Diego, that were very helpful. They were sympathetic listeners and gave me some useful phone numbers. My experience with the San Diego hotline was actually among the best - they seemed to know the right things to say and seemed very interested and compassionate. If you are near San Diego, I would definitely recommend calling 1-800-SUICIDE since this was how I reached them - I was routed there based on my area code.

    More recently I called a hotline in Maryland that did indeed end up with an attempt to hospitalize me. I ended up spending 7 hours in the ER and having to do some fast talking in order to avoid being sent to a psych ward. However, this same hotline also offers temporary in-home therapy, free of charge, and I've definitely benefited from that.

    If you want to avoid an attempt to force you into the hospital, you just need to avoid saying you want to harm yourself or anyone else. If you feel there is no reason to live, as I often do, it is important to make the distinction between feeling this way and planning to do anything about it.

    A couple of other so/so experiences I've had - twice I've connected with people who were just going through the motions and who couldn't wait to get off the phone. Those experiences actually made me feel pretty awful.

    A comment about hospitalization - this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, I've had both good and bad experiences with it. If I had someone to watch my cats, I would probably go in myself.
  5. Vaughan

    Vaughan Well-Known Member

    I have called the Samaritans in the past. I was low. Worse, I was both low and drunk. The call wasn't helpful. I blabbered, I blubbered, and they couldn't help me because, essentially, I was beyond help due to my intoxication.

    I also want to touch on the point where you write "I'm regularly awake and depressed and obsessive at 2:30 in the morning when the only real people I trust are asleep".

    I struggle with this a lot. The idea of waking someone because of my own craziness. But I also get in trouble for it when they find out I didn't wake them. Sure they'd like a good undisturbed sleep, but told that one of their loved ones (me) is in such pain, they'd have rather been woken.

    Can I suggest you discuss this with trusted people you love? Tell them this sometimes happens, and ask them if they would be offended or upset that you woke them. You may well find the help you need is right there in the room next door - and like me, you're too busy trying to not be noticed to see it.
  6. Phrick

    Phrick Member

    Oh, I know... my current working diagnoses (which I question) are bipolar 2 and GAD. I've been hospitalized 7 times, though it has been about 7 years since the last time... I am in the uncomfortable spot of "undeniably it would be the best move, I need to go again, but damn the timing is just SO awful right now." I'm nervous but not afraid, if that makes sense. This is by far the most functional crisis I've ever experienced... I have reached out within my church community, to my medical doc, my psychiatrist, my therapist and my husband as well. I have NEVER reached out in such a wide and dramatic fashion before. I typically avoid and resist and hide and downplay the seriousness of things. It's so different that it is unnerving.... how does this kind of crazy coexist with this level of self-care? It's not something I have any experience with.

    @Vaughan I actually have discussed with with trusted people I love - my Best California Friend is currently, unfortunately, shouldering a lot of my burden..I feel awful for involving her at all but I don't know where else to turn honestly. I feel like I can't be as nakedly honest with my husband, because I can't have his attention that divided between me and our kids. Worse, he downplays the severity of my reactions/disorder more than I even do, and that's really saying something. Even though I can see that I have a level of functionality that I have not had in the past, I don't have a clear enough thought process to know what I'd wake her (or him) FOR. I don't have a conversation in mind, or something that needs to be talked out. What I need is just "not alone with my brain." But I feel like "hold me" isn't sufficient. I don't feel like "wake the hell up and sit with me" would do anything but breed resentment.

    I have a therapist I trust, but reaching out to her is a $75 hit to the wallet. And she has more than caring for me to worry about, she has to protect her license and reputation too, I worry about forced hospitalization going that route - all 7 of my previous hospitalizations have been voluntary (in the "look, you can either choose to go voluntarily or I will force the issue so you don't REALLY have a choice, we're just pretending you do" fashion). Even in the ER after my legit attempt, I sweet-talked my way into being released without commitment, that was really mind-boggling. My psychiatrist tracked me down the next day and got me to agree to hospitalization once again.

    At a follow-up appointment with my medical doc yesterday I was a lot more honest that I actually intended to be. As a result, inpatient was discussed as an option, and I now find myself on the "hey don't leave this chick by herself for too long at a time" list. A good move, a safe move. But at the same time that I recognize it as wise, it burns. It chafes. I want help...I don't, too. I know it is sick but I want people to worry. When they worry I know they actually give a damn. I know! It's sick! And I can't help it. I have begun to recognize (many) traits of Borderline Personality Disorder in myself (not just in this episode, although it has become much more apparent in the last 6 months). I've LONG thought that Bipolar doesn't really "fit" well, or at least, it doesn't "explain it all." But I have no insurance and it's $100 for 15 minutes of my psychiatrist's time so it's not like I can seek a diagnosis, and I don't know what I'd do with one anyway. I do have hospital coverage through Medicare (as I'm on disability), and if I'm going to seek a re-evaluation that's probably going to have to be the route I take. I just can't right now... I can in 2 weeks, if I last that long.

    I've been awake since 12:55 this morning. That is a lot of time for "don't leave this chick alone for too long" to be alone. And hubby works today in a city an hour south of here and says he "can't call in another day" on this.

    Yes I have arrangements to not be alone. Yes I feel ridiculous and insecure and small and irritated and confined and all the other things. I'm so over it, I wish it would get over me.
  7. Multiple Man

    Multiple Man Well-Known Member

    Suicide hotline isnt in any way suicide prevention. Its just a listening hotline. The people are volenteers, not professional therapists. They try to encourage but they do not give therapy or advice over the phone. Theyre just there to listen. Ive only had really a couple of instances where I found the experience helpful and the person was really caring and engaged in a meaningful conversation.
  8. Phrick

    Phrick Member

    I ended up calling on Saturday at like 3:45am - not because I was in crisis at that moment but because I just needed to get out of my head - and needed someone to hear what had been going on that led up to the call, what was going on at that minute, and tell me if the plan I had hatched (to see my doc for evaluation) was sound or if I was not seeing reality and needed more urgent intervention. I've known since I was like 12 that my life *WILL* end in suicide, eventually... I *might* see 60 years of age, realistically I doubt I'll last that long - but there are more considerations than just my own mental state right now, reasons that now is not THE TIME. So for this time, I had to protect myself, so I called. The lady that I talked to was out of LA county and was GREAT, it was a really positive interaction and based on that call I wouldn't hesitate to call again in the future... it wasn't an immediate police dispatch, no one-way trip to the locked ward (which wouldn't have been so bad, in reality); it was nothing like i imagined at all.
  9. Phrick, thank you, you have given me some encouragement to call a hotline, I'm very scared and need to talk to someone.
  10. Phrick

    Phrick Member

    aww, I'm glad that my post is encouraging to you. I hope you make the call, and get a really great person on the other end of the line.
  11. DrownedFishOnFire

    DrownedFishOnFire Seeing is Believing Forum Pro SF Supporter

    Think it depends on each hotlines policy. Just straight out ask them when you call what their policy is regarding your issue.
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