Not caring if someone is going to commit suicide

So I have a friend who I used to be close with but now don't talk to very often. She's a nice enough girl, though a bit dumb honestly. She recently messaged me saying that she "missed me". So, after a about a day, I get back to her saying we should get together and have some coffee or something. She proceeds to tell me that she's "not sure if she'll make it that long"

So I go through the typical methods one would use to console a suicidal person: trying to help her, telling her I empathize, etc. I deliberated on calling a suicide hotline, but I felt the conversation went well enough that I decided to refrain from doing so. I'm going to see her tomorrow, and we're going to try to work through some of the problems she's been having, get her back with her psychiatrist, etc.

Here's the problem: The entire time I was talking to her I was just annoyed by her total lack of common sense and making mountains out of molehills. I understand what depression does to a person's emotions and thought processes (I've been there), but she's always been like this: She's terrible with money and is constantly accruing debt (despite only having $600 in bills a month), unwilling to think outside of her own simplistic philosophical preconceptions or listen to life advice (money isn't everything, there's more to life than what you planned, etc), unwilling to work a better job because it's stressful, forfeits her meds for stupid reasons, is anxious and "hates people", has a slew of moderate health issues that she apparently can't handle, keeps getting involved with the wrong crowd, repeats mistakes, is in a terrible family position that isn't getting better and she's contributing negatively towards, only wants to take pills and not put in the effort necessary for emotional/psychological healing, and is extremely unresourceful/untalented aside from being pretty. She's 22, so it's not like she's a kid anymore or likely to turn herself around given her behavior that last 5 years I've known her. The whole time I was talking to her I was thinking "if she can't even work through some rather simplistic problems without falling apart, then she might as well off herself now and save herself the downward spiral into debt and emotional pain".

It seems cruel and heartless, and I'm not denying that it is, but that thought kept crossing my mind and seemed reaffirmed every time she opened her mouth.

So has anyone else here been in a similar position or felt the same way about someone?

axlryder:
Snip

I still think its incredibly callous to say you don't care

I dont know her personally obviously, it seems like she has alot of issues and needs professional help

OT: no, I mean sure from an outside perspective you wonder if some people are unable to do nothing but wallow in their own "fucked-up"ness but really we don't know what goes on in their heads, and depression..like real depression isnt somthing you can ever really get over

I think that every time i hear of someone committing suicide. If you are selfish enough to do something like that, then you get zero sympathy from me. It was your choice and your actions which at all times were in your control.

That being said, you should always take the time to help someone who asks for it. Your story seems to me that she was just whoring for attention with her "I wont make it that long" comment so I think you did the right thing in talking to her and giving her that attention. But there are times when you run across people that dont want to be helped and no matter what you do, you cannot change that.

Honestly sounds like she is just being dramatic. I don't think she will end up committing suicide and likely just wants a bit of attention.

If you have such a low opinion of her just leave her alone. No one deserves to be patronised like that. She already knows no one gives a shit about her or else she probably wouldn't be suicidal.

There's nothing wrong with not caring, but lying to her, pretending you give a shit while judging her, then going on the internet to complain about and insult her is pretty low.

Anyway, what do you think is a good enough reason to feel suicidal?

I've been there. It dawned on me at an early age that I didn't really give a fuck about anyone. Truth be told it was a rather horrifying and revolting discovery that has gone on to blight my life.

I am who I am. You are who you are. Personally (after some earnest attempts to change) I took the decision to try to limit the damage I'd do to other people and live a simple life; I couldn't be bothered to exploit people or use people to satisfy my own desires. Perhaps you have a different view of your place in the world, or not.

Helping people takes a lot of time and emotional investment. I have found it rewarding in the past, in a personal achievement kind of way like building a table or doing a handstand, but if you can't be bothered I'd reccomend talking to one of her other friends.

Okay, so a suicide is a personal choice, not to be condemned or revered. My life, my terms and all that. But if someone wants to kill themselves, they'll just up and do it. If they're "just being an attention whore", that means that some kind of attention is warranted, likely the professional kind of attention.

But I'll just toss this in..."Okay, fine, kill yourself" isn't the best answer - I mean, telling a person to kill themselves is a little crass and callous. "Okay, fine, you're not listening to me, do what you want" is a better one, in my eyes. Relays a similar message, but with a subtle yet important difference - "do what you want" sends the message that it really is up to them what they do.

ShinyCharizard:
Honestly sounds like she is just being dramatic. I don't think she will end up committing suicide and likely just wants a bit of attention.

That's quite cruel, assuming she's doing for attention, people do get depressed even more so when they aren't too bright and quickly fall into debt.
Though I do agree she is being a pretty dramatic with the whole "not sure she'll make it that long" line. I mean jeez how do you even respond to that? omg what's wrong? there's better ways to tell people your depressed.

As for you OP no I wouldn't say you're cruel, but you certainly can't empathize for shit. If you could, you would've thought of how to help and teach her to solve these problems instead of thoughts of letting her continue this path of self-destruction (dramatic line but whatever).

Reminds me of a time where a chap had a little test in class, a guy asked everyone "do you feel bad for the victims of that batman theater shooting?" and obviously a few said they sympathized. He replied with "You're all liars, you don't really care, you're just worried that it might happen to you, you're projecting yourself in their position and that is why you "care" because you're afraid".
So yeah it's natural, though personally I don't think it's a good thing, to not care for others unless it would have an effect on you as well.

manic_depressive13:
If you have such a low opinion of her just leave her alone. No one deserves to be patronised like that. She already knows no one gives a shit about her or else she probably wouldn't be suicidal.

There's nothing wrong with not caring, but lying to her, pretending you give a shit while judging her, then going on the internet to complain about and insult her is pretty low.

Anyway, what do you think is a good enough reason to feel suicidal?

Actually, people do give a shit about her, the problem is that everyone in her life is dysfunctional.

Also, she'll never know I'm writing about her or judging her, and I'm not going to act like that's somehow tangentially hurting her. If I was journaling literally no one would care. Me writing it on a forum for others to see and for me to get some feedback isn't magically going to amplify her pain somehow. Hell, even if it was some reprehensible thing to do (based on moral principle or something), dedicating my time and effort (which she knows I have limited amounts of) to her well being is a valid contribution regardless of what I'm thinking at the time. I know that contribution is at least valuable in her mind. I realize that kind of an insult would rub you the wrong way, but if someone is begrudgingly offering me water in the desert, I'm not going to turn it down because of what they're thinking. Feel free to think of me as "low" though, I'm certainly not satisfied with my own feelings in this situation.

Also, there's no 'good' reason to kill yourself. People are individuals, what is a good reason for one person might be a stupid reason for another. From my own subjective stand point, I think most reasons are terrible ones, but that's me personally. What I'm concerned about is that, based upon what I know about her as an individual, and her actions up to this point, I don't see her getting out of this funk. She just keeps slipping back into it, lower every time.

Vault101:

axlryder:
Snip

I still think its incredibly callous to say you don't care

I dont know her personally obviously, it seems like she has alot of issues and needs professional help

OT: no, I mean sure from an outside perspective you wonder if some people are unable to do nothing but wallow in their own "fucked-up"ness but really we don't know what goes on in their heads, and depression..like real depression isnt somthing you can ever really get over

I know, Vault. I've been there. It runs in my family. You're right though, it does sound callous.

She really does need professional help. She can't afford it though. Her family is broke. I suppose maybe a state funded program is feasible. I've been considering that too. She wouldn't go though, I'd literally have to have them come and drag her off. I have to wonder how much good that would really do her. I think that honestly might be what pushes her over the edge. She hates doctors, hospitals and psychologists. It's kind of delicate situation.

I honestly think "don't care" was poorly worded. I care. I just don't know how she's going to possibly crawl out of this pit that she's, or manage to stay out of it for any extended period.

thanks for the feedback.

Vegosiux:
Okay, so a suicide is a personal choice, not to be condemned or revered. My life, my terms and all that. But if someone wants to kill themselves, they'll just up and do it. If they're "just being an attention whore", that means that some kind of attention is warranted, likely the professional kind of attention.

But I'll just toss this in..."Okay, fine, kill yourself" isn't the best answer - I mean, telling a person to kill themselves is a little crass and callous. "Okay, fine, you're not listening to me, do what you want" is a better one, in my eyes. Relays a similar message, but with a subtle yet important difference - "do what you want" sends the message that it really is up to them what they do.

Oh I would never actively tell her to kill herself. Absolutely not. Maybe I conveyed that poorly. Sorry, just wanted to clarify.

Keoul:

ShinyCharizard:
Honestly sounds like she is just being dramatic. I don't think she will end up committing suicide and likely just wants a bit of attention.

That's quite cruel, assuming she's doing for attention, people do get depressed even more so when they aren't too bright and quickly fall into debt.
Though I do agree she is being a pretty dramatic with the whole "not sure she'll make it that long" line. I mean jeez how do you even respond to that? omg what's wrong? there's better ways to tell people your depressed.

As for you OP no I wouldn't say you're cruel, but you certainly can't empathize for shit. If you could, you would've thought of how to help and teach her to solve these problems instead of thoughts of letting her continue this path of self-destruction (dramatic line but whatever).

Reminds me of a time where a chap had a little test in class, a guy asked everyone "do you feel bad for the victims of that batman theater shooting?" and obviously a few said they sympathized. He replied with "You're all liars, you don't really care, you're just worried that it might happen to you, you're projecting yourself in their position and that is why you "care" because you're afraid".
So yeah it's natural, though personally I don't think it's a good thing, to not care for others unless it would have an effect on you as well.

Yeah, I agree. It's not a good thing. I wish I could deeply care about everyone, even if it is a heavy burden to bear.

I can empathize with her; I know what she's going through. I think that's half of the reason I feel this way. Just talking to her is exhausting because her mumbled indifference is so familiar. I know how much effort it takes to live with depression, let alone when there's any substantial life burdens on top of said depression. Just looking at her personal history, I dunno.

It's like the old saying "give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach him to fish, feed him for life". I feel like all she can do is accept fish from others, but isn't really capable of learning herself. Plus, half the time she's throwing the fish back in other's faces because she doesn't like the taste. Maybe forced institutionalized isn't a bad route.

Sorry about the second thread, guys. Completely unintentional double thread post (it's slightly different because I edited the OP in this one). I didn't even realize it existed.

Yup, been there. My mum's got clinical depression and borderline personality disorder, she tried to kill herself twice when I was a kid, when she was still threatening to do it when I hit adulthood I just didn't care anymore. I can't know what it's like to be mentally ill so I've got to tell myself off for thinking things like 'just pull yourself together, stop being horrible and getting drunk all the time and sort your life out', but sometimes it feels like the only alternative is 'you're right, there's nothing that can be done to heal your pain, just go kill yourself then, do everyone a favour'.

Thing is, I guess I don't put a whole lot of value on life anyway. Life is important to the people who know you. It's not particularly important to you yourself (not you, OP, I mean whoever's life we're talking about) because if you lost your life you wouldn't even know it, only others would be there to mourn. Some people say suicide is selfish, I guess it is, but being alive is also selfish in other ways; specifically that you take the food, shelter and other resources that other people could have had. Either way, you have to think about yourself sometimes, not just about others.

axlryder:
Actually, people do give a shit about her, the problem is that everyone in her life is dysfunctional.

Also, she'll never know I'm writing about her or judging her, and I'm not going to act like that's somehow tangentially hurting her. If I was journaling literally no one would care. Me writing it on a forum for others to see and for me to get some feedback isn't magically going to amplify her pain somehow. Hell, even if it was some reprehensible thing to do (based on moral principle or something), dedicating my time and effort (which she knows I have limited amounts of) to her well being is a valid contribution regardless of what I'm thinking at the time. I know that contribution is at least valuable in her mind. I realize that kind of an insult would rub you the wrong way, but if someone is begrudgingly offering me water in the desert, I'm not going to turn it down because of what they're thinking. Feel free to think of me as "low" though, I'm certainly not satisfied with my own feelings in this situation.

Also, there's no 'good' reason to kill yourself. People are individuals, what is a good reason for one person might be a stupid reason for another. From my own subjective stand point, I think most reasons are terrible ones, but that's me personally. What I'm concerned about is that, based upon what I know about her as an individual, and her actions up to this point, I don't see her getting out of this funk. She just keeps slipping back into it, lower every time.

You might see a difference but she either can't or won't accept that.

It's true that she won't know you're writing about her but the fact that you are suggests you are rather frustrated and thus need anonymous people to tell you how you should behave. I would suggest that, unless you're an incredible liar, the fact that you think she is being stupid and petty will probably show, and I don't think that's what a suicidal person needs. If you honestly can't sympathise with her and don't genuinely care about her, leave her alone. The last thing someone who is feeling confused and frightened and miserable needs is someone telling her that she is just being silly and acting as though there is a perfectly simple solution when she clearly doesn't feel that there is.

For example, unless you understand someone's family dynamics, saying "Just go and talk to your mum, I'm sure she'll understand!" might seem perfectly reasonable to you but completely unthinkable to the other person. This will merely solidify her belief that no one understands her, or else make her feel like she really is just stupid and petty, exacerbating the issue.

manic_depressive13:

You might see a difference but she either can't or won't accept that.

It's true that she won't know you're writing about her but the fact that you are suggests you are rather frustrated and thus need anonymous people to tell you how you should behave. I would suggest that, unless you're an incredible liar, the fact that you think she is being stupid and petty will probably show, and I don't think that's what a suicidal person needs. If you honestly can't sympathise with her and don't genuinely care about her, leave her alone. The last thing someone who is feeling confused and frightened and miserable needs is someone telling her that she is just being silly and acting as though there is a perfectly simple solution when she clearly doesn't feel that there is.

For example, unless you understand someone's family dynamics, saying "Just go and talk to your mum, I'm sure she'll understand!" might seem perfectly reasonable to you but completely unthinkable to the other person. This will merely solidify her belief that no one understands her, or else make her feel like she really is just stupid and petty, exacerbating the issue.

Well it's just gathering input to take into consideration. Also, you're not all anonymous. Even just going off of the avatars many of you have established for yourselves, there's definitely some people here who's opinions I value. You, for example, are someone who I believe to be insightful and appreciate feedback from (despite doing a terrible job of showing it).

Anyway, I've yet to verbally patronize her or give any indicator of my true feelings. I can say with certainty that she's been unaware of my thoughts insofar. I familiar enough with depression to know how to treat someone who's depressed (I used to be there myself). I can at least feign empathy, and my understanding of her feelings is pretty genuine. Today actually went pretty well in helping her work out some of her various issues. I guess my familiarity with her situation was sufficient in navigating the minefield that is her life.

However, once I've done what I can, I think I'll do what you said. She really doesn't need someone who has the potential to emotionally mishandle her, and I can't keep up this charade forever.

Take your hands off of it, don't get too emotionally involved, especially if you "don't care".

Let survival of the fittest do it's thing.

It's a little cruel, but not entirely unexpected. I've been there with a friend, when they're convinced that this is the only way, and you keep telling them that's not the way, pulling out every trick you know, every saying, every comforting thought that's kept you going through tough times, and they just shoot it down. From being a shoulder to cry on, to administering some tough love, nothing works, it's incredibly frustrating.

But stick with it. Sometimes, even if that person isn't listening to you, it's knowing that there's someone who doesn't want you to go that keeps someone from doing it.

axlryder:
So I have a friend who I used to be close with but now don't talk to very often. She's a nice enough girl, though a bit dumb honestly. She recently messaged me saying that she "missed me". So, after a about a day, I get back to her saying we should get together and have some coffee or something. She proceeds to tell me that she's "not sure if she'll make it that long"

So I go through the typical methods one would use to console a suicidal person: trying to help her, telling her I empathize, etc. I deliberated on calling a suicide hotline, but I felt the conversation went well enough that I decided to refrain from doing so. I'm going to see her tomorrow, and we're going to try to work through some of the problems she's been having, get her back with her psychiatrist, etc.

Here's the problem: The entire time I was talking to her I was just annoyed by her total lack of common sense and making mountains out of molehills. I understand what depression does to a person's emotions and thought processes (I've been there), but she's always been like this: She's terrible with money and is constantly accruing debt (despite only having $600 in bills a month), unwilling to think outside of her own simplistic philosophical preconceptions or listen to life advice (money isn't everything, there's more to life than what you planned, etc), unwilling to work a better job because it's stressful, forfeits her meds for stupid reasons, is anxious and "hates people", has a slew of moderate health issues that she apparently can't handle, keeps getting involved with the wrong crowd, repeats mistakes, is in a terrible family position that isn't getting better and she's contributing negatively towards, only wants to take pills and not put in the effort necessary for emotional/psychological healing, and is extremely unresourceful/untalented aside from being pretty. She's 22, so it's not like she's a kid anymore or likely to turn herself around given her behavior that last 5 years I've known her. The whole time I was talking to her I was thinking "if she can't even work through some rather simplistic problems without falling apart, then she might as well off herself now and save herself the downward spiral into debt and emotional pain".

It seems cruel and heartless, and I'm not denying that it is, but that thought kept crossing my mind and seemed reaffirmed every time she opened her mouth.

So has anyone else here been in a similar position or felt the same way about someone?

Everybody that I knew in high school is basically at that point.

axlryder:
snip

Can't really argue with you there. If someone is unwilling or unable to attempt to better/help themselves, particularly if their circumstances aren't that bad (which it doesn't sound like hers are), I have little sympathy, and, at that point, actively encourage them to off themselves.

Jacco:
I think that every time i hear of someone committing suicide. If you are selfish enough to do something like that, then you get zero sympathy from me. It was your choice and your actions which at all times were in your control.

That being said, you should always take the time to help someone who asks for it. Your story seems to me that she was just whoring for attention with her "I wont make it that long" comment so I think you did the right thing in talking to her and giving her that attention. But there are times when you run across people that dont want to be helped and no matter what you do, you cannot change that.

...let's not call suicide selfish, okay?

SimpleThunda':
Take your hands off of it, don't get too emotionally involved, especially if you "don't care".

Let survival of the fittest do it's thing.

God I hope you are kidding for saying something like that. If you aren't this is a human life we are talking about.
OT: Give her a shoulder to cry on, and hopefully her condition will improve otherwise get her to see professional help.

axlryder:
-snip-

I wish I could berate you for being a tad callous but honestly I've been there.

Then again I'm a 17 year old still in high school and a lot of people fake suicidal thoughts for attention in the 12-20 age group.

Basically this is what you do, go to the meeting, if she's still suicidal call her parent, closest relative, hospital, whatever and let them deal with it.

You can't let this stuff interfere with your own life, you don't deserve that.

I can understand how you feel. It's one thing to help a friend whose in trouble it's another thing to repeat the same conversation over and over and over again and have nothing ever eventuate from it.

I had a similar experience with a now-ex-friend from college. In the case with my friend, I believe that she was genuinely going through a very hard time, however she wasn't talking about it because she wanted help, she kept talking about it because the attention and the sympathy she was getting lessened the hurt she was going through. Unfortunately it didn't actually help her because to get through that kind of stuff you need to want to make things better not want to make people feel sorry for you.

Talk to the suicide hotline (or other over the phone counselling service) because they will be able to give you the best advice as to how help her.

janjotat:

SimpleThunda':
Take your hands off of it, don't get too emotionally involved, especially if you "don't care".

Let survival of the fittest do it's thing.

God I hope you are kidding for saying something like that. If you aren't this is a human life we are talking about.
OT: Give her a shoulder to cry on, and hopefully her condition will improve otherwise get her to see professional help.

He's asking for advice. That's my advice. Get emotionally involved and you're creating an even larger problem waiting to happen which is that they'll get clingy and start sucking you dry of energy. The OP even said he doesn't really care, so I really do not see any reason for him to try and help her.

Furthermore, suicidal thoughts are hardly alarming. Tons of people have them and they do not lead to suicide most of the time. If she hasn't attempted suicide already it's probably just a cry for attention, which seems plausible since she called up this poor fellow. Just like with dogs, if you answer to their cry for attention, they'll keep doing it.

If you insist upon helping, showing sympathy is the worst thing you can do. If you -really- want to help them, tell them what pathetic bottomfeeders they have become and let them start focusing on things that matter.

It sounds like in some sense, you do care, so in some sense, you're not cruel. I suggest you try to have a heartfelt conversation with her whereby rather than talking about her problems and negativity you talk about her potential future as a happy person. Offer her videos, music, books or anything else you can think of that helps you when you're down or that helped you get out of your depression. Advice and some kind of comfort are the best things you can offer someone in this state, it sounds like professional advice is also warranted so I wouldn't hesitate to call up your doctor's and get their advice (It's a serious matter and will be dealt with respect by professionals). She needs someone kind and considerate to be a guiding force in her recovery, in 'tribal spirit metaphorical terms' - not a rock to lean on, but a breeze to push her in the right direction ;) Best of luck, and if you feel you can't help / won't help for whatever reason, at least leave her with the best advice and kindness you can provide.

On a side note, judging from most of the replies you got, I don't think forums are the right place for advice on how to care for suicidal friends, most people are in their teens/20s and haven't got the life experience needed to help you.
Also, in response to SimpleThunda', I'm going to suggest that advising upon sensitive topics regarding human or animal life and care are not issues that you should ever concern yourself with. The internet may be the most democratic 'society' out there, but an opinion regarding suicide as beneficial to 'Survival of the fittest' immediately proves you a moral imbecile. I think that humanity considering it's own natural selection in such bigoted and insensitive ways is reminiscent of the rulers of Nazi Germany. Above all, if we are to progress and survive as a species we need kindness and compassion to guide our judgement, surviving as a whole is more important than stratifying the most successful genus to the top, given that we can destroy ourselves in an instant. Sorry for the rant, I thought what you said was appalling; let us all hope that rather than a callous view of life, you have an oblivious one, and will try to educate yourself further before throwing such toxic, misinformed opinions into the face of such a serious matter.

 

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