Saturday, December 18, 2010

How do you help despair?

Last night at 11 p.m. my phone rang.  This is never a good thing. It was for me and I had a conversation with this person about a mutual acquaintance who has a third party...that they are going to kill themselves after the New Year.

Okay.  Fine.  What do you do?  The person in question is dealing with financial dire straights just like the rest of us.  They lost their job, they cannot afford their home.  They have no family near by.  BUT...they have friends.  Friends who have offered their home to this person to ease their burden.  Friends who have invited them in to their home for Christmas.  But at this time of year when the scenario is all too familiar, it's not enough.

This person has children and grandchildren - though none are close by and they are all in tough financial situations themselves so they can be of no help in the way this person wants them to be.  In a nutshell, this person feels total despair and would rather die than continue to live like this.  They've said that they will wait until after the new year to do this so as to not burden the children and grandchildren and ruin their holiday.

So...what do you do?  How do you tell someone to NOT kill themselves when you have no solution as to how to get their life back together?  How do you show them that their family LOVES them when for most of their life, it didn't seem to matter because they really only lived for themself?  How do you be an encouragement when you are 600 miles or 1200 miles away?  How do you MAKE other people go over there and walk in to this emotional nightmare?

I cried all night.  Now I feel despair and I don't know how to help.  I don't know what I am supposed to do.  There are no words coming to me and yet I know if I choose to say NOTHING that I will live with that horror and guilt for the rest of my life.


Sandee said...

Can you contact their family? That's what I would do. You can't take on this responsibility solely on yourself. Who called you and dumped this on your lap?

I've dealt with lots of people over the years and I've found that the ones that are going to commit suicide never say a word. They just do it.

They are going to wait until after the holidays so as not to ruin their family's Christmas? This is weird. So waiting till the first of the year won't mess up their family? There's more to this story.

Reach out to the family and let them tackle this. Is there mental health facilities in your area? They are equipped to deal with these types of issues.

Don't take this burden as your own. Find resources that know how to handle these types of issues.

Have a great day. :)

Serendipity is Sweet said...

How awful. I am sorry you are feeling this way and suffering right along with your friend. I wish I had some sage advice. All I know is that if given enough time, things will change. Things will get better. Perhaps you could talk your friend into waiting? Maybe then it wouldn't seem like a hopeless endless journey, but just a "give it another month, or give it 6 weeks" kind of thing and then re-evaluate? Is there another event or milestone to look forward to?

There have to be support groups nearby. Even if this person can't afford therapy there has to be a group or church or something to help. If they could reach out to anyone it might give them a little hope. Or what about asking them to write on a blog or in a journal or anything. If not to help themselves then maybe to help others in a similar situation, or to help their children/grandchildren understand? Even if they never show it to them, just writing can help relieve some pain & stress.

I'm sure you've probably thought of these things. Just throwing out some ideas. I wish I could help.

Hang in there. {{hugs}}

Da Dude said...

I'm sure there is a department, or two, in your city that you can contact. Pass on the information to their local Church. I was in a similar position with a co-worker. I contacted our peer support person and the department's Chaplin. They were able to work with him and help him turn his life around.

PLEASE leave this type of thing to the professionals.

Ruth said...

I once heard of someone who was depressed and a friend of theirs asked them to come to the friend's therapy appointment. Turned out the appointment was for the depressed person. Sort of an intervention, I guess. Maybe you or someone in the person's family can do this? It sounds like they need help.

Then again, Sandee's got a point. My ex's gf used to threaten to kill herself all the time, usually when she wanted something and wasn't getting it. But these things should always be taken seriously, like you said if you don't do anything you'll feel horrible if the person really does off themselves.

(((((HUGS))))) Take care!

Sandee said...

Hope things are better today. Big hug. :)

Jennifer is Always Sick said...

You can call the police. This must be scary. I had some friends in high school who were depressed and suicidal, but it was an easy fix - go to their parents. This, though, a different story altogether.

I would call 911 for this person. That's what they tell people to do if they think they might hurt themselves.