What to do when a loved one is suicidal… Guest Article

The Mypersonalrecoveryfromschizophrenia blog walks through the journey of living and coping with Schizophrenia. Read more informative posts today!

What to do when a Loved One is Suicidal

A Prevention Toolkit

According to the World Health Organization, more than 700,000 people across the globe commit suicide every year. What can we do to curb this tragic statistic? One thing was can do is understand the link between Schizophrenia and suicide, and do some homework on what the mental illness is all about. Mypersonalrecoveryfromschizophrenia provides steps you can take if you’re concerned about someone you know hurting themselves.

Assess the Situation

If you’re worried a loved one may be considering suicide, step one is assessing how immediate the threat of self-harm is. Don’t beat around the bush — instead, ask these questions to find out if you need to call 911.

  • Are you thinking of killing yourself? Asking directly if someone is thinking of suicide may be uncomfortable, but it’s the best way to get to bottom of the situation. If the answer is anything but a strong “No,” it’s time to dig deeper.
  • What are you unhappy about? This may include work, among other things. Many things may factor into this malaise and discontent at the workplace, including boredom, stress and perfectionism.
  • Are you using drugs or alcohol? Psychology Today notes that alcohol and drug abuse is one of the top risk factors for suicide, second only to mental health disorders. If your loved one is abusing substances, it can be a big indicator that they’re in danger.
  • Do you have a plan? If someone not only has considered suicide but also has a plan for how they can do it, it’s time to be very concerned.
  • Do you know when you’ll do it? On the surface, this may sound like an insensitive question. However, someone who is planning suicide may freely admit their timeframe for taking their life. If they do, you’ll have a better idea of how urgently you need to act.
  • Do you have the means? If the person has a suicide plan, ask if they have the means to follow through on that plan. This could be access to prescription pills, a gun, or some other method. If someone has both a plan and the means, it’s time to call emergency services.

If the answer to all five of these questions is “Yes,” there’s no time to waste. Call 911 immediately. Emergency services will arrive to take the person to the nearest emergency room, where they’ll be evaluated by a mental health professional. Depending on the outcome, they may be referred to an inpatient facility for psychiatric treatment. If they’re deemed to be at imminent risk of suicide, they’ll be placed on a 72-hour psychiatric hold at the hospital.

If the person is thinking of suicide but has yet to formulate a plan or acquire the means, a call to a crisis hotline is the best approach.

Call a Crisis Line

It can be frightening to know someone you care about is thinking of ending their life. Instead of trying to handle the situation on your own, turn to a suicide hotline. Trained staff and volunteers on the other end can help you find out what to say, what to do, and what resources to turn to in your region.

Try to convince your loved one to contact a crisis line themselves, too. A helpline can keep a suicidal person off the ledge while you wait for emergency services to arrive and they can be a valuable source of support when harmful thoughts reemerge later on. A person in crisis may find it easier to open up to a stranger than to a friend or family member whose judgment they fear, and the hotline worker will be able to quickly research mental health resources in your area.

No matter where in the U.S. you live, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline also has a Spanish language helpline (1-888-628-9454) and a TTY helpline for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (1-800-799-4889). They also have an online chat option for people who are struggling with their mental health and need someone to talk to.

Plan the Next Move

A person considering suicide has likely been dealing with mental health issues for a long time, and the problem doesn’t go away as soon as the threat of suicide has dissipated. To prevent self-harm and improve overall mental health, direct your loved one toward resources that can help them learn coping mechanisms and improve their well-being. This could mean therapy, medication, and tools for staying calm in high-stress moments, like an emotional support service dog. Whatever path forward they choose, be sure to continue to offer nonjudgmental support and a sympathetic ear.

Image via Pixabay

Thank you June Duncan, author and caregiver for this excellent article and toolkit. Feel free to write for my blog more. I think this is my favorite blog of all the almost 10 years of blogging due to my own experience of being suicidal, while wanting to live, but this would have been helpful for my loved ones in any case.

peace love light and joy to all of you

Feel free to reblog this insightful article. Let’s together spread this message of hope and love to all!

Victoria

True story of the day and upcoming guest article on what to do when a loved one is suicidal…

Even though I am not at my best physically or mentally I have the energy and desire this morning here in California to blog and get you all excited about a guest blogger article I will be posting as soon as I work out some kinks with the format. I love it when kind people reach out to me to write for free about something to do with mental health and sometimes it takes a while to get it published but please follow me if you are interested in this topic, what to do when a loved one is suicidal.

I’ve been suicidal many times in my life and have also been on the helping end with a loved one who is suicidal and this guest article really talks about some important things to do and not to do when someone is struggling with suicidal ideation. So stay tuned!

On to the true story of the day! I couldn’t make this s#$t up! This is about a story of my interesting life that dates back to circa 1988 when I was living on the streets of New York City choosing homelessness over a nice warm bed at my parents’ house in California. I will start at the ending because it is the best part, honoring my late father’s memory, which I just found out about from my mom a lie he told me to get me off the streets of New York City and safely back home into recovery from drug addiction.

Winter time, freezing cold, chosen homelessness, illegal drugs constant (which I won’t get into to not glorify my drug addiction back when I was 18), punk rock scene, 14 year old runaway named Carrie dying in a fire at the squat we lived in where a rival gang set it on fire and she died in the fire, desperation, broken, suicidal but the only plan I had to kill myself was to go out in a bang with drugs and activities never to be mentioned even here where I am anonymously blogging.

It was a freezing day and I decided to call home from a payphone booth on a corner where I would frequently panhandle to get my drugs of the day and maybe a slice of pizza. My dad answered. I was out of money and desperation was in my voice. I asked him if I could come home. They loved me so much and I put them through hell with my choices from age 16 to party hard and lie and steal. I was not to be trusted. My dad arranged for a flight home, the next flight available and told me the flight was non-refundable. Finding out later that this was a lie and my only chance from them. If I didn’t get on this flight, they would not trust me again and as usual used tough love they learned in classes for how to deal with loved ones who suffered from drug addiction. This was the lie though that saved my life and I am eternally grateful to my dad for telling it.

Somehow, by some miracle I got to the airport in New Jersey, through a snowstorm, late, running through the airport, lying to security that my bus had crashed so they would push me through without a wait so I could make it on that flight. I barely made it on that flight. Flying home was terrible, I had a hole in my nose, frostbite on my hands and feet, a desperate will to live by the grace of God, who kept me safe this whole time. I was a proclaimed atheist spewing my nonsense to others who would listen. Yet protected by God through the insanity of actions even though I had no belief despite being raised to believe in God.

I was a wreck to say the least and the last thing I wanted was to admit defeat to my parents who were loving but very strict and controlling which led to my rebellion. The plane landed in California and I was one of the last to get off it. I found out just the other day from my mom that they were waiting in anticipation but with doubt if I had even gotten on the plane. How I feel for them now the hell I put them through back then. But I got off and all I remember was the silent drive home.

They had their terms or conditions I had to follow one of which was to go into a drug rehab program called Kaiser. I did reluctantly because I was still in denial over my drug use. It was there that I was introduced to the 12 step programs and it was in them that I finally found God and believed for the first time in my life that there was a power greater than myself that could restore me to sanity.

Stay tuned for part two of this true story. But bottom line is that even though I have only 6 months today off off weed, the good news is that I am finally addressing why I used drugs to cope with life through the steps with a trusted sponsor and the best part is that I am being honest about my life and love and thank my Higher Power for all my life, the good, bad and the ugly. For without hardship there is no glory.

Peace to you all!

If you are struggling today with drug addiction, know there is hope for you, even if you have relapsed. There is always hope until we draw our last breath and I’m not done breathing yet. Haha. Let’s see now how my God will help me through thee next 50 years. I can’t wait for more will be revealed.

Peace, love light and joy

Michelle aka Victoria

Wow! So many good changes

Michelle here after a break from blogging. And to be honest I may not be a blogger anymore but time will tell.

Victoria was one of my parts with my DID disorder and since fully integrating about 2 weeks ago, I no longer feel her presence so I’m not sure of where I am headed with this blog but hopefully will shed some light.

So much has happened! And yet time passes slowly.

I have been hard at work on myself, my home, my gardens…all the people I love and my pups!

I still have many problems but I wake up each day and take what life brings and try to make the best of it. I don’t always manage well but that’s ok because I am human and not every day can be a great day.

Yesterday I was suicidal with a plan for twenty minutes. It hit me hard because I had had an awesome day prior, socializing with old and new friends and it was such an exciting day that when the next day hit and something bothered me, I just fell apart for a bit. But my daughter helped to bring me around but before that I thought about all my protective factors and knew I could never do that to the ones I love. But it scared me that I got so low so quickly…

Today was better but that was because I hung out with friends again and took really good care of myself ending the day with a hot bath and a blog.

Anyway, I will check in from time to time to explain how I integrated. Yesterday, it was the depressive part of my Schizoaffective Disorder that kicked in.

I am not drinking or smoking weed anymore and my life has gotten much better because of that. I am relying on 12 step programs to do this so it is awesome to make new friends.

I will end with a quote that really speaks to me.

“Fall in love with the masterpiece and also the paint on the floor” I might have messed it up but in its essence I think it means to love all of you, defects and good parts too. I am certainly trying.

~May you feel the source of all that is good be with you all today, tonight and for all your life to come!

Let’s talk about suicide…

Many of us have been there, some of us are there now, contemplating a life ending the suffering that seems so unbearable at times…

Protective factors help, these are your reasons to live such as children or pets. Mine are strong but they do not always help me when I am at my wit’s end thinking about taking my own life.

I have a disorder (schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder) and the odds are not in our favor concerning suicide rates. Do I let that statistic bring me down or fight?

I’m a fighting woman! I will not give up because life is a gift and we don’t know the day that gift will be taken away to move onto the spiritual world.

Depression can cause these thoughts too and situations which are temporary. I am currently depressed but being proactive about my mental health because I cannot let myself go again and go down that deep spiral of a staircase into the land of the dark and ugly, which would be to actually to take my own life.

I woke up today and went to bed last night thinking about all the wonderful things that have happened to me this week. There were a lot of highlights and I am now in the habit of making some more.

It is hard right now because we can’t do things we normally would have done. But somehow we can find a way to improve our situation and want to live again.

I have written this blog since 2013 and was diagnosed in 2008. 14 years since receiving this gift that can also be a curse. I am planning on cleaning up this site over the next few days and really trying to get in some good content again.

My life has fallen apart with the death of my brother in law but he would not want me to be somber and teary eyed all the time but I f#$%#ing miss him.

Today is a new day and my mantra once again is I won’t give up! Even better I won’t give up and I will give life my all, starting last night when I deep cleaned the kitchen. There is always something to do but I don’t always feel like doing it.

Yesterday was different. I didn’t feel like doing anything albeit there was much to be done so I played hooky. I went to my best friend’s house and we hung out and drank some wine and sang, cried, laughed and had a grand time! I cam home and because I took a 5 hour break to have some fun I was able to come home and focus on my house and paperwork.

It was easy because I did the fun thing first. Kind of like eating dessert first before the entree. The entree will still be there as will the work and drudgery so might as well enjoy ahead because truly we don’t know if we will even get to the dessert right? So dig in, enjoy what makes you happy or at least not so sad.

Peace love light and joy to all of you.

I can be reached at victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com for any questions or comments. My email has been active again and I like that. I don’t have all the answers but I have just a bit of understanding and love to share.

Pax

Victoria

Breakthroughs and finding purpose in life

Every now and then I have breakthrough and this weekend I had a few.  There are so many ups and downs with this complex disorder as I have written recently (check out recent blog below- this disease can be brutal a few weeks ago).  But there are some good moments too and when one of these occur it is worth noting.

Yesterday, I went to a funeral for one of my husband’s coworkers.  I did not know him well but my husband worked with him for many years.  I didn’t really want to go but knew it was important to support my husband of 24 years who has stood by me and my disorder although he doesn’t understand any of it, only that he will support me as best as he is able.  So yesterday was my turn to support him and I did.  Not only did I go dressed appropriately for a funeral but I made myself available to his needs.  Toward the end of the funeral he put his arm around me and pulled me close.  He was hurting and although he has rare displays of affection, I think he was overcome with emotion and reached out to me and I allowed it, leaning into his embrace and remained that way till the end of the service.

Often I lack the ability to experience emotions due to the negative symptoms of this disorder.  I wasn’t emotional yesterday but my husband was and I was there for him which is HUGE!  My daughter pointed out after I explained what had happened that I always provide comfort for him, always she repeated.  This observation put me on top of the world.  There is hope for me.

On another note, I have been very busy lately taking care of my parents.  This gives me great pleasure to be a blessing to them.  And the fact that they appreciate it wholeheartedly makes me even more happy.  I gave them so much grief as a teenager (a premonition of mental disorder to come perhaps) that I find myself these days really missing them the days they don’t require my help.  Today I took them to Church and they treated me to an amazing breakfast!  So even though I am not working now, I get to help them and my sixteen year old son and know that it would be much harder my days without such great purposes in my life.

We all need a reason to live.  And today I have several reasons, my husband, 3 children, my elderly parents and a few good friends.  I also have people who support me too when I am having a hard time and they know who they are!

Through these observations this weekend and past months, I find much hope and encouragement to fight those feelings of not wanting to be alive and that just feels right.  Write to me if you are having a hard time finding purpose in your life if you are open to sharing and are willing to look at difficulties in a new light.  Each time I conquer one of the many facets of this disorder I want to scream it from the rooftops, there is hope!

Pax

Victoria

victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com