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Old Aug 3, 2012, 06:54 PM   #1
mscriv
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A friend called me last night to say goodbye because he wanted to end his life

The past 20+ hours have been really difficult for me and I thought I would share the story to process it for myself and hopefully encourage others.

I have a friend whose marriage is in a real bad place right now. He and his wife have been separated for about two weeks and I've been walking with him through this dark time. We talk several times a day and I've been encouraging him as much as possible.

Yesterday was extremely difficult because he had a setback with finding a new place to live and it sent him on a downward spiral as he felt completely overwhelmed and hopeless. Around 8:30 my phone rang. I didn't get to it in time as it was charging in the back bedroom. I saw that the call was from him, but that there were also some texts that had come in. The texts were from his wife who had forwarded me a text that he just sent her. The text was a picture of a gun that he had obtained.

I immediately called him back and he answered. Obviously at this point he did not know that I knew what was going on. I apologized for missing the call and asked him how he was doing. He was in a good mood, which is a bad sign for people that are suicidal. It means that they have accepted their decision and are at peace with it. He literally said, "I'm cool man, no worries about missing the call, I just wanted to talk to you and make sure we were good".

I responded calmly, "I know about the gun and if you are calling me to say goodbye then we are definitely not good". The next 20 minutes were extremely difficult. There were a few hang ups, but thankfully when I would call back he would pick up. He sobbed, broken by the pain, expressing that he just wanted it to end. He yelled and screamed that he hated me because I wouldn't just "let him go". I told him that if he would come to my house and give me the gun that he would never have to talk to me again. I was willing to live with his hate if that's what it would take to save his life.

Fear doesn't even begin to describe what I was feeling as I genuinely believed that at any moment I could hear a gunshot. He knew that his wife had called the police and refused to tell me where he was. He said he was not going to jail and wouldn't go to the psych hospital. "There's no fixing this", he kept saying. He was convinced that the police were after him and that there was only one way for this to end. Eventually he gave up on getting my approval knowing that I would never consent to what he was considering. He hung up and turned off his phone.

Many of you know that I'm a person of faith so I quickly called fellow believers and asked people to pray for him. I kept trying to call back, but it went straight to voice mail each time. I sent consistent encouraging text and left messages on his voice mail. I didn't know if he was still alive.

After speaking with his wife the police decided to take a report and for some reason did not file a mental health warrant. I genuinely don't understand this because in this kind of situation an involuntary commitment order is standard procedure. However, this strange turn of events did serve to take off some of the pressure. She was somehow able to get a message to him letting him know that no one was coming after him or looking to force him into the hospital. We could only hope that this news might provide him with some kind of hope. By some miracle his worst fear had been averted, this did not have to end with his death or with him locked up. A little after midnight his phone was turned back on because it would at least ring when I called. That being said, he still would not pick up.

As you can imagine I didn't get much sleep, fearing for the worst.

A little after 7:00 AM his wife texted me to say that he had sent her a message that he was "okay". I called and he picked up, but said that his phone was about to die because it hadn't been charged all night and that he would call me later. I simply let him know that I loved him, was not angry at him, and would continue to be there to support him. We spoke a few hours later, but again it was brief, with him saying that he was going to get some rest and would call me later.

I just got off the phone with him now and he is clear headed and it would appear the immediate threat has passed. He has agreed to meet with me later tonight and to turn the firearm over to me to establish safety. He said, "I can't believe things got that bad. I'm not really sure what happened, but I'm glad that's over." He has a history of substance abuse and admits that last night after failing to follow through on his threat that he turned back to drugs to cope with the moment. The most important thing is that he is alive, that he made it through this incredibly difficult night, and that he is saying he wants to focus on moving forward. I truly hope that this is his "bottom" and know that we have a long road ahead.

If you don't know, or haven't read my signature, I am a professional counselor and am trained to manage crisis situations. I've dealt with many suicidal clients in the past. However, it is truly a different matter when the person is a friend. Last night was very scary and I am so grateful that it didn't end in the most terrible of ways.

Please, if anyone reading this is struggling with thinking life is not worth it. You are not alone. There is hope and there are people who care about you. Don't seek a permanent solution for a temporary problem. The pain will not last forever and taking your own life won't prove anything to anyone.
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Last edited by mscriv; Aug 3, 2012 at 07:47 PM.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 07:01 PM   #2
ender land
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I've been through similar situations (though none progressed quite so far) with some of my friends as well and fully understand how stressful it is to be in your position.

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Old Aug 3, 2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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Good advice - and I hope things work out well.

In time, your friend will come to appreciate your persistence in not giving up on him.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 07:25 PM   #4
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There are Too many people for the ones who dont Want to be here to be made to stick around. It's too bad that people have to be forced into a violent situation (self inflicted gunshot) instead of having a medical option for ending their life that would minimize suffering. The selfishness of a group to insist an individual prolong a living hell far outweighs the selfishness of the individual wanting to end their own pain.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 07:39 PM   #5
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You're a great friend! Sometimes, the folks in need just need exactly that - a friend to help them through.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been unfortunately touched by suicide. One of my best friends surprised us all when we were 16, my cousin at 16 and just now, a high school friend at 39. crazy.

Just a few weeks ago, a fellow drove his motorcycle into a stone wall not far from where I live. Thankfully, he choose to do that at 4:30 AM so not alot of traffic. Awful situation.

Good luck and keep being that friend.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 07:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Orange Crane View Post
There are Too many people for the ones who dont Want to be here to be made to stick around. It's too bad that people have to be forced into a violent situation (self inflicted gunshot) instead of having a medical option for ending their life that would minimize suffering. The selfishness of a group to insist an individual prolong a living hell far outweighs the selfishness of the individual wanting to end their own pain.
Well, I can tell you that today my friend does not want to end his own life and he has expressed extreme gratitude to me and others for not giving up on him even when he gave up on himself. Like the old saying goes hindsight is 20/20. The problem with suicide is that the individual doesn't get the luxury of hindsight. Self harming thoughts generally do not last, but are temporary, as they are rooted in the loss of hope that is felt in the presence of immense pain.
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Last edited by mscriv; Aug 4, 2012 at 03:57 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 08:06 PM   #7
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Nicely done. I suspect a "reserved" sign has been put on a table upstairs for you... for later of course.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 08:33 PM   #8
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mscriv, as someone who has his own angel, I thank you for being one.



That's all I can think to say. Thank you.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 09:30 PM   #9
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I will be on a spiritual retreat tomorrow and I'll be praying for you and your friend. You are a great man macriv.
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Old Aug 3, 2012, 11:36 PM   #10
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My brother did the same going through his divorce. But he didn't call anyone. He drove to our family's cottage and shot himself.

Good that you got that call and could help.
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Old Aug 4, 2012, 12:49 AM   #11
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My brother did the same going through his divorce. But he didn't call anyone. He drove to our family's cottage and shot himself.

Good that you got that call and could help.
Oh man that is so sad. My condolences.
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Old Aug 4, 2012, 03:54 AM   #12
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My brother did the same going through his divorce. But he didn't call anyone. He drove to our family's cottage and shot himself.

Good that you got that call and could help.
Lee, I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your brother. Suicide is never easy for those left behind. My friend has been affected in the same way as his sister took her own life several year ago and his best friend killed himself about a year and a half ago. The behavior was modeled for him by others. As you said, I am so glad that he called and that we were able to talk.

I think another factor that greatly helped was that when I reached out to others for prayer many of the guys in our group began to text him encouraging things and let him know that they were there for him. Some tried to call even though I had asked them not to. It wasn't that I didn't want them to help, but all signs pointed to the real possibility that he could act on his threat and I didn't want to put anyone but myself in the position of being on the phone with him if that were to occur. I would never ask someone else to live with that.

I've actually just gotten home from spending time with him and some other mutual friends tonight. He turned the weapon over to me and we have secured it in another friend's gun safe. We shared a few tears and he apologized for having put us through that, saying that he was embarrassed and ashamed. We told him that there was no judgement from us and thus nothing to be ashamed of. We all have tough times and it wouldn't be long before he was the one supporting us as we struggled with something. He admitted that he couldn't believe how many people had reached out to him. He said part of why he turned his phone off was because it was getting "blown up" and in the state he was in at the time he didn't want to talk to anyone else. But, as the darkness lifted and clarity of thought returned he realized how many people really cared.

He's crashing on a friend's couch tonight and I'm sure we will talk or get together again tomorrow. Last night was horrific, but today is a good day. I'm sure we will have many more days of each kind on this long journey of healing that lies ahead. I continue to pray that he will never again find himself in a place of hopelessness, but that he will cling to the love and support that is truly there. He asked me tonight why I was doing all of this. Specifically he said, "why do you love me so much? Why would you put yourself in this position and go through all of this with me?"

As a person of faith I only have one answer and it's what I gave him, "this is who God calls me to be. He loved me enough to sacrifice everything and he wants me to do the same for others."

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

John 15:12-13
12 This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.

Generally, when people hear others talk about "laying down" their life for others they think about death, the ultimate sacrifice. But, that's not the whole picture. We are supposed to be "living sacrifices" meaning that we are to consistently lay down our lives by investing in others, giving of ourselves, walking with them, and bearing the harsh burdens of life that come along the way.

Truly being able to love someone and "live life together" with them means that you are willing to get messy. Real life is messy. Sadly, often we hold back in our relationships, refusing to invest, and settle for surface level friendships. At the same time we refuse to allow others to invest in us by hiding who we really are and the nature of our real struggles. It's just easier to keep others at a distance.

If you are hurting and hiding then I encourage you to let someone else in. Let someone else help you face that pain. If you are holding back from reaching out to others then I encourage you to take the risk of investing in someone. Put someone else's needs first and don't be afraid to walk with them through the storms of life.
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Last edited by mscriv; Aug 6, 2012 at 11:33 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Aug 4, 2012, 04:16 AM   #13
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My girlfriend took her own life a few years ago (anniversary was 3 weeks ago).

I was a personal assistant at her dad's law firm. I was asked to stay overtime, she wanted me to go to one of her friend's beach house for a party. I told her I was staying, we fought, she went to the party. During the party she was sexually assaulted by one of her guy friends. She left the party, and went back to her parents' house, and slit her wrists. I think about her every day.


I'm glad you were there to help your friend, stories like yours makes me glad that there are people like you in the world. I hope your friend continues to heal, and wish the best for him and for you.
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 03:01 AM   #14
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I'm going through a bit of a crisis and I need whatever help I can get.

A close friend of mine is a trans woman (male-to-female). I love her to bits and I think she's a really fantastic person. She's witty, intelligent, and sharp as a whip.

Sadly, not everyone sees her as "her," and she's had difficulty with a multitude of aspects of her life as any transgendered person might be. She's been depressed for a long time and frequently contemplates suicide.

I don't think I can say I've ever effectively talked her out of suicide -- I've merely talked her down from suicidal urges, one could say. She doesn't want to wait for it to "get better," she doesn't want to wait to get the gender reassignment surgery, she doesn't want to put up with life any further. I try so hard to convince her that her life has value, which is something that I genuinely believe. Her charisma and intelligence, I believe, has the potential to help a lot of people. She unfortunately thinks that killing herself, preferably with an audience, will seem to augment the happiness of others. I try and try to convince her that she will do more good if she fulfills her aspiration/goal of becoming a psychiatrist or a social worker aiding LGBT youth.

I've generally been successful in calming her down. It doesn't seem to be enough this time around. She wants to end her life, soon. I wish I knew a way to cut through her pain and misery and speak to her, and to convince her that her life has value. I just cannot stand the thought of her passing away when I know she has such potential.

I want to make her better. I want to help her, but it just seems like I can't anymore. There's just no talking her down anymore. I'm afraid she's going to do something drastic, soon. She asked me things like what the busiest area of downtown is at lunchtime. "What's the tragedy in trading one unfufilled, painful life so six others can be happy?" she asks me, and I have no idea how to respond. I have no idea how to guide her out of this intent to kill herself.


She's tried to get real psychological help, but from that to gender reassignment surgery, our medical system has failed her at every turn. I have no idea what to do now, or how to save her. She won't meet with me, she won't communicate with me other than facebook and text. I'm not sure how much longer I can take the stress. I've been grateful that every attempt to talk her down I've had has been successful, but I have a terrible feeling that I won't be successful this time. I want her to live, desperately, and see what a difference she can make in the world, but she doesn't think she can handle another few years of her current life, at least not without the professional help that she can't seem to get.

I don't know what to do, and anyone who can help, please send me a PM or send me an AIM message at doublethink542.
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 09:31 AM   #15
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I'm going through a bit of a crisis and I need whatever help I can get.
I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. It is extremely difficult and scary when you care more about someone's life than they do. I routinely tell people that one of the hardest things in life is to watch a friend repeatedly make decisions that are self-destructive. Don't ever give up. In whatever ways you can, keep advocating and encouraging. Keep providing hope. Get others involved if possible. My friend has said that he was blown away by how many people reached out to him to show that they truly cared. Don't take this all on yourself. You can't "save" your friend so don't put that pressure on yourself. Ultimately the decision is up to individual.

I'll be praying for both of you.
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 12:28 PM   #16
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I'm very sorry to hear about your friend. It is extremely difficult and scary when you care more about someone's life than they do. I routinely tell people that one of the hardest things in life is to watch a friend repeatedly make decisions that are self-destructive. Don't ever give up. In whatever ways you can, keep advocating and encouraging. Keep providing hope. Get others involved if possible. My friend has said that he was blown away by how many people reached out to him to show that they truly cared. Don't take this all on yourself. You can't "save" your friend so don't put that pressure on yourself. Ultimately the decision is up to individual.

I'll be praying for both of you.
Thank you very much for your prayers and advice, it really means a lot.
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 12:38 PM   #17
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You're a good friend and he's lucky he's got you to help him stay grounded

Hope things are turning around
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 06:42 PM   #18
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Good work mscriv.

My best wishes to you and your friend.
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Old Aug 6, 2012, 11:21 PM   #19
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If you are hurting and hiding then I encourage you to let someone else in. Let someone else help you face that pain. If you holding back from reaching out to others then I encourage you to take the risk of investing in someone. Put someone else's needs first and don't be afraid to walk with them through the storms of life.
As someone who has been at this point before, I can say that this is best thing you can possibly do for yourself, but unfortunately, it's the absolute last thing you want. It's a horrible time, when you feel so alone and unloved that it brings you to that point in the first place, and then it gets worse as the vicious cycle of secluding yourself and avoiding contact continues. You just become more and more convinced that no one would miss you, that you may even be doing a favor to some people. The justification you use is mind boggling afterwards if you're lucky enough to break free of it.

Suicide is one of those things you'll never even begin to comprehend until you get to that point. Nothing matters, absolutely nothing. There is no word for how unbelievably hopeless and depressed you are. When I hear about people who attempted suicide, I can feel nothing but pure empathy, and hope that they soon get the help they desperately need.

I got as far as having the attempt planned out, and a set date. I don't want to think about what would have happened had I not been careless enough to leave my half finished note open on my computer one night, (just two days before the planned date) and found by my mother. I got the help I needed, though it took more than two years before I could say I was never going to return to that dark place.

If only I had attempted to talk to someone about it; I wouldn't say it would have instantly changed my mind, but it would have been a small glimpse of hope, and a step in the right direction, and probably saved everyone in my life (including myself) a lot of trouble.
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Old Aug 8, 2012, 09:37 PM   #20
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Not only have I been through this with a friend, I work in an ER where we have to medically clear all behavioral/mental suicidal/baker acts before they get admitted to the mental health unit every day. I'm sad to say (from experience) that it will likely happen again. Just be prepared. Sometimes people on the outside think it becomes an attention seeking thing but you must always treat it like the real thing because you just never know.

I think you handled the situation very well and good luck in the future. Hopefully you'll never have to endure this again.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 02:02 PM   #21
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Hey All,

I wanted to come back and update this thread since it's been a few months. My friend and his wife have reconciled and are working on rebuilding their marriage. The divorce was officially dropped from a legal perspective last week. He is truly a changed person as he is clean and sober, focused on putting his family's needs above his own, and is working every day to not be selfish in his relationships with others. There is a new appreciation for the simple things in life and an attitude of thankfulness in him. Faith has played a key role in all of this and he will tell you that.

By no means are things perfect and they have a long road ahead of them, but they are working to travel that road together as a family.

I hope that his story will serve as an encouragement to others. No matter how dark things seem there is always hope. Restoration is possible even when you think and feel that things are beyond repair.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 03:01 PM   #22
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I only just found this thread but I'm glad your friend is feeling better now.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 03:07 PM   #23
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I'm glad to hear that your friend is doing better mscriv.
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