What should we say?

Time to look ahead. A few of us will be speaking in April at the national conference of the American Association of Suicidology, and as far as I know, we will be the only voice of suicide attempt survivors. The others there will be researchers, clinicians, therapists, crisis line workers, other prevention workers and people who have lost friends or family to suicide.

I wonder whether they, having listened to many suicidal people in the course of their work, will expect to hear anything new from us. Well, what can we tell them, even at the risk of startling or offending them? What do they need to know? What are the things we might feel uncomfortable discussing one-on-one in our personal dealings with therapists and others? What, if anything, do we need to point out to shake up what might be established thinking about people with suicidal experiences?

Speak up. Thoughts and suggestions welcome. And thanks.

3 thoughts on “What should we say?

  1. I think you should tell them that in some cases of unremitting, untreatable depression suicide should not be prevented. I have terminal ovarian cancer and as terrible as the pain the cancer causes, the pain of depression and other mental illnesses can be much, much worse. After 40+ years of living with poorly treated and now incurable mental illness with the inescapable isolation that comes with too much trauma, I sometimes wish my former attempts had been successful. I’ve had several millions of dollars worth of “help” – with only temporary relief and not ever a full remission. The stigma I experience from the medical profession in treating the cancer and other medical problems – humiliation and worse – just add to the pain. No physical pain can compare to some mental pain.

    When everything reasonable has been tried and fails, and an individual’s mental illness is evaluated by themselves and professionals to be hopeless, allowing that person a dignified choice to die should be considered. We do this for terrible and painful terminal physical illnesses, why not do this for people, who will live indefinitely in agony? I think our culture places too much emphasis on and has too much fear of death. Everyone dies someday. Why go on when there is certainty of no future but pain. I’d support the same changes to our laws for people with chronic extreme physical pain – all of whom end up diagnosed with a mental illnesses and dependent on pain medications -sooner or later.

  2. i think people who are NOT the above (researchers, therapists etc) need to attend the conference – its the friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues around us who need to understand us better
    not those who already “research” us
    Noch noch

    • I agree with you – “we” – people who have attempted, friends, family, others affected by the issue have much to teach “the experts.” There is a huge divide due to stigma and “snobby attitude.” There are those who live this issue and those who earn their living from being experts on it. I question the establishment on who are the true experts.

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