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Oh? You Want to Help?

by Nathaniel_Morisawa

If someone came up to me asking me questions like, “do you want to commit suicide? Why do you want to?” and then attempted to be friends with me afterwards, I would have a very difficult time putting stock into their word. The reason why is because relationships formed on a helper-suicidal basis tend to not last and are never really genuine. Relationships formed on said basis usually entail a lot of tip-toeing around certain issues (dishonesty or half-truths) and more often than not, culminate in the slow termination of the relationship when the helper believes that the suicidal has been “fixed,” and realizes that perhaps, outside of the helper-suicidal context, the suicidal may not be someone the helper would like to associate with.

There is also a sub-framework within the helper-suicidal relationship and it occurs when members of the opposite sex attempt to “help” each other out of their suicidal mindset. Some people–be it consciously or not–may scout for intimate relationships from suicidals as they make for easy options due to them typically being single and having low self-esteem.

If you want to help someone out of their suicidal frame of mind (which will most likely take several years, so be prepared for that too), there’s a few things you should know: long-distance (internet) relationships can be kind of cool, but usually aren’t that effective, especially if you and the suicidal live in different time zones. That been said, in-person relationships are optimal. Secondly, the most important part of forming a relationship with a suicidal person is to focus on the person they are apart from their suicide. Like… their hobbies or… their motivations or… what their perspective is on certain matters or better yet, what you can learn from them. Of course, you want to make them feel empowered to talk about their depression, so if that’s something that they’d like to talk about, you should always welcome that sort of conversation. Do not ridicule their methods/reasons for suicide (which has happened to me frequently on this website, believe it or not). And NEVER, EVER, make your decision to help a suicidal driven by intimacy. The moment intimacy becomes a speculated motive, everything you’ve tried to do has become undone. If you can manage to make these concepts your guiding principles, I believe that you’ll achieve much more than you would if you were to say… show them a documentary on suicide or explain to them the science behind depression or ask them very basic questions that have everything to do with their suicide or just make histrionic exhortations against suicide.

Be a friend, but an actual friend. Be interested in them. Determine what you can learn from them. And if you think those things are asking too much, then you quite simply don’t have what it takes to “emotionally heal” someone else (I cringe to even call it that).

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12 comments

mysteriousvisitor 5/19/2016 - 4:15 pm

Wow, fantastic post!!

May I add to it?

If what the person needs to help them is something tangible, be prepared to either offer that or explain why you cannot. For example, they might need a temporary place to stay, or rides to the doctor, or some financial assistance. This is probably not going to happen in the majority of cases, but just keep it in mind, because people who have serious real life problems get tired of being told that they’re just “mentally ill”.

Don’t call the authorities on them and have them locked up. I shouldn’t even have to explain why this is a horrible idea!

Nathaniel_Morisawa 5/20/2016 - 4:30 am

Good addition.

Trix 5/19/2016 - 5:05 pm

Good points, and I think one of the best parts to keep in mind is “Be interested in them.” It’s not necessarily easy to keep a balance between encouraging someone and pushing them too much, and it could easily seem like someone’s being critical or judgemental when they’re only trying to help. A lot depends on that particular person and what motivates or discourages them. The best thing you can do is listen carefully to the things they say and take them into account, and not want or expect anything of them.

mysteriousvisitor 5/19/2016 - 6:14 pm

Hi Trix. How are you?

Trix 5/19/2016 - 11:49 pm

Hi mysteriousvisitor. 🙂 Thank you for asking. I’ve had a pretty bad few days but been bad physically and I’m a lot better, so hopefully some sanity will come back any day now. 😉 How are you?

muspelhem 5/19/2016 - 5:21 pm

I know what you mean, but I feel we should appreciate anyone reaching out at all. People have their own lives, their own struggles, and just extending a hand, however fleeting, is quite something.

Nathaniel_Morisawa 5/20/2016 - 4:41 am

I suppose so? I feel like it’d be worse to have someone extend a hand, then draw it back once they think they’ve “cured” you. It demonstrates that their motives for wanting to help were selfish all along.

nepheliad 5/19/2016 - 5:55 pm

People should remember that whatever they say to someone on the internet, provided they and the other person are being honest, is exactly the same as expressing it face-to-face. If you tell someone your life story over a period of time and then disappear thinking, “I met them online, so they’re not real and they don’t matter…” well, guess what, as it happens, they’re another human being who you could potentially run into at a coffee shop or whatever someday. Some folks do make up fake internet personas, but I’m referring to friendships created online. Even if you haven’t been in the same room as the individual you’re in contact with, they’re still a person as real as you are… who knows everything you’ve told them and who might keep records of all your communication.

So if, for instance, you want to have an online affair with a suicidal person to boost your ego, and think it means nothing and that your wife/husband/p.artner will never find out… Guess again.

Your participation on the internet and with electronic communication can result in actual consequences, kids. If you wouldn’t fuck with somebody who you can look in the eyes in person, don’t fuck with anyone online.

Nathaniel_Morisawa 5/20/2016 - 4:55 am

No, it’s really not the same as face to face, not at all. I mean, yes that other person is of course real, and yes, the things you say have real life consequences, but if you believe that interacting online is nearly the same as in real life, you’re sadly mistaken.

Just like in this interaction between you and me, you’re able to think much more before you respond to someone, as well as edit your content or choose not to engage someone or give them some kind of excuse as to why you couldn’t. In real life, there’s much more pressure (generally) and people’s personalities differ in real life in response to these pressures. Using myself as an example, I might come off as whiny or cold or demented online, but in real life, people have described me as being “charismatic” or “awkward” or “quirky” or “bold.” In this way, people sometimes construct online personas (unintentionally perhaps) which are entities different from their real-life selves.

nepheliad 5/20/2016 - 6:34 am

I agree, I just meant that the information you’re putting out there about yourself (in private communications) is the same as if you were in together in a room talking to that person. (People who meet you online can track you down IRL if they have the resources and time to do so.) So… everyone should be mindful of that and not say something like, “Oh, whatever, they live across the country from me and we didn’t meet in person. Even though they know what I look like, there’s no chance I’ll run into them in my local supermarket, so who cares.”

Anyway, I’ve met up in real life with a number of individuals whom I originally knew online, and although I got a good idea of their personality beforehand and so wasn’t exactly surprised by anything, I did find that some folks who were more talkative and articulate online were actually a lot quieter and shy in person (but this I did predict based upon my observations of their character and what they told me about themselves), and I also found out the opposite… people who weren’t too big on texting were non-stop Chatty Cathy’s when in the same room together.

The latter is probably true for the majority of people who do *not* spend copious amounts of time writing on internet blogs, haha. (As someone I know IRL said to me recently, “I don’t text unless I’m arranging to hang out with people or need to ask a question or whatever. I don’t do conversations via text messages.”)

But yeah. Introverts want their space and might sometimes prefer not to be in the same room as those with whom they converse (which must be why I keep coming back to this site despite attempts to quit), while more extroverted types live off the energy they absorb from hanging out with people as much as possible IRL.

HERE4UOK 5/19/2016 - 9:02 pm

@Nathaniel_Morisawa et al
Can I ask you something? Based on your words, where does somebody who has been suicidal, battled depression, anxiety, had other similar struggles, etc. fit in this Transmitter-Receiver relationship? You have on one end a person who knows from experience what the other is going through, and on the other somebody who needs the help but already maybe struggling with trust issues, etc.? I don’t know of any other way of starting to get to know other people but through the initial superficial exchange.
Curious here. Thank you.

Nathaniel_Morisawa 5/20/2016 - 5:08 am

The term was Helper-Suicidal. Even if you have someone whos had those experiences, they can still fit in that framework–I’ve done this several times in the past until I realized that what I was doing wasn’t benefitting anyone.

This isn’t the kind of the thing that you can really do en masse effectively. Anything genuine never comes so cheaply. A good way to get to know other people is to ask questions, most definitely. Send them a private message, maybe. Basically you want to develop a more fuller picture of the person they are (but the person aside from the suicidal tendencies if it can be helped). It really is as simple as asking more questions.

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