Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Shock, horror, I have no idea how to deal with other people

Posted on: July 9, 2011

A friend at work told me she is suicidal. She spends all day crying in the corner.

All of a sudden I’m 14 again, surrounded by this bulimic and that self-harmer, stuck being the only sensible one, the one who sits and listens and argues against, regretting promises to tell no-one, coping by living in my own fantasy world, going home and deliberately banging my head on the wall to stop thinking and fearing and regretting.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. I don’t have feelings, everybody knows that. I could no more say I know how you feel than put her out of her misery by shooting her in the head. I’m fucking shit at sympathy, because I know what little difference it makes (and also, you know, I’m a cold-hearted bastard).

It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I’ve never gone in for public declarations of misery, and I find it hard to know how to deal with people who do. I’m worried I’ve said the wrong thing, or not enough, and that I might go in on Monday and she’s not there, and it’ll somehow be my fault for knowing and doing nothing.

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4 Responses to "Shock, horror, I have no idea how to deal with other people"

Hi, just wanted to say I have been reading your blog for a while now, and I have to say that I love it. You are a fantastic writer (and if your mind tells you that’s not possible, it is, you are fantastic and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it). I love the way you describe, and you really provide such a detailed and beautiful account of your life, and what you are going through.

Also, totally get where you are coming from with the public declarations of misery thing – I am the same as you on this one.

Take care,

Sara
x

It’s sad, but it’s not your responsibility or your fault. You listened, that’s enough.

As both the above people said, this person is not your responsibility. What she does is not your fault – don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not heartless, you’re just struggling yourself and didn’t know what to say. Most people don’t – frankly nothing anyone says helps when you’re suicidal, as you said, so it doesn’t make a difference.
I find it hard to state directly how I’m feeling, even to people who should know, such as health professionals, family and close friends, too – I would never say I felt suicidal at work.
It doesn’t make her feelings any less valid or serious, it’s just a different type of personality – I know you didn’t say it does, my point is, people assume that if someone talks about suicide they won’t act, so no wonder we don’t! And if we make the huge effort to open up and confess those thoughts they assume we won’t do anything, so we can’t win!
Assume she’s still alive, she’ll talk to you again if she wants to. I guess all you can say to her if she does is that she needs to get professional help – which she does.

I mean, I’ve been there with the inappropriate splurge about suicidal feelings at times when very unwell, but have kept quiet at other times…there is no right time or way to say it, and people act in uncharacteristic ways when unwell…we all do, and need to forgive ourselves.

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Hello

My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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