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Friend: "I need your help to live..."

Thread starter #1
A suicidal friend said this to me today.

He's elderly, losing weight, and has been depressed for some time. I set boundaries to having talks of him obsessing about his depression - it was wayyy more than reaching out. He called me, had not eaten today (and increasing problem), crying, telling me, "I need your help to live..." and then told me he had been planning out the location of his death, etc, etc. It was detailed.

This was the third call today, each worse and worse. First said he was fine, at peace, doesn't need help... and now in active crisis. He doesn't remember the earlier calls. As we spoke, my trying to figure out if I needed to do more than listen, a family member called. I let him go to talk to them. He did grab some food while we talked, at my request. He usually is in a crisis of some sort every Saturday, and so I either avoid his calls if I can't deal with it, but today, he was fine on the first call, I could handle it then... I don't know what I should do at the moment --- I'm not in the best headspace myself today. He has a doc and therapist. He's refusing to call them. But he's planning his death every Saturday and losing memory of doing it now... I gave him local crisis support numbers, but I have no expectation he will use them.

I'm at my limit of support I can give by listening. Not sure what to do. Don't want to lose my friend. I don't know if I should do something more than set a boundary and walk away, or if I should see if someone can check up on him or not.
 
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Thread starter #5
Yeah, he called again, and because our call ended at him actively planning to die, I did speak to him for
a moment. He's breathing been given options, not going to use them, memory still seems shot, ok.. He started to go into the dumping on me again, with all his pain, and I told him oh my gosh, so sorry, an emergency just happened, I have to go, so sorry.

The emergency being my mental health. I muted his number. If he keeps calling or texting, I won't get alerts.

I can't and probably shouldn't do anything else... right?
 
Thread starter #7
I'm concerned and angry at him. I mean, he's losing the plot, so compassion is warranted, of course, but I can not be this person for him. I set boundaries and he busting them, and I let him a little today, and I'm taking it back.

Thing is, this was a shiiiiit day for me, trying to get my brain to function and not run over the edge with my own suicidal dark place and not having slept more than an hour in 2 days.... I was getting some ground under me...

I'm pissed at the "I need your help to live..." from someone rejecting all measures of greater outpatient help. I've had plenty of friends reach out over the years in horrible places... just not like this. Not where there is a need for so. many. boundaries. and so much "I need you..." It feels like "I need you to listen or I will die."

He's got to know if he's going to tell me he isn't eating or doing the basics of functioning, has been making plans to die, says he isn't sure he will make it...

Just last week when we had a talk, he suddenly got really deregulated and suicidal, but refusing of help. I told him that with his level of struggling to eat and care for himself, he was headed on a path to end up in a place where someone may require him to be hospitalized. It's his choice to continue to go that way or take care of recovery. But this not eating, bathing, and continued crisis states and refusing help tends to lead there more quickly for his age group... I said it's his choice. He said his therapist actually told him the same, and gave him the number for the hospital.

I've lost someone very close to me to suicide and there are some patterns playing. No one could stop him or this friend now, but I'm so rattled today, this pulled on my overwhelm into a really dark headspace. Trying to figure out nowhow to regain my own steady again from my own depression.
 
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#8
I'm concerned and angry at him. I mean, he's losing the plot, so compassion is warranted, of course, but I can not be this person for him. I set boundaries and he busting them, and I let him a little today, and I'm taking it back.

Thing is, this was a shiiiiit day for me, trying to get my brain to function and not run over the edge with my own suicidal dark place and not having slept more than an hour in 2 days.... I was getting some ground under me...

I'm pissed at the "I need your help to live..." from someone rejecting all measures of greater outpatient help. I've had plenty of friends reach out over the years in horrible places... just not like this. Not where there is a need for so. many. boundaries. and so much "I need you..." It feels like "I need you to listen or I will die."

He's got to know if he's going to tell me he isn't eating or doing the basics of functioning, has been making plans to die, says he isn't sure he will make it...

Just last week when we had a talk, he suddenly got really deregulated and suicidal, but refusing of help. I told him that with his level of struggling to eat and care for himself, he was headed on a path to end up in a place where someone may require him to be hospitalized. It's his choice to continue to go that way or take care of recovery. But this not eating, bathing, and continued crisis states and refusing help tends to lead there more quickly for his age group... I said it's his choice. He said his therapist actually told him the same, and gave him the number for the hospital.

I've lost someone very close to me to suicide and there are some patterns playing. No one could stop him or this friend now, but I'm so rattled today, this pulled on my overwhelm into a really dark headspace. Trying to figure out nowhow to regain my own steady again from my own depression.
put your self first.
 
Thread starter #11
I am so tired and in a rocky place myself, I am having a hard time thinking at all. My brain is sludge.

My roommate died of suicide. I wasn't in town when it all happened. He told his ex he was going to kill himself - she called 911, and police asked him to turn himself in for harassment for telling the ex he would kill himself... no welfare check. When he didn't show, they went out. They found him dead. He had been depressed for a time. He had attempted earlier. He said he was ok getting help. I knew he was not out of the woods. He had taken my comforter and pills from my room and took them all, did other things, and died on my comforter on his bedroom floor. I never felt responsible.

This friend, it's different. Maybe it's ageist of me, but being older and a little more out of it - the memory issues, visible weight loss, and ADLs going south at times - on top of planning to die - I feel more responsible to do something. Not responsible for his choices, but I feel more protective?

I checked my phone. When I stopped talking to him, it turns out he left his home and had a long visit with his brother, is now cooking fish for dinner, etc. Sending funny memes on text. Also saying everyone has demons to fight, crosses to bear. I'm not responding... because.... I don't have anything left to respond. All that changed was that I am not engaging him. Then he went and did healthy things he was not doing. It is a countdown to the next suicidal text or call.

I have a call into mobile crisis. They should call back eventually. Things are really backed up here. I'm going to explain it all to them and they can decide what to do. I'm not in the place to do it. They sometimes call people and assess on the phone if the person is willing to talk to them. If not, they can send someone out if the situation warrants.

Is it shitty of me to not tell him I'm in contact with mobile crisis about his being suicidal and expressing he doesn't think he will survive? I worry it would be like my roommate. I rather he not know until they are in contact with him. Also, I really don't want to talk to him right now - just can't do it at the moment. If he's doing this shit for attention, well, he'll get the message he has my attention and this is being taken very seriously.
 
#12
@Justmehere, it’s been a while since I’ve posted or commented on anything, but I felt compelled to respond. First, I want to validate your feelings of being overwhelmed, conflicted, and presumably exhausted. I am a trained crisis counselor, and there’s something called the empathetic care response. Simply put, you convey your concern and validate how difficult the situation is while adding in a request simultaneously. For example, “X, reaching out to me was extremely brave, and I imagine doing so was difficult. I am honored that you trust me with your pain, and I’m concerned for your safety. You deserve support, but I can’t provide the help that you need. Would you be willing to Y? If not, I need to call 911 (or EMS)”.

Assuming both of you live in the US, either one or both of you can reach out to the crisis text line at 741741. Believe me, they can help you sort through your feelings and come up with a plan for setting boundaries that feels right to you, and/or help you get your friend help if you think he is in immediate danger. Engaging in self-care is not selfish; supporting a friend who is suicidal can be challenging. You matter too!

ETA: You and I must have cross posted, so I just saw/read your latest. I’m proud of you for calling mobile crisis! You have more courage and strength than you give yourself credit for. Doing so without him knowing may have been the better way since he is refusing to reach out to his doctor or therapist. There is a little less movement to argue/refuse help when the resources are placed in front of you involuntarily. What can you do to take care of yourself tonight?
 
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