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Roomate Suicide Attempt Taboo


mannymanman
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I have three roomates, two of them having known eachother for a long period of time. One I used to be very close with and the other, he is a cool, nice guy but I don't know him as well. We do all belong to one larger social circle so to varying degrees we're all friends.

 

The one that I don't know well tried to take his life with pills recently. While in the ER, the other roomate sent a text telling me that "its probably a good idea that you didnt tell anyone about this". I had already called a mutual friend that I had spent the whole day with and told him what was going on.

 

A third friend that went to the ER called and then returned and started questioning me on who exactly I had talked to and told. I felt like standing my ground and felt I did nothing wrong, so I just the other friend (who was understandably upset) that I wasn't going to have that conversation with him right now. He yelled at me and called me a gossip queen, and then said that he feels even more sorry for him now that I've told a few people.

 

He tried explaining to me that our friend may not live, then told me that I wouldn't be helping him by telling our mutual friends what happened at the apartment. He told me he was afraid people would see him as a "space case" if they knew. I told him that "frankly, in his condition right now, I'm surprised that your worry is to manage his reputation". If I had to play armchair counselor, I'd say they are projecting their own opinions on mental illness and suicide onto the situation. It's like an antiquated 1950's view of human understanding, and it hurts that they think they need to protect him from our circle of trusted and loved friends who are all way more understading and open minded then they are.

 

Now that I'm past the fear of him dying (he's recovering now), I plan to leave who does and doesn't know to the friend that attempted suicide. It's his call. I'm now experiencing mutual friends that have been told by my roomate that he is just "sick" and that they can't visit him. They want to know what's going on with someone tehy care about, but the more immediate friends must feel the rest of us are bad people that would judge him. Knowing and living with the more immediate friends, I know they totally downplay mental health, in sharing feelings with friends..they see all of these things as weaknesses. To be brutally honest, I can almost see why he felt like he had no one to turn to since his closer friends make it so clear that silent suffering is preffered behavior. It's not a nice atmosphere at the apartment and I've dealt with it for a while - although the reason that drove him to cry out for help and try to take his life may very well have nothing to do with the atmosphere or openess of friends.

 

I really hope he is getting strong and professional help and that his emptyness isn't filled with the toxicity that I see him so close to. Don't get me wrong, his friends saved his life - I just feel that their shame of the situation will project and make the getting over shame part of recovery even more difficult.

 

Did I do things wrong here, and for those more experienced in this level of recovery, have i hurt my friend in his recovery or betrayed him?

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When I attempted suicide a few times in the past, the last thing I wanted someone doing was spreading word about it. While I wouldn't say you betrayed him, it wasn't really your place to tell anyone about the suicide attempt as he doesn't want everyone thinking he is some psychotic fool who attempted suicide since maybe he regrets doing it.. Not much you can do at this point as everything has already been said and done. But from now on leave his personal life to him to tell. I too hope he received the help he needs.

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When I failed to commit suicide I didn't give a rats you know what who knew. Only people who are in it just for the attention care about who knows.

 

 

Actually it's usually the other way around.. The ones seeking attention usually want EVERYONE to know while the ones who are truly depressed or have problems going on and really want to die want it to be hush hush because they don't want people "finding them out".. That's how I was. I didn't want ANYONE knowing because not only was it something I knew my family would be upset over, I also didn't want people watching me like a hawk because I truly wanted to die and was going to attempt again next chance I got.

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When I attempted suicide a few times in the past, the last thing I wanted someone doing was spreading word about it. While I wouldn't say you betrayed him, it wasn't really your place to tell anyone about the suicide attempt as he doesn't want everyone thinking he is some psychotic fool who attempted suicide since maybe he regrets doing it.. Not much you can do at this point as everything has already been said and done. But from now on leave his personal life to him to tell. I too hope he received the help he needs.

 

I completely second this. The last thing I wanted was for people to know what I did--and failed.

 

Edit to add--it was an extremely embarrassing time for me. I was hurting in so many different way and just wanted to be left alone.

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Actually it's usually the other way around.. The ones seeking attention usually want EVERYONE to know while the ones who are truly depressed or have problems going on and really want to die want it to be hush hush because they don't want people "finding them out".. That's how I was. I didn't want ANYONE knowing because not only was it something I knew my family would be upset over, I also didn't want people watching me like a hawk because I truly wanted to die and was going to attempt again next chance I got.

 

I have no problem agreeing to disagree. I didn't care who knew because at that point I didn't care about anything.

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The best defence against the suicide attempt being repeated is to establish normality again in the life of the individual, to bring him back into society and everyday life, and unfortunately, while it shouldn't be this way, the reality is that people DO treat someone who has attempted suicide differently, with more wariness about become too closely involved with them. As such, it's generally unhelpful to spread the word, as it makes recovery and return to normality that much more difficult.

 

I can recognise that the OP was in a tight spot, and doesn't want to keep secrets within a group of friends, but sometimes a bit of judicious discretion goes a long way.

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thanks everyone for your much more experienced input for this suicide subject.

 

What I am struggling with in my head is if a suicide attempt is a cry out for help (i keep reading time and again that it most often is), how is limiting that strong communication a constructive measure?

 

I don't want for it to feel tough to re-connect with our group of friends for him, but I also don't want a signal that things could be better if changed to be confused with continue everything as normal.

 

I'm confused what is best.

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thanks everyone for your much more experienced input for this suicide subject.

 

What I am struggling with in my head is if a suicide attempt is a cry out for help (i keep reading time and again that it most often is), how is limiting that strong communication a constructive measure?

 

I don't want for it to feel tough to re-connect with our group of friends for him, but I also don't want a signal that things could be better if changed to be confused with continue everything as normal.

 

I'm confused what is best.

 

 

You don't know why your friend attempted suicide, for him it may not have been just a cry for help.

Regardless of whether it's a cry for help or if he was actually intent on killing himself it isn't your place to tell your circle of friends. If he wants everyone to know what happened, he can tell them. Otherwise the only people that need to know are the ones that are involved or the ones he chooses to tell.

 

It's best to let him continue the way he is comfortable with.

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