SIV = self inflicted violence
Last month a suicidal man showed up the ER at one of the local hospitals. Only problem was he showed up with a gun, and was threatening the staff.
The police and security guards were able to keep everyone safe and defuse the situation.
Local social media was complementing the staff/police in one breath and then being angry with the man in the next breath.
Everyone was missing one perspective. The mans. What that tells me, is those commenting, thankfully, have never been so suicidal that they have been forced to go the ER to seek help.
Let me give you a look at what it's like to go to the ER when you are suicidal...from the prospective of the suicidal person.
I have lost track of the number of nights I spent sitting in the my car in the ER parking lot, bawling my eyes out, trying to summon up the courage to walk into the ER and ask for help.
The "I can't handle my head - I'm going to loose this battle - Suicidal as fuck - help me" plan was firmly in place before I left therapy.
I fought like a motherfuckin' wildcat to stay alive in my 20's.
I wanted to be damn sure I continued to more forward after leaving therapy.
When Richard first suggested I go the ER for help, I blew him off. I mean 'common I couldn't even call him on the phone for help at that point.
There were the fears too. Images of being restrained and forcefully drugged...as well as the awful, awful knife to the gut fear that ....they wouldn't believe me, and turn me away.
Imagine, me, walking in to the ER. Calm. Collected, dissociated the fuck out to the point I am a smooth empty shell with no humanity in it.
"Hi." I'd say.
"What do you need to be seen for?" they would ask.
"I'm suicidal and want to kill my self." I'd say, then punctuate it with my high nervous laugh.
They would look at me eyeing me, judging me, trying to determine the truth to my words, and before they could ask my name I would loose my nerve and stammer an apology and beat a hasty exit.
"never mind, sorry for wasting your time, its nothing really, I'm fine."
When you go to the ER with a broken bone, or your guts hanging out, or writhing in pain YOU don't get judged. You are automatically treated with compassion and professionalism.
Because you can't see mental pain there is no way for them to triage you without having to ask you questions that make it sound like they think your faking.
The ONE time I got the nerve to go inside, I never made it a foot from my car. brain washing from my childhood stopped me and I got back in my car.
my mothers ghostly words "are you bleeding? no? then stop crying."
I bashed my face with a hammer until I was a bloody, snotty bawling mess.
"Now you can go in." I had told my self. Now I looked the part. Now the pain was visible...now I looked like I was in danger...........now....now I would be believed.
But it was too late. The self inflicted violence had dissipated the suicidal urges and calmed me, and put me in head space I could handle my self. The danger had passed. Totally defeating the purpose of coming to the ER in the first place...which was to deal with the suicidal state without using SIV as the coping skill.
There is a huge battle when you are suicidal and seek help. Part of you wants to die, and another part of you is reaching for help. A wrestling match that is of epic proportions. Guess which one has the greater pull? If your head is thinking suicide, that is where the balance of the weight will rest. The internal built in preservation for life encoded into your DNA, is there to save you from dangerous situations, stuff like if you see a bear, it tells you to RUN!
No where to run when the danger is in your head.
This man who came with the gun to the ER told them he was suicidal. There was a war raging within him. GET HELP - DIE - GET HELP - DIE .....let someone take control and help me .... fuck let someone else kill me...
Perhaps he wanted the police to kill him. Perhaps he needed to make the mental pain visible so he felt justified in going to the ER for help.
either way its not as easy as the media makes it sound.
"If your suicidal, get help. Reach out. Go to the ER."
I eventually wrote what became known as my "Owners manual". A document with all the info the ER staff would need to know. So I could walk in and just hand it over, and not have to talk, or prove anything.
My name is Paja, I am feeling very suicidal and I am not safe. I need help to keep my selves safe. I have a history of SIV and working with my therapists to stop that negative coping skill.
Don't let my quiet nature fool you. I am in danger. I wouldn't be here if I could take care of this my self.
(a list of my therapists/doctor's phone numbers)
(list of my diagnosis, and medications I was taking)
Coping skills that are useful:
1. Have me visualize snow
2. argue, with me, if you can get me to cry the rage/anger will dissipate and I can handle my self from there.
3. ect etc
That document was my voice.
It brought me great comfort. It was like an invitation to the ball. I no longer needed to crash the party with blood and violence, I could simply go in and hand it over.
I kept a copy in my car and in my trailer.
I have never had to use it, but you'd think otherwise if you saw how tattered the copies are.
I am brave enough now to go in without it.
Others are not so lucky. Be compassionate and thankful they make it to the ER at all.