I have a problem with the suicide warning signs.
One side of me believes that having warning signs ignores that fact that ending your life can be an extremely impulsive act (how many times have we heard, “He/she was so happy, I don’t understand.”). The other side of me feels that having warning signs is good because they provide decent identifiers that can start a positive process but who is taking the time to learn these signs? I doubt people bput a list of them on their fridge for quick reference just in case.
When I was in grade 11, before I attempted to end my life, I came across the suicide warning signs online. I told myself that if I acted out these signs then people would know I needed help. I began ignoring friend’s phone calls, not going out, wandering the school alone at lunch, mentioned suicide and even gave away my lunch money to friends. These were all warning signs according to the list I was looking at but no one said anything.
I was never taken seriously as a teen and/or I overwhelmed people so much that it was easier to do nothing.
Regardless, my attempt was impulsive. During my time of acting out the signs (I do not know the time frame between the two events) and my attempt I just wanted someone to help me. I had no plan. The actual attempt was from a spark of “fuck it” and I used the only thing I had, Zyprexa. I guess overall though, how I had been living my life up until the point of my attempt was a giant warning sign (keeping in mind my suicidality to the point of where I make solid plans and attempt are as a result of psych drugs side effects).
I guess what I want to get people thinking about is how you never know what someone is going to do. I don’t mean for this to sound like you are helpless but warnings signs will never be a guarantee. What I believe should be happening is constant checking in. Don’t wait for potential signs (but don’t ignore them either). Don’t let someone get to that point (although you will not always be able to help that). Provide that trusting and supportive relationship right away so you don’t have to wait for them to seclude themselves, give away items or increase their risk taking behaviour. Skip all that and have the relationship with them where they can immediately tell you, “I feel like trying to kill myself, I need your help.”
May 2014 I had those relationships in my life (or at least chose to act on those relationships, the teen mind is strange to begin with). I reached out and told them I wanted to die and they stood by me, checked in on me and reminded me that I was loved. B even had to help me through my Effexor withdrawal which was another adventure.
Be present, be supportive, show love and believe.