NOTE: This was aimed primarily at those who know people online who’re suicidal. I completely forgot to mention that beforehand, sorry. Although I do feel this could apply either way.
I’ve been in some tricky situations in the past involving suicidal people I knew, both online and offline, so maybe I can weigh in here. I’ve been suicidal myself, years ago, if that’s any consolation.
Putting ourselves through hell because of what someone else does or doesn’t want to do to themselves, for whatever reason, is potentially very damaging to our well-being. You have to look out for #1 as well. We cannot be constantly holding ourselves responsible for other people’s actions; I learned this the hard way.
That doesn’t mean ignore them and give zero fucks, it means do your bit, then either move on or be extra careful, for your own sake. Watching someone destroy themselves, even from afar, can be incredibly difficult and highly damaging for the viewer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve helped people, but they’re also not part of my life anymore.
I’ve been the destroyer and person greatly affected by the destroyer; neither one is particularly grand, but it definitely gave me a solid perspective.
If you know someone who is battling suicidal thoughts and you think they are at risk, giving someone support numbers, nudging him or her towards potential supportive groups or places online, and encouraging that person to tell others (local people) could really help.
If you feel someone is in immediate danger to themselves, and you’re in a position to help them, perhaps calling an appropriate emergency line would do the trick. I’ve had to do this myself in the past, and it wasn’t easy, but the person was able to get help as a result.
Knowing the support is out there and having the ability to reach out is important.
Just remember, it’s very easy to get trapped within something incredibly painful. You could potentially even make someone worse by not being able to cope with their problems and reacting in a particularly destructive way.
Finally, if someone were to unfortunately commit to such a thing, the damage that would leave behind, could leave life-long scars from which you would never fully remove.
If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I wish you all the needed strength to fight.