Life and Death - page 2

by jadelpn 4,340 Views | 15 Comments Guide

Suicide can be described as a permenant solution to a temporary problem. The most frustrating thing when taking care of a patient who is suicidal is safety, and if there is a plan, what is it? Patient's who are actively seeking... Read More


  1. 3
    I hear what you are saying that by the survivor point of view it appears to be a selfish act.
    "What about those left behind?
    Did they ever think about that?
    Why couldn't they have thought about me!!!!
    How much this would hurt me, their children, parents, friends????
    How could they have been so selfish???"

    I have heard these sediments from the surviving family and I think they are apart of the grieving process....that sense of anger at the senselessness of it all, anger they they died, maybe guilt thinking that they personally could have done something to stop them/change the outcome. Their grief is so raw...so painful to watch and there is nothing you can say or do to ease their pain.

    I remember trying to save a successful suicide with dialysis and meds and life support in one LOONG code ......on someone very young. We Were not successful....I will never forget the parents reaction when we walked out of the room the hatred and anger as they said "Thanks for nothing I hate you". The look of loathing was difficult even though I KNOW they weren't REALLY mad at me, per se, that they had to be angry at someone to help them grieve. They hated the hospital forever and hate it still now they speak of the incompetent fools who can't fight their way out of paper bags...to this very day (my family is an acquaintance of this family). Do I realize it really wasn't me? YES...does it still hurt? Yes, some days it still does.

    I am not sure those who commit suicide are being selfish.....I think their pain is so intense....so painful that they can't see past their pain....and they, like a terminal cancer patient racked with pain, they can no longer live with it. That their own survival is meaningless for they aren't worthy...sometimes their pain is so great they just can't see tomorrow.

    I agree that we as nurses need to take care of ourselves, I think we need to care for each other. I think the lack of caring for ourselves causes burn out. We give it all to everyone and leave ourselves empty. I believe that nurses also suffer PTSD because of our jobs....which will never be recognized for that would means a work related condition. These nurses are sometimes referred to as "old bats who eat their young"....or "burned out"...when I think some of these nurses...they are emotionally drained and the profession has sucked their life from them leaving them high and dry. It's a crime.

    I think we need to be kinder to ourselves and to each other.

    I am sorry for your losses.....Thanks for sharing ((HUGS))
    poppycat, pblottRN, and pinkiepieRN like this.
  2. 5
    The OP is writing from a surviving friend/family perspective; not from a suicide attempt survivor's perspective. Since nursing includes caring for the patient and their family, it's a valid, if incomplete perspective.

    A close family member attempted suicide recently after months and months of debilitating depression. As she describes it to me, it wasn't about punishing anyone or about how awful it would be to her family and friends. She seriously was so severely depressed, she couldn't eat, she hadn't slept more than 3 hours a night for months, she said it was like this black fog followed her everywhere, engulfing her and sucking any joy and energy out of her. She said she attempted suicide after she'd tried to reach out and get professional help, but the help didn't make her feel any better. Her mental pain and suffering became too much to endure, and she literally could not imagine it ever getting better. She couldn't think about how her actions would hurt others, she really just wanted the pain to end.

    I used to think suicide was selfish, but after her attempt, and my involvement with her recovery, and my own reading and research, I've come to conclude that it is not. It is an act of deep and utter misery and desperation. If I allow myself my own selfish moment, I think "how could she have done that to me and my family? Didn't she know how terrible that would be for us?" The answer is that,no she didn't. Just like someone with horrible physical pain can only concentrate on that, and can't (and shouldn't) be worried about the emotions of others, those with mental anguish truly cannot see beyond their pain. The family and friends of suicide completers are experiencing a similar pain and guilt that the family and friends of other people who have died, particularly those who died in a violent or self induced manner. It's not any better or any worse than the pain felt by the families and friends of the victims of the Boston bombing, of those who die in war, in car wrecks, of etoh poisoning, of drug OD. It's simply painful to lose someone you love, and when you feel like the death was senseless or preventable in some fashion, it hurts all the more.
    canoehead, poppycat, pblottRN, and 2 others like this.
  3. 3
    As a person who has attempted suicide before, I am very tired of hearing the "selfish" thing. I think most surviving family members (of people who completed suicide) are very selfish. Where were they when that family member who committed suicide needed them? Oh, yeah, wrapped up into themselves and told the family member to "just get over it." Well, I think surviving family members of people who completed suicide should "just get over it." The pain they feel? Maybe it's an a fourth of what the person who completed suicide felt.
  4. 0
    I'm pretty almost everyone is missing the point of the article. The point the OP is making is that we can't let common preconceived notions like "suicide is selfish" to dictate how we respond to a patient that needs our help. Many seem to be attacking something she herself is dismissing as not helpful.
  5. 2
    My comment is a general one, not directed at jadelpn. The suicide is selfish sentiment is a common thought with people.
    poppycat and jadelpn like this.
  6. 2
    Quote from wish_me_luck
    As a person who has attempted suicide before, I am very tired of hearing the "selfish" thing. I think most surviving family members (of people who completed suicide) are very selfish. Where were they when that family member who committed suicide needed them? Oh, yeah, wrapped up into themselves and told the family member to "just get over it." Well, I think surviving family members of people who completed suicide should "just get over it." The pain they feel? Maybe it's an a fourth of what the person who completed suicide felt.
    I've always thought that people who don't understand how completely debilitating and horrible depression is have no idea how exhausting/awful/terrible it is. If someone has tried help, meds, etc and still has depression, I think it's selfish of the family and friends not to at least try to be understanding. You really expected this person to live like that for years so YOU wouldn't have to feel bad? Not saying suicide is the answer. I'm saying until you've experienced being so depressed that you don't brush your teeth for days or shower or go outside because you literally cannot sleep and are in pain (yes physical pain. When I'm depressed I get massive headaches and really bad stomachaches.) and don't have the energy to be around people (it can be exhausting) please don't judge and call ME selfish.
    canoehead and poppycat like this.


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