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Friend Suicidal - Advice/Help Would Be Great
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I have a friend that I have known online for about a year now. She is sixteen years old, rather creative and very sensitive, and is reportedly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. By her physical appearance, educational history and what I understand of medical matters, I believe she may also have been born with Down Syndrome. She's kind, brilliant, and very giving of herself.

However, she has definitely been through hell, and has been self-harming for a while now. I finally got actively involved when she started making status updates that seemed manic-depressive. She informed me privately that she had started cutting herself again after a stretch of about a month or more and that things weren't going so hot in her personal life. Her situation continued to rollercoaster and I continued to act as her listener, allowing her to speak to me and offering the occasional word of advice, love and encouragement.

About a week ago her boyfriend broke up with her. One thing led to another until it seemed like everything that was keeping her positive shattered. She tried to kill herself by overdosing with mystery pills, but I was in contact with her throughout and helped her recuperate. It was a lucky thing it was simply acetaminophen and she'd only taken four or five of them. For a moment she almost rebounded in the same night due to something stupid a friend of hers had done with good intentions, and we had to start back at square one. I managed to calm her down, however, and she survived the night.

She tried to kill herself again a couple nights ago, the same night I was to the pub with my family to celebrate Dina's birthday. I knew she was in a bad place because she was horribly suicidal when I talked with her before leaving the house, but against my better judgement I left with my family to do birthday things. When I checked Facebook with my phone on the way home, I found that her father had sent me a message thanking me for "trying to help". I was worried and thought she'd actually done it.

The next morning the girl responded, telling me that she had cut herself deeply, passed out and was found by her father. Today she told me that she overdosed again and passed out at the bottom of the staircase, found by her father again. She was honest with me and said that while it was sort of accidental, she wasn't sure if the overdose had been at least partially on purpose.

I worry about her a lot, and I have spoken to her repeatedly about my concerns for her well-being and how much she really means to the world. Every time she hits a trigger, though, she continues to repeat what she has come to believe about herself like some kind of dogma she's afraid to let go of, that no one wants, loves or needs her and that some people would even be happy that she's gone. I understand that this is from the treatment and abuse she's been getting from her peers. I know how abuse works; that much I've learned already from my college professors and from speaking to people who were abused as children. She also sometimes says that she shouldn't exist and that she's a mistake, because she identifies a part of herself with her brother who died before she was born. I know where she's getting all of these thoughts, basically, but I'm not quite sure how to rewrite something like that once it's been pretty much hardwired.

I'm not about to give up on her, but I could also use some pro advice or even just some back-up energy to keep this going. She needs rational help and support, and I often wonder if I'm the only one of her friends old enough to offer that (mostly because of what happened the night of her first attempt).

Her name is Faith and she lives in Ontario, Canada. That's too far for me to physically reach out to her or help her in any way other than with typed and distantly spoken words on chat and video messages. The night I got that message from her father, I felt powerless to do anything else to help her and even a little bit guilty that I couldn't do enough, even though I did everything I could think to do at the time, even to the point of trying to send her some of my own positive energy via the Force.

I'm posting this because at this point, things are at a standstill and I'm getting worried that the other shoe is going to drop again and she's going to relapse and I won't know what to do. The whole routine of me repeatedly telling her how much she means to the multiverse is going to get old sooner or later, but it's pretty much all I can think of to do right now.

Posted on: 2014/8/1 11:24
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Re: Friend Suicidal - Advice/Help Would Be Great
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Sodikatan, I can hardly give expert help, but I can tell you a few things. Firstly, all you can do is be a friend to her. Let her know what she means to you personally, remind her how things can change. Tell her how different her world can be in five years from now, and how she might look back and be grateful she got through it. Secondly, if she has been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, tell her about all the famous people, like Stephen Fry, who has lived through difficult times with this illness, and yet had productive and valuable lives. Help her find some information, inspiration and motivation. Just be a friend to her.

However, ultimately, her life is not in your hands, it's in hers. I know it hurts. It hurts like some people could never understand to watch a friend go through something like this, the fear and the need to do something, it can feel intense and overwhelming. She needs help, but you are a friend. Not a parent. Not a professional. You can only do so much. Do what you can, but don't take on too much responsibility emotionally, because you aren't the hands on these wheels. I know it's easy to think "I should have done more..." or "If only I had...". But you can't be there for her 24/7, sooner or later she would have the option to harm herself. That's a fact. She has family aware of her condition, doesn't she? Hopefully they will help her get professional help. You can speak about it and tell her all the successful people who have needed at some point in their life professional help. And that she can learn a lot from it, about herself and life. Put a positive spin on it.

So, that's my advice. Just be her friend. Be the listening ear if she needs it, or the distracting voice if she needs that. But take of yourself as well. You can't help anyone if you let yourself slip in the meantime. Guilt tripping yourself for something outside of your control isn't constructive or helpful for either of you. Accept that when it comes down to it, this is her fight, and you only can do what you can do, only give what you can give. Outside of those borders, it's her choice, not yours. So be kind to the both of you.

I hope the best for you and your friend. Your heart is definitely in the right place. But take care of it.

We're here for you :)

Posted on: 2014/8/1 12:51
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Re: Friend Suicidal - Advice/Help Would Be Great
Master
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After all that's happened to her, she really needs professional help. A call to a suicide hotline can provide professional counselors to help her make contact with local agencies that can help.

After what you've describe I'm surprised she's not in a hospital under observation.

All the best to her and her family.

Posted on: 2014/8/1 21:47
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