Over the years, I've taken care of my share of attempted suicide patients. Some of them more than once. Many times I've heard conversations about those patients which generally includes tips about how to do the job right. In truth, here and there, I've been guilty of conversing in such a manner myself. It goes something like this: "well, if he really meant to kill himself, he should have done it in a place where he wouldn't have been found." And this, "she just wants attention." Or worse, "maybe next time, he'll do the job right." Some do get it right after multiple trials and errors. I don't speculate like this anymore and have learned that it's incredibly insensitive to minimize a person's suffering in respect to suicide. It is what it is: an expression of illness.
A short time after my friend lost a child in this manner, a group of doctors were sitting at the desk discussing the unsuccessful suicide attempt of a patient in our ICU. My friend overheard this conversation which was like a slap in the face. You see, she never had the opportunity to intervene and stop a senseless death, and having to hear others make light of such a thing was devastating. Can you imagine doing CPR on your dying child? My friend did. The lesson here is that you NEVER know who is listening or how they'll be affected by what they hear you say. The other lesson to be learned is that just because the afflicted doesn't have a lesion or illness you can quantify, scan, xray or diagnose, doesn't mean they aren't hurting. The brain, for all of our advances in medicine, still remains a mystery-especially when it comes to mental illness and depression. Best to keep one's uniformed opinions on how to get the job done to one's self.
I bring this up today because a man who had lost his job and is depressed, tied up an interstate for 9 hours today. He was threatening to jump from an overpass. I heard plenty of insensitive remarks because of the way he inconvenienced motorists who were trying to get somewhere. Maybe their jobs. It took the police all day to talk him down, but thankfully, they did, and now, maybe this man will finally get the help he needs. I'll tell you one more thing, too. If anyone thinks they'd like to be front and center when a man jumps in such a manner, I think you may want to reconsider. This would be a terrible scene to witness-more so if you willed it to happen in order for you to get somewhere.