A Book Review: Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts

  • I just don't want to live anymore
  • If only I could fall asleep and never wake up
  • One well-placed bullet would solve all my problems
  • You'd be better off if I were dead

Oh my gosh, words you don't want to hear from somebody you love. It is tempting, so very tempting to say something that will get your loved one to take it back.

  • You don't really mean that
  • That's a terrible thing to say
  • You're joking, right? Don 't joke about that
  • Oh come on, things aren't that bad

Well, there are reasons why people try to shut us up when we are suicidal.

  • Guilt
  • Fear
  • Hopelessness
  • Confusion
  • Burn out
  • You really, really don't want it to be true

Okay. That's all very real. You love us, so you don't want us to be in such pain. We love you, so we don't want to cause you the pain of knowing about our pain. I didn't want to scare my wife.

So nobody's sayin' nothin' until we get to

  • We had no idea
  • Why didn't they ask for help?
  • Could we have done something different?

Maybe. Maybe. If you love someone with suicidal thoughts there is something you can do.

Dr. Stacey Freedenthal, psychotherapist, consultant, and associate professor at the University of Denver  Graduate School of Social Work wrote a book to help family, friends, and partners know what to say and what to do.

Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts is not about fixing anybody. It provides no magic wand to make those thoughts go away. Instead it gives to loved ones a gentle, understanding, expert guide through a dark place.

  • It acknowledges those scary personal feelings and gives guidance about how to deal with them
  • It teaches how to listen bravely
  • It supplies practical information about getting help and creating safety
  • It even brings hope

I read this book slowly, took lots of breaks, as the author recommends. Suicide is hard stuff.

I didn't realize how frightened my wife already was when I was in that dark place. I didn't realize she knew. I wish she had had this resource at the time.

Now that I am on the other side of it (yes, there is hope) Loving Someone with Suicidal Thoughts equips me to help others.

Depression png in public domain
Photo of covered ears from https://tenor.com/search/cover-ears-gifs
book cover from Amazon.com 

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