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Help: UK Catter at Risk

31 Jul 01 - 04:37 AM (#518219)
Subject: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,friend

a uk member of the mudcat has confided in me that suicide is the only way out. i am not sure what to do i have tried to get professional help but its been of no use. i am not a member of mudcat and if i leave my name you will know who the person is. should i do that, no i cant break a confidence. the person has not got access to the internet for at least two weeks that is why i ask now for some help. MW

31 Jul 01 - 04:44 AM (#518220)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: paddymac

I presume you're joking. Not being able to visit mudcat for two weeks could put lots of folks into a blue funk, but it's not anything to get suicidal over.

However, just in case you're not, find 'em some real-world professional help.

31 Jul 01 - 04:49 AM (#518221)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GeorgeH

If this is serious . . . well, in the UK the Samaritans are the obvious first port of call.


31 Jul 01 - 04:59 AM (#518225)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: okthen

Get proffessional help, if your friend is truly serious, you can't help on your own. Ask advice from a doctor or Samaritans.



31 Jul 01 - 05:10 AM (#518230)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Mark Cohen

This doesn't sound like a joke to me at all. Paddymac is correct, though, you do need to help the person find professional treatment. I don't know about the UK, but most communities in the US have a crisis hotline phone number which is staffed 24 hours a day by volunteers with training in mental health crisis intervention. You should be able to find such a number in your local directory. Call them and tell them the situation. Or else find the number for a psychiatric hospital and call their emergency number, or call the emergency room at a large general hospital. Any one of these calls should put you in touch with a professional who can suggest the next steps to take.

In the meantime, if you are in contact with this person, STAY in contact. It is a myth that mentioning suicide to a depressed person will cause them to commit's ok to talk about it. Or just talk about other things, people you know, upcoming events, whatever...just be present.

For many if not most people, suicide is not a rational decision, but one that is provoked by severe depression, which in turn is frequently caused by electrical or chemical abnormalities in brain function. These abnormalities are TREATABLE, so it is critically important that the person be evaluated by a competent mental health professional as soon as possible.


31 Jul 01 - 06:02 AM (#518240)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,friend

thanks for your replies. I will see her at lunch and try to get her to go to the samaratins. i do not think i am able to talk to her about suicide though. MW

31 Jul 01 - 06:34 AM (#518248)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: McGrath of Harlow

Click on here The Samaritans

31 Jul 01 - 07:42 AM (#518264)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: English Jon

Stay with her. Try and do normal things with her. Get professional help ASAP.

Good luck.


31 Jul 01 - 09:25 AM (#518315)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: DancingMom

Mark Cohen is right. You won't cause someone to commit suicide by talking about it. It's the same as being afraid to talk with a bereaved person about their loved one for fear of upsettin them; you're not "reminding them" of the situation, because it's all they're thinking about, anyway.

A person who has actually developed a plan for how they will commit suicide is in real, immediate danger. It's okay to ask them. And call for help. I'll be thinking of you both. Sharon

31 Jul 01 - 09:28 AM (#518318)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,Friend

had a good lunch she didn't mention suicide once. she gave me her melodeon, said she wanted to concentrate on singing. Its a lovely honer, but I feel a bit guilty taking it. but am glad to say she seemed quite chirpy. thanks for taking the trouble to reply, it looks like a was a little panicy MW

31 Jul 01 - 09:41 AM (#518327)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GeorgeH

One doesn't wish to be alarmist, but . .

There is another possible interpretation to her giving you her melodeon, you know. Clearly we're not as well placed as you to judge whether she's over her "suicide is the only way out" phase, but unles you are very certain there was never anything in the suggestion then I believe you should think very carefully about:

Asking her straight out whether she was serious when she talked about suicide,

Do your damn best to persuade her to seek professional support (offer to go with her

Extract the most solem promise you can from her that the melodeon gift isn't a "parting gesture".

As I said, I'm sorry if this seems alarmist . .


31 Jul 01 - 11:41 AM (#518399)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Linda Kelly

This sounds scary - depression is a deceptive thing and you may assume it has gone when it has not. Please get her to see someone or to telephone a counsellor. If you feel I can help at all, then please say.

31 Jul 01 - 11:47 AM (#518403)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: smallpiper

If you would like to get in touch with me either email or PM me I am a professional Counsellor and would be happy to help - you can check out my credentials at John

31 Jul 01 - 11:51 AM (#518405)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Peg

I don't know if he is online these days but the Popular Halfwit (in Wiltshire) also does counselling work with teens I believe...

I wish you the best of luck and do continue to stay in touch with her. Give HER a gift of some sort; even just freshly picked wildflowers..


31 Jul 01 - 12:02 PM (#518414)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: SharonA

I agree with George. Giving away one's possessions is typical pre-suicide behavior. A change in behavior from verbally expressing hopelessness to being "chirpy" is also typical: it can mean that she's made up her mind to do the deed, has a plan worked out to do it, and is now at ease knowing that her inner turmoil is about to end.

I'm willing to be alarmist here. DO NOT DELAY. Get her some professional help NOW, just in case. If she lives alone, don't leave her alone. If she lives in an environment that is driving her toward suicide, do anything you can to get her out of it. TODAY.


31 Jul 01 - 12:13 PM (#518416)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

And, do please call some other Mudcatters, those who've offered, or those who may know her and talk to them; maybe they can be of help, too. If she is one of our younger members, I would definitely consider talking to a family member, unless they are a major reason why she is feeling suicidal.

Please keep in touch.


31 Jul 01 - 12:36 PM (#518425)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Noreen

MW, don't feel you have to talk about suicide or anything in particular wih her- just be there and by doing so, show that you care what happens to her.

Encourage her to make plans -as you have been doing- meeting up for lunch and so on. A friend who is in a similar situation has told me that's the only thing that's actually prevented her killing herself- "such-and-such is happening on Wednesday so I can't do it 'til after that...".

Has your friend seen a doctor? There are many drugs that will help her over the worst, and her GP can also refer her for counselling, for her long-term well-being.

If there's anything else I can do, please say. You could become a member here (it's free) and send personal messages, to keep details off the main forum, if that would help.

The world needs more friends like you.


31 Jul 01 - 12:38 PM (#518426)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

I hope your friend is ok, if you think there is a real risk of her committing suicide, you could consider having her sectioned under the mental heath act, (a police officer above the rank of inspecter can do this). Also the Samaritans have a cheap rate number 0345 ??????, MIND have a similar thing, your local church may also be helpful, in Hull the church run a confidential listening sevice called Crossline, I really hope your friend is ok.john

31 Jul 01 - 01:21 PM (#518452)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

Talking helps - but listening is the important thing.

I know - I'm in and out of suicidal moods on a frighteningly regular basis, and the few friends who have stuck by me are the reason why I haven't done it - yet...

Samaritans et al are all very well, but they aren't 'real' people, if you know what I mean. There's no way I would ring them - I don't see how a total stranger can help me. That's all part of depression. I imagine your friend may see it the same way.

My life saver was St. John's Wort - the medical profession let me down with their chemicals that just didn't suit me. The side effects were intolerable, and caused me to drive away the best friend I'd ever had.

Medication helps - if it's the right stuff - but it doesn't make the root problem go away. It just makes it more tolerable.

If your friend wants to contact me by phone, send me the number by email...

Whatever you do, don't try to 'make them see reason' or 'snap out of it', because depression takes away that ability. Such conversations have quite the opposite effect from what was intended.

As I said - I know. I'm there myself...

31 Jul 01 - 01:27 PM (#518460)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

Sorry - I've just re-read that, and it came out wrong...

St. John's Wort hasn't got any side effects - it was Paroxetine that was the nasty one for me.

31 Jul 01 - 01:37 PM (#518466)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GeorgeH

Bernard . .

You're entitled to your view of the Samaritans, but I think it's quite wrong, generally (though clearly it's true for you). As you say, listening is what they are trained to do . . and there's plenty of evidence that they do provide an invaluable service. Also - as I understand it - they are pretty "hot" on referrals to a "face to face" support service.

Also, there are many folks who find it easier to talk to a total stranger, and even find the impersonal nature of a phone connection helps.

(All of which is totally irrelevent to the central concerns of this thread!)


31 Jul 01 - 01:51 PM (#518470)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

I beg to differ.

It's not my view of the Samaritans, but the way clinically depressed people see the 'interference' of strangers.

I have nothing but praise for the work they do, but people with my condition cannot face the idea.

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression, but I do know what I'm talking about.

Advice 'from the inside looking out' is just as valid, if not more so, than advice 'from the outside looking in'.

It all depends on whether the person in question is clinically depressed, or suicidal for some other reason...

31 Jul 01 - 02:39 PM (#518507)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Paul Mitchell

I know I've done this sort of thing on another thread.. but hey.. it's part of what I do for a living.. so here goes.

Listen to the people who are advising you to seek some help from the Samaritans. They are a good place to start. You are supporting your friend, who's supporting you? Mudcat is cool, but we can already see that it is a forum in which stuff will be discussed, rather than in which you can be "listened" too. So get yourself some support as well.

I've also seen suicidal behaviour turn into chirpy behaviour. It isn't always a good sign (sometimes it's fine). Get some proffesional help. If people are offering it for free, grab it and use it. I'm sure you are aware that the Samaritans aren't Counsellors (note the capital "C"). However, they can be just the thing that starts a recovery off.

Good luck. Again, P.M. me if you think it might be useful.

Thinking of you.


31 Jul 01 - 04:10 PM (#518571)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Mr Red

Pretty Eilidh
There's a song lyric that might help. It worked once
Only the name has been changed to hide the identity.
Give it a go, it was written to work at a distance.
Keep us posted.
There are probably other avenues to help with this - keep thinking for both of you.
If that doesn't work I have 500 banjo jokes - mostly unused!

31 Jul 01 - 04:26 PM (#518584)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Peter K (Fionn)

Coming out of depression into that "chirpy" state can be a particularly dangerous time for manic depressives, as can any change in the treatment regime, Sylivia Paath's being one of the classic cases. Not a goood time to be given too much space.

But there's an important factor in all this, that no-one's given any value to, so far: namely that there are some perfectly intelligent people, clinically ill or not, for whom suicide becomes the necessary course. Where the individual has been committed to this view over the longer term I think it's a view that has to be respected.Any hint that it's a passing mood, or driven by ephemeral external factors, I think intervention is appropriate. A reasonable test might be: would the person at risk be pleased or sorry, six weeks, six years hence, to have been prevented from committing suicide?

The one-time poet and literary critic Al Alvarez has written thoughtfully and extensively on suicide - in particular his autobiographical book, The Savage God. In his case he decided to stick around, gave up the academic life and took up a high-risk career of poker and rock-climbing. The Savage God is probably out of print, in which case settle for one of his more recent books, Where Didt It All Go Right?

31 Jul 01 - 06:59 PM (#518684)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: McGrath of Harlow

The Samaritans site I gave the line to has email and other contact details, and a range of links that might be useful. I would think that they could give helpful advice to somebody in the situation of GUEST friend.

And here is the link once again

01 Aug 01 - 11:21 AM (#519075)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,Friend

Lots of good and useful advice from you all. But things have taken a serious turn, she has handed in her notice at work and is talking about everything being sorted out in a couple of weeks. she seems to be handing over lots of her things. I have contacted her father and told him of my concerns and he is coming down today.I don't want her bloody melodeon MW

01 Aug 01 - 11:31 AM (#519080)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Kim C

Don't give up!

01 Aug 01 - 11:46 AM (#519090)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: SharonA

Hoo boy.

Bravo to you, Friend, for taking action; hope her father can be of some help too. Is it possible for you to band together with others to whom she's giving her things away, to present a united front to her saying "We'd rather keep you than your stuff"?

Please know that we're all pulling for you, and her, and hoping she finds what she needs in order to be at peace with the idea of continuing to live.

01 Aug 01 - 11:48 AM (#519092)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: smallpiper

It would seem that you are doing what you can for your friend but it sounds to me like you are the one that needs help - don't take that wrong - if you friend has decided take that course of action then she will and there is in reality not a lot anyone can do she may be prevented for a while but if she is determined then she will do it. But what about you are you going to be left with terrible feelings of guilt, did I do enough and if only I'd... no its time to start looking after you (as selfish as that might sound) email me john

01 Aug 01 - 11:53 AM (#519096)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Noreen

Oh, not good... Keep making plans with her, for spending time when she finishes work. Very difficult to know what else to do.

Fionn makes an important, but unpalatable point.

A thought I was given that helped me put a lot in perspective over the last couple of years: We are each responsible for our own destiny. Though you can help her as a friend, you cannot control her actions nor are you responsible for them... I would be very happy to talk more about this with you.

Much love to you both,


01 Aug 01 - 12:07 PM (#519101)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Skipjack K8

MW Friend, this affects us all. If the worst does come to pass, we will all be raking over things we may have posted to your friend, wishing we perhaps hadn't, etc. I absolutely respect your desire for anonymity, but please, can I ask that you join Mudcat, to use the Personal Message system, and then post Personal Messages to any UK Mudcats who may be close to your, and by association, our friend. Short of that e-mail me at

and I will PM any Mudcat members who you think canb help.

It might help, just might. If the worst happens, the identity will out, and if the best happens, you will be exposed as the true friend you are.


01 Aug 01 - 12:39 PM (#519120)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: SharonA

MW, Skipjack's right. If you become a member, you will be inundated with supportive Personal Messages!

Has the "UK Catter at Risk" found her membership at Mudcat to be a positive experience overall, or has she stepped away from it because something or someone here has upset her? If she misses the discussions here and has found them supportive, it may help to find a way for her to access the internet (via library, a friend's house, etc.) to guide her back into a positive routine. If, on the other hand, she doesn't want to log on here for some reason, it might be better not to try to persuade her (flamers and such can be upsetting if one takes them seriously).

BTW, if someone here really has gotten way out of line and said something to her in the Forum or in a Personal Message that's in any way threatening or similarly demeaning, that incident should be reported privately to Max (the Mudcat head guy) or the other volunteers listed in the FAQ (the FAQ gives instructions on how to contact them in a case like that).

smallpiper has a good point, too: Don't forget to take care of yourself and your emotional well-being through all of this, whether you decide to join Mudcat or continue to post as a Guest. No matter what happens, you are indeed a true friend; thanks for giving the rest of us hope in the knowledge that such people still exist in the world!!!

01 Aug 01 - 12:47 PM (#519129)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

Also if there is a Mudcatter whom she has mentioned in particular, in a positive manner, you could let them know, by Personal Message if you join, or in this thread, if you feel okay with it. That way they could also try to contact her and maybe help.

Good for you for calling her father. I hope he can persuade her to see a professional.

I've been through many scares with my brother and though it was a hard lesson to learn, I finally had to let go and just know that I'd done all I could and if he decided or decides to one day commit suicide, it will be his choice, not that of anyone else.

May all the best come your way and to your Mudcat friend,


01 Aug 01 - 01:23 PM (#519157)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,Don Meixner


If no one has yet mentioned it and if things go baddly for you and your friend now is the time to find someone who YOU can talk with. This kind of confidence is a resposibility that is impossible for a friend to ignore and almost as impossible for a friend to bear.

A similar situation came to me twenty five years ago and now and then I still relive the whole experience and it affects me for days.

One thing you must know is what you can't do. You can't stop a person who is determined. And should your friend be so determined you mustn't think any of this is because you didn't act quick enough or direct her to the right resource.

I hope all works out well for you,

Don Meixner

01 Aug 01 - 01:52 PM (#519188)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Naemanson

MW, I have a friend who suffers from severe depression. Some time ago she gave me her bowed psaltery and one of her dulcimers. I refused to consider them mine. I have taken them as a long term loan. When she conqers the depression with the right combination of chemicals and life style then I will offer them back to her.

Everything said here is on the money. I too suffer from depression and have recently hit the right combination of drugs and have emerged like a butterfly from a cocoon. If your friend can make this same transition she will find there is a lot of life worth living for. I did it with counseling and drugs. It has been a long fight and is not over yet.

Also, remember that you are doing something worthwhile. You are trying and that is more than a little thing. You have done what you can. If she doesn't make it through this crisis you cannot shoulder any of the blame.

01 Aug 01 - 02:37 PM (#519230)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GeorgeH

I agree with so much of what has been said . .

In particular . .

Don't give up on your friend . .

Seek help, advice, guidance - for her and yourself . .

Try to keep some emotional distance from things (far easier for me to say than for you to do . . )

Don't damage yourself in the process of trying to help this friend . .

Accept that, if it comes to the worst, it's not your fault . .

Whatever happens, don't hide or deny your own emotions; the more emotionally draining this situation becomes the more emotional support you will need.

Good luck


01 Aug 01 - 03:05 PM (#519242)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Mr Red

You Know - humour is a very usefull device in these circumstances - just a little and carefully thought out but just an attempt, on its own, to make someone laugh is another way of showing you care.

01 Aug 01 - 03:29 PM (#519262)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: mg

If you can, take her physically to see her doctor, your doctor, any doctor. If things seem eminent, take her to the emergency room if she will go. This is a life-threatening emergency.


02 Aug 01 - 02:30 PM (#519839)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: selby

Hopefully our catter friend has continued to be a catter and has been reading the advice and words of comfort that are available to both her and her friend. I am no expert but reading this thread there are enough people who care enough to take time out to help you both, that alone should be help to get any one out of a dark hole and believe me when I say I have felt desperate a couple of times the best bit of advice I was given was look for & find the positive's of which this thread is one and act on that. Keith

02 Aug 01 - 04:47 PM (#519932)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Paul Mitchell

When that catter returns here hopefully they will read this thread. I hope you get the idea that there are a lot of people out here who give a damn about you and about your friend. I hope you can find the strength to stay with us. There are so many songs and tunes to play and enjoy, and so many more to write!

The best of luck to you. (By the way, C.D. for sale, only a fiver. Bargin' guvnor.. I can tell ya')


02 Aug 01 - 04:52 PM (#519938)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Mr Red

I am helping someone who now laughs when I say "consider the benefits", it is our catchphrase.
I couldn't be more serious and she knows it but it is a slow process and who knows what real effect I am having.
In this case she is not what we would call suicidal (as far as we can tell) but is definitely that low.
The problem is that people being positive and suggesting things is the last thing they want. AND The first thing they need
and there we have the nub - the gap between need and want is too great - result unhappiness.

I did see a report in New Scientist that the effects of losing weight quickly has many of the same symptoms as depression. In retrospect it rung bells with my youth and more recently with someone close.
the comfort eating that preceeded it in the latter case was a clue to unhappiness we all missed.
Does this apply?

03 Aug 01 - 06:44 AM (#520243)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Penny S.

Is there some situation which has triggered this? Can that be helped? I'm in a similar case at the moment, and there is a situation which needs altering before the pressure to suicide can be lifted. Has your friend mentioned what it is that makes her see this as the only way out?


03 Aug 01 - 08:49 AM (#520304)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,friend

There are lots of reasons that her life is so unhappy. A bad relationship with spouse, children who walk all over her. she really needs to turn around and walk away. But she tells me that she is fed up of moaning to all and sundry, fed up of everything. She just wants a little privacy and respect and the only way she can achieve this is to be dead, and then no one can hurt her or abuse her kind nature.I am at aloss as to what to advise her to do, I have suggested she leave the situation but as small child is involved she wont. she has told me that she is going to make the suicide look like an accident so that her family and friends will not have any stigma. her Dad arrived today so hopefully he will pull her round MW

03 Aug 01 - 09:45 AM (#520350)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: SharonA

We all hope so too, Friend. I'm guessing that it has done no good to point out to her that, by killing herself, she would be leaving her small child in a worse situation (motherless) than if she were an absentee parent, sharing custody or visiting.

As to the "stigma": you and, now, her father know that she is contemplating suicide. If she carries it out, that's a secret with which you will both be burdened. Who knows whether the father would be willing to keep that secret? Either way (secret kept or revealed), it damages other people besides the one who commits the suicide.

03 Aug 01 - 10:05 AM (#520372)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Kim C

Privacy? Sure. Respect? No. The people who love her will not respect her for leaving them that way.

I think we all probably know how it is not to feel valuable at some time. Unhappy times eventually go away. Sometimes it takes a long time - a long, miserable time. I know that from experience.

She is not the only person in the world who has ever felt that way.

Do you have a crisis intervention center in your area, or a mobile crisis unit? They may be able to help.

Don't give up on her.

03 Aug 01 - 11:32 AM (#520433)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

Sorry, I thought she was newly married and there were no children involved. Did I miss something? Not trying to be picky, just a bit confused. Really glad to hear her father is going to be there, today.


03 Aug 01 - 11:39 AM (#520444)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: SharonA

No, that's the woman in the "Suspect Physical Abuse" thread. Both are gravely serious situations; both women are in danger.

04 Aug 01 - 03:44 AM (#520855)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: georgeward

Well, Friend, your last post above is heartbreaking.That's the sort of distorted thinking that brings about the suicides that should't happen.

Like others above, I think you were right to involve her father...yet I also hope he's not part of the problem. It is genetics and chemistry right enough, but also social context and a lifetime of learning that feed the sort of thought patterns you've laid out for us. That I know firsthand. It may not be so in this case, but "people, places and things," can all be triggers, just as AA says. So...

I'd say, first, don't let your contact with her slip because someone else is now on the scene. You are the one she turned to (A cry for help that you've answered as well as one can. May be enough, may not. You've just got to put it out there in hope and DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF if she suicides anyway. Others have addressed this. Take us to heart. We've paid plenty to learn this).

Second, undoing that sort of thinking means a lot of capable, professional counselling. Keep that as something to come back to when and as you have the chance. As Bernard has said much better, THE world is not as she sees it, but HER world is. It can be a labor of years for a severely depressed person to learn that and to learn to use the knowledge.

Third (or maybe first) for yourself. If I were in your shoes, I'd be on the first bus back to whichever of the good therapists I've worked with could give me the earliest appointment. You may want to turn to someone else. Either way, it is simply one of the necessary tools to getting the job done safely and well.

And, oh yeah, by taking care of yourself emotionally, you are also modelling something she needs to see.

She's got a damn good friend! - George ::-.--O

04 Aug 01 - 07:32 AM (#520899)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Naemanson

Friend, you have to stay involved. You have to be supportive and you have to protect yourself. All this has been said above and all stands firm.

Sometimes what is needed from a friend, a true friend, is to be smacked up side of the head. Not so long ago I was so deeply depressed I was talking of suicide to a dear friend. I too planned to make it look like an accident. She very gently, but firmly, told me that if I took that route she would tell the authorities I had planned it that way and then my family would be out the insurance money I wanted them to have plus they would have the stigma of knowing I had left them on purpose. It undercuts the determination a little.

I'm not saying to do this. Each situation is unique. But it worked for me. I got myself to a counselor and started trying various antidepressants. I am doing much better now that I have my little pink happy pills.

04 Aug 01 - 07:45 AM (#520905)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Liz the Squeak

I was shocked out of my suicidal depression by someone suggesting ways of doing it. He asked what I would prefer, short and sharp or long and lingering. He then proceeded to give me all the medical details of what would happen if I fucked it up. The vegetable state seemed infinately worse than what I already had, and that was the turn I needed. It doesn't work for everyone.

Just keep being there. The only way to work through crap like this is to just be there. If you wash your hands of them, it will be the last straw. Just keep telling them you're there and that you always will be.


05 Aug 01 - 04:44 AM (#521273)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk

I've read - and this may or may not be correct, but it sounds the biz to me - that a good way to deal with suicidal plans is to help someone to make *other* plans.

Thing is, when you're down enough, suicide can seem like a solution. "Ah, I have it now. If I top myself that'll end the problem."

If the suicidal person can start thinking constructively about things, and find other, more sensible, solutions, suicide doesn't seem so attractive, and finally recedes to a realistic viewpoint of the mad idea it really is.

Bad spouse? Kids walking all over her? Sounds to me like she's got a case of teenagers. Is there such a thing as "teen-anon" for parents of teenagers?

As for the spouse, well, he's just joining in and being another teenager; not much she can do about that except what you do with teenagers - ignore him when he's bad and give him attention when he's good.

Try to get her talking to Samaritan; sure, they're probably *sometimes* useless, after all, they're humans. But sometimes they're good.

Try to get her making lists: lists of things to do, lists of what's bad and needs to be changed in her life.

Try to get her taking some exercise - take her out to the mountains and walk with her. Excercise and fresh air will help a lot.

She's probably worried about the kids; explain to her that teenagers need a lot of time alone thinking, and are creatures ruled by their raging hormones. The Good People will give back her real children later, and she'll forget she ever had those awful monsters who are living with her at the moment.

And tell her that the thoughts and prayers and kind feelings of Mudcatters are with her. Courage, mon brave!

05 Aug 01 - 10:19 AM (#521338)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Mr Red

Plenty of good ideas still flowing - mine seems a bit wimpy by comparison but it doesn't conflict with those above soooooooooo.......

when I ring my suffering friend I start-in with a song (say - one verse and a chorus) I don't ask, just launch as soon as I know it is her. It prevents that "how are you?" setting the mood and she loves it. Up-beat and frothy.
It works for us. Sometimes I get to try out my new songs like the "Pencil Sharpening Shanty" (now in the DT) and she gets to be first to hear it.
Win Win.

05 Aug 01 - 10:36 AM (#521341)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: John Routledge

What a brilliant idea Mr Red.

As you say the first few words are so important in setting the tone of a conversation.

Keep up the good work everyone. John

06 Aug 01 - 10:32 AM (#521825)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,Patrish

Lots of good advice. I hope it has helped.

I would also like to let you all know that I am not the mudcatter involved here. I have had a few calls - people worried that it was me. I would never give away my melodeon. And I have too many good friends to ever contemplate suicide. Friend/Guest - if I can help this mudcatter or you, please contact me by personal message or at

Please stay in contact and let us know of any progress

07 Aug 01 - 01:28 AM (#522395)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk

Professional help is mandatory. Get her to a therapist any way you can. Even when seriously contemplating suicide, she probably does not recognize that she is depressed. Her world seems out of control. For me, the depth of depression was the inability to feel anything. Everything mattered but nothing touched me. She has some difficult times ahead. But with help, she can be fine.

09 Aug 01 - 03:27 PM (#524529)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

Any news, Friend? Wondering if things are okay and if the dad was helpful.



09 Aug 01 - 03:30 PM (#524535)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: vindelis

Kat you must have been reading my mind. I hope all is going well.

09 Aug 01 - 04:24 PM (#524593)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: smallpiper

This lack of news concerns me!

09 Aug 01 - 05:35 PM (#524661)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Paul from Hull

Just found this thread & read it through... (I've only been Catting a week) some good advice given & a lot of support (& I know of which I speak....)

Lets hope we hear some POSITIVE news soon....*S*

10 Aug 01 - 07:24 AM (#524971)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,friend

something has happened to her Dad, he's in intensive care. But she seems to be coping with it. I am on holiday in Spokane for two weeks(visiting relis)don't know if I can use a computer there. but will get back to you. thank you

10 Aug 01 - 10:40 AM (#525055)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

Oh, jeez. Seems a tough way to get her to focus on something else. Thanks for letting us know. I hope all turns out well.


10 Aug 01 - 01:17 PM (#525157)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,SharonA at the library (on vacation too)

Yikes! This girl gets all the (bad) luck! (not to mention her dad's luck) Here's hoping that she will take the lesson that other people need her to stick around and give them her support. I hope, too, that her father will recover and be well.

10 Aug 01 - 08:33 PM (#525402)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: georgeward

She wouldn't be the first seriously depressed person to respond brilliantly to someone else's crisis. But sooner or later the crisis will resolve and she'll be back to realizing she's still living with herself. Then she'll still have all the same work to do. Devious disease. You've got to stalk your depression as patiently as it stalks you. 'S why the condition is so frustrating for those around the depressed.

10 Aug 01 - 08:42 PM (#525405)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Shields Folk

Could this be a wind up? Sorry if its not.

10 Aug 01 - 08:56 PM (#525409)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

I write this to try to give you an insight to the way a depressive thinks. It may help, it may not...

There are two basic types of suicidal depression (okay, a generalisation, but hear me out!).

One is 'the blues', which you can be 'shocked' out of. I've had that.

The other is clinical depression which you cannot be shocked out of and any attempt to do so could have catastrophic consequences.

Protect yourself, as everyone is suggesting. If it happens it isn't your fault.

I have lots of friends who would be devastated if I went through with it. But when a suicidal mood takes over, nothing else is in your mind other than to remove the pain quickly.

So far I've been lucky - there's always been some reason why 'I can't do it until I've...' - some loose end that needed tidying up. I worry that one day there won't be any more loose ends...

Maybe your friend needs your support, but be careful not to push too hard. I was pushed so hard by my best friend (ex-partner, which didn't help) that she doesn't speak to me these days. She took it too personally - as if my negativity was wilful.

My problems are threefold:

My job gives me too much stress - it caused my breakdown two years ago, but the problems go back much further.

My income is barely enough to 'keep my head above water'.

My wife and I parted fourteen years ago (we both preferred women), and I've been on my own since, with the exception of a far too short friendship which started two and a half years ago, and ended a month after my breakdown.

If your friend is an ex-partner, and she didn't want it to 'end', you may be hurting her more by showing that you still care. A difficult situation, and I don't know the answer.

On the other hand, if your friend is not romantically interested in you (or you in her), you are in an excellent position to give her the support she needs - but don't push!

As I've said before, talking is important. But don't be judgemental, or try to impose your opinions and values. Think of a depressive as a child - she needs guidance, not control, and it's a very fine line...

If she wants to give her stuff away, let her. Her true friends will give it back if she 'gets better'. It may just be a way of crying for help - I've done it myself.

My email address is in an earlier posting - use it if you want to. Your friend may need your support, but you need the support of others who may be able to explain what she is going through in a way that you hadn't considered.

I think we all understand the feelings of inadequacy you are going through. Rest assured that you are doing your best, and no one would expect any more than that. We have to accept, sometimes, that things are truly beyond our control.

We all hope your patience is rewarded...

10 Aug 01 - 09:22 PM (#525417)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

I hope your friend is ok, like Bernard I have been very depressed myself a few times, this was caused by splitting up with girlfriend, family bereavement, etc, but I am ok now.Try to get your friend to accept some proffesional help.
Shields Folk- I dont think this is a wind up, but even if it was and somebody else who was depressed read it and got better then that would be good, plus it shows that we all care about each other and somebody with a problem should slet people know.john

10 Aug 01 - 11:14 PM (#525465)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Sorcha

Clinical depression can also be cyclical and triggered by events. Clinical depression can also be defused short term by events but in the long run always comes back.

I know this for a fact. Even lifestyle changes do not necessarily affect Clinical Depression. It seems to be a chemical imbalance. It took several tries with different drugs but I am doing quite well now.

Before Zoloft, even if everything in my life was really OK I was quite unhappy and depressed. I do believe that Zoloft has saved my life and I have experienced no side effects from it at all. I plan to take it every day for the rest of my natural life.

I (heart)my Zoloft and PremPro too. Keeps me sane.

11 Aug 01 - 07:29 AM (#525586)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

Thanks, Sorcha. I was trying to say that, but couldn't find the words...

It's surprising how many people can't take on board the complexity of clinical depression, though people are a lot more aware than they used to be.

Doctors are in a difficult position, as no two people have symptoms that are exactly alike, so they have to use blanket terminology to lump people together who act and respond in a similar way.

This is why there is such a wide variety of treatments, some of whivh are chemical, some are counselling, and some are a mixture of both.

I believe that I've had depression-related problems from being a child - either that, or I just haven't grown up yet...

As to coping with something like her father in intensive care, the strange thing about depression is its 'ability' to switch itself in and out unpredictably. I find that very minor things, such as the shop having no bread left, can send me on a wild downward spiral, yet if my daughter rings in the middle of the night because she's worried about my baby grandson's temperature, I can react 'normally'.

Maybe 'focus' is an explanation. I rarely go to the Folk Club these days, unless there's a guest booked that needs our sound system. In that situation I find I can function 'normally', and even do the warm-up spot as well. Yet I can't be bothered otherwise. I can 'turn on the act' for a gig, although when I'm at home getting ready I'm thinking to myself 'I don't want to be doing this...'

It's got nothing to do with nerves - it's total apathy. Yet when I'm up on stage I go through the whole thing as if on auto-pilot. It's a strange 'out of body' experience, as if I'm one of the audience.

I've just been given a recording of a gig I did a couple of weeks ago. I thought it didn't go too well, but the recording tells me that I was on my best form - at least from the audience's point of view.

All rather weird, really...

Rest assured that her father going into intensive care has probably helped in the short term - it has taken her mind of her own predicament a little.

It works for me like that. One of our beloved catters (who has posted to this thread) went through a difficult time not too long ago, and I am proud to say that I was a positive help, both via email and telephone.

I was able to give this person a different angle on their problem, and give support when it was most needed.

Luckily, I now have someone doing the same for me - though I can be really exasperating at times!

The secret here is no hidden agenda - a 'safe' friend who isn't judgemental. They may have strong opinions, but they accept that you have, too. They don't try to make you see the error of your ways, but simply tell you what they might do in the same situation.

Hope this helps...

11 Aug 01 - 07:42 AM (#525587)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: John Routledge

Thank you Bernard and Sorcha . John

11 Aug 01 - 03:35 PM (#525763)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Wyrd Sister

The bugger about depression is it's so easy to cover up from anyone except those closest. To keep "going through the motions" even when too apathetic to do anything else. As Bernard said, on auto-pilot. And, Bernard, at 50+ I fully intend never to grow up! Looks like I'll be taking the tablets for a long time yet - thank goodness.

Good luck to all in similar situations.

12 Aug 01 - 02:14 AM (#526018)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

Go, Sister, go!

One advantage of being 50+ is being old enough to know better, but young enough to say 'Sod that for a game of soldiers!'...

I want to grow old disgracefully... 53 this coming Wednesday!

16 Aug 01 - 03:09 PM (#529486)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Mr Red

turned 35 sounds better
it's a digital thing!!!! **G**
BUT more to the point is there any refreshing (sic) news?

16 Aug 01 - 03:26 PM (#529516)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: smallpiper

Have a good birthday Bernard I'm impressed at the way you've opened up (and the rest of you who have experienced depression) things like this are the best way to help people understand depression and its insideous nature. Thanks John

16 Aug 01 - 03:34 PM (#529531)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

Happy Birthday, Bernard, sorry it is a day late!

Hope we hear some good news, soon.


17 Aug 01 - 05:18 AM (#529977)
Subject: Thanks, folks!
From: Bernard

Thanks! Sorry to be a bit late 'replying', but I don't log in that often these days...

My daughter (bless her!) sent me a card with a picture of a hippopotamus, a small bird and two sheep on the front. Inside was the message 'Hippo birdie two ewes...!'

I also got cards from my parents (nearly 80!) and my 5 month old grandson. So clever, being able to write at such a young age - incredible how similar his handwriting is to his mother's too...

The Earl of Stamford Morris (the side I play for) sent me a card with 'Happy' Pants' on the front (should that be 'on the Y front'?!)...

Any road up, I'm at work, so I'd better make this brief, as I'm about to try a data restore on our new server before I put it fully on line. No point in having backups if they don't restore!!

Thanks again for all your kind wishes! Much appreciated!

Luv, B

17 Aug 01 - 10:32 AM (#530121)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GUEST,friend

She is off to Whitby and her Dad is out of danger. There has been to further mention of suicide.

17 Aug 01 - 11:45 AM (#530180)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: smallpiper

Good ho - but what about you how are you coping?

17 Aug 01 - 12:19 PM (#530211)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull

This is good news, thanks for telling us.Like smallpiper i hope you are ok.

17 Aug 01 - 03:38 PM (#530349)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: SharonA

friend: Good news indeed, but I would suggest remaining vigilant. As has been indicated above, her feelings of hopelessness could overwhelm her again... and again.

I, too, hope you're all right. Please let us know how you're doing.

17 Aug 01 - 03:41 PM (#530350)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: katlaughing

Thanks, friend, please keep in touch. Really appreciate your letting us know and would also like to hear back from you about how you are doing.

Thanks, again,


19 Aug 01 - 11:16 AM (#531143)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

That's a relief... albeit temporary, perhaps, but it's breathing space.

Yes - be vigilant. It's just possible that this is a smokescreen.

A ploy used by depressed people when they are fed up of attention is to pretend that all is well. I hope I'm wrong in this instance.

You can wear them in the kitchen
You can wear them in the bath
A groovy pair of Happy Pants
Will always make you laugh!

...from one of my birthday cards!

19 Aug 01 - 09:25 PM (#531483)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: CraigS

The objective answer:

She feels unappreciated and uncared for. She wants someone to care. She's giving people time to care before it all gets too much for her, otherwise she'd have killed herself by now. Whether she's too sensitive or her family use her as a doormat, we are not in a position to judge. But if she is being used, what is necessary is that change must take place in her life or she will wither. If she is to stay with her family THEY must start to appreciate and love her more than they are currently doing. If not, the best thing is a complete break with them, even if this is seen as desertion, until they appreciate what they have lost. Death is too easy a way out for THEM - in the words of Shel Silverstein *I'm sorry I messed up your rug, just roll my body outa the way*.

20 Aug 01 - 02:24 PM (#531938)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GeorgeH

Craig, to present your speculation as "fact" is dangerous - especially when you say "otherwise she'd have killed herself by now" - there were strong signs that the danger here was real.

GuestFriend: One thing puzzles me, and if I were you I'd want to explore this with her . . she says she can't walk away from her situation because of the youngster . . yet suicide would be the ultimate walking away (and even if the death appeared natural that's still a damaging loss for the child to suffer).

Good luch, as ever!


20 Aug 01 - 07:21 PM (#532094)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

When someone feels so unloved, unwanted or useless that suicide seems the only way out, they will do it.

A week ago a man who I considered to be a friend (although I only worked with him once a year) did exactly that. Next week I have to do that annual job, and he wont be there.

It's still possible that I may do it - sometimes the 'downers' are unbearable, and one day there may be no 'crutch' to lean on which will help me out.

Attempted suicides are often a 'cry for help', but mine won't be attempted. I already know how to do it quickly and (I hope) painlessly, and it will be easy for me to do it undisturbed. It won't be a cry for help. it will be final.

CraigS, you meant well, and nobody here wants you to feel that we are dismissing what you said out of hand. Your point may be valid - certainly in many cases you would be right - but not this time.

GeorgeH - I fully agree that her child is probably the one 'loose end' that she cannot easily tie up which may just prevent her from going through with it. Let's just hope her problems aren't too overwhelming.

Each time I plan my end, there is some loose end or other that I feel I must tie up before I do it - but one day... who knows?

Suicide threats must always be taken seriously - of that there is no doubt.

21 Aug 01 - 05:28 AM (#532308)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: KingBrilliant

Keep your loose ends dangling Bernard. You're too much of a really nice geezer to lose.
Sorry to hear about your friend.


21 Aug 01 - 06:10 AM (#532318)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: GeorgeH

Yes, Bernard, I'm with KingB there . . however bad it gets do remember that your good sense, honestey and openness are greatly valued here, and would be sadly missed. If Mudcat has a fault it's that we too often take the other 'catters for granted, and too seldom express our appreciation of them.

Good luck!


21 Aug 01 - 04:23 PM (#532715)
Subject: RE: Help: UK Catter at Risk
From: Bernard

Thanks. I've just had another inconclusive session at the Clinical Psychology Dept., so I'm feeling very down. I'm just getting nowhere...

BTW, don't forget to tune in to Hollyoaks between 6:00 and 7:00pm tomorrow (Wednesday 22nd Aug) on Channel 4 to see my British Television debut...!!