My friend took an overdose! What do I say?

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
1917 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Sadly, suicide is a sensitive subject, when it really shouldn’t be – it should be something people feel comfortable talking about. I’m glad your friend was taken to hospital and has been released – hopefully the counsellors there would have helped her put a safety plan in place if she feels suicidal again.

I think the best thing to do is express your concern for her, say you didn’t realise she was feeling that way, and ask her to let you know if she starts feeling suicidal again. If she’s comfortable, discuss what her safety plan is with her (if she’s got one), etc. It may also help to just let her talk about some of the reasons that made her feel suicide was a viable option for her.

Honestly, there isn’t any one thing you “should” do – people attempt suicide for different reasons, and can be more or less open about it, depending on how close she is to you. Also, if you see any signs of her feeling suicidal in the future (wanting to end it all, thinking life is pointless, giving away all her possessions, etc.), just ask her outright “Are you thinking about suicide?” Most people who are suicidal will usually be pretty honest if they’re asked straight out.

Post # 4
Member
42510 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

“I wanted to let you know that I care about you. I love you and I want you in my life. I never realized that you were hurting so much. Tell me what I can do to support you.”

Then, keep in touch, no matter how difficult it can be and despite any lack of response.

The worst thing you can do is to pretend it never happened. Similarly, do not criticize, ignore, lecture or dramatize what happened.

 

Post # 5
Member
482 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@julies1949:  +1

 

this is a great response. I agree that ignoring it happened is the worst thing you could do.

Post # 8
Member
42510 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Soon2BD-CBee:  Your feelings are totally normal. People are afraid they will say or do the wrong thing so they don’t do or say anything. They withdraw.

Remember that you are not her therapist. You are her friend. What would you normally do for her birthday? If you normally buy a gift, can you get her something you can use/do sometime together like concert tickets or a spa day, mani/pedi and lunch etc. It will send a subtle messge that you plan on her being around.

 

Post # 10
Member
1367 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think all PPs have given you good advice. 

I would try to strike a balance between normal (as in, if it’s her birthday and you would do something you should do it) and supportive – don’t ignore that it happened. Bring it up and say how sorry you are and express that you care for her and want her to be here. 

Good luck to her.

Post # 11
Member
1745 posts
Bumble bee

@Soon2BD-CBee:  You’ve gotten some great responses. I would start with a simple “how are you” and a hug.

Post # 12
Member
24 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2013

The best thing is to communicate that you are there for her. Make sure to socialize with her. It’s important she doesn’t feel like this has stigmatized her or made her friends drift away in the long term. You don’t have to talk about it with her or anything, but just genuine care and thought will help.

 

Post # 13
Member
1169 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@Soon2BD-CBee:  First off, I want to let you know that it’s okay and normal for you to be totally messed up about this. Just because it wasn’t you doesn’t mean it’s not terribly traumatic. Last May, one of my best friends in the entire world tried to overdose and very nearly died. It was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever experienced. It took therapy for me to deal with it. 

I think the most important thing you can do is love her and let her know that. But also please take care of yourself and ask for support. Sadly, this friend and I are no longer friends. It’s sad, but she chose to distance herself from her entire group of best friends. I think she felt that she couldn’t move on with her life with a lot of reminders there every day. 

Post # 14
Member
2968 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

@Soon2BD-CBee:  As someone who was the person who took an overdose, what the other PPs have said basically describes what I needed from my friends and what some of them did do. Acknowledge that it happened but still treat them the way you always have and just be there for them as much as you can.

Anyway, I hope you’re holding up well and that your friend gets the help and care that she needs to get through.

Post # 16
Member
349 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

I don’t know what I would say in this situation, but I wanted to come and comment anyways and tell you I’m sorry you and your friend are going through this. It’s a terrible thing for both of you and I hope it gets better. *hugs*

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