Don’t Talk That Way

“Don’t Talk That Way!” This simple statement can mean the difference between getting the help one needs and fading quietly into the abyss…

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So, you have been consumed by a particularly difficult depressive episode. Even worse, the thoughts of ending the pain are screaming at you: “I can’t handle this pain anymore.” While this is depression speaking, you start to think: “It seems like a good way to stop the hurt.” If I was living, I wouldn’t be feeling, right?

However, a part of you says, “What am I thinking? I have people in my life I love and care for.” In reality, no one with depression, PTSD or any other mental health condition really wants to die; they are at a loss as to how to ease the mental pain. In other words, the pain gets to be too much.

The Science of Mental Pain

So, because you don’t really want to die, you say “Man, I really need help.” And even though it takes all your remaining mental strength, you push yourself towards someone. Maybe it’s a loved one, a best friend, or in your desperate bid for help, you seek out your boss… anyone!

Now that you have realized just how close to a crisis you are, you realize that your fear and silence are killing you. You approach your best friend and in a low sobering tone, you say, “I’m hurting, dude; I want to die.” Finally, you were strong enough to say it, to seek help – only to be met with “Man, don’t talk that way!” The next words out of your best friend’s mouth are, well, anything that doesn’t have to do with the dreaded “S” word.

How to talk to someone when they tell you they’re suicidal

Following their response, you feel like your buddy, who has always prevented you from falling to your death by trying to pull you up the cliff face, has purposefully let go and let you fall to the jagged rocks below. It was way too scary of a thing for them. But here’s the thing: when a friend or loved one – heck, a stranger – comes to us looking for help, it’s not about us, it’s about them.

With that said, what if you legitimately don’t know what to do for them? Below is a free sample download of how to help someone who is reaching out.

But… Where does this leave the person in pain?

Front and back cover of the road to mental wellness - 8 sings your relationship is hurting your mental health.
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Now what? Unfortunately, all the courage you mustered was for naught. And as a result, you sneak back into the shadows of silence, having your painful decision to end it reaffirmed by the words “Don’t talk that way.” It may even make one feel like no one cares. If they were feeling lonely before, they are now really feeling it – because they feel like no one cares. As painful as an experience like this can be, we need to advocate for ourselves. In my view this means resting and regrouping until one is strong enough to ask for help again. This time, seek out someone else. If that doesn’t work, start the cycle over. As someone who is suicidal, I work off this model because I know that someone, somewhere will help… With that said, this is no easy feat to keep putting yourself through, but it has worked for me. Worth a try?

Checkout The Way I Deal With Mental Pain

For those who have been faced by someone reaching out for help, I promise you, by talking about it, you’re not going to convince them to follow through with it; it’s okay to help them. Below are some things to do when someone comes to you and says “I want to end it.” (Download)

How can you help?

What’s important to remember is that it’s essential to listen. Don’t dismiss it and do offer to help in any way you can. For instance, instead of saying, “Don’t talk that way,” put aside your personal discomfort and understand that they NEED your help. After all, they came to because they trust that you will do the right thing. So, help them find the help they need: offer them a ride to the resources or to their appointments; be empathetic and kind…Your help can make the difference.

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

One thought on “Don’t Talk That Way

  1. Hey John, love this blog and thank you for posting it. We need to talk more when situations like this present itsel. People are reaching out and asking for help, we must delve deeper. I wished someone would have talked to my brother before his, maybe he would have been alive. I wasn’t with him or near him when it happened, for that I can only wonder.

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