Comments: 282 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Penroze2 karma

Have you ever had someone on the line that died later?

suicidalballoon3 karma

It's hard to know this because if they died then we have no way knowing. We can only assume. I've spoken to people who were so committed to dying that I truly felt in myself that they would be dead within a few days. It's a really scary uncanny feeling talking to folks like this--they are alive and talking to you but so committed to killing themselves that they are also in some sense dead. Super unsettling thing to feel. I can say that the people I've felt this way for haven't ever called back. I assume it's because they're dead.

Browncoat862 karma

Or died on the line?

suicidalballoon3 karma

I luckily have never talked to someone who killed themselves while I was on the phone with them. Those who call choose to do so and thus some part of them wants to live still. Most people who actually kill themselves don't call anyone--they just do it.

That said, though, I've talked to folks who were on the way to dying. It's really sad to talk to someone who has already taken a bunch of pill and starts slipping away as you talk with them and scramble to find their location. One person called after taking pills and said they called because they didn't want to die alone. I was able to find out where they were (and could later hear the police coming) and so they were saved. I hope I never have to hear someone kill themselves.

yellowbana1 karma

"to lots of people who were lonely and just wanted to be heard" how long did you speak with them over the phone? Do you usually shut the phone right away because you're not dealing with suicidal people?

suicidalballoon2 karma

We technically don't need to talk with someone who isn't feeling suicidal because if they're not then what they want is something that a therapist could provide and we are not therapists. That said, though, hanging up on someone is pretty shitty so I rarely do it. I give them the space to let out what they're feeling and try my best to address it. I've gotten a lot better at it over time.

The only time I do end the calls for non-suicidal people is when I myself am super exhausted and don't want to talk to anyone. One time this lady called crying because she was watching a movie with Nina Simone songs in it and the songs brought back sad memories. It was after 4am and I was not interested in hearing about it so I referred her to a talk line and ended the call.

helpimnotdying1 karma

Did someone ever actually made a fairly good point? Not some teenager saying that life sucks obviously, but a grown person that really made their point. An elder terminal patient that recently lost his/her family for example.

suicidalballoon3 karma

Oh yeah, pretty often. People tend to have valid reasons for feeling whatever way they do, so in that sense every person makes good points. People committed to existential despair are usually pretty good at dissolving every attempt at finding meaning. I recently spoke with an older person who actually ended up counseling me about life. It was such a powerful experience.

Earthicus0 karma

Why do you do it? I'm not trying to be insensitive, but looking at the "big picture," we're not even the bat of an eyelash cosmically. It seems like a waste of time. If you have the courage to end it early, end it! We are sooo insignificant. I encourage people to commit suicide. My best friend did it, and I was devastated, but after several years I salute him. Way to go out on your own terms, bro.

suicidalballoon6 karma

I don't know if we need to look at the big cosmic picture to determine meaning because meaning is in the eye of the beholder. We may be insignificant in comparison to the grand workings of the universe... but how can we even know that? Alan Watts, a hero of mine, has a quote that really speaks to me:

"We do not 'come into' the universe--we 'come out' of it, like leaves from a tree."

To me this means that we as individual units may be small... but we cannot separate ourselves from all that surrounds us--and all that surrounds us is the universe. We are conscious and consciousness connects us to all other conscious beings. We are much larger than just our bodies. We can live forever in the minds of others.

I do what I do because I think life is a beautiful, fascinating thing but know many others lose sight of this during times of darkness. My challenge is to try and help people rediscover the wonder they once had for the world when they were buoyant children unburdened by the strains of adulthood.

PlayingNiceToday-15 karma

Question: why have you not answered any questions?

suicidalballoon8 karma

I ate dinner and took a shower before sitting down to answer these.

Quesiton: why are you so impatient?

PlayingNiceToday-18 karma

Something tells me you aren't cut out for a "Suicide Hotline Operator"

suicidalballoon9 karma

Something tells me that you have no idea who I am and are thus not in a position to be making valid assessments of my character or capacities.

PlayingNiceToday-12 karma

Reread this thread and ask yourself, "is this how a normal person would expect a suicide hotline operator to behave?"

You're slow to answer questions, overly emotional when you do finally answer and accusatory at the same time. I suggest getting a job with Comcast's customer service.

Penroze5 karma

I don't agree. I also don't agree that a suicide hotline success should be defined by what "a normal person would expect".

I hear a person that's listening to other people, and has strategies to talk people off the wall, and can hold a conversation. Go read a few AMAs and see the quality of responses many people have. It's often very short replies, one word answers, etc. Not exactly someone you'd want to talk to and share something with.

Also, this isn't a suicide hotline, so you can't expect the same level of responses. Most people respond differently in different context. Don't you?

PlayingNiceToday-12 karma

Youre not clear on your points.

A suicide hotline operator's success should be pretty easy to define - less suicides. That's what a normal person would expect and if you disagree, you're off in troll-land.

If you needed a suicide hotline, you'd want a someone with the personality characteristics 1) responsive 2) emotionally stable 3) not accusatory.

These are not characteristics you can turnoff when you leave the office, these are core personality traits.

This AMA operator has demonstrated poor marks in all three. She's been unresponsive, quick to get emotional and accusatory. That's a combination that can do more harm then good.

It's no wonder she is, self described, 'disgruntled' - this isn't the right line of work for her. My advice, quit before you seriously hurt someone in need.

suicidalballoon7 karma

You remind me of someone who has borderline personality disorder: black-and-white thinking, strong and dogmatic sense of what they believe to be right and wrong, easily triggered into defensiveness... this is my last reply to you (I'm ending the call) but I encourage you to seek help from a counselor if you approach many people the way you've approached me in this thread.

BTW: I'm a he, not a she.