I had a patient who wanted to end his life. He took drastic measures to try and end it, but (thankfully) it didn’t work. I tried so many things to bring life back into him. He’s given up though. He believes he has no reason to live. Every few days, I would ask him, hoping that something might have changed, but he still responded by saying he had no reasons to live. I was hoping he eventually would be able to start a gratitude journal, we could start with small things like sunshine or a good meal, but he wasn’t willing to do this.
Why?!? Why had he given up?? When asked, he said something about how tough the last 5-10 years have been. When asked why he believes it will never get better, he would respond by saying: “I guess it’s just my depression.”
What did I do?!? I looked through books hoping to get some inspiration…I looked through quotes, hoping some would have some meaning for him. And I held back my tears when I was talking to him and could see his hopelessness…but now, as I write this, the tears fall…
He mentioned prayer…I encouraged him to pray.
One day, as I was walking to go see him, a thought occurred: maybe he would like the idea of getting help for his substance abuse. I mentioned it to him and he likes the idea. So I hoped and prayed for 1) that there was an opening somewhere where he can get help and 2) that he does follow through with the idea and he gets help.
He will haunt me the rest of my life if he chooses to end his life and I just can’t accept that…please, let this not happen….