While reading The Happiness Trap I came across the following sentence: “If I am with a client who tells me that he intends to go and kill himself, I naturally feel a surge of anxiety.” It made me think of Sadie. She has asked me in the past how I think she (and other providers) would feel if I were to kill myself, and in those moments all I could think was that they wouldn’t care. What difference would it make to them if I were gone? It would be one less hassle to deal with.
After reading this, I finally realized how horrible it must feel from her perspective when I’m talking about not wanting to live, maybe even having a plan, and she has to decide if it’s safe for me to go home or not. The pressure of knowing that I could die if she makes the wrong decision, but also knowing that I can’t go to inpatient every time I have a suicidal thought.
I realized that she does care what happens to me, and that when I’ve said she doesn’t it’s because it’s easier to deny that people care than it is to come to terms with the idea that I’d be hurting others if I killed myself.
I e-mailed Sadie to let her know how sorry I was for all the times I’ve put her in that position, and for accusing her of not caring. Her reply started exactly as I predicted: “No need to apologize!” But I did need to. Yes, dealing with me in those moments is part of her job, but I still regret it.