The Suicide Attempt

suicide attempt

* I usually don’t post trigger warnings, but this post involves a suicide attempt, I felt it necessary*

Our Neighbors

Last week, Dave made a suicide attempt.

Maurice and I don’t know most people in our apartment complex. Partially because many don’t speak English. Partially because many are just not friendly. We do know Dave and his wife, though. They use to be our next door neighbors.

Dave has bipolar disorder and when he’s manic he used to become easily enraged. He and his wife would get in horrible arguments and more than once he’d put his fist through a wall or through a door. We would’ve been happy when they’d calm down except for the fact that their fights always ended in make-up sex. Our walls are thin around here.

The fights reached the point that they were almost evicted so Dave had some med changes that keep his anger down, but he often walks around like a zombie.

Making a Connection

After being their next door neighbors for years we moved across the courtyard from them because the apartment was slightly larger. The fights lessened, but they would echo around the complex so we were not able to ignore them. Thankfully, though, we were no longer victims of hearing their romps in the hay. I never had long conversations with either of them, but one day Dave was talking about medication and I opened up to him that I have bipolar disorder. We never became friends, in fact, I don’t like him much, but we were cordial and, after about a decade living here, we made a connection.

Last week, Dave and his wife were gone. Dave wasn’t taking his daily swims in the pool, and their lights were off in their apartment every night. Occasionally they would go away to stay at his parents so I assumed that’s where they were. Two days ago they were back and Dave admitted to me he took a handful of his meds and drank some liquor. They weren’t on vacation. Dave made a suicide attempt and he was placed in lockdown for ten days.

Fulfilling an Obligation

Dave and I stood outside and talked about it for a while. He explained his attempt and talked about what a horrible experience the psych ward was. I nodded my head and shared my experience. During our conversation I told him that I’m glad he survived and asked if he planned to “stay with us.” He assured me he was okay. I left feeling smug because I spent a moment to listen, to be caring, and knowing I’d been in lock-down for ten days, he seemed relieved knowing he wasn’t alone. But the next day something dawned on me – I didn’t ask him to reach out to me before he makes another suicide attempt.

l restate what I said earlier – I don’t like Dave. He can easily get on your nerves. But I had to do a bit of soul searching on my own. I don’t want him to think we’re friends. I dreaded the thought of him regularly showing up at my door, but searching deeper in my soul I realized what an asshole I was being. I realized I needed to help him regardless if liked him and he liked me.

This morning I fulfilled my obligation. Dave was in the pool and I waited at one end so we could have a discussion. We talked and my mission was accomplished. I got him to promise me that if he ever felt suicidal again, that he would come talk to me first. I assured him it could be anytime, day or night, twenty-four hours a day. He was heavily medicated so he didn’t show any emotion, but I know he understood me.

I don’t know if he’ll really reach out to me, but it helped me as much as it helped him. I reached out to a person I don’t like. I showed love to someone who I found irritating. Why did I do this? Because I realized we’re all in the same boat. There are many people in his life, but I offer one thing the others may not be able to – I understand. It dawned on me that we’re all in this together and we are obligated to help others get through their darkest times. I don’t have to like him, but I must help him the best I can. If not me, then who.

Where to Get Help

If you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope and are considering committing suicide help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Their number is:

If you prefer, you can even chat with someone on line. The web address is

There are plenty of people out there who are reaching out. Please give them the opportunity to help you.

15 comments on The Suicide Attempt

  1. I applaud you for your soul searching and realizing this man needs help from someone who understands the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, I myself have more than enough suicide attempts, and when I was working at the crisis center at the University here, I frequently got the “suicide” calls. Karmic retribution? Maybe. All I know is my last attempt left me nearly dead, paralyzed from the neck down for about an hour (that was really scary; what if it had been permanent?) I was psychotic for days after I was taken to the locked ward. All I know is it really made me appreciate my life and the lives of those around me whether I know them, like them or dislike them. It doesn’t matter to me. i just want everyone who may feel an urge to hurt themselves to know their lives matter to someone even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Someone will miss you and be forever changed by your actions. I have seen what a completed suicide does to family and friends. It rips them apart with shame, guilt and anger. My last attempt was 8 years ago, and I swore to everything in the Universe that if I were allowed to live with no physical or mental consequences, I would never try again. This is not to say the idea has not occurred to me since then; I have learned to think it through before I do anything harmful. If that means checking myself into the hospital where I do not have access to my medications (I am a pill popper) then that’s what it takes to keep me safe. Sometimes, all it takes is a sympathetic ear. This man you write of is clearly experiencing bipolar at a different level than you. All people manifest differently. I happen to be a fairly severe manic depressive, but I am on enough anti-psychotic medication that even a severe schizophrenic would be calm. I also know how to hide (which is not a good thing) how severe my symptoms can get. Once again, accolades for realizing that you do not have to like someone to help them through a rough patch. Good post 🙂

  2. First, let me say I hope that he is recovering well and that your services are never needed. But I also wanted to add that I think you’ve done a remarkable thing. Being able to get past your own frustrations to reach out to someone else (even if they are disliked) is a marvelous thing.

    1. He does seem to be okay, but I thought that before. He talked a lot about how much his family cried when they visited him, I think that gave him a reality check. Thank you for the compliment.

  3. Thanks for writing this post and shedding light on bipolar disorder and suicide. I found your blog after a man I dated for a short time committed suicide and I wanted to get a better understanding of bipolar disorder. I had no idea he had bipolar disorder. He hid it from me pretty well. I suffer from mild depression but really have never thought about suicide. I was surprised to find out how many people who suffer from bipolar disorder try to commit suicide. I found out from his ex-wife that he had attempted suicide in the past. You definitely did the right thing by reaching out to your neighbor.

    1. Welcome Margaret. You’re my favorite type of reader. Always love to see a friend or family member who is seeking understanding. Yes, the suicide rate for those with bipolar is extremely high. Too high. That’s why I felt the obligation to reach out to him.

  4. It took a lot of strength to make that connection and fulfill what you felt was an obligation. I’m so glad you did that. Who knows if he has anyone else in his life who would.

  5. Very compassionate of you, Bradley. Tough when you don’t want to open your door too wide, but do want to be compassionate and offer help.

    1. It was a tough call, but looking back now I realize it never should have been. We all need to stick together and help one another,,,as you well know

  6. Telling someone you’ll be there for them when you don’t particularly like them, is a strange yet wonderful experience, Bradley. At first you want to kick yourself, not knowing if they will be at your doorstep on a daily basis, but then, you look at humanity and all it’s flaws, and you feel good that you are now part of the “solution.” Just knowing someone is there can benefit a person enormously. I feel really proud of you!

  7. Way to go, Bradley! It would be hard for me to reach out to someone I don’t like. I’m so happy you have set such a great example! Have a great weekend!

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