How to sit with someone who is suicidal?
Understand that their longing for death is really their longing for Home. This is a spiritual crisis, not merely a medical one. They are trying to awaken from a nightmare.
Understand that they cannot kill the Self, the One that they are, they can only kill the 'self', the one they have imagined themselves to be. Their longing to 'kill the self' is their longing to destroy the false, and awaken to Truth. Their longing to die has intelligence and creativity to it, and is worthy of respect. It is not a mistake, aberration or enemy, it is a yearning for authenticity.
Hold them, embrace them, as the urge to die - which is the urge to live in disguise - burns fiercely in them. Validate the place where they are right now. Don't try to control them or stop them feeling what they are feeling. Don't try to cheer them up or tell them that everything is really okay, or give them pre-packaged answers as a way to escape your own discomfort. They are sick of second hand answers! Go to the depths with them. Meet them in their aloneness without trying to fix them, without even trying to convince them that their desire to die is wrong, sick or invalid. Hold their hand. Go where nobody else has dared to go. Remember, you are only meeting yourself, meeting your own fear of death.
Don't speak to them as healer to victim, or as teacher to student, or as expert to novice, but as friend to friend, as intelligence to itself. Meet them beyond the divisive roles.
They are going through a profound crisis of identity, an essential rite of passage. Healing always involves crisis - sudden and unexpected change. Something in them, some ancient pain, longs to be felt, touched, validated. This is a cry for love as old as humanity. Who will listen?
They long to live, but don't know how. They long for intimate connection but can't find it in 'this life'. They long for deep acceptance and profound rest. Even though right now they feel like leaving, touch them with life, show your willingness to stay. Remind them that deep human connection is possible here, in this life, in this moment, in this place. Show them that even in the depths of their despair, they are not alone.
Be present at their crisis. Your presence says more than words ever could. Your fear is not necessary here. You are witnessing something sacred and intimate. Offer all of yourself.
Perhaps you don't need to know how to fix or save them. Perhaps that is not your true calling. Whether they will live or die, meet them now in that strange place of not knowing. Spend a conscious moment with them. Offer your deep listening. Remember, whether they stay or go, they are healing in the only way they know how.
All of them are beloved, all of them are worthy.