Although I have a good boyfriend, family, and close friends, I feel completely alone. None of them know the “real” me, and lately I’ve thought about talking to a professional. I have a psychiatrist who gives me meds that helps me project this image of “normal” and “happy,” but I am still mentally ill and I have a dark side that nobody knows about. My emotions are limited and extreme (anxiety, depression, rage, empathy (way more than most people), and on occasion, elation). I also frequently fantasize about ways to kill myself, and I know eventually this will happen. This doesn’t bother me and I will not do it in the next year or so, because I have something I need to complete first. Lately, I’ve had this desire for at least one person in the world to know who I really am, and I have been thinking about seeing a therapist. The only thing holding me back from this is the fear of being involuntarily committed to a psych hospital, which has happened to me several times. Do you think if I go to a therapist and share this information he/she will have me committed? I do not want to be committed and I have not had any attempts in the last ten years, because I decided that when I do it, I want it to be right. Since I do not have a plan, do you think I will be committed if I share this information with a therapist? If so, I won’t go, but my secret dark side is eating away at me. (age 29, from US)Suicidal Ideations and Fear of Involuntary Commitment
Suicidal Ideations and Fear of Involuntary Commitment
Your question reminds me of the Anais Nin quote “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” My best advice is to follow your instincts. If you are thinking it would be a good idea to see a therapist, then see a therapist. Your fear of what might happen is holding you back from the possibility of getting better and in your own words: “for at least one person in the world to know who I really am.”
Since you have been hospitalized in the past, you are most likely familiar with the criteria that need to be met for an involuntary commitment. It varies from state to state and country to country, but the bottom line is that you have the thoughts, plan and intent to harm yourself or others and are unwilling or unable to agree to an alternative plan. It is quite common for mental health professionals to work with clients who have suicidal thoughts and I would say that it is rare for it to lead to an involuntary commitment. Our first priority is to keep you safe and help you feel better.
Take a chance on trusting someone to help you. You are worth it.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts