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Living with someone who is suicidal?

Home Forums My Story Living with someone who is suicidal?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 75 total)
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  • #25757
    Egbam
    Guest

    Hi,
    are there others like me who are living with someone who is suicidal?
    For the past eight years my daughter has struggled with suicidal feelings and has made a number of attempts on her life. I am her main support and emergency help and am grateful that we talk about it openly, but it is a constant strain to live with.
    Are you in a similar position?
    Would you find it helpful to be part of a support group within this forum?

    #26434
    MikeScott
    Participant

    Hi,

    I’m in a similar situation so why not, but where do we start??

    Regards,

    Mike

    #26442
    lynneriley
    Participant

    hello all
    i am new here my son attempted suicide 4 days ago and still says he wants to kill himself and not be here being his mum i do not have a clue how to cope with this i am at my wits end i know it sounds silly but i do not know what to say to him i just agree with him and give him what he wants i know that is silly but i am scared to upset him again i have 2 more sons living at home and a hubby but they are just angry all the time any helpful suggestions anything would help at this moment

    #26445
    MikeScott
    Participant

    Hi,

    My Daughter is an inpatient under a MH section primarily due to her suicide risk.

    My sense is all you can do is your best to ensure he has the appropriate professional support, my experience is that you will need to be very demanding of his GP and wider team. Again, and just from my personal experience, recognise this is not your fault, it is an illness much like any other and try to simply be his parent. I suspect there is no harm in being open about it and also ensuring he is aware of the impact of suicide on the wider family.

    The other thing is his age, if he’s over 18 the professionals have duty to maintain his confidentiality but in my experience the approach varies, there seems to be an increasing willingness to share if it is felt it benefits the sufferer. Secrets are rarely helpful.

    The Samaritans are always there to listen and it may be that Papyrus can offer some more specific support (I’ve not looked yet).

    Happy for anyone with better experience to tell me I’m talking nonsense.

    All the best.

    Mike

    #26447
    Egbam
    Participant

    Hi Mike and Lynne,

    it’s good to hear from you, but at the same time saddens me knowing that it’s such a painful situation that brings us together. My heart goes out to you both and others in similar situations.

    Lynne, I guess that you are feeling very frightened and would love a simple remedy to make everything alright again? I hope that by having contact on here you will at least know that you are not alone and it will give you a safe space to express how you’re feeling. As your son made an attempt before Christmas, I hope that support has kicked in and he is safe for now? Don’t forget that Papyrus is as much for him as it is for us.

    You don’t mention how old your son is or whether there is anything that has pushed him to no longer want to live? It’s my experience that at times we have no idea why something that seems so temporary and insignificant can cause our loved one to want to end their life. Sometimes with my daughter, there is nothing specific, but I guess a combination of hormones and a building up of little things – comments, things going wrong, feeling lonely – that leads her to want to finish the constant pain she feels inside.

    My daughter has a recognised mental health issue, which just makes life a battle to survive. She is loved and has managed to get a good degree, against the odds, but still feels the continual desire to take her life. Each day she has to decide to fight to live. Sometimes the fight is not strong in her and she makes attempts at suicide. Alongside all this, she has things she wants to do with her life, and the desire to make a difference. It is a tension within her, a battle that fluctuates as to which side wins.

    I have two other children, who find the whole drama of their sister too much at times. It can seem selfish and like a personal undervaluing of their love. As we’ve come to understand the illness, so these attitudes have diminished, but it is still hard to live with the worry day after day that she might take her life. It impacts on my life and my marriage too. I worry about going away and leaving her without support. I try to be there for her, yet at the same time encourage her to live her life to the full. I know that any day might be her last, and my heart cries out. There have been a couple of incidents in the past few months when I watched from the sidelines, unable to do anything, as she had to decide whether to live or die.

    As Mike says, it is important that you don’t blame yourself. Do all you can to support and listen to your son. Take him seriously – it’s far better that he feel he can talk to you rather than close up and internalise how he feels. If it’s possible, talk openly together as a family. That might not be easy, but is recognising that your son’s reactions are due to an illness, not a desire to hurt the family. My daughter genuinely believes that if she is ‘out of the picture’ then everyone would be much happier – how wrong can you be!

    I’ve said enough. I don’t want you to think I’ve sidelined you Mike, but recognise that like me, you have professional support. The tension and exhaustion I feel with the everyday holding of my daughters welfare is immense, and it is for this reason that I hope we can support one another and anyone else who is out there. As to how this goes forward, is really up to those on this site. Ideas welcomed…

    Helen

    #26449
    MikeScott
    Participant

    Hi all,

    All makes sense to me, in many respects the situation is easier for me as my daughter is an inpatient so her his is being managed by a great nursing, psychiatric and psychological team.

    Again, all I can suggest is you get all the help you can for both your son and yourself.

    Regards all,

    Mike

    #26451
    papyrus
    Keymaster

    We are pleased to see this forum thread taking off.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact us at for suicide prevention advice.
    Confidential phone: 0800 068 41 41, text: 077 86 20 9697 or email: pat@papyrus-uk.org

    Best wishes
    PAPYRUS

    #25792
    papyrus
    Guest

    Please do let others know about this forum too.
    Thanks
    PAPYRUS

    #25793
    papyrus
    Guest

    Mike
    Thanks for your post.
    @MikeScott wrote:

    The other thing is his age, if he’s over 18 the professionals have duty to maintain his confidentiality but in my experience the approach varies, there seems to be an increasing willingness to share if it is felt it benefits the sufferer. Secrets are rarely helpful.

    Confidentiality is a real issue, as you say. One of our key campaign areas is to address this. A Consensus Statement which was agreed between the various Royal Colleges (GPs, Psychiatrists etc.) and other national associations which helps set out the principles of why we must prioritise patient safety over confidentiality where there is a risk of suicide. Sadly, in the view of PAPYRUS, this is rather a ‘best kept secret’ and needs to be pushed at the highest levels to ensure that local practice improves. As a member of HM Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, PAPYRUS continues to campaign on this front.
    Our view is simple:
    @PAPYRUS wrote:

    Confidentiality between patient and doctor is an important principle. However, the safety of the patient is paramount and therefore sharing of information may well need to happen in order to save life. The Government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy for England states that, ‘there are clearly times when mental health service practitioners, in dealing with a person at risk of suicide, may need to inform the family about aspects of risk to help keep the patient safe.’ Where the individual is under 18, the issue is even clearer: GMC Guidelines for all doctors dealing with 0-18 year-olds state that they should disclose information if this is necessary to protect the child or young person, or someone else, from risk of death and serious harm. The guidelines make clear that the doctors’ ultimate responsibility is safeguarding and protecting the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

    Further,
    @Mike Scott wrote:

    The Samaritans are always there to listen and it may be that Papyrus can offer some more specific support (I’ve not looked yet).

    PAPYRUS does offer HOPELineUK specifically to address young suicide prevention issues. Do make contact if you need to.

    #26455
    Egbam
    Participant

    Hi Mike,
    you’re very gracious in suggesting that your situation is in some way easier as your daughter is an inpatient and getting great care… I suspect that it’s an equally difficult and distressing situation, just different.

    It’s like someone saying to me that they wished they’d known that their son had been feeling suicidal because it would have been easier… It’s my observation (and I’m happy to be shown to be wrong) that knowing about our loved one’s struggles isn’t easier, but again is just different. We live with the continual awareness that they might not win their fight. That we might not be able to keep them safe. It’s life changing, but yes, does give the possibility of supporting and helping them be better at staying alive.

    You mention getting help for our loved one, but you also imply that there is potential help ‘out there’ for us? Have you found something helpful? I tried to find a support group, but could only find ones for after a suicide – hence this forum.
    Any insights would be very welcome
    Thanks
    Helen

    #26457
    MikeScott
    Participant

    Hi Helen,

    Initially, I struggled with how to deal with the whole situation. The constant fear interspersed with bouts of optimism, looking for a solution, mourning for the daughter we had lost (not literally) and carrying on with the rest of life. I think I/we are lucky in that my wife and I are able to be open about our feelings between ourselves, family and friends about the situation.

    Regardless I ended up at the GP concerned about anxiety and depression. Fortunately my employer funded a consultation with a Psychiatrist and subsequent Psychological input.

    I think there may be some support on the NHS but suspect you will need to be demanding or it’s the Samaritans or maybe Papyrus.

    My only advice would be to ask for help early if in doubt.

    Hope that helps.

    Mike

    #26459
    MikeScott
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I wrote a longish response last week and having returned it seems it did not publish???

    Helen – In terms of your second paragraph…….. thanks but not quite. Easier because, as she is an inpatient, I do not feel responsible for her safety on an hour-to-hour or day-to-day basis. True, it does not make the sadness about how unhappy she can be from time to time any easier.

    And in terms of the third paragraph……..I think the gist of it was I’ve been fortunate enough to have some 1:1 Psychiatric and psychological support funded by my employer but I think there is some NHS support out there if you shout loud enough.

    The best advice I’ve had is to remember this is nobodies fault and try and steer clear of attemepting to become your loved one’s therapist (and probably your own for that matter).

    Regards all,

    Mike

    #26462
    Egbam
    Participant

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve been checking for responses to my post for a couple of weeks, and have just found both your replies – sorry I didn’t see them earlier.

    I have accessed counselling through my work, which was helpful. I might look to have some more soon.

    In my experience, the support from the NHS is erratic and reactionary, only lasting a few weeks at a time unless there is a significant attempt on life. An invisible attempt, such as driving dangerously or head banging does not appear to get the same response as cutting or taking pills.

    We have not had good experience with doctors, although when we moved to a new area the mental health team were great for a few weeks but just don’t have the resources to be a continual support. Therefore it lands back on the family. It’s a strain and worry, but we do talk openly and I am working alongside Papyrus to get support and further understanding. I clearly am not shouting loudly enough and will have to be firmer.

    I was looking for some sort of support network of people in similar situations. I don’t know what it would look like, but think that this is the start of it. We just need to connect with more people who are living with someone who is suicidal. Just having someone who knows what it’s like is a great support, so thank you for inputting to this forum.

    Shalom
    Helen

    #26464
    MikeScott
    Participant

    Hi Helen,

    Sort, been missing for a bit.

    Any luck with the search for a support network?

    Mike

    #26466
    Egbam
    Participant

    Hi Mike,
    glad you’re back, are you ok?
    Not found a support network, so looking to set something up through Papyrus.
    Met another lady yesterday who will hopefully join the conversation and mutual support.
    I guess initially we’ll be supporting each other as best we can through this forum, but it could evolve into actual meetings in time.
    Shalom
    Helen

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