- 10/10/2017 at 13:07 #25820SarahParticipant
Firstly welcome to the forum, I mirror what Egbam (Helen) has written that this is a safe place to express openly and honestly as we all too share similar experiences. The forum can be used in this context to generally offload, debrief, rant, be angry basically express any emotion that your situation makes you feel as we all understand you will feel a whole variety of emotions but underlying most of them is our arch enemy of guilt. As parents we feel guilty we didn’t pick up earlier signs of struggle, an innate sense/intuition that our loved one was in so much internal pain they feel there are no alternatives, we bear the guilt of not being able to ever take the thought of suicide away from them and as always the anger and guilt of even feeling guilty as it is all about how our loved one is feeling not us!
Secondly, I want you to know you are in my thoughts (and in no doubt others on the forum). I understand how ‘high alert’ you must be feeling, how do you ever let that go – this is your son, always your child in this painful, situation.
The thoughts are exhausting you! I too am a trained ASIST (Applied suicide intervention skills training) caregiver and the most powerful thing you can do to any person in this situation is to be open. Asking the direct uncomfortable question ‘are you feeling suicidal’ is paramount. You sound similar to me (forgive me if I’m wrong) but I cannot even begin to let go of any situation until they have been addressed with the person so although the eggshells will be present, carefully start to move them aside by directly addressing them, don’t be afraid to say you care and love him so much you want to try to understand his internal thoughts and want to support him.
Lastly, you too need to be safe, your emotional well-being is vital and I totally understand that the situation will be taking its toll on you. Reach out and seek the support you need!!
Amandaen, be kind to yourself – you are not alone.
Please do contact the forum again or PM if more preferable to talk more about you, your son – anything.
Sending support and hugs through the forum to you………
I hope to connect again soon
Best Regards and Wishes
Sarah xx20/10/2017 at 18:32 #25807
Dear All Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it and how much it means to know I’m not alone.
The main problem at the moment is that my son is ‘addicted’ (his words) to working out at the gym. I know how much exercise helps with mental health problems and if he has had a ‘good session’ he is very upbeat. However, I was aware during the summer that he was trying to buy some steroids online (I do check his emails, although he doesn’t know). I have recently found that he has succeeded and he has hidden them. I don’t know where he has got the money from as he has no access to any bank accounts. He doesn’t know that I know he has steroids and I am terrified of mentioning it to him. I don’t want him to know that I check his room and his emails, as I know once his trust has gone in me, I will never get it back. So I am in a dilemma. I worry greatly how these dreadful steroids will affect his head/hormones/body yet I realise that at the moment he feels in control and so is in a calmer place and is more content. I used to suffer with anorexia (I suppose I still do, as it never goes away) and so do understand that the need for control is huge and the panic if someone made me eat or took away my exercise would make me panic and I would get very depressed. When he attempted suicide in the summer, it was directly after I opened a package which contained steroids which he had managed to buy. At the moment I’m burying my head in the sand, in fear of upsetting him again and him taking another attempt at his life. I just need to add, that his wish to die was not just from the summer but has been lingering for about 4 years. He is 17 years old and has been on fluoxetine for around 6 months now. Has anyone else been in a similar situation?
Thank you for the support and advice to look after myself too – I’ve taken up running – which really helps, when I’m doing it I’m so busy trying to put one foot infront of the other and to breathe that for that brief time, I can’t worry – somedays I feel like running all day!!!22/10/2017 at 10:18 #25801SarahParticipant
What emotional support is your son getting? Does he recognise he has poor mental health?
Have you spoken to him about why he wants to end his life? Would he speak to Hopeline? Suppose if he feels in a calm place he won’t feel he needs to speak to anyone.
The ‘addiction’ to exercise is deep rooted as you will know and has many complex issues surrounding control, self esteem, self confidence and how others expect us to look and feel. You have so much to deal with, the fear your son feels suicidal, he will cause harm through internet drugs, keeping an eye on him but with the fear he will find out and harm himself because of it. You say you are burying your head but please seek support, talk to a professional, do you have a good relationship with your GP? Do you have someone to turn to?
How do you manage the anorexia? You are a strong person by getting through all of this and take each day one at a time.
You are gaining your sense of control again by running, would you and your son do some form of exercise together?
Please reach out seek support so you can continue to support your son and able to manage your own emotions.
Please keep in touch
Sending you best wishes
Sarah xx12/11/2017 at 16:39 #25812
Thank you all. Another couple of week of ups and downs but I’m generally feeling a little more positive. My son is talking more about his feelings and we have discussed the steroids. He has explained how important his exercise is to him and how important his body image. I haven’t removed his steroids but instead we have discussed how I need to know that he is as safe as can be while taking them, so we leave them in a place that he and I can clearly see and he takes one tablet in front of me. I think he needs to know that we are being honest with each other and that he can trust me, otherwise, he will take it all ‘underground’ again and he won’t be able to ask for help or talk as it he will be carrying the weight of a great secret with him, which will only add to his anxiety and pressure. This does all sound like madness but to remove his control at the moment would, I think, be very dangerous. We have found a psychologist who he ‘really likes’ and he says that he finds it easy to chat with her, so I’m relieved about that. Thanks to all of you – (I had never heard of ASIST before talking on this forum) but I have a place on a course at the end of the month. Looking forward to going would be the wrong expression but I am intrigued and keen to learn as much as I possibly can, so thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
I met a lovely friend last week and told her what had happened over the summer. She has never had any experience of mental illness or knowingly come across it with other friends and family. I initially was upset, hurt and frustrated when she said that ‘it was probably a cry for help’ when we all know that it is absolutely not an attention seeking activity or adolescent tantrum but a desperate need to escape the inner pain that they face day after day. Instead of then keeping quiet, I explained all that I had learnt to her (sorry, I hope I don’t sound pompous) – when I left, she gave me a huge hug and a thanked me so much for talking about mental illness and suicide and that our conversation had completely remodelled the way that she saw things now. I suppose what I’m saying is that on the days and the times, when we have some energy left that talking about whats going on to people who are open to listening is helpful, not only to us but to them too.
Best wishes to you all xxx12/11/2017 at 16:53 #26508
WOW! You sound so much better than when you last wrote. Talking with your son and building the trust between you about his tablets is a really positive step. It’s so good to hear.
I’m really pleased that you’ve managed to get on an ASIST course. It might not be easy for you, and you might hear things that are hard to stomach (like it’s a person’s right to take their life), but it will give you tools and confidence to deal with the situation you find yourself in. I found that to some extent it confirmed that what I’d been doing naturally was in fact the best way to deal with a crisis situation.
When you attend the course, don’t expect to be doing much in the evenings… you may just need some time to be kind to yourself, so hold that in mind.
The conversation you had with your friend is again very encouraging. You’re already talking openly about mental health and suicide issues, explaining to others and not hiding it as a stigma. You certainly deserved that big hug! you’re quite right in stating that talking to others helps us as well as them.
I’m personally really encouraged by your message, it helps me know that together we can and will make an impact to help people talk about mental health issues and in particular, suicide. Thank you.
Helen17/12/2017 at 11:03 #26510
How’s it going for everyone out there?
It’s a busy time, but one with lots of pressures, stress and expectations.
Please look after yourselves at the same time as being mindful as to how those who are vulnerable within your family are.
Try to focus on the positive things in life and seek support from friends & family or Papyrus if you need it.
You are of great value and none of us are strong enough to get through life’s challenges without help and support.
Take care and have a good Christmas time
Helen19/12/2017 at 09:00 #25809
Hello! I went on the ASIST course and as some of you warned me, it was completely emotionally exhausting but brilliant. It made me think at a different level about my thoughts of suicide and I do believe it has taught me the tools to significantly help someone who intends to take their own life. The two people running the course were supportive and informative with a little bit of dark humour occasionally to lighten the mood – which was very necessary. They were extremely approachable. One of them was a HopeLine counsellor and I felt reassured that if the other counsellors were like him, when my son rang, that he would be talking to the best possible people.
I was amazed by what happened on the course, when we introduced ourselves and our reasons for being there, all of the other people were there because of their jobs, they were counsellors, worked in housing, etc – but for each and every person suicide had affected their lives on a personal level. It was a very humbling experience and each person in the group was respectful and supportive of everyone else.
Thank you to the person who suggested that I attend the course, I think it was the most powerful 2 days I have ever spent and it has given me the confidence to never be afraid to discuss suicide and to ask the question directly.
I know this is the most difficult time of year for many many people with the expectation of joy and happy families being thrust at us from every angle. I hope that each of your and your loved ones get through this time safely.
Amanda23/12/2017 at 22:30 #26512
I’m so pleased that you did the ASIST course, difficult though it is, as I know how much help it can be. It sounds as though you feel quite empowered by it and I guess you will also be encouraging others to go on the course.
Continue to be kind to yourself. Know that you’re not alone in your worries and fears for your son, but do what you can to relax and have as good a Christmas as possible.
Helen10/01/2018 at 10:15 #26514
many of you will already be aware that this is a particularly difficult time for some people, so if you live with someone who struggles, do ask them how they feel and get support if things are too dark for them.
Take care of yourselves too and give a shout if you need to chat / scream / cry with someone!
Helen13/02/2018 at 17:02 #26517
it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote, and although nobody has written (and that’s ok), I know there have been many on here to read and maybe find encouragement.
It’s my experience that living with someone who’s suicidal is very challenging and tiring. Sometimes something that I would consider to be fairly insignificant becomes like a monster in the mind of my daughter. I have to remember that for her, that is how it is. The constant fight to stay alive is exhausting and so issues that would be small to someone else are huge to her, and issues that are huge in the eyes of most people, are off the scale to her.
You wouldn’t know by looking at her, how she fights to stay alive.
She wears a mask, totally aware that people around her find it hard to accept or know how to react to the way she feels. She hides her pain until it gets so intense that she can’t hold it any longer and wants to be released from the constant torture of her mind.
So far between us, we’ve been able to keep her alive, but it’s a continual worry that one day I won’t be available when she needs me, and alone, she won’t have the strength to fight.
I am grateful that there are both the Papyrus Hopeline and Samaritans that she can turn to, and I know that she has, but I also know that the unconditional love and support that I try to give have been significant.
For anyone else on this difficult journey, be encouraged and know that this forum is here to support you in whatever way we can.
This forum is by those living with a suicidal person, for those living with a suicidal person. We are not experts, but are living the experience. Please make contact if you need some support.
Shalom (deep peace)
Helen18/02/2018 at 19:05 #25808
Hello! I’ve not written for ages, to be honest nothing much has changed. Helen your post is so honest and I’m sorry to say but a huge comfort to know that as parents we are not fighting our battles alone, although at times I have never felt so lonely and exhausted. Your story really resonates with me as there are days when my son is trying so hard to ‘fit in’ and act ‘normally’ that he is so tired that he sleeps for hours after he has played his role that the other people expect. The frustrating thing I find is that sometimes he ‘acts’ so well that people who know how ill he is, almost think that he is better and that I’m just exaggerating when I tell them how it really is – sometimes I feel like a liar but we know what is really going on as we are living it with them every day. He has just had his medication changed from an SSRI to an SNRI – the transition is tough but I am hanging on to hope that it helps. I hadn’t realised how strong my hope was, until I was talking about possible future plans for when he is feeling better and my daughter said ‘do you think he’ll get better’ – I thought I have to hope with every ounce of strength left in me (not sure this makes sense when I write it down).
So I finish my post with my love and hope for you all and your loved ones, that the days get better and the light appears once again. xxx22/02/2018 at 16:26 #26519
I’m sorry that your situation hasn’t improved, but glad that you’re finding some support through this forum. I trust that others are too.
Having someone in the family who is suicidal is very hard, as fear of loss has to be balanced with trying to have as normal a life as possible. The whole family is impacted as someone’s health goes up and down, and I guess that for your daughter, she is desperately wanting things to return to normality, where that ‘what if’ question is no longer part of every occasion.
Keep holding on to the hope. Hope gives a reason to live and a potential future. Lack of hope is a path we don’t want to face. Hope allows us to do things, and try things, and seek answers. It helps each person feel positive. So yes, let’s keep looking for that light. Some days it’s easier to see than others, but we have to trust that the light and hope are always there… somewhere!
Helen28/02/2018 at 17:20 #25819
Thank you for your reply. I’ve just deleted the first post as it was down right depressing and no-one needs to hear it! So far as to say, I’m madly looking for light and hope today!
Amanda08/03/2018 at 16:33 #26521
Oh Amanda,I’m so sorry.
Words just seem inadequate when things seem so dark, but seek every tiny bit of light, from the robin singing to you in the garden, to the new shoots of plants bringing new life and colour. Small things, external to the situation you are in, might shine a tiny patch of light into the darkness. Keep hoping for good change.
If you’d like to talk, then please inbox me
Shalom (deep peace)
Helen09/04/2018 at 16:24 #26523
With lighter nights and warmer days, it’s easy to think that everything is alright with the world, but sadly, for some of us, things are anything but alright.
If you are living with the constant worry that someone you live with or are close to might take their life, please don’t hold that worry to yourself. Please get support from your Dr, family and Papyrus – talking about it really does help, and might give you suggestions about keeping your loved one safe. It’s a huge strain to live with this fear, so allow others to support you.
If this forum can be of any support or a safe space to be honest about how you feel, then please do use it.
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