Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
lysergia

(trigger) helping survivors of suicide

8 posts in this topic

this post is about supporting my daughter rather than myself, so i hope it's still appropriate to ask questions.

 

my daughter is 21 and has had three significant relationships with boys in her life thus far (i say boys because to me they aren't quite men yet).

 

boy #2 hung himself just over a year ago.  she was devastated.  she still looks at his pictures, and has his name tatoooed on her forearm so that she'll never forget him.

 

boy #1 hung himself a few weeks ago.  he was the single most important person in her life, even though they've been broken up for about two years.  they still hung out a lot, and talked on the phone a lot.  she thought he was feeling better.

 

as you can imagine, she is reeling from this experience.  the funeral was heartbreaking - it was on what should have been his 21st birthday.  he and my daugher had matching stuffed sheep, and he was cremated with both of them.  i could barely hold my own self together that day - i cannot imagine what she must have been feeling.

 

i want to know what i can do for her.  it's one thing to lose your loved ones who are sick or aging, and another thing to lose someone to suicide (i think.... i cannot say this with certainty).  i've found groups for people in her shoes, but they're all at night and that's when she works (and cannot take the time off).

 

she has lots of friends who can comfort her, and for that i'm really glad.  but i'm not sure, as a mother, what i might do that will help - and what i might do that would make things worse.

 

if you've been through this before, and can talk about it, could you tell me some things that helped or didn't help at all?  in a smaller way, i guess i want this information for my own benefit too.  i didn't love him, but he was a big part of my life for a long time too.  i find myself crying for him, and imagining how he looked when he died.  i have a hard time talking about it without crying, and i know my daughter does not need to see that.  i also keep thinking about my own life and how many times i've come so close to doing what these boys did.  but i don't know how to resolve my feelings to that i won't cry, or bring my own issues into the conversation. 

 

she's functioning fine one day and then the next day she's a mess.  do i give her space?  do i hover?  how do i remain calm about it?

 

thanks if anyone can help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if it'll help at all, but when my friends suicided I tended to not tell my mother. That said, she tended to not know my friends so it worked out. She and I did know a 14 year old (I was 20) who was her friend's son so I sort of knew him who died, but that was nature's fault, not his. And she was so focused on caring for his mother that she sort of dealt with her own grief in a very subtle way. I only heard her mention it a few times, and it was primarily around the other adults of the situation.

 

I wonder, if your daughter is 21, if she's too old for the kids help line? They have really good internet resources, too. We tend to send our teens there when us adults can't deal with them any more. I'd say that if she stops functioning from grief that it's time for her to quit her job so she can go to the support places that are open when she's working. She'll be better able to work and do her job (or find a new one) when she's not so switchy in herself.

 

Maybe, for you, you need to find a way that you can listen to her and just not talk at all? Sort of like finding a mute button for your tongue. That way you won't drag your own reflections into what is primarily her space. Did you know his parents at all? Would supporting them be helpful for you at all?

 

I don't know what your standard relationship with your daughter is, so it's hard to say what the right course of action is. If you're usually "come to me when you want to talk" then keep going on that course of action. If you're "check in every day" then keep doing that. I guess... just stay consistent (ha! As much as possible, anyway) so that she knows not to expect any more weirdness from you than is usual.

 

As for staying calm, the same way you always do however that is? Be it baking (was it you who made muffins and cookies?) or crafting or or playing with the cat or going for a walk or whatever it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I lost an ex to suicide almost a year and a half ago.

 

We had broken up because he was beginning to get abusive towards me, and honestly the suicide didn't surprise me, but it ...  there was still a lot of anger I had to process after the initial grief and wtf response.

 

I would say don't be surprised if you or your daughter get very, very angry later.  It's really hard to deal with when someone you care about chooses to end their life.  (understatement of the year)

 

For me, the anger would come and go, and be interspersed with sadness.  There was a lot of WHY, as opposed to other situations where I've had people close to me die and it was 'their time' or whatever.  With suicide, there's never really any answer that seemed to satisfy me as to why.  I knew he had problems, I knew very well what they were and that he had, as long as I'd known him, had suicidal ideation, but I just couldn't stop myself from wishing things had turned out differently.

 

I guess I was stuck in the "anger/bargaining" stages for a very long time, heh.  I don't think that's uncommon, either.

 

From my experience, I would imagine you can expect the grief to be more intense and longer lasting.  I'd call it a psychic wound that heals much slower than 'regular' grief.  Some days were fine, other days I felt intensely angry and upset with him, and some days I would think "good riddance, you loser, if you can't fucking deal with your problems I refuse to care."  Maybe that's anger but it felt more like the depression stage.  Lots of bouncing back and forth between feelings.

 

I think it would be validating for your daughter to hear that you're feeling or have felt similarly to whatever emotions she expresses, but imo try to keep it very low key and focus n her, if that makes sense.  If you need to process things and talk out how angry you are, etc (and I can't imagine you wouldn't, he was a part of your life too), I would not recommend doing it with your daughter.

 

Those are just my initial thoughts.  I'll try to keep an eye on the thread, since I've gone through a similar experience and am okay with talking about it now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you both so much.

 

i'm not sure that she would call a help line.  i think she's probably got enough friends around her to listen... i just wonder if they're able to validate her feelings without imposing their own as well (most of her friends also knew him).  she's coming over for lunch tomorrow, i think that's something i'll ask her.  what i'd like most is for her to have a tdoc, but she's already on a waiting list to get one to deal with her anxiety problems.  i was worried, too, about how well she could hang on to her job right now.  she says that going to work helps her be distracted from thinking about it all the time, so i guess that's good.  she works alone, so if she has to cry or whatever it's okay to do that and no one will see her. 

 

generally, i'm a "call me if you need me" kind of mom at this stage in her life (nobody wants to be hounded by their mother at her age, i don't think heh).  of course if i don't hear from her for a week that all goes out the window.  in this situation, it's hard for me to know where the middle ground is.  she would never tell me not to call, even if i was getting on her nerves... that's where i start second-guessing.

 

sys, i'm glad you can talk about it now, and i'm so sorry you went through that.  i haven't seen the anger yet, but maybe she just hasn't expressed it in front of me.  she spent so much time being angry with him for his parasuicidal behaviour when they were together, it was the biggest reason she broke up with him in the first place (he would threaten suicide every time she even talked about leaving).  so i'm imagining she feels a tremendous amount of both guilt and anger along with deep sadness.  but i'm projecting because i've never been in her shoes.

 

that's a good point about letting her see that i cry about it too.  i just have to be sure she knows she doesn't have to "fix" my grief by avoiding the conversation (she is sensitive to anything that might make me cry, kinda like she's protecting me, because of the BP thing).  i'll try to find the words to let her know i'm crying *with* her and *for* her, but it's not about me by a long shot.  and that it's okay for me to cry about things like this, it doesn't mean i'm destabilizing, it just means i'm human.  maybe that's a better tactic than trying not to cry at all.  maybe it will give her permission to be more free about her own feelings if she sees mine.  i hope so.

 

now that i know how angry you felt, i really want her to know it's okay to be angry at him, that it doesn't mean she's a bad person or loved him any less.  i'm afraid she'll judge herself for blaming him, when there's no need. 

 

again thank you both.  i feel so lost with this, i never expected my child would be burying her friends before i did.  both of those boys are unfortunately examples of why being treatment-compliant is SOOO fucking important.  and examples of why rave drugs are evil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this is going to sound weird, but can you text?  My younger sister (just turned 22) and my younger brother...  I swear to god, all they do is text.  I must've missed that Generation Text cut off.

 

Anyway, if you already do, great, and maybe start using that to check in.  But if you don't, it would be a great excuse to "I want to get up to date with the technology, [daughter], so I may be texting you kinda frequently for a few weeks because I know you won't laugh at my mistakes too much!"

 

The good thing about texts is...  you can generally gauge someone's mood from the text if you know them , it's easy to transition into a phone call if necessary, AND it's more like email in that she doesn't have to be talking to you at the exact same time you send her the message.

 

I would imagine that she feels a LOT of guilt right now along with the "normal" grief sadness.  I know that even though my ex and I had no contact for nearly a year before he died, I still felt like I should've done something, should've reached out to him-- so much guilt, and I wasn't even ever planning to speak to him again and before he killed himself, I had no regret for that decision!  But afterwards, oh god, the what if can consume someone.

 

Letting her see you be sad, even angry, crying, all of that...  that s a great way to go about it.  It's modelling the behavior you want, PLUS you're showing her you trust her enough to express your hard emotions in front of her, and that invites a reciprocation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

heh, i say "call", but what i really mean is that we're texting.  i can't remember the last time we talked on the phone (we both hate it).  that's sad in a way, but it's the way of her world and i don't want to be the old woman saying "in MY day, we actually spoke to each other...".  and i must admit that i too like the fact that i don't have to answer a text immediately.  you're right that it's pretty easy to gauge things that way, and sometimes, she actually types things more honestly than she would say out loud.

 

i'm glad you talked about the anger.  she came over for lunch today and that's exactly where she was (today, maybe not tomorrow).  pissed off at him for doing this to her, and especially to his family.  i think i'm quoting her properly - "when i get up there [heaven], those stupid motherfuckers are getting SUCH an ass-kicking." (she was refering to both boys).  she's pissed about his drug use, knowing it contributed to his MI and still doing it despite her nagging.  she's pissed that he planned what he was about to do and didn't tell anyone or check himself in (he began cancelling important stuff a week before).

 

yet at the same time, she said she felt numb to the whole thing, because she had been through his threats and attempts so many times before.  almost like she had already prepared herself for his death.  "well he got two more years in after the last time he tried, not too bad i guess".  ouch.  i guess that's coming from anger, too.

 

so because she wasn't crying, i wasn't crying either yay (well not until she left).  i'm learning so much about grief, though.  and i'm learning a lot about what it would be like (to some degree) if i ever decided to let my own MI get the best of me.  i haven't been able to have a conversation with his mother yet - that will be extremely difficult.  it's not the right time yet anyway.

 

one of my frequent ruminations is about my daughter, or my husband, or my parents dying.  it kinda takes on an obessive life of its own in my head, and it's devastating to me every time.  since this happened, i have not had that persistent thought.  you'd think it would be worse, not better.  maybe this is a reality check for my anxiety.  i'm so focused on this particular death that i'm not thinking about "possibilities".

 

thanks for letting me vent this out and helping me understand.  no need to respond, i'm just letting you know that your experience really helped me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:Trigger:  :Trigger:  :Trigger:

 

This may be especially triggering even for this thread, but I did want to say that you reminded me of just how bad the anger was...

 

Now that I'm thinking about it, the anger was probably even worse than I wrote above, because I remember reading his obituary repeatedly trying to grasp that he was gone and there was a part where his dad said "I'm collecting anyone's memories of Bob, please write or email or call, I miss him so much every day" and one of the MAIN reasons that Bob refused to get help was because he thought his dad would hate him for being mentally ill.

 

Yeah.  So... my train of thought would always go:  /right, so you couldn't handle letting your old man down, so you kill yourself and that really makes your dad proud, you fucking asshole.  It's so much better than going to therapy if you're just dead, yeah? YOU FUCKING PRICK./  

 

Anyway, I think I ranted about that to EVERYONE who sat still long enough for me to talk to them, for weeks.   :cussing:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be good if you could just text that you were feeling sad or mad or whatever that day, so she knows you're going through some grief yourself.  I say that coming from family where stoicism was highly prized, and it still messes me up today and I'm 53. 

 

I think it would have been helpful if I could have seen my mom grieve and/or be pissed off when my dad died of natural causes when I was 11.  I had never been to a funeral or experienced death, so I modeled my behaviour on the grown-ups, none of whom displayed any emotion at all.  I vividly remember being hugged by my uncle before the funeral, and I remember it because no one in our family ever displayed affection.  That left a mark on me, although I knew I was loved, if that makes any sense.   

 

I think it would help you and your daughter if she knows you're feeling bad about things, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By MattMVS7
      I have a friend who suffers from horrible flashbacks and I have a question regarding flashbacks.  We know the types of experiences flashbacks can bring back such as certain smells, sounds, and emotions.

      But are there certain types of experiences that cannot be brought back during a flashback such as feeling hungry, tired, thirsty, etc.?  The most important question I have here is, would that also include the completely altered and strange horrible mental states we experience in our dreams and nightmares?

      These types of altered mental states during dreams and nightmares cannot be described.  They are entirely new experiences unlike any other.  They are not experiences like touch, smell, feelings, etc.  They are completely altered mental states.  So can those altered mental states be brought back and experienced during your waking life during a flashback or not?   
    • By Vesse
      So the story is really complicated but I don't know how to move on with my life after it.
      To summarize, I got married 4.5 years ago and we moved here together. From the beginning he constantly threatened me with divorce which took its toll on my mood (I tried commiting suicide a few months after moving here). I never wanted to cheat but in addition to threats of divorce, he always called me oversexual and suggested I see a doctor (I wanted sex once a day... not unusual for a guy). Despite all of this I worked hard at a job I hated to support the both of us (he wouldn't work, he was a full time student and could have worked to help me, but he didn't want to do anything not related to his field of study). 
      Anyway, fast forward we got our green cards (from my work that I only stayed at for him). A few months later he started dating (we were trying an open relationship but dating was not supposed to be allowed). He also lost "part" of his virginity to the guy he was dating and who is now his current boyfriend. He went back home to visit for the summer and asked me for a divorce 7000 miles away. We agreed to try and work through it, but meanwhile he was having sex with lots of different guys and he got back here only to mislead me and get me to still pay for his expenses despite being in love with someone else. He claimed "I can't decide about our relationship if I don't have food" so of course I bought him food...
      I'm bipolar and I have tried years and years of medications with no luck. Earlier this year I started smoking meth which I know is not good for you. I minimize the risks as much as possible of course and I can hold my own in an argument about whether it's actually as bad as the media portrays (for example, I know hypertension can cause LVH which is a serious risk factor for things like sudden cardiac death, not to mention aortic dissection and congestive heart failure... I want to be a vet lol).
      So here's the thing, smoking meth helps prevent my suicidal thoughts, but I do want to give it up and start focusing on my future. I need help though. Logically I don't want to be married to him, he's a terrible person (you can't say deep down he's a good person, I left out something very big because it's too painful for now, but I can share if it helps you help me :-( ).
      How can I move on from what he did? I just can't seem to do it. Logic is failing me which really sucks. What has cheered me up lately is accepting the fact that I think I'm done with relationships. I've had it, and I don't want it. You can say I'm jaded, I'm just in shock, or I'll change my mind one day, but it's the only thing that helps me when I'm feeling down. Recognizing that that part of my life is over. I do have a long road ahead of me, vet school (hopefully) but first I have to work about 2 years to save up for it. But despite a great plan, I can't get over it. It doesn't help that he's not cooperating at all with the divorce (which I now want of course). So now I'm filling out the papers and paying for my own divorce... that's really some twisted stuff right there. See? He's not a good person.
      Please help because the suicidal thoughts are stronger than ever. I tried going to a psychiatrist to get on meds again and he said he wouldn't prescribe me anything for at least a few weeks.... I've been on at least 10 bipolar meds and he's making me wait with vivid suicidal thoughts... first, do no harm?
      Can anyone help me please? 
       
    • By Eddie_BP1
      Hello,
      This is my first post on this board. I was diagnosed and treated for bipolar 1 from 2002-2015. Last year I went off medication, and have been med free since Oct 2015. I went off because I believed the medication was hurting me more than helping and making me sicker. I felt I had nothing to lose.
      As a result, I regained mental clarity but had one long mania cycle and I am now in a very depressed cycle which is difficult to.endure.
      I am very depressed from stress but mostly from the fact that I now see clearly how my bipolar has wrecked havoc in my life. I am seeing it clearly for the first time and I am accepting it. 
      I am 52, divorced with 3 kids. My oldest doesn't talk to me at all, my middle has some communication, getting better and now my daughter 13 doesnt speak to me. The alienation creates severe feelings of pain for me. I have hurt them and their mother and this is my reality.
      Their mother has played my mental illness against me in the divorce and has sought to alienate me from my children. She has provoked confrontations with me, has had me arreated and has played the victim to the hilt. I now have several court motions to addressential with her on house and alimony and alienation issues.
      There is nothing more painful than not having a relationship with your kids.
      Because of the massive losses, caused mostly by mania, I am now willing to accept treatment for my bipolar again. I am very afraid of medications that sedate me, make me lose my memory and effect my body weight. I do not trust psychiatrists, pharma, or medication. But I need help.
      I am a lost soul right now trying to find my tribe and get direction. 
      My parents are supportive and a few friends but I have lost nearly all my relationships to my craziness and disorder. I had substance abuse problems as well but have been sober now for almost a year.
      I hope to hear from some of you that there is hope, that one can get through massive depression and pain as well as mania and find meaning and purpose in life.
      I really need to connect with people that are managing this illness well and might understand. I am powerless over my bipolar and my life is unmanageable. Thank you.
      Eddie
       
       
    • By crazyguy
      Hi all,
      I haven't posted here in nearly a year I guess.  Not because I've had some miracle recovery from depression but mainly because I have been managing to survive day to day with a bit of help.  I'm on no meds apart from 1 or 2mg per week of lorazepam for panic attacks or sleep.  I cut right back from 3mg per day over the last year.  Now it is more PRN. 
      But the last month my mood has gone super low again. I have been looking for a part time job but I realise due to my mental state and physical health I have so many limitations it is almost impossible.    My care worker has tried to bring forward my Pdoc appointment, it has been over a year since I saw a doctor.   I don't see how they pdoc can help as I have tried so many medications over the years.    I also have physical issues going on for years - chronic pain - I had surgery to fix my knee last year which helped a bit but not as good as I had hoped for. I still have pain..  I'm waiting to see a rhematologist now to see if there is something inflammatory going on. 
      Yes so I feel super low and suicidal again.   Plus this week now my mom, the only person I have any real connection with, is waiting on test results to see if she has cancer.  This has totally freaked me out.  If she has cancer and dies then there is basically nothing left for me at all. 
      I feel useless.  I have failed at study. failed at working.  failed at making friends and failed at having a life.  my life is 24/7 internet or computer.   pathetic. 
    • By MattMVS7
      I have had horrible depressive nightmares as a result of severe depression throughout my life.  These depressive nightmares were not normal experiences of a normal healthy depressed brain.  
      They were experiences of a severely ill and tormented brain since my depression has gotten to the point of being so severe that it has taken my life away.
      The depression (hopelessness) and the horrible mental states experienced in those nightmares were nothing normal and was beyond anything imaginable since experiences in nightmares are nothing like experiences in your waking life.  
      People who have near death experiences sometimes have distressing or hellish ones.  They experience the horrible indescribable mental states that they experience in their worst nightmares just as bad or even far worse than their worst nightmares.
      But it's much worse since they experience it fully conscious since people are fully conscious and aware during their near death experiences.  
      They are hyper aware and everything is hyper real.  To be fully aware and conscious of these horrible experiences is far worse than being less aware of them during your nightmares.  
      If I ever have a near death experience myself someday, then there is the possibility that I could experience those horrible indescribable depressive mental states that I experienced in those depressive nightmares.  
      To experience that fully conscious would be something so indescribably horrible that there is no way for me to be fine with that and not worry about that.
      The possibility (no matter how slim) that I could have such a hellish or distressing near death experience has completely taken my life away from me.  
      It is a constant non-stop 24/7 obsessive worry that has destroyed my life to where I am not functioning and not doing any of my hobbies, it has troubled me, traumatized me, and has made everything in my life completely devoid of all joy and meaning to make my life worth living.
      So my life is now completely gone and is no longer worth living which is why I have to somehow find a way to address this worry so that I can have my life back.  
      But I don't think it's possible and I think there is no hope since it is impossible for me to let something this horrible go and to be at peace with and allow myself to be fine with the idea of possibly experiencing this.
      I am fine with and am at peace with facing any horrible experience in my waking life since these experiences are normal no matter how bad they are.  
      But those experiences in my depressive nightmares was something indescribable.  They were completely altered abnormal mental states that were an indescribable hell.  They were far beyond just some really horrible nightmarish experience.  
      It was beyond anything imaginable and there is no way I am fine and at peace with the idea of possibly experiencing that again fully conscious during a near death experience.
      There is no way for me to just be here in the moment and not to worry about it.  I don't think any therapeutic techniques can help this.  This is something so far beyond horrible that there is no possible way for me to let this go, be at peace with, and not worry about.
      This situation seems like it is far beyond therapy and other known relaxation, meditation, coping, etc. techniques.  So what do we do for this and what hope is there for this?
      I will add two additional points that are important that I would like to make.  The first being that as long as I have this obsessive worry, my life will continue to remain empty and miserable like this.
      Having such obsessive depressive worries in your life causes your mind to focus on a problem and to shut out everything else in your life so that everything else is completely shut out of all joy and significance (meaning).
      As long as I have this worry, then everything in my life will continue to remain dead and empty to me since my mind will always continue to shut those things out.  
      I will also remain non-functional in doing my hobbies and such since having this trouble and worry has rendered me this way.  
      The last point I would like to make is that some therapists and mental health professionals would say that it is all my way of looking at those mental states in my depressive nightmares.
      That if I were to instead look at them differently such as looking at them from a more positive and less horrible perspective, that I wouldn't have to worry about experiencing them again fully conscious during a near death experience.
      But the experience is what it is.  It truly was that horrible and no change of thinking can change that experience for what it truly was.  During that time I had those horrible depressive nightmares, I was so desperate to try this.
      I was so desperate to try and take away the horrible power of these experiences by telling myself before I went to bed that they are nothing more than unpleasant experiences, that I can look at them from less horrible perspectives to make these experiences less horrible, etc.
      But that did nothing.  When I had those depressive nightmares, the experiences were just as horrible.  So this says that experiences alone in of themselves can be the absolute worst and most horrible or they can be the absolute best and glorious.
      This says that the experiences themselves alone have this power and that it is not just simply your way of looking at them.  If it was nothing more than your way of looking at them, then a change of thought should change the experience.
      In other words, if you looked at a certain experience in the very beginning as the most horrible experience, but then changed your perspective of that experience as being nothing more than an unpleasant feeling, then that is all that it should be now.
      So next time you have it again, it won't bother you that much and would now just be nothing more than an unpleasant feeling and would no longer be the horrible experience it was before.  But this isn't the case for me.  The experience is what it is regardless of how I choose to view it in a different manner.
      In conclusion, some therapists would tell me:
      "Yes, it may very well be that horrible of an experience.  But you'll get through it no matter how horrible it is if it ever does happen to you."
      This statement does not make me any less worried.  It does not bring me peace or anything.  You do not realize what this is.  You do not realize just how horrible that experience was.  There is no possible way for me to be at ease with the idea of experiencing it fully conscious during a near death experience.