Day 17: When Suicide Becomes a Family Member

Better relationships
suicide prevention

Suicide should always be taken seriously. If someone is considering suicide, the best thing to do is to get them talking about it. It is never a mistake to talk about suicide with the person. If you are unsure how to handle the situation, find someone who can help you. Never be afraid to tell someone even if the suicidal person says they were not serious. Allow a trained professional to assess their risk for suicide.

I am so honored to present this woman’s story to you. When I met this woman I knew there was something special about her. She was kind, caring and always cheerful. I was surprised to hear what she had been through and even more amazed by the resilience she demonstrated as she experienced these the things she is going to share. If you have a spouse, child, parent or friend who is suicidal and you can’t figure out why they can’t just “snap out of it” – I would encourage you to listen to this woman’s story for an “inside perspective.” In her story, you hear where she draws strength from, what she needed from those around her and how people around her keep her encouraged. Reading this story does not guarantee that you will understand, but it might be a start…

“…My first attempt was when I was 19....I grew up with very low self-esteem. My mother was constantly putting me down, telling me I was never going to amount to anything, that I wasn’t good enough. She had me convinced that I was worthless. In college, I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, my grades suffered, and I was on the verge of getting kicked out of school. Then one night, I was raped.

In my mind, I was convinced it was my fault, that I caused it to happen. I had no one I could turn to at the time. (Only about 15 people know the full details even now.) There was no way I could ever tell my mother. I couldn’t confide in my friends. My dad and I were not on good terms, we barely spoke. I knew that if I brought this news to him he’d never speak to me again. I was his “Princess”. Being raped meant I was engaging in sex prior to being married. That was not what my dad needed to hear. I felt totally worthless; totally alone.

Subconsciously, these feelings are still there today. As a result, there have been 3 more attempts over the years.

Two of them occurred between ages 38 and 39. I was married and had 2 children. My son was 12, my daughter almost 2. The first was shortly after I lost my father. We had rebuilt our relationship over the years, and he was my rock. His passing was very difficult for me. Then, I lost my stepmother (who was truly more like a mom than anything else) within three months. Losing them both was devastating for me. I felt lost and abandoned. People couldn’t understand why. How could I feel this way when I was married and had these 2 amazing, healthy children? They didn’t understand. My dad and stepmom – my parents – were my world. Their unwavering love and support carried me and gave me strength, even when my birth mother tried continuously to break me. They didn’t know how verbally and emotionally abusive my husband was. I just checked out for 2 years.

 I functioned in a drug-induced fog, taking Xanax, Ambien, anti-depressants, anxiety meds and prescription pain relievers. I don’t believe my children knew what I attempted, only that mommy was in the room but not "there.” I was just a shell. I went to work and came home. Large chunks of my memory are missing. I don’t remember conversations or events that occurred during that time. My husband became the sole caregiver for our children. I brought undue stress on my marriage, and especially into my children’s lives. The last attempt was a little over a month ago. My husband can be extremely abusive, both verbally and emotionally. He’s always insulting me and putting me down, calling me names, disrespecting me in private and in front of others.

At first, I‘d to fight back and become angry. I’d yell, call him names, and insult him. But I never did anything else about it. I realized I was becoming just like him. I hated that feeling; hated who I was becoming. I’m not that person. About 7 months ago, I decided not to fight back anymore. When I did, he won. He got a great deal of satisfaction from my reacting, and he would use my anger against me. Everything became my fault. I just took the abuse. Once again I was worthless, good for nothing, a waste. I now believe that his hurtful, disrespectful comments and actions stem from his own insecurities and feelings of inadequacy. I dealt with this by “self-medicating” on whatever was in the house, and last month I almost slipped over the edge.

I still have these feelings. More often than I would like (or am willing to admit at times). I try hard to squash them, but they continue to rear their ugly head. My recurring self-doubt; my need to please everyone and always feeling that I’m unsuccessful and letting them down; my mother’s voice in my head telling me I’m no good, even after all these years. It gets to be overwhelming at times. I find that I “binge-eat”, then I gain weight and begin to loathe my appearance. I feel like I’m weak, and my self-doubt and insecurities continue.

Fortunately, I have an incredible support system now. I have special people in my life now who are supportive, encouraging, and believe in me. They help me see the good in me. They truly love me for me. I think about my children, and how they need me; how much I need them. I think about missing them growing up, seeing them have strong, independent lives, and how much I’d miss not sharing their successes or being there to ease their pain. My core group of friends are INCREDIBLE. They comfort me, but they’re also honest with me. It helps a lot knowing that there are people I can call any time, night or day, if I need to talk. I see a psychologist. During my slip last month, I had stopped going. But, I have better insurance now and can return to regular appointments with someone who is an objective outside party. I remove myself from the hurtful situation. I go to work early and stay late to avoid the fights. I’ve immersed myself in my children’s lives, especially my daughter. I read. I listen to music. I color.

One of the most important reasons why I believe there will not be another attempt is because I’m taking the necessary steps to free myself from the abusive relationship I am currently involved in. My friends and family have shown me that I really am worth it. I deserve better.  My children deserve better…”

Tomorrow's post: Ask a Professional - Meet Bethany Williams!


from the heart counseling giveaway

Day 18: Ask a Professional - Meet Bethany Williams!

Day 16: Prison Break - Breaking Reactive Responses