Suicide fear hanging over my head

Discussion in 'General Parenting Archives' started by Elise, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. Elise

    Elise Active Member

    Yesterday, I read the Time's article about 3 college students that committed suicide at New York University in Sept. and Oct. of this year. I kept thinking how will I ever trust that difficult child won’t do the same.

    Last night, I asked difficult child if he would have really killed himself on that day last July that I hospitalized him. difficult child replied, “I might have. I’m not sure.” I think it was a very real possibility.

    I find it so hard to live with this threat of suicide hanging over my head. difficult child is still so young and hasn’t experienced the real pressures that life has to offer. Do you ever get past this fear? It seems to have colored everything.

  2. Nonno aka Larry

    Nonno aka Larry New Member

    It is a little less intense, now. But it hasn't
    gone away. It's always there. For me.
  3. SassyGirl

    SassyGirl Active Member

    Dear Elise,

    I'm in the same boat as you. But you know what, with maturity and stabilization, I don't see my child choosing that option now.

    Of course, he is in the hospital, but full of hope about life.

    I do worry that he may someday have enough stress that he THINKS about this option. However, I do believe with maturity (there's that word again!) he knows that he can choose other, healthier options.

    This is one of the reasons I am so in favor of him being both in the hospital and at a TBS. I cannot teach my son ways to cope with his stresses. (He wouldn't listen to me, for sure). He is getting intense intervention about how to manage his illness.

    And that is what our boys will have to do the rest of their lives.

    My friend has a 24-year old son who was hospitalized twice in his teens. She still worries when he is depressed. But he did tell her recently he might have to go back on Zoloft. I thought that was very insightful. He is learning what to look for and how to handle it.

    Does your difficult child get therapy to learn various coping skills when he gets upset?

  4. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I don't know how you'd move past this. difficult child was expressing "I want to die" a couple of years ago. Scared me stupid.
  5. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I have to say that one of my worst nightmares would be to have ignored a suicide threat and for my beloved difficult child to follow through. I, personally, don't think I could survive the guilt. It is one of those things that has colored every consequence I ever gave.
    In my book, nothing but nothing was worth his life. I'm not talking about manipulative threats.
    Your difficult child was close. You have every reason to be on guard. My thought and hope is that with age and stability that the threat of suicide is kept to a passing thought.
    I am on the same page with you on this subject.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's always at the back of my mind. He has talked them into taking him off his antidepressants and the last I saw of him he was as bad as he ever was. Moping, disengaging. As Pooh would say, "Worry, worry, worry."
  7. Corysmom

    Corysmom New Member

    Suicide for bipolars gets even scarier when they dont talk about it. I realize it is harder on parents and spouses and friends to hear us saying that life is hard and that we wish we could die and that all that garbage...but that is usually meaning we are talking. The real desperate suicides are happening after a manic episode when the shame hits them and they just cant live with what they have done and then they just do away with themselves. I can understand that. If I had just gone out and spent all our money on crap we didnt need, ran up huge amounts of debt for us to boot, had sex with men and women alike, come home to see the absolute raw pain in my husbands eyes as he tried to deal with that fact because I could never keep my mouth shut about what I did, then yeah...when I crashed...I would probably be wanting to die fast. If I had a way to do it quick...I probably wouldnt be here. Those are the times bipolars tend to act. So if they are in treatment and stable...suicide is much less likely.

    I cant say I never think about it. I do. Heck...I was crying in bed last nite after answering Frans post on here. Hubby was just holding me trying to figure out just what the heck caused all Im trying to explain but it never makes sense. Im blubbering about how...why was I supposed to not tell? lol. He has just learned to hold me while he sleeps. Then he has to get up at like 4:30 am for work and he checks on me to make sure Im ok before he goes to work. He just kisses me goodbye and says...your not the same you anymore. He took so much.

    Argh ...ok...I need to stop writing books on here.

    LMS...we are going to either have to collaborate or start our own
  8. addie

    addie New Member

    Janet - that is so amazing!

    I don't get into the bipolar stuff for kiddos ... it may exist, it may not - there is no question they are mood disordered, though, so there is still a problem.

    But mother in law was a 100% bipolar. Manic depressive to the max, though medications worked well when they were working - which was usually.

    And the one suicide attempt she made (or said she made) was after a really terribly awful horrendous manic episode ... as you said, perhaps shame.

    Most of the kids I have or have had, have mood disorders of some kind or other; many threaten suicide or they self harm. I guess I would be terrified if one of my own said it ... none of the three have though it cut me to ribbons the day Jess said she might as well be dead/or would be happier dead.

    But I have never heard of one following through. I don't know if that is any comfort ... all suicides I have heard of - and there are way too many amongst teens .... come as a surprise. Always questions are asked ... why? There were no warnings.

    Anyway, I just hoped that would perhaps help a bit.

  9. Elise

    Elise Active Member

    Janet, Thank you for sharing your insight. Your posts are so helpful to me.

    Please read about suicide on the NAMI site, .

  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    In the back of my mind (as far as I can push it) I put this topic. Mostly because I am powerless basically to do anything about it. I'll explain.

    Several years ago when I married x, he was suicidal. Not your typical suicidal person. It was mostly drug enduced times where he (I believe) wanted to get off drugs and have a life without them but wasn't able to) In 13 years of marriage I remember 12 attempts that were beyond what anyone should have to live through. After I left I have found out he's attempted several more times and even contemplated jumping off one of the worlds highest bridges. He still continues to be that way today.

    Then there was the very real and breath taking failed suicide attempt of my son while in Residential Treatment Center (RTC). He attempted to hang himself. I believe it was from the medications he was on and in part due to the curiosity of where the attention giving comes in.

    Several years ago, my sons uncle on his bio idiot's side was supposed to travel with me to get rid of some of the stress. We had been planning the trip for a while and at the last minute he backed out. It seemed harmless enough until I got to my destination and was met with a phone call that he had shot up the kitchen, left a note on the door to simply call 911 and blew his head off. Most of the contents of the kitchen had to be thrown out due to the nature of the mess it left behind.

    So do I worry about difficult child? Yes. Can I do anything about it if he chooses to take his life? No. I can delay it and do the best I can to make him understand what I feel about life being a gift, and reassuring him of my love. And mourning a senseless loss if he insists on suicide.

    Would I let it color MY world? How could it not? WOuld I let it run my life? been there done that and no amount of forethough or hindsight on my part seemed to make a difference. Even out of my sight, Ex continues to exhibit these behaviors and I couldn't help him then and I can't help him now.

    Sadly you can only do so much for people sons and daughters included. I think it's the saddest of all behaviors regarding any disorder.

    Just my nickles worth.

  11. SassyGirl

    SassyGirl Active Member

    I have to add that when my son said he wanted to kill himself, I always took it seriously. My mother thought he was just trying to get my attention. I said to her, "But what if he is serious? You only get one chance."

    That stopped her. Cold.

    With difficult children, you never get rid of the fear. But I do think you can heighten your senses and continue to work on stabilization and coping tools.

    Thanks, Janet, for your insights.

  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Mine has only said 'I wish I were dead' or ' I want to die' - but yes, sadly this is something that must remain in our minds as a possibility. I am with Fran, the thought of it has scared me in ways that I changed my reactions at times.

    Addie, I bet it is usually a surprise because nobody was helping them figure out a mental illness - even a temporary depression. I know from experience that depression in itself is depressing. It changes how you look and feel about your self. You are not even yourself. So, I could see a depressed individual attempting or thinking about suicide and people being surprised by that.
  13. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Guess I'm with- Star on this one. I try real hard not to think about it.

    I've had these thoughts all my life. In my warped mind, it somehow makes a lousy day a choice that *I* make. I can either be here or not. Aside from two secret attempts as a teen (obviously not serious since I'm the only one who ever knew), the only other time I really started thinking that "not" was a better choice, I managed to get myself to a hospital.

    What worries me with difficult child is how easily he gives up... and how small the trigger can be to get him thinking suicide. I guess I hope that if we can get him to his mid 20's, and able to function decently on his own, perhaps he will be able to see beyond the moment. Until then, it's watchfulness and keeping as good an eye as I can on his moods (and I will search his room on a daily basis from now on, as well). It's very scary, Elise... and I think will always be a concern with- thank you. :frown:

    The news today about AD's connected to suicide in children certainly got my attention. I don't know what the answer is.
  14. Love my sons

    Love my sons Active Member

    It is a very real fear in the back of mind too as I know how impulsive both of my sons are and even oldest difficult child went so far as to publically cut himself several times last year.
    I try very hard to feel out the "need" to know when it is time to spend EXTRA time and just listen and harsh words, no demands...just listen.
    BUT...I am human and sometimes I DON'T want to listen. :frown:

    I found the article you posted yesterday to be very interesting too regarding suicide rate going down when antidepressant sales go up.

    AND boys...well, we know they tend to be more violent in their "attempts". :frown: So it is all the more scary. Trust me I know...I've got two of them whose lives hang in the balance...It's always in the back of my mind.

    Hugs Elise...We're in this together.
  15. Wow, this is quite a thread.

    I admit to being very depressed during a period in my life where thoughts of suicide consumed me. I grew up thinking that everyone thinks about it once or twice ...

    There was a point where I was forced to be on medication because of this very concern. I never thought of how worried it made my parents. I couldn't see beyond my own pain.

    At times, I would almost envision my family gathered around my casket and I would begin to cry --- realizing that suicide is a selfish act.

    I think that I really just wanted the pain to disappear. It wasn't that I wanted to leave my family or die, I just wanted to feel happiness again and I had tried but didn't know how to make it happen.

    I got beyond those thoughts. I healed. I grew. I found coping mechanisms. I have been medication free for many years, but don't think I could've survived without them.

    I feel for you all with your concerns. You are right --- never take them lightly. There is a pain somewhere within a person who really contemplates suicide.

    But, I do offer hope to many of you, that once your children feel happiness again ... perhaps the threat will subside.

    I'm not BiPolar (BP). It is a different concern. But, I have a sister in law who is BiPolar (BP) and she is now 22 and happy. I don't know if her parents still worry. I guess it would be normal to do so, though.
  16. magy

    magy New Member

    This maybe long so in advance I am sorry.
    My difficult child son is 12 years old, his first suicide attempt was at 5. I had to cut him down from his closet. It is a very scary feeling breathing the life back into your child. He has tried to kill himself more times than I can count. He has tried everything from hanging to ODing. Has been hospitalized 22 times. I never in my life thought he would do this. He would say little things, kid stuff you would ignore. I am glad I did not, or he would not be with me today.

    difficult child daug first attempt was almost her last attempt at anything. She consumed 12 haldol while in the hospital. She had cheeked her pills and hid them. After having stomach pumped and being in ICU for ever it seemed she has not had an attept in a while. Last was 6 months ago which landed her in the hospital. She has a plan she aways has said. She will take a bunch of pills and go to sleep. This is her prefered way. She says there will be no pain that way.

    To live with the knowledge that one or both difficult children could end thier own life scares me beyond words. I have never forgotten a single attempt they have made. I probably never will. At times this knowledge of knowing they will try again makes me very very scared. But it also makes me aware of what they are doing at all times.

    I can not imagine the feeling of wanting to take my own life. But am living it every day between work and home.

  17. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    My heart is aching for those of you who have considered suicide or who live with the daily threat from those around you.

    My difficult child went through this in 8th grade. Thank God, it was manipulative and not serious. I heard "I want to die" so enough times that I told him that I would call an ambulance each and every time he said it. I never heard it again...but it was a gamble and I ran it past his therapist and psychiatrist beforehand. Even though it turned out to be manipulative, I was scared to death and took every comment seriously.

    I am so sorry that so many of you still live with this every day. I wish I could hug each of you.

  18. OTE

    OTE Active Member

    I'm not ready to share personal experience on this post. Maybe too close to home. But Elise, I don't think the fear ever goes away. It does subside when you know he's stable and in treatment. You may then be able to forget it for awhile. But every time he's under stress, every time you hear something indicating instability... As others said, in my heart I could never forgive myself so I have to be ever vigilant. And as they get older that means making them the keepers of themselves. Though we may still have the fear as they are our children, we cannot force them into treatment if they refuse it. Best I can figure we owe them to help them to understand themselves and notice the warning signs in themselves.

    I haven't read Danielle Steel on this topic (other than the short piece on NAMI I think)- too painful- but I assume something she's written could be helpful.
  19. isabel

    isabel New Member


    The thought that my son might seriously consider suicide has long been a fear for me, even before he started uttering the words that he wanted to die.

    It began few years after had begun to understand the depths of his disorders, before we knew he was bipolar.

    At first it was just a nagging thought that I would push to the back of my mind. But it got stronger, especially when he started verbalizing his depression.

    My immediate family lived through the aftermath of a suicide when I was a teenager. As I and my other siblings were young, my parents sought to protect their remaining children, there was never much told to us. What we knew is what we overheard and what little we knew about the problems already. My son was well into his behaviors before I found the courage to ask my parents what was the real cause and what they had been told by his doctors. My motivation was the suggestion of possible bipolar by a doctor that we saw for a second opinion on medications for ADHD when difficult child was 4 years old.

    I have since pieced the little bits of information together, along with what I remember, with what I had learned by way of research on my son's disorders and it is has become pretty clear to me that my brother suffered from bipolar.

    I've gone through the guilt thing -- my genes, via my family, brought this to my son. But I've made peace with that, at least for the most part.

    Even though I have learned to handle his declarations without outward panic, they strike fear in my heart. At this stage, I do not believe that he would actually act on his words. It is more of impulsivity that I truely worry about at the moment. But the future, without internalizing what we, the doctors, the teachers have been and continue to instill? The fear lingers.

    I truely understand your fears and concerns. I don't know how we get past it either, except to continue loving them, providing them the tools that they need to succeed, and have faith that someday, somehow, they understand how precious they are and how precious life is.

    Hugs to you and others that live with this fear.

  20. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I find this to be an incredible thread. One of the ones that moves me in a way that I didn't think I could be moved.

    Magy to cut your 5 yr old down from the closet.
    Janet to suffer the pain years later.
    Isabel to have to bring this subject up to your parents.
    Slsh,LMS,Star,OTE the list of those affected by the fear and pain and regret that comes through these posts are heart breaking.

    You have my utmost respect and admiration for the courage to post regarding this subject. To share with those who will come behind you.
    You are heroes who have survived an incredible event only to go on to live a life as close to normal as possible.To raise your children despite being terrified to let them be out of your sight.

    It is threads like this that just blow me away.

    There is this feeling of seeing courage in it's rawest form on this thread.

    Again, I am humbled to see this part of your lives.