Son attempted suicide last night

pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
I think I'm still in shock.

Ferb has had a terrible attitude since turning 18 in September. We had an argument earlier in the week over the price of a haircut. He wants me to pay for it. I told him that if he cleaned all the debris of the roof like I asked him to months ago, I would pay. He works, but he has decreased his hours to only 2 days per week.

Last night, I gave him a ride home from music class (which I pay for) and we were talking about connectedness. He told me that he doesn't feel connected to anyone in the family except his two uncles (my brothers). I asked if he felt connected to me. He said no. I asked if there were anything I could do to change that. He bluntly told me that for him connection was either natural or it wasn't there. None of this discussion was angry.

We were supposed to go to dinner at SO's mother's house. Ferb was angry about having to go. Since I became incredibly upset after that conversation, SO told me to stay home. I said nothing to Ferb. I had SO turn off the internet link to the Xbox. I made the decision that since Ferb is simply a boarder in my house, that anything he wants he will need to pay for. SO left for dinner. Candy had been home sick from school, so she was also here.

Once SO left, the :poop: hit the fan. Ferb burst out of his room and demanded to know why the Xbox was off. Big, bad argument ensued. Ferb ran to the tool box to grab a screwdriver. Yeah, I had no idea what he was doing either. He ran back to his room a grabbed a shotgun shell, put it in his mouth and told me that he was going to set it off right in front of me. At that point I yelled for Candy to call 911. I just kept yelling it over and over. That made Ferb even angrier but he refused to hand over the shell. Candy, poor thing, fell to pieces but did bring me her phone which I then used to dial 911.

Police arrived within minutes, thank heavens, and their presence quickly diffused Ferb who quickly collapsed sobbing onto the kitchen floor. They told him that he had 2 choices, go with me to the ER or they would forcibly take him to the hospital.

The officers knew of a program at a local hospital that assesses mental illness cases quickly. Private message me for the name if you are in my area. I was astounded by the speed. We saw a doctor within perhaps an hour, then the counselor, then the doctor again. At our last ER visit, we waited hours up hours for a video chat with the doctor.

By that time Ferb had calmed and was understanding and remorseful. He was discharged and did not need to spend days in the psychiatric unit again.

I am feeling like a truck ran over me this morning. I also discovered that I had no migraine medicine in my new purse. What an oversight!


Well-Known Member
I am so sorry... I hope he can find the help he needs. Glad that the police and hospital handled it well.

Please keep us updated.



Active Member
Im so sorry you had to go thru that. It rattles your nerves for days. I hope peace will come to you today.


Well-Known Member
Oh Pigless what a nightmare! I'm so sorry you went through that. I just don't know what else to say.


Well-Known Member
By that time Ferb had calmed and was understanding and remorseful. He was discharged and did not need to spend days in the psychiatric unit again.
I am sorry, Pigless. When my son was 18 he swallowed a handful of xanex. I called the ambulance and he was taken to get his stomach pumped.

The situation was similar. Conflict, moodiness. I grabbed for a xanex. He took the bottle from my hand, and swallowed it all.

I do not believe in my own son's case there was intention to die. It was not a "suicide attempt" per se. It was theatre, a reactive gesture that can inadvertently kill or irrevocably damage.

How horrible for you given your history.

How are you thinking of responding?

I am so sorry this has happened.
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pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
Yes, mental hangover is a good phrase, mof.

Candy is doing okay. I allowed her to stay home from school today. I told Ferb that he had to go. I told him that since he was well enough to come home, he was well enough to go to school.

Copa, you are correct. Ferb tells me that he was angry at me, not really suicidal. He says that HE knew he was not going to do it the moment he put the shell in his mouth. I'm not buying all of it. He did not willingly relinquish the tools until the cops burst into the house.

I don't know what I am going to do long term. Short term, I told him yesterday that another attempt/pseudo attempt that he would no longer be allowed to live in my house. Candy and I told him exactly how his actions made us feel. He made an attempt to understand. He talked about how he has withdrawn from us because of how badly he hurts due to his father and his uncle. I had not been talking with him about their deaths, because every time I tried, he would shut me down. Perhaps that was a mistake.

For years he has been imagining how his father died, over and over. It is no wonder he is suicidal himself. He has also had the shotgun shells for years and has thought about them constantly as his method. He was dishonest when he was hospitalized and told everyone he did not have a plan.

We have an appointment with his therapist on Saturday. We now have a texting relationship. Sheesh.


Well-Known Member
It is so sad when adults make irreversible choices that haunt their kids. I am not blaming your husband. Obviously he was ill. Very ill. But kids, even adult kids, often look at what their parents did and it haunts them. They/we either decide to be nothing like them or to be like them. I am so very sorry Ferb did this, regardless of his intention. And I hope he never ever does anything like that again.

Hugs for your hurting heart.


Well-Known Member
Ferb has had a terrible attitude since turning 18 in September.
These kids seem to have to revisit their trauma which many times mirrors the trauma and bad decisions of their parents as a means of understanding.

You know my own son is adopted, out of difficult circumstances. I watched in horror when he became homeless and marginal, as were his parents.

I cringe when I write this because there are people on this forum who look for any opening to cry "genetics" when there is resemblance in behavior between child and relative....While I do not deny genetic influences (how could I?) we as human beings have a driving need to understand as well. But more than this the need to repeat, the need to work through to one day, get it right. Over and over again we go down the same sketchy road retracing steps, until one day, the rainbow appears at the end. This is a symbolic journey, not a physiological one. Human genetics always co-occur with experience, and with that the capacity to make entirely different decisions, with the same genes.

Knowing what I know now I would encourage my son (and myself) to engage in any activity that involves the expressive arts, especially with a somatic component. If you are interested google "somatic therapies for trauma," or "expressive arts therapies." Trauma is held in the body for generations. Sometimes we carry the traumatic memories of our parents, or grandparents. I believe this.

Pigless. You are so strong. Every single thing you handle, and do so well. But your body, too, carries trauma. How could you not?
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Well-Known Member
I cringe when I write this because there are people on this thread who look for any opening to cry "genetics" when there is resemblance in behavior between child and relative

The thing that people need to remember about genetics is that it gives you a predisposition. They are by no means a guarantee one way or the other about something.


Well-Known Member
I am so VERY sorry. ((((hugs)))))
I know that horrible sick feeling when our kids are doing very poorly and doing very dangerous things that don't make any sense. Our daughter has made subtle suicidal gestures, but I have not had this actually hellish experience and I'm so very sorry.
We have told her if she ever thought she would actually do it, to go directly to the ER and she has done that before.
I'm so glad the police came quickly.
When I worked at a special facility as a counselor, I was surprised how many people drank in excess during a milestone year (age). It indicated to me that certain ages are triggers.
What we did with our daughter and I've recommended here before is go very slowly with these kids until approx age 21. Age 18 is so young for many children and children with any type of special needs might feel special burdens.
At age 21, we started to expect more of our daughter than previously. She was a little more ready. However, I realize now as I type this, it is again, a potential risk...a milestone year.
With our son, who has some very minor issues, we would pay half for any items that were debatable after he turned 18 until he was about 19 or 20.
With our was more like 21 and it continues a bit due to her many issues.
Now, we are very slowly and gently preparing her for her thirtieth birthday and we are trying to make it more like an honor to assume more responsibility and that we are expecting a little more mature thought and behaviors.
Just some random thoughts. Since there is a potential genetic issue here, I would proceed very slowly with the responsibility expectations...definitely expect him to take more and more responsibility, but go very very slowly. I'm glad you are on a texting relationship with his counselor.
I hope you are in counseling yourself and if not please least short term. ((((((hugs)))))))))


Well-Known Member
Our son's biological father committed suicide while our son was around 7 so I guess he has the genetic predisposition. He has threatened several times to kill himself but it seems to be more of an angry outburst or poor attempt to describe how crappy he thinks his life is than an actual announcement of intention or cry for help. We've told him that if he continues to say things like this we WILL call the police and report it which nips it in the bud. Not like there's much we could do with not knowing where he is currently staying. No address to give the police to do a well check so the threat is really empty. It does get the point across to quit being a drama queen though.


Well-Known Member
No address to give the police to do a well check so the threat is really empty.

Actually, I do have an address now and his girlfriend name, so I could send police there now. But we've not had to deal with any actual attempts - he's had a few threats and of course, when he learned how his biodad died, he had to throw that out, "I'll kill myself like my father" but we nipped that in the bud.

I truly can't imagine how awful it would be to actually witness an overt attempt. Hang in there Pigless. :hugs:


Roll With It
I am so very very sorry that you and Candy had to go through this. I hope and pray that someday Ferb realizes the impact that his actions have upon those who love him, especially those who witness behaviors like these.

Is there any way that Ferb will allow you to attend a therapy session with him? Could you trigger some of these behaviors with his therapist? It may sound calculating, and even mean, but it is NOT meant that way. Often a therapist won't fully grasp what the behaviors are unless they truly see them. Either they think Mom is a drama llama or isn't being truthful or whatever or they think that there is some reporting bias from the person telling the story of the problems, but they don't fully grasp the problems. So if you can bring up the difficult issue and trigger an outburst, it can allow the therapist to really SEE the problem and fully treat it. Back when my son was in the psychiatric hospital I had to do this. They wanted to send him home and all he had done was honeymoon. We were lucky and his therapist knew he had not shown them his true behaviors or self, and she wanted me to treat him in a way that would trigger an outburst. I pushed every single button the boy had, and he exploded in a major way. To my knowledge it is the only time he has ever been sedated. He was that out of control and violent. They had absolutely no clue he was 'that bad', or how we coped at home. But he got help REAL HELP, that got through to him. It made a difference. I felt horribly mean, like the worst mother on the planet, but I knew it was the ONLY way to get the help he needed because NO ONE would believe it unless they saw him lose it. Each of the few times anyone outside the family saw him explode, those people were incredibly shocked and could not believe it.

I know Ferb has a good therapist, but I think this might help show exactly what you are dealing with.

And get rid of the shotgun shells. There is no reason to have them around if he is making these kinds of plans. I know I haven't got the best track record when it comes to people talking about suicide, but I sure would NOT keep them around after this. I don't care if he bought them and he is 18. My house, my rules. No shotgun shells after that kind of threat. Period. Especially not in front of his sister.

I truly hope you can find some kind of help for him that works.

(((((hugs))))) for your hurting and shell shocked warrior mom heart!

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
How scary!! I'm so sorry you and your daughter had to go through that. I pray that your son will get the help he needs.
I hope you are getting some rest and taking care of yourself.


pigless in VA

Well-Known Member
susiestar, that is a good idea about triggering Ferb in front of the therapist. It is not one that I would have thought of in my somewhat addled state at the moment. I'm tough, but not made of steel. This incident has triggered a rash of migraines in me that has left me very stupid and not sleeping well.

Nomad, I do like your idea of helping Ferb more slowly due to his, for lack of a better term, issues. The big problem is that we plan to move to the farm this summer. I have to sell the house in Richmond. Ferb does not know where he is going to live. I suspect that is a piece of the puzzle that caused the explosion. One of the things he yelled at me was that he'd rather be homeless than move to the farm. Yes, I have a therapist. With a life like mine, it's a necessity like food and water.

The police officer brought me the box of shotgun shells and I asked him to remove them from my house. I tossed Ferb's room and found one other strange large bullet thing which I have hidden in the bowels of the shed. I am rather upset that my brother, Mark, gave Ferb the shells years ago. Ferb has been holding on to the idea of using one of them to kill himself for that entire time. I would like to tell my brother that he made a bad decision when he gave my minor son those shells, but SO says Mark will not own it.

SWOT, I think blame very squarely falls on my late husband AND his brother. Yes, my husband was ill, but not for our entire marriage. There were multiple junctures at which he could have chosen better mental health and his family over slowly falling into the pit of mental illness. He watched a coworker derail and ruin his life. He knew the coworker was devastating his family. We talked about it.

I think there is a power in being mentally ill. A power when your emotions override everything else in your family's life so that YOU are suddenly the focus of everyone's worry, actions, fears, and energy. I think that power is alluring. I had a front row seat watching it slowly destroy my husband, our relationship and our family. There were points at which he was still lucid enough to take a different path.

I think, Copa, that for my husband the pull of his birth family was simply far stronger than the love that the two of us shared. There is something about the little town where he grew up that is creepy and depressed and barren. The very land is ugly and decrepit. That is where he grew up. With parents who were steeped in misery, soaking in it like a hot bath. I have recently acquired all of their photo albums since now they are all deceased. I know that is hitting Ferb harder than he likes to admit. It is difficult for me to grasp, but perhaps easier since I witnessed their pathetic lives as an adult.

The joy seemed to stop for them around 1995 when my father in law had a stroke. That's where the photo albums end. Before that are photos of family gatherings, trips they took, they seemed nearly normal. I know that they weren't though. My mother in law was a severe alcoholic. The father in law was an enabler. Both my late husband and his brother became substance abusers. They stopped drinking in their 30s, but I think by then the damage to their emotional makeup had cemented. Neither could confront their father on anything from lowering the thermostat to asking him to put their mother into rehab. I think my father in law was a narcissist. I think his two sons never really became their own men. I think my own son is close to getting on the same path of destruction. I think Ferb is struggling mightily against some intense genetic issues. I hope he wins the war, but he is losing a lot of battles.

And to make matters even more icky, I am nearly positive that he has an inappropriate relationship with his teacher. I've researched the laws in Virginia, and it isn't illegal. About the only thing I could do would be to hire a private investigator to get to the bottom of it. Or confront her myself. I don't see either as having a positive outcome.

Jabber and Lil, the statistics are that if you have a parent who died by suicide, you are 50% more likely to die the same way than the average person. I think for Ferb, that must be to closer to 75% since his uncle and grandmother also died that way.

Thank you all for your support. As you well know, it means more than anything to have a place to discuss these difficult issues.


Well-Known Member
Pigless, you have such clarity about your sons situation. I don't know if that is good or bad for you, poor dear.i knew the suicide statistic but chose not to post it. I am sorry you are aware of it. I do believe our history and genetics affects us very much. The community of adoptive parents I joined almost all believed genetics trump's nurture...Many had met their precious children's birth parents so they could compare.

I validate what you think about mental illness. I walked with it but never gave up on myself and got phenomenal care. Today I feel I am much saner than many people lol. Mental illness only has to ruin your life if you refuse help and therapy, self medicate with pot and other inappropriate drugs and give up on yourself.

I think Mark should be...I won't say it.

I wish you love, light and better days to come. I envy you that farm.


Well-Known Member
YOU are suddenly the focus of everyone's worry, actions, fears, and energy. I think that power is alluring.
You know my partner M has always said this, that the only place in the world my son has felt all-powerful has been in relation to me, and that when his troubles began, was manifested negatively. Which is one more reason to detach.
They stopped drinking in their 30s, but I think by then the damage to their emotional makeup had cemented.
A little bit I have been reading about Margaret Trudeau the mother of the current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. Well, of course I remember her when she was the "flower child" young wife of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau--who had a jet setting life at Studio 57, with the Rolling Stones, Andy Warhol, etc. and was always in the newspapers because of the shock value. She was so beautiful and vital. Eventually she escaped the marriage altogether.

Well the point is she is bipolar. Why should I have been shocked to read that she attributes the bipolar to her drug use, not the other way around? Of course this is frequently the case that drug use triggers psychosis. But in the young and privileged there is the tendency in me to believe that she was drugging and acting wildly fueled by the mental illness, first, a victim of her illness, not her judgement or desires.

So when that idea was disabused I began to think: Oh. Maybe she was abused or mistreated as a child! That is the explanation. (I am mildly horrified at this mother-blaming, that seeped out of my own brain.)

She was wild and impulsive, that is the apparent reality, then she suffered the consequences, and tried very hard to make a meaningful life out of all that she endured and enjoyed. Which is the most beautiful story of all.

She is writing books and speaking all over Canada and the world about her own life and has written recently a book for older women claiming their joy and purpose.

She was a difficult child. Even ensconced/confined in the Prime Minister's mansion. She suffered. She made good.

I am trying to develop an attitude about life that takes into account this kind of progression of understanding. That we can evolve as much or more from our sufferings as our achievements.