Life with a suicidal spouse–seasons of private heartache

Anxious. Helpless. Panicked. Desperate. Exposed. Ashamed. Regretful.  Self-critical. Guilty. Misunderstood. Hurt. Rejected. Frustrated. Manipulated. Resentful. Envious. Discouraged. Pessimistic. Confused. Loving. Hating.

Living with a suicidal person floods me with disorienting emotions.  As I see my husband walling me off, anxiety, helplessness, and panic kick in.  During the search for my husband or after calling the police, feelings of our secret being exposed and a few blaming eyes bore deep shame into me.  After an attempt or an event of spiraling downward, I am regretful, self-critical and guilty over the last statements I said to him, that maybe those statements pushed him to the edge.  As he’s in the hospital sharing story after story of how I contributed to his pain, I feel hurt, rejected, frustrated, manipulated, resentful.

Envy.  What’s that doing on the list?  It was hard to list. I feel selfish and embarrassed to list it.  But the attention he gets from family, friends, medical staff, our therapist–can make me feel invisible and deeply hurt.  I think it’s important to keep in mind the trauma an attempt or his teetering to the edge can cause to those closest to him.

Tears spill down my cheeks as I wonder “Do I call for help now or will he be okay?”   Tears spill as I drive to visit him in the hospital.  Tears of fear, hurt, anger, and sadness.

I start doubting the relationship. Discouragement, pessimism fills my mind with thoughts of “This is never going to change,” and “Why me?”  Fears of “I’ll be left alone one day” and thoughts of “maybe I should get out now” swirl in my mind.

Confusion.  Love and hate.  Both exist at the same time.  I love him.  I do.  He’s caring, kind, thoughtful.  At the same time I hate his moods and actions–callous, detached, rejecting.

His suicidal ideation and depression affects our daughter–she’s been getting into trouble at school.  How does a tween handle the ups and downs of her dad?  We try to keep it hidden from her–but of course she senses something.  She’s expressing it the best way she can right now.

Invisible.  It is with my husband’s permission that I start this blog.  He understands how isolated and alone I feel.  Yet I post apprehensively as I fear my husband may read this blog and think that he is causing me pain that could put him on the path to “I’m a disappointment, I’m a failure” and send him spiraling closer to the edge.

In the safety of anonymity –I am trying to find a place to give myself a voice and not feel so alone.  Up until a few years ago no one knew the private pain I lived with. To the outside world my marriage looked ideal.   My husband and I hid our pain well.  But one night he almost took his life and our pain went public (to our families and friends).

This blog is an informal place for me to process my thoughts.  I’m beginning tonight, I hope at what is the tail-end of a couple weeks of uncertainty about my husband’s stability.

My blogging will probably be triggered by in-the-moment events, therapy sessions, feelings of falling apart, despair, lack of control, and helplessness.  But I also want to write about hope, faith, love, and grace.

I share my experiences but my way is not THE way.  My way is what works for me at this time.  Having an understanding/empathetic therapist, supportive/encouraging friends, and a strong church group has gotten me through the toughest times.

On the one hand, if you’re reading this blog and feel hopeless and suicidal then get help.  Call a crisis hotline (National 1-800-784-2433/1-800-273-8255) or 911, or check yourself into a hospital.  On the other hand,  this site is not meant to give out professional advice so if you’re struggling with dealing with a depressed/suicidal spouse, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, etc. then talk to a psychologist or marriage and family therapist or other mental health professional.  Speaking to a professional is one way I’ve taken care of myself (self-care) and I highly encourage it.

I take the first step today to making my pain a little more public.  Thanks for listening.

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62 thoughts on “Life with a suicidal spouse–seasons of private heartache

  1. James says:

    Thank you for sharing… sometimes it’s good to know that we’re not alone in carrying the burden of a spouse with serious mental illness. It’s a lonely burden… tonight was a scary blow-out. She wanted to leave, and was talking about suicide. I glued myself to her. Sat in the car as she told me to get out and said horrible things that broke me inside. I couldn’t let her leave – not alone. But I didn’t keep my composure. I finally snapped and told her that she was irrational and wrong and I am NOT leaving her alone because I DO, in fact, give a shi*. That’s the short version… my heart is heavy. I love her more than life. The thought of losing her is unbearable. My fear took over and I became very angry… i wouldnt eber hirt her. I just raised my voice, mostly in fear, partually in anger… part of me thinks my emotion might have got the point across – but mostly I feel like a jerk, and weak for having given in to my fear and raised my voice with so much anger towards her. I wish I could have said all those things with a loving, calm, and controlled tone… but I don’t know if she would have really heard me either way. I don’t know if anything I said resonated in any positive way. Fortunately she went back inside and she is still here, in bed, safe, for now. I’m afraid to close my eyes…

  2. Jenn says:

    Thank you. I thought there was no one out there like my husband and i. Your words hit so close to home.

  3. Diane Reid says:

    I stumbled onto this while sitting in waiting room. My husband attempted suicide and l googled how l am supposed to feel. Your post labeled all my emotions right now. Thanks l feel like someone understands.

  4. annette says:

    I wonder if your husband blamed you for his depression? I know it’s been over a year but I’m hoping by the grace of God that I get a response. I don’t have anyone to talk to about what I’m going through with my husband. We’ve been together for 9 years. He blamed me for the way he feels says I drive him insane and that he is at the point of no return. He says he has talked to God and told him that he was ready to be taken away.
    I honestly feel like I’m going crazy. All I do is for him, I’m loyal I’ve never betrayed him. I don’t even have friends. My focus is always on him. We have three children together one of which he took in when she was 9 months old. He’s a wonderful father and up until now has never expressed his anger /depression towards the kids.
    But just today he tells me that he understands why some parents kill their children… Because they just don’t care anymore. He tells me that he doesn’t care anymore. He is an empty shell. He says he’s a disappointment to himself, myself and his family. His parents are not the supportive type.
    I’m glad to hear that this truly can be a disease a mental illness. His sister who is 7 years older than him is on meds for a psychotic break down. He now wants to be on meds to control the feelings of suicide. He says he’s ready to leave… No matter what I say he doesn’t believe me. I didn’t realize that for 9 years he has had depression. He says I’ve pushed him to the edge. I didn’t handle it quite like I should’ve, but only because I was not informed. I’m afraid he’s at the point of no return. He just recently, one year ago, admitted to me that he has a probl. For a full year I stayed positive (about 75% of the time) I focused my attention on him more than ever. I praised him for all he does. It’s not enough. I can’t question him about anything because he gets sonegative and starts feeling terrible about himself and then he blames me. He says he wishes his life were different.
    I make sure we don’t go to bed angry, I cook I clean I support I do so much for him. For years when these mood swings kicked in I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t handle it well, I do believe I pushed him to the edge. How soon I redeem myself? I cry every night because I don’t know if I’ve done enough in one day. This is so stressful he’s got to the point where until his is “fixed” he will no longer hear or consider my feelings. Yes he flat out told me this. During the day I keep a smile on my face I stay positive for him for the kids but at night I cry. I cry so much because I’m so confused. I don’t know if I’ve made a difference. And who is going to be there to tell me everything is OK? Who is going to be there to listen to me? To my problems? I also work 40+ hours a week at a very stressful workplace. I have no one and at times feel I’m depressed but I stay positive and think of my children. I don’t know how much longer I can stay positive. I do not want to get to the point where I just don’t care anymore.
    How do I overcome my situation? Has anyone who has gone through this with a spouse been blamed for it??

    • annette says:

      Sorry for typos… It’s 5:30 am and I haven’t slept in 24 hours.
      At times I feel like I’m going crazy. Please someone help.
      Making an appointment with doctor on Monday. But any suggestions as what to physically do would greatly be appreciated.
      Thanks.

      • Hi Annette. Sorry I don’t read the comments to my blog in a timely manner, but I happened to open yours and I am glad that you made an appointment with a doctor.
        I cannot accurately make an assessment, so please don’t take this as advice, you will need to see someone in person.

        When a loved one talks about self-harm, harming one’s children, harming his/her partner or other–it may be best to get a loved one assessed for safety by taking the loved one to a hospital (if s/he is willing and it is safe to do so) or to call 911. In my state we have a 24 hour Access-Crisis number where someone comes to one’s home to assess the loved one and make a decision if further follow up at a hospital is needed. Alternatively there’s the national hotline–1-800-784-2433/1-800-273-8255 (or do an online search for a current number if these numbers don’t work). Because my husband, Dave didn’t want to go to the hospital on his own free will, I called 911 and asked for the police. The 911 operator wanted to know what the emergency was and I described what my husband was saying and doing and that he needed to be assessed. I let them know that my husband was not wielding any weapons and they came to assess him. The police accessed their on-call psychologist who made the decision that the police needed to take my husband to the hospital to get further assessed. Though I was hesitant to call, and new he’d be upset, it freed me up from from feeling responsible for him and I could get professionals to determine if he needed hospitalization/a higher level of care than I could provide. I needed to remember that if his, and my family safety was my priority, this was the best course for me to take. (Note: I wasn’t sure what he was capable of doing, nor did I want my child to witness something traumatic)

        From what you describe, if you haven’t slept for 24 hours, feel like “I’m going crazy,” this sounds like the collateral impact of living with a suicidal partner. If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or others–see a mental health counselor right away, and/or you can go to a hospital and have yourself assessed and/or call 911.

        Minimally–any means for harming oneself or others (weapons, medications, car keys, etc.) should be removed, and/or locked up.

        Money for treatment may be an issue, but survival for self and your loved ones takes priority–in my opinion.

        Seeing a therapist to get support and to have someone whom you can talk to will be important it seems for your self-care. Let them know that it is a crisis and you need to see them that day. If they can’t see you, call around until you find someone. Go to an urgent care center, that takes walk-ins. Talk to a pastor, who can refer you to a mental health counselor.

        In my own journey with my husband, I was blamed and made to feel at fault. I felt like I was going crazy, and thought and behaved in ways that didn’t feel like myself. The couple (and individual) dynamics behind this–can be helped by a mental health professional in simultaneous couples and individual treatment.

        I need to go. Please do not take this comment as advice, as I don’t know enough about you or your husband to give that, but I think I hear the desperation in both the description of your husband and yourself and that is a red flag to me that further follow up by professional is called for–and it sounds like it’s needed ASAP.

  5. Anonymous says:

    So it’s 5:30 a.m. and I have to figure out how to tell my sons that their father is in the hospital. He drank some whiskey and decided to try suicide, but I heard him. I called the police and he got angry with me and started his car in the garage. The police came and he’s in a 72 hour emergency hold. He’s furious with me, but I’d rather him be furious with me and alive than not, but I don’t know if our marriage can last because his illness has resulted in a lot of emotional storms and he blames me for so much. I know it’s not me, but maybe he can’t get healthy with me.

  6. jaime says:

    Thank you all for sharing. It has helped me pass the time as I wait to find out what became of my SO.
    He has verbally threatened suicide several times over the years and is depressed. Drinking makes it worse, way worse. Tonight he was 10 hours away from home, and called me drunk & upset. My advice was not good enough and he said he was going to jump in front of a semi.
    No one knows what our family is truely like. I have done my best to shield his depression from our children. And I will not share with my family as they are not the supportive type. Only a few of his family members are still alive and I am not close to them. I feel very alone.

    Tonight I called the police where he was and explained what he had said to me and they went searching for him. I’m not sure if it was the right move. I hate second guessing every move I make and those that I don’t make too! If I had rolled over and went back to sleep and he did kill himself I would have forever thought I could have done something more. I also struggled with the thought that I was overreacting by involving the police. Because what if he really did just need to cry? Did I overreact? Does under-reacting mean I don’t care enough?
    But I’m happy to say that as I wrote this the police called me back to say he was safe. Now I wait again to find out how he’s going to react to me calling the police.
    I can’t believe that I wanted to be a psychologist when I was in high school. Dealing with the extreme emotions is a nightmare. I feel inadequate to comfort him or prevent his depression then that makes me angry then I feel alone again because I certainly don’t want to tell him what I’m really feeling…
    Again, thank you to everyone who’s shared, I appreciate knowing I’m not alone, and since many posts are years old I read them imagining your lives much happier today:)
    Best wishes everyone!

  7. inmisery says:

    My husband won’t get help. Two years ago he attempted suicide. It took five police officers to wrestle him to the ground and disarm him. They arrested him, interviewed him, decided he wasn’t a threat and sent him home with me. He promised to talk to a therapist, they gave me the gun, and wished us good luck.
    He was fired from his job, we lost our home.
    He has tantrums in front of our 12 year old daughter.
    I caught him trying to leave with a gun yesterday. I was relieved to hear the loud vehicle of our friend pulling into our driveway, so I told him that he needed to give me the gun unless wanted to have this fight in front of him. I took the gun and got rid if it.
    I don’t want to do this anymore. I am exhausted. This is going to sound insane, I love him, I hate him. I wish he wanted to live, but I just don’t think that is going to happen. Sometimes I wish he would have just killed himself the first time.
    I think I am going to get a divorce. Maybe I am just a bad person. I feel like I have given him the best years of my life and he has given me nothing but fear, anxiety, and sadness.
    I can’t understand how someone with so many people who love him and depend on him would even consider suicide. Selfish, childish.
    He wasn’t always this way. We used to be happy. He was a good father once. It is sad and very frustrating.
    Oh well, thanks for letting me vent.

  8. Simone Baxter says:

    I’ve been meaning to write a blog similar to yours since October last year, after I ‘was’ crash-landed in a situation I had never imagined to find myself in… so many questions, so little help.
    And where does one start?!?
    I found your blog through googling “living with a suicidal spouse” because I had no idea where to start and how to go. So I was hoping to find inspiration in how fellow ‘sufferers’ went about finding their voices….
    Your opening was so arresting, and genuine and resonated so much that I would like to ask, could I possibly quote you in my opening and also link to your blog, so we may perhaps support each other along the way?!?
    I really couldn’t put the conundrum of feelings I experienced then and also with recurrent ‘episodes’ better, than you have in your blog. Thank you for taking the words righ out of my mouth, and I hope that you will allow me to use your words, where my own failed me to even get started.
    Many thanks for blogging and sincerest, heartfelt regards to you,

    • Hi Simone, Sure you may quote and link. I don’t reply usually, and am rarely on this blog. But I leave the blog up for people like you, searching for answers–because I understand that being partnered with a suicidal spouse is extremely challenging, emotionally draining, and a very lonely experience. As for myself, the best thing I did was seek out a mental health professional for support and guidance. I created my blog just to get my voice out there as I was keeping so much in. I also felt so disconnected and alone with my pain. But as you can see there are many people struggling with a suicidal partner. I wish you well on your blogging journey!

  9. Lou says:

    My husband has recently started suicidal talk during arguments and when things go downhill. His father killed himself a few years back and even though he knows the pain of a suicide in the family he still talks about it. I don’t know what to do anymore. We haven’t been married long these are supposed to be the good years and now I’m filled with hurt and honestly neglect. I feels worse than a divorce. He wants to leave me our life and his whole family. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to divorce my husband I love him dearly and I only want to be with him I guess I just can’t put on words what I feel.

  10. Comet Ajayi says:

    Thank you for your blog. My husband confessed to me that he attempted suicide but by the grace of God. He slept woke up then threw up all the pills that he took.

    I’m feeling like you are in this post. But it’s being made worse because my husband actually holds me partly responsible for his actions. I never do enough. When I do. Its wrong or not quick enough.

    I’m drained. My only source of hope is God.

    Thanks

  11. My boyfriend…father to my 2yr old son…goes through spurts of depression but tonight he has told me he could see checking out…now mind you I have just gone through the suicide, in June of this year,of my husband of 18yrs and father to my 11yr old son…i see the effects this has had on my son and am terrified my other son will not only be robbed of that bond between a father and son but the added anxiety it will put on his shoulders..I am scared and quite frankly pissed off…..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I just came across your site a few days ago. I’ve been in and out of worrying about my spouse for several years now. And I don’t think I’ve taken as much care of myself as I should. But where is the line between having a life and constant line of sight type stuff? How can one leave the house to go do things for themselves without worrying that their spouse will kill themselves while we’re gone? And what if one does leave the house and come home to find their spouse dead? I know it’s technically not even our fault then, but what if…?

    And you talk about getting a therapist for myself. But I’ve always heard that if a professional like that hears of someone at possible risk of suicide, it’s their duty to report it to the authorities. How have you gotten around this? I don’t want to have to worry about getting my spouse locked up, especially with all the stories of police shooting the very person they’re supposed to help.

  13. Ktaliafero says:

    my husband was just committed today! So glad I found this post! Intense feelings going on here!

  14. Jennie says:

    Thank you for this post. My husband has had multiple suicide attempts and I thought I was crazy, selfish and an awful person for feeling some of the same emotions in the post. I’m feeling a little less alone now. I had it in my head that because I wasn’t the one dealing with depression it was foolish for me to wish I had someone to talk to and that hiding this was more important. I may see about seeking some help for myself. Thank you.

  15. Polly says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It helps to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way, as sometimes it seems like I am.

    I have been married for about 18 months and my husband has lost several jobs because of his depression, and this morning just tried to commit suicide for the third time in the last year.

    I just don’t know what to do. I have my own history of depression and completely understand the envy you describe. When I was going through my own worst times my sister took an overdose and received help, support, meds etc. I never told anyone how I was feeling and was on the supporting end for her, and it’s happening again with my husband, and now I feel sad, selfish and envious.

    I feel like it’s my fault, because whenever he’s down all I can think about is what if he loses this job? And I put him under pressure, telling him he has to go to work, he has responsibilities, and it always makes things worse. He just started a new job last week and was off yesterday and today, and he didn’t even phone in sick, so I’m sure he has lost this job too.

    I have thought about crashing my car, just so that I can be in hospital and have someone look after me for a while. To not be the strong one, just for a while. To have people asking if I’m ok, just for a while. I know that sounds insane, but I don’t know if I can keep being the strong one when I feel so weak.

    • I want some care too. Yes that it is a legitimate need. Thoughts of “crashing a car” can be scary and feel “insane.” These are red flags–that seem to indicate a serious need for self/other-care. A therapist can help to identify feelings, needs, and options to support you. Also confiding in a trusted friend/family member is another option to help you feel less alone and supported.

  16. Katie says:

    I have struggled with depression for a very long time, attempted suicide a couple of times in my high school years, my husband saved me, I met him and felt genuinely happy for the first time. He’s also battled depression and is bipolar. He’s recently become addicted to alcohol and and when mixed with his meds he blacks out and gets out of control. He’s been okay with his drinking but all day today he was sending me cryptic texts about suicide, then promising he would never do anything. When I got home tonight he told me he wants a divorce, that he just wants me to be happy and he will just continue to drag me down. He said he’s sick of doing things to make everyone else happy and just wants to do what makes him happy, which I guess is drinking all the time. I’m so lost, I love him so much and can’t imagine life without him….but I’m scared of what our lives will become if he will not get help. He feels as though he had hit rock bottom multiple times but still admits that he doesn’t want to get better. I really wish I could help him the way he’s helped me but I’m starting to loose hope. He’s sleeping at a friends house tonight, this will be the first night in eight years we haven’t spent together. 😦

  17. Buddha Girl says:

    Thank you for writing this. You have made it okay for me to feel all the same feelings about my very similar situation. Most of all I was feeling guilty about feeling angry, helpless, and selfish. It’s okay to feel whatever I feel. I wish you strength and peace.

  18. Terri says:

    I too feel hopeless. My husband is extremely depressed and suicidal. He has an addictive personality. He has extreme pain. Mental illness runs in his family. He has tried counseling only to tell me they are stupid. He feels they go by a checklist and chart – with a computed response, not really understanding or even trying to. He has yet to find a counselor to help him, so he has quit. He now blames me. He says I am purposely trying to drive him crazy. He even told our 9 year old son that. He told him I’m doing it on purpose and I’m not a good person anymore. I have dedicated my life to him and my son. I work full time and he stays home, mostly sleeps during the day. I worry about his mental health and now I’m worrying about the effect this has on my son. He called and yelled at me this morning. He didn’t want me to take our son to school because he didn’t feel he should be alone. I ran and got his dad to sit with him. He no longer cares what I say. I don’t know what to do. I can’t help him anymore, I don’t want to lose him. I feel he will commit suicide. I don’t know where to turn.

  19. Moongirl says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have been married for 21 years and my husband opened the dark world of his depression within a month of being married. He talks about suicide and has been hospitalized twice. I know all the feelings you feel – it’s as though I am his source of troubles…..I am the punching bag (figuratively speaking…)

  20. Anonymous says:

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your blog. As many of the people have posted before, I am now facing a similar story. It’s nice to know, that you are in fact, not alone in these feelings. With every paragraph I thought, “yes. That’s exactly how I feel.” I admire your strength and bravery as you and your husband face these challenges together. I wish you all (readers included) all the luck, faith, strength and all the love in the world.

  21. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for posting. I was looking for help for my husband. In our case, I am the suicidal, majorly depressed person. I don’t blame him. It isn’t about him at all. There are issues in our marriage that contribute to the spiral, but there is so much more. I am trying, but getting better may be too late to fix/save things. I don’t want him to walk on eggshells, but I need gentle words. When frustration blurts out (understandable) I can’t handle it. Then we wind up in the endless cycle of blame, fight, sweep under the rug. I hope he can read this and know he is not alone and if we both get treatment maybe we can have hope.

  22. anthony says:

    Yesterday morning my wife read my journal without my knowledge. Our marriage has been on the rocks for about 2 years since her son chose to use his drugs and moved out of the house. We gave him a choice. Go to school or get a job and quit the drugs or get out. So he left and now wants nothing to do with his mom. It kills her and she places a lot of blame on me for it. I sometimes doubt the wisdom of my choices on that subject. She gets upset a lot and I get the silent treatment or she tells me how she hates me and starts bringing up my faults from years ago. So I started a private journal. I only write when she is upset which makes me upset. I have nobody to talk to. I can’t talk to her about any of my feelings because it sets her off. She refuses to talk aboutwhatever set her off in the first place. She refuses therapy. I asked her to go with me to marriage counseling and her reaction was I need therapy not her. So when im upset and writing in my journal there are a lot of mixed emotions from desperation to feeling like death is the only way out. The last thing I wrote about was the fact that she is only kind of happy when I spend money and maybe divorce was the best next step. The reason for my journal was for me to release my feelings not for her to read. She violated my privacy and now im to blame again. So last night she took a bunch of ADD medication and drank a bottle of vodka and was trying to take the car to the canyon to launch off a cliff. She says she has no reason to live. I stopped her and got her back in the house. Babysat her all night. I dont know how to fix this! I tried to explain that when I wrote that it was only to vent so I wouldn’t make stupid decisions in a bad state of mind. She insists that it is how I always have felt. I just want my wife back! What can I do if she refuses help? Everything is always put on me. I try to carry hers and my own burdens in hopes that we will have a few days or weeks of peace and happiness. I take the blame for her issues even though I dont have a clue what they are. I only know she blames me for her sadness and anger. Im begging for some advice! Im desperate. I still love my wife and can’t stand to even imagine her dead

    • I am sorry for not responding sooner, as I can hear the pain you were/are in. I can’t speak for what would help you, but for myself, seeking my own therapy has been a great help to me. As finding people whom I trust and whom can listen to my struggles has helped too.

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  24. Bill says:

    Thank you for sharing this blog. My wife recently attempted suicide and it has left me in a confused angry state. I feel as if I can’t show how I truly feel around her and am walking on eggshells not trying to push her over the edge again. Is this a normal feeling should I seek help as well?

    Thanks for sharing

  25. Wow! This is exactly how I feel right now. I am trying to trust while trying not to completely fall apart with fear, worry, heart break, etc. I look forward to reading more.

  26. Tamie says:

    Well, I am certainly glad to have found this. We live in a rural area, not much help here. My husband’s job is causing him major depression. He started to commit suicide in Oct, he talked himself out of it, but accidentally shot off his big toe. He also has mild copd, we found out. He has gone back to work, but just tonight before going in, he feels suicidal. He feels like he can’t do his job and he will be fired. He has been at the place 34 years, but changes in the last 2 years have everyone depressed. I am certainly at a loss, as to what to do. He says he feels like he is so deep in the hole, he will never find his way out. The only therapist we have here it takes over 2 weeks to get in to see. He promises he won’t try again, but I know better than that. He never smiles, participates with the grandchildren or anyone for that matter. He is addicted to smokeless tobacco and I know that interferes with the ability to cope. Thanks for me being able to just let a little out. As far as trying to get someone to talk to him, they all say the things we aren’t suppose to say to them, like you have so much to live for, look on the bright side, etc. No one seems to see how much pain he is in. There are not many job opportunities here either. I can’t find one, and am looking at going back to school, even though I am 52 yrs old. This had been his second attempt. He told me, he had tried about 28 years ago, we have been married 22. Again thanks and sorry I went on so long.

  27. Wendy says:

    Thank you for your blog/posting. I have recently been reading more about depression and suicide. I’ve been looking for personal support on l how to help my boyfriend who is suicidal. I’m trying to find a balance between being supportive while maintaining a sense of myself. I feel incredibly alone and unsupported with nowhere to turn which is now leading me to feel extremely depressed, hopeless and now bad for not being as strong as I was. I am very aware that this is breaking me down and taking a huge toll on me. I don’t know what to do anymore or who to talk to. I’m in so much pain and feel so isolated. I have no one to share this with. I feel bad for feeling frustrated with his lack of being capable of showing me any love or support. I don’t know how to do this. I’m trying everything, every angle. I feel like my needs are now an extra burden for him but I am also incredibly frustrated trying to always be the positive one and supportive and checking in with him to see that he’s ok, I need this also. I can’t keep doing this over and over as it is slowly causing me to become numb and emotionless inside. I’m not being me anymore. Any suggestions as to where I can get support? I feel like I’ve been coping very well for a long time but now my strength is not there anymore and I’m loosing hope within myself Thank you for any suggestions… If anything it helps to release this and share honestly for the first time

    • Hi Wendy,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m not sure what will work for you as each person’s needs are so unique. For myself seeing a therapist has been a great support for me. My therapist’s empathy and feedback has helped me to keep it together at times when I have felt overwhelmed. Also writing this blog–has enabled me to express so much that I had kept inside before. I’m glad that you too were able to share a glimpse of your story here for the first time. Please take care.
      Kate

    • Cindy says:

      Hello Wendy,

      I found this blog and realize the posts are old but I wanted to share something with you. I am in a 32 year marriage. Husband attempted suicide 20 years ago. He was missing for 12 hours, he went to a lake and took many, many pills. He somehow drove his way home. Ever since, 20 years later, I am terrified when we argue and he leaves. I feel like he is never coming back. What I wanted to tell you is that you don’t have to always be the positive one checking in with him regularly. What this can do is make him resentful of you for hovering and being controlling. Give him his space while knowing the signs he is depressed. It is a delicate balance. This is my first time on a blog too. Glad I found it.

  28. marknelliesmum says:

    Thanks for sharing this and making me realise I’m not alone. My husband has suffered from depression ( know this now with hindsight) for several years and on Sunday attempted suicide for the 3rd time. He is in hospital and has instructed that I be told nothing. Don’t even know which hospital he is in. I just feel so lost and alone and that I’m being punished when I’ve done my best to help him. Not sure what today will hold. I love him more than anything but am wondering if I now need to love him enough to walk away because like so many who have posted I am part of the problem. So difficult and such a cruel illness for those of us left on the sidelines. Thanks for posting xxx

    • Hi marknelliesmum,
      So sorry to hear what you are going through. I’m not sure what’s transpired. I can’t imagine what’s it’s like not to know where he’s at. To be left out when you love him so much. Dave’s first attempt he let his sister and friend in to see him in the hospital and barred me from coming in. I felt so helpless, powerless. Such a hard place to be. You are not alone.
      Kate

  29. Hi Nikki,
    The first attempt Dave made in 2006, he blamed me, some of his family blamed me. I blamed myself. It’s sounds like a really hard place for you to be right now. I’m not sure what’s your path, but for Dave and I we seriously engaged in couples therapy and then more recently in individual therapy. That’s been very helpful for us. I’m not sure what’s your path going to be, but I do hope that you will find some way to take care of yourself through this time.
    Take care,
    Joni

  30. Nikki says:

    I could have written this blog myself about my husband. The only difference is he blames me for him being suicidal. I love him but have a huge fear that if he does take his own life his family and friends will blame me. I dont have a relationship with his family so if hes with them and does hurt himself I fear they wouldnt let me know.

  31. Scaredandworried says:

    Hi

    Thank you very much for posting this, I am in a same sex relationship and you made me realise that I need help myself, my partner has attempted suicide 3 times within the last 5 months, the most recent being yesterday. I can’t help but cry when I read what you’ve gone through because it is exactly what I’m experiencing right now. It’s not easy hearing my partner say that I am the cause of everything, and making her feel worse. She also self harms it stopped for a while but started again because she could feel that I was stressed and that I do take it out on her sometime, but I can’t always control this, it’s very hard. My partner has depression and suffers from PTSD from a traumatic upbringing. I just recently lost my job which has brought more stress into my life. I’m constantly scared and I do not express how I feel as this may trigger another attempt, I cry at night or in the shower because my partner does not like it when I cry as it makes her feel worse and back at square one. She says I’m too controlling but I’m just worried, Especially when she wants to drink, as this makes it worse she gets on a real low and it interferes with her meds. There is a point where I do feel depressed myself. On a positive note, I feel good that I can share this, as it does take a bit of pressure off me expressing how I feel, I don’t feel alone at this point. Please keep blogging this has helped me so much. Take care and wish you well

    • Hi Scaredandworried,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I started this blog because I felt so alone. Living with a suicidal person, someone who self harms, has depression and PTSD is a tremendous stressor. Plus three attempts within the last 5 months is a lot to deal with so getting some support for yourself sounds like a good realization.

      Not wanting to tip Dave I lost my voice, I lost myself. Thanks for sharing your voice today with your post.

      You take care too!
      Kate

  32. Katie says:

    I was diagnosed with severe migraines the year before I began middle school. My first migraine was the most excruciating pain that I’ve ever felt, and I have been through pregnancy/labor, breast surgery, and a foot-long needle jammed into the back of my skull. It was awful. When it first hit me, I got a small spot in my eye that wouldn’t go away for a few minutes, and then it eventually got bigger until it covered my eye and my vision became like looking through a painfully bright kaleidoscope. It only took about fifteen more minutes before I started screaming in pain and my mother had to rush me to the hospital in a panic because she had no idea what was happening to me. They ended up having to strap me to an emergency room stretcher because the pain was so immense that I kept trying to just run.
    After that, migraines continued for me about once per month. I would end up pretty much losing my mind from pain until my mom would drive me to the emergency room so they could use IV meds to stop it. I was nothing but anxiety through middle school and high school. Migraines ruined my life. Any changes in stress, weather, hormones, food and tons of other triggers always seemed to cause one. I was depressed, but I kept being told that I had nothing to be depressed about and was just seeking attention. I pushed through it, though, and barely finished high school.
    I married when I was 20 and my husband got his first real taste of my migraines on our honeymoon when I suddenly got one in our rental cabin in the mountains. I felt so bad because after about ten hours of fighting with it and medicating it…it just would not go away. So he had to drive me to the nearest emergency room where they gave me the usual IV meds and it finally went away. I had warned him many times before we married about my intense migraines, but he didn’t really believe me until that experience.
    I could handle the monthly migraines, and during my pregnancy, I only had one. After I gave birth, however, things got really bad. I started getting migraines DAILY. They would last for days and sometimes I would drag myself through an entire week with one. I was miserable. I tried everything to minimize the triggers, but nothing would help. I finally went to a doctor, the only one I could afford, and after listening to me describe my circumstances through tears, she wrote me two prescriptions. One for hydrocodone and the other for klonopin. I had never ever been prescribed a narcotic for my migraines up to that point and really knew nothing about it. When I went to the ER, I only requested a cocktail of Immitex, Phenegran (no codeine) and Benadryl.
    I followed the doc’s instructions and started taking them, but my migraines only got worse. The pills would give me maybe an hour of relief before it came back even more intense. After almost a year, I got to the point of swallowing handfuls of them to just make it through the day. I just didn’t know what else to do. I saw all kinds of doctors/neuros, etc, and the best they could do for me was claim that I had the worst case of migraines that had ever seen, but they couldn’t tell me how to stop them.
    I was awful during that time…especially to my husband. I was constantly at the point of overdose, but I could never make myself take enough, because I refuse to willingly leave my son like my father did me. But I just wanted to live without the pain, and I took it out on my husband. I was angry at him, irrationally, for not helping me…but how could he? It wasn’t his fault, but I did take it out on him. I was mean to him. I didn’t realize he was going through just as much depression as me. We had our final fight one morning and I told him I wanted him to leave and that I hated him. He went out to the backyard as I sat on the couch. I got up once to glance outside and I saw my husband sitting at a table in the yard and writing in his notebook. We both love to write, so I thought nothing of it. I got distracted with a few things and then decided to take a shower. I began to walk down the hallway towards the bathroom when I stopped in my tracks like there was an invisible wall that would not let me pass. I felt uneasy and had a sudden thought to check on him once more. When I looked out the window, he was hanging from a rope in a tree facing the house. His face was blue and his tongue just hanging from his mouth. His body wasn’t moving at all, not even the rope swung. I had to cut him down myself.
    Ambulances and police came and several hours later I sat in an ICU waiting room and was told that I needed to make decisions and arrangements because he only had a 1% chance of surviving and coming out of an induced coma. Did I want him to go to a nursing home with severe brain damage or just sign the papers to let them pull the plug? If my friends and family had not been there, I would have killed myself, too.
    I was by his hospital bed and holding his hand when they brought his body out of the coma. And then he squeezed my hand. It was a very tense time until we were told by the surgeons that he was a walking miracle and he did walk out of the hospital a week later with absolutely no serious damage.
    The police refused to give me the letter after telling me they would give it to me. I am almost certain it is because they read it and knew what was in it was aimed towards me. I even asked my husband if I was the reason he did it…and he said yes.
    That was two years ago, but the shame and guilt still eat me up inside. I stuck by his side through it all even though he blamed me, mostly because I want the opportunity to make it up to him. Everyone else tells me that I am absolutely not to blame and I argued with my first and last therapist because I would not refuse the fact that I was at least partly to blame for what he did. I think I secretly resent my husband now for many reasons because of what he did. I was the one who desperately needed help, but ended up ignoring my problems and now I just keep them secret so as not to stress him out. He received help and medications, while I still struggle, though, and at many times I just wish I would unintentionally die because I know I can never make the decision to do it myself even though I come close so many times. I cannot die knowing how painful it would be for my family and especially my son. My husband didn’t die, but I still have that overwhelming guilt that I caused a person to desire to die. It is an awful feeling, and I can’t imagine my life had he died, and I know that I should consider myself very fortunate that he lived through it, but I can’t stand myself because of the blame that he puts upon me. The one therapist I saw made me repeat him when he said that I am NOT responsible for how a person decides to react to their own emotions. It’s easy to tell yourself that, but believing it is another battle.
    Sorry for such a long reply to your blog, but I just needed to share that with others who know that feeling that I’m talking about. A feeling that I screamed into the skies that night at the hospital…what have I done?

    • Hi Katie,
      Your story moved me. I am so sorry for what you have had to go through; both dealing with your severe migraines and your husband’s attempt and aftermath.

      My therapist told me it was not my fault, time and time again but I continued to blame myself. Then after much of my own work (years), I finally was able to take in what he was saying to me, and I understood what he meant about Dave’s attempt not being my fault. To me it meant that it was Dave’s choice. Perhaps we fought, but many people fight and don’t choose to end their life. There were other alternatives, including he could have chosen to separate from me.

      What’s helpful for me in going to a therapist (and finding the right match in a therapist is really important) is that he really tries to understand my experience. He doesn’t discount or talk me out of my feelings, and he does present to me what he believes, including that it was not my fault. He was patient with me. I felt supported through the years of trying to heal and trust again, that he would help me through whatever came up in dealing with Dave, in dealing with my feelings.

      I am sorry that you have to go through what you’re going through. I would encourage you to build a support network (perhaps including a good therapist and spiritual component) to have some people come alongside you and support you and to also build in self care. Those are my beliefs, and yours may differ, that’s okay.

      Please take care of yourself.
      Kate

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    Fist of all, thank you for this. My wife has been depressed for a while and attempted a few weeks ago and just admitted it to me today. She also has PTSD from a childhood experience. She goes through major ups and downs. Sometimes I feel as if it’s just exhausting. We’ve done a little couples therapy and individual therapy for me in the past and I found it really helpful. When she told me about her attempt and I asked her to see someone she said no because she didn’t think it would be helpful. “They won’t tell me anything I haven’t already heard.” It’s so scary, frustrating, heartbreaking, and causes me serious anxiety. I have gone through the periods of being silent about things I need to say because I know they will only cause self blame and reinforce her notion that she’s worthless or a bad person. It’s like she never hears the positive things I say to build her up. I’m just at a loss.

    -Chris

    • Hi Chris,
      So sorry to hear that you are going through a anxious, “scary, frustrating, heartbreaking” time. For Dave too, there have been periods when he too seems to filter out the positive and frame every interaction as negative. At those times anything I said, he framed as negative. He also framed himself as negative, a failure, never good enough. At those times I would be so fearful and frustrated as it seemed like nothing that could penetrate his depression. The depression itself would leave Dave without having the motivation or hope to see that therapy could be helpful. At those times I found individual therapy to be helpful, self care for me. To have someone validate my experience, to come alongside me, and help me to carry the burden, helped me feel less alone. Individual sessions also helped as I found that taking the focus off of Dave and putting it back on me, on my needs, and wants and developing my own goals helped grow me and give me hope. The specifics of your situation is probably so different from mine, so seeking out a professional mental health professional to sort through your experience could be helpful to get you through these tough seasons. Take care.

  34. John,
    No apology necessary. I appreciate your truth-telling about your experience. No wonder what you are feeling what you are feeling–7 serious attempts is a lot for anyone to go through. After Dave’s second attempt, I was in an angry place–after 6 years without an attempt I thought he was never going to do it again, so was scared initially and then upset. I recall that I would barely make visiting hours–I was so mad that he put me through that again. At the same time I was completely vulnerable, and hurting. I felt like I was falling apart. So I got individual therapy. I needed someone to come alongside me, to hear me, to understand me, and to help me understand what I needed. I found it helpful. You said you’re feeling “hopeless,” like you’ve “been to war and back” so maybe some support from a therapist might help. Sounds like you could use some self-care too.

  35. John says:

    My name is John. This blog has made me aware there are others going through what I have been going through for almost 12 years. I am tired and begging to feel completely hopeless myself. I have always been the eternal optimist but I can no longer see the cup left alone see it half full.

    Last night was my wife’s 7th serious attempt and I am completely apathetic. I have come to the conclusion I am the problem. I am not in counseling I never even knew there was theorpy for the spouse.

    Any helpful suggestions would be a god send because it certainly doesn’t seem like he listens to me anymore.

    I apologize for the negative spin but I am lost and feel like I have been to war and back.

  36. Patrick Day says:

    I was not suicidal when I was in major depression, but yet my wife suffered greatly. All the things we were going to do when we retired, we didn’t do. Our social life was severely hampered by my depression. And of course there was more. Now that I have come out of the black box of depression, I can only hope I can make up the lost years with her.

    • Hi Patrick, I can’t even imagine what major depression is like. It took a while for me to understand, and I can never really fully understand, but from what Dave has told me major depression is a pretty dark and hopeless place that is not easy to climb out of. I am thankful that you and Dave have found a way out. I admire your willingness to share what you’ve gone through in your blog to bring others a greater awareness of depression. As for my relationship with Dave, now that he seems to be at a much more stable place–I look forward to what’s ahead. I wish you and your wife well. Take care : )

  37. Suzi Erikson says:

    Hello, thank you for writing your blog. It was exactly what I’m going through and helped up hear I am not alone. It saddens me so much that my husband is going through this, the threats and even attempts in front of me as I have had to save him from harming himself on too many times to remember, he even says that I’ll be the death of him some days. It tears me to pieces to hear him say this, there is a part of me that wants to so much to leave as I think maybe we will be both happier but he says he needs me and he can’t deal with this without me, any helpful advice I would be eternally grateful. I also hope things with your family and going well and I wish you all the very best. Kind regards Suzi

    • Hi Suzi,
      Dave, also had the “Go–don’t go!” message to me depending on his mood. The two times for me was so hard, I can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with attempts that are “too many times to remember.” My heart goes out to you. For myself I floundered and was in so much pain and felt so alone until I went to therapy. I don’t know if that’s the right path for you, but it was right for me. I was blessed to find a therapist who validated my experience, and deeply empathized with me. My therapist also helped me to take better care of me. I had been so husband focused that I forgot about self care.

  38. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! It describes my story so well. I feel and have felt all these emotions. Anxious. Helpless. Panicked. Desperate. Exposed. Ashamed. Regretful. Self-critical. Guilty. Misunderstood. Hurt. Rejected. Frustrated. Manipulated. Resentful. I Envious. Discouraged. Pessimistic. Confused. Loving. Hating. I pray that God will use our experience to help others in the same situation. Keep on blogging. God bless both of you!

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Thank for your comment. Yes, may God use us to help others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV

      God bless you too!

    • sadpanda says:

      I just wanted to say thank you for starting this blog… My fiancé tried to commit suicide 3 days ago and I feel like I’m dying. I’m just in this haze, but my mind is racing. it never stops. i can’t sleep, i can’t eat, and the worst thing is I have to be strong for him, but no ones here for me. I have no one to talk too, no family as they are all out of town this weekend, because its the long weekends and no friends cause I’m too embarrassed. I feel hurt, betrayed, depressed, angry, and so so so guilty. He did it after what I thought was a minor argument about our dog, I told him not to sweat the small stuff, thinking I would try to be positive… and his response to that was that I was belittling his feelings. He’s in the psyche ward now, and hes all positive saying everything going to be better… but i don’t feel positive… i still haven’t been able to go into the basement to take down the noose. It doesn’t seem fair that this is all on me and now his family is blaming me for this… i don’t know how much i can take of this. I love my fiancé more then anything in this world… but i could never forgive myself if i caused something were to happen to him.

      Thanks for making me feel not as alone. I’m so glad you put this up.

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