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Topic: Supporting a suicidal wife

15 posts, 0 answered
  1. AEEA
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    5 posts
    22 August 2021
    My wife didn’t come home one night recently and I was certain she had killed herself. Fortunately she was found after spending a day in the bush and has recovered physically. She says it was an accident but I think I’d be stupid to believe that. I’ve known she’s been suicidal for about 2 years now and I’m not sure exactly how long she has been that way. She has been in hospital multiple times, been though many medication changes, other treatments and regularly sees a psych and her doctor. PTSD and depression are some of her labels. I’m committed to helping her as much as I can. I do most of the housework, parenting our 3 girls and have a full time job. My girls love their mum and I do to. I asked my wife if she still wants to be with me and she says she does.
    As much as I want to know about her suicidal thoughts I also don’t want to know. It’s horrible to think that she will succeed one day but it’s a reality. I feel like my family and I are in a holding pattern just hoping one day she will come good. Sometimes I wonder if that is good enough a life for me and my girls. I guess I’m posting for the first time because I would appreciate your thoughts on how to survive this.
  2. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    5944 posts
    22 August 2021 in reply to AEEA
    Hi AEEA,

    It sounds like you love your wife very much and want to support her in a very productive way. things must be so difficult for you as you take this journey with her and trying very hard to be there for her and your children. Navigating through their suicidal thoughts, depression and PTSD must be taking its toll on you and we would like to remind you to look after yourself while you are looking after everyone else in your family. It is very hard to give from an empty cup, particularly as there is so much fear around your wife's potential future actions. This whole situation must be very heartbreaking to see and please remember that you to also might benefit from support. 

    If you would ever like to get advice on how to support your wife in everyday life or discuss the issues you are having with her you can contact Lifeline (13 11 14) or the Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467) for some more clarification if you need it.

    If you would like some help finding mental health support, we would recommend that you get in contact with the Beyond Blue Support Service. They are available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals. 

    You are not alone and this is a wonderful community to reach out to. We are here to help and you do not have to stuggle on your own. 

     
    1 person found this helpful
  3. HappyHelper88
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    23 August 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Hi AEEA
    Thankyou so much for sharing and it must be a daily battle for you to try your best to support your wife. I can see you have alot going on and i think it would benefit yourself to see a professional such as a psychologist or a counsellor to talk about these things and they could give you some advice on how to cope with this all. Its important to you to look after your family, but you also need to look after yourself to be able to be there for your family. I really believe they would be able to give you beneficial advice to help you

    Please remember you are not alone and there is always support here

    1 person found this helpful
  4. therising
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    2198 posts
    24 August 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Hi AEEA

    I feel for you so deeply as you try so hard to support your wife and your girls. You're an incredible person to be working so hard pretty much as both mother and father, housekeeper and as a mental health carer while holding down a full time job. I imagine you're exhausted. I hope you treat yourself to the rewards you fully deserve.

    From my experience, one of the ways I would describe depression is based on that old analogy of 'a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other' and the angel just isn't loud enough to be heard. So the internal dialogue becomes more about hearing proof as to why you're hopeless and a waste of space. Of course, this is not true but that little devil makes it seem like absolute truth.

    If you're wondering why you can't win, no matter what you do (and you do a lot by the sound of it), I can't help but wonder whether your wife's internal dialogue sounds a little like

    • You're partner has to do all the housework because you're hopeless
    • What kind of mother are you to your girls? You're a terrible one, otherwise they'd be much happier
    • You'll never be 'normal', you'll always be dysfunctional, that's why no one can fix you

    and the following is the worst one of all for people to hear (for the depressed person and their loved ones)

    • You're better off not being here. You should just give up so everyone else can get on with their life. You're just interfering with everyone else's happiness

    As I say, it's the cruelest of all the internal dialogues.

    That so called 'little devil' is absolutely brutal, putting it mildly.

    It's hard to hear what's going on inside a depressed person's head because it's depressing to hear. It can even be somewhat heartbreaking, to hear of the full extent of pain someone else is experiencing. At the end of the day, I think it's important in coming to know what the internal dialogue sounds like so that you know exactly what you're dealing with/trying to manage. The challenge is to not let it depress you, as a carer. The balance of feeling for someone while being analytical/objective can be a tough balance to master. Much easier said than done.

    Going back to that analogy, how do you turn the volume up on 'the angel'? I've found proof of the truth helps me turn the dial up. Eg: While you may say 'I'm here because I love you', she may say 'No, you're here because you have to be'. To this you may say 'I could leave whenever I want. I want you to find the absolute truth as to why I haven't left your side'.

    2 people found this helpful
  5. AEEA
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    24 August 2021 in reply to HappyHelper88
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your input. I’m distrusting of psychs after seeing my wife’s journey. I think it could be helpful to meet as a couple with someone though.
  6. AEEA
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    24 August 2021 in reply to therising
    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think your insights are 100% correct. I think I need to find a way to have the space and energy to see her perspective and support her emotionally. I admit I tend to be negative about it all and find myself resenting her. I wonder if couples counselling could help but I worry at the same time about the affect which that could have on her already fragile mental health.
  7. Petal22
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    24 August 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Hi AEEA,

    So sorry to hear what yourself, your wife and children are going through…..

    It really must be so hard for your wife to be battling such a condition…..I really HOPE your wife can see the light very soon………..I believe we all obtain the light within us we just need to believe in it and only seek the light, it will lead us to peace and harmony…….

    Being in the darkness is very distressing place to be it’s just horrible….. but it CAN be beaten!

    I ask you to ask your wife to focus on the light and all the beauty around her every day….. practice gratefulness……. a dark mind set can be changed to a positive mind set of LOVE and light……. Has your wife any positivity journals? They have really lovely sayings in them maybe she could read a verse every day…. It helps 🙏

    I understand the darkness I have been there but I came out the other side in the LIGHT……

    It must be difficult for yourself and your children to witness but you can only support her…… what do you both enjoy doing together?

    I found walking outside in nature was beautiful and healing for the soul maybe you and your wife could do something like this together?

    Focus on the little things the sun, fresh air, beautiful plants and flowers let your wife see the beauty of life all around her maybe you just need to be a guiding light for her to show her that…… “ You never forget the people who came to you in the dark and shined their light for you to show you the way back home” ❤️

    here to chat

  8. Petal22
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    1359 posts
    24 August 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Have faith AEEA…. Ill truly pray and hold hope for you and your children that your wife will come good 🙏there is always HOPE ❤️

    Just a little something if you think it will help …. Gods 411

    I sit here in heaven and watch you every day,

    I see your tears falling and you feel they won’t go away

    I see you struggle, fight, worry and pace

    that is not my will for you. I am full of grace.

    I try to give you signs all throughout the day,

    So you know that I am here, I will not go away.

    I see you when you are happy.

    I watch you as you sleep

    My arms are wrapped around you

    You are my precious sheep

    Your days are not finished yet, it is not time for you to come home.

    That is why I send you signs, so you know you are not alone.

    My peace I give to you. I want you to see

    That is why I have given you a special part of me.

    Heaven is truly beautiful, a home waiting, that is true.

    But only when your time is done

    Will I call for you

    I want YOU to live and laugh and LOVE again

    Enjoy yourself be free

    Then I will know that every breath you take, you will take for me.

    ❤️

  9. Petal22
    Community Champion
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    1359 posts
    24 August 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Just one more thing AEEA, please don’t ever think your wife doesn’t want to be with you or your children….. I know she may seem distant…… when we are in the darkness in consumes us….. it’s hard to get out of our own minds sometimes……… all we feel is inner turmoil…… it really is a horrible place to be……… try to give your wife lots of hugs and encourage your children to do the same……

    We need all the LOVE and support we can get when we are in times like this ❤️

    Hopefully each day your wife can try to focus on something in the light when her attention wonders bring it back to the light x LOVE is a very guiding force….

    1 person found this helpful
  10. therising
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    24 August 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Hi AEEA

    Try not to be too hard on yourself when it comes to negativity and resentment. It's the nature of depression to conjure negativity and resentment for both the person suffering in a depression and their carer. If it helps, you could try considering depression as the 3rd member of the relationship, do you resent your wife or do you resent the 3rd member who just won't stop hanging around, bringing you both down?

    The couples counselling sounds like a brilliant idea. I can understand your hesitancy. I suppose the difference between constructive counselling and destructive counselling depends largely on the counsellor. Based on your experience when it comes to dealing with members of the mental health profession, I imagine you'd agree caution is a must. If you've got pretty good instincts, you'll be able to get a feel for the nature of the counsellor you both find yourself with. For example, 'I feel they're triggering my wife more, leading me to have to work harder to keep her alive. I feel or sense they're bringing her down instead of raising her to new positive revelations'. On the flip side, 'I feel she's becoming a different person, finding herself on a whole new level. I feel or sense her coming back to life in a variety of ways'.

    Maybe you could mention to your wife something like 'We really need to be able to get a feel for this counsellor. You need to tell me if you feel them bringing you down, if you feel them challenging you in good ways and bad and/or too quickly or too slowly. We'll feel our way through this together. If you feel they're useless or depressing, let's waste no time in finding a better one. We won't waste time settling for average, basic or depressing'.

    Something else worth considering is based on my own experience. I suffered with depression earlier in my life. I tried managing it or coming out of it with the aid of a lot of different (failed) antidepressants, therapy and other things. It was when my daughter was 3 and my son was around 8 weeks old that I attended post natal depression group therapy. Of all things, it was PND group therapy that led me out of 15 years in depression. Sometimes it's the thing you least expect to change your life that actually changes it. Could couples counselling trigger your wife to come out of depression, for whatever reasons? You never know. From my experience, all it took was the right trigger under the right conditions, with exactly the right people involved.

    Trust your instincts :)

    1 person found this helpful
  11. AEEA
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    5 posts
    19 November 2021
    So just as an update my wife is back in hospital for a med change and ECT. It’s been 3 weeks and unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have improved. I thought this time I was ready for it and that I had accepted that this is just how things are and will be for the foreseeable future. But it was hard I felt lonely and overworked and those feelings make it hard to be the dad that my kids need right now. It’s so hard not to resent my wife but at the same time I feel sad that she’s struggling so much. It’s hard not to think about the future and whether I can keep going like this. I don’t think I want to leave her but at the same time I don’t want to have a miserable life.
  12. Sophie_M
    Sophie_M avatar
    5944 posts
    19 November 2021 in reply to AEEA
    Hi AEEA,

    Thank you so much for updating us. We can hear how concerned, caring and supportive you are.

    I’m sure we’ll hear from our amazing community soon, but in the meantime you might like to have a look at our pages on looking after yourself while supporting someone.

    The Beyond Blue counsellors are here for you if you’d like to talk this through on 1300 22 4636, or via online chat. It is so important that you look after yourself during these times and they can help you, or just be there if you want to talk. There's also Carers Australia on 1800 422 737. It is so important that you look after yourself during these times and they can help you, or just be there if you want to talk. 

    Thanks again for sharing here. We really appreciate your kindness and openness in sharing here on the forums, so we hope you can be kind to yourself also through this time.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  13. therising
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    2198 posts
    20 November 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Hi AEEA

    I feel for you so very much as you face a level of exhaustion, disappointment and grief that can be mind altering in so many ways.

    To say depression is 'tricky' is an understatement. When I look back at my years in depression, which are behind me now, to me (while I was in it) it felt like one long straight 15 year bout of depression. In hindsight, I see it really was one seriously long roller coaster ride. When I speak of the highs in depression, they're not real highs. They're more so just not serious lows. With the lows, they all involved relevant triggers, something I couldn't see at the time. So, when I say depression is 'tricky', what I mean is there are ways of identifying where you're at on that roller coaster and why you're there, often for good reason. There is always a reason for feeling the lowest of lows.

    Would it be reasonable to say you have never felt this exhausted in your life? Would it be reasonable to say that the sleepless nights I imagine you've experienced have left you waking up with intolerable levels of virtually no energy with which to cope? With perhaps some experts having said 'Your wife will most likely suffer with depression for the rest of her life', would it be reasonable to say that this triggers depressing visions in your imagination which don't produce a lot of hope for the future? By the way, I seriously hope no one has actually said this to you. I can recall someone saying this to me, which led me to an incredible sense of hopelessness. Gradually changing over time, certain chemistry levels can hit an all time low (based on a number of reasons). Without realising, it may be the 1st time we've ever felt that level chemical low. It can be a truly torturous feeling.

    There can be so many different reasons for feeling the lowest dip in a long depressing roller coaster ride. It may sound strange when saying 'It's not my fault that leads me to feel this particular low, it's my ability to feel/experience a sensitivity to the various downshifts which have led me to this point'. I hope that makes sense. If you can feel the accumulative exhaustion, feel the grief, feel the frustration, perhaps feel depressing 'advice' from specialists or friends, feel your nervous system in times of stress and so on, this defines you as extraordinary in the ways where you are still managing to cope under such circumstances.

    To your kids, you may not appear as extraordinary right now but you are and that's the absolute truth.

    1 person found this helpful
  14. AEEA
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    21 November 2021 in reply to therising
    Thanks for your reply and perspective. Yes I think I’m at the low of the roller coaster. I found out my wife was suicidal about 2 years ago. I met with her team of doctors and social workers at the hospital and I recall them telling me that this would be a lifetime journey of supporting her with her depression. It was a horrible and overwhelming thing to hear.
    I know there are good times too and my wife loves us. She tells me that we’re the reason she is still here. She also asks me sometimes why I don’t let her go. It’s heartbreaking and torturous but there is a lot of love. I hope we make it.
  15. therising
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    22 November 2021 in reply to AEEA

    Hi AEEA

    It's such a shame when experts declare someone will be left battling depression for the rest of their life. In reality, not even the experts can say this for sure in a lot of cases. When we're hearing of groundbreaking research in the way of mental health, there is hope if experts choose to look in the right places.

    From people's personal experiences, we can also find hope. You hear of people who have suffered through the most mind altering depressing forms of trauma yet claim that something or someone absolutely life changing led them to eventually discover strength and abilities they never knew they possessed.

    If there's one thing I love most about research, it is packed with wonderful people, the kinds of people who are full of wonder when it comes to what will make the difference, when not much else has. Researchers are typically people who refuse to believe there are no solutions or no answers, hence why they look for them. Sometimes, but not always, experts are only experts in what they already know, what they've been taught or told by the people who came before them. Researchers are a breed who will tell you 'Just about anything is possible'. A wonderful expert is perhaps the best of all.

    By the way, never underestimate love. It can be so incredibly powerful from a mental perspective, a physical perspective and a soulful or natural perspective. A certain type of love can be mind altering, impacting us mentally, in so many different ways (just ask a neruoplastician). It can alter us physically, chemically and, as new research suggests, even genetically. Naturally, when the connection is powerful enough, it can help heal the heart of another who feels completely heartbroken. Your wife is so blessed to be loved by you even though she may not be able to feel the full extent of such a love as yours.

    To love someone back to life is no easy task. If love comes with tests, sometimes this can be the hardest of them all.

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