Home Forums My Story Living with someone who is suicidal?

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    This is all very new and raw to me.
    I’m here because I feel like I need to talk with others in the same situation.
    My 16 yo son made a suicide attempt a week ago.
    It came pretty much out of the blue.

    How the hell are you guys dealing with this? It is so painful.


    This post struck a note with me.
    It is the stupid stuff that gets me too.
    Tried to buy a smallish tv for my son who is an informal patient and bored as hell but finding one that you can control without a remote controller is tricky (no batteries allowed on the ward) – especially trying to say what you want to the salesman without explaining why you need it.
    I’m looking at everything in our home differently now too


    I’ve been trying to find a forum like this one for people who have are living with someone who is suicidal but still alive.

    Most of them are for people who have been bereaved by suicide – was beginning to feel rather hopeless about it, is that how it always ends?

    I think I probably don’t want to know the answer to this question but are there always multiple attempts?
    I honestly don’t know if I can cope with that


    Dear Adrift,
    my heart goes out to you. I have to admit, it’s a living hell at times, not knowing what might happen.

    Finding out that your child has tried to take their life is horrendous, nothing can prepare you for that shock and stress. As you say, you start to view the world in a very different manner.

    Whilst it must be so hard to see your son unable to have things we take for granted, it’s good to know that he will be getting dedicated support and treatment to help him get through this.

    My concern is also with you. Do you have a partner who is supportive? Is there anyone else out there who is helping you?

    This forum was set up for just the reasons you mention… I tried to get support for myself and family, but could only find some if the worst happened. I sadly knew that I wasn’t the only person who would be in this situation, so it is an attempt to offer something of a mutual support group. The forum is here for you, and I hope that it helps, but I recognise that we’re sometimes absent for a while – I’ll try and see if I can get alerts to my phone to know if someone has posted, so we can be more support for you. I’ll also inbox you a contact number in case you would find it helpful to talk to me – no pressure to use it!

    Remember that in this awful situation, there are those who want to help and support you. Through this forum we will do what we can, but don’t forget that Papyrus also has qualified staff who are amazing and will happily talk / listen to both yourself and your son.

    Please keep us informed as to how you’re doing and ask anything you want and we will try to support you in whatever way we can.

    Continue to let your son know that you love him and want to support him – he’s not doing this to hurt you, though that may be how it feels. If you can, talk with him about how he feels, accepting what he says.

    I’ll be thinking of you


    Thank you Helen for your response and pm
    I was at my lowest and in the most amount of pain when I wrote those previous posts.

    I had been cleaning my son’s room in readiness for him to come home for a weekend break from the ward.

    I was having dreadful thoughts going through my head about hard it would be to be in his room if he completed. I realise now that this might be hard to read if your child had completed. Apologies to anyone in that position.

    I really was wondering about coping mechanisms though.
    – i was trying to keep busy.
    – I’ve been trying to make nice food for my husband and I even though we don’t have much appetite.
    – I have a folder of note recording who we’ve spoken with, their roles and contact details and how they might help
    – I found comfort in a website that posts “recovery letters” from people who have been depressed and/or suicidal but who are still here to tell the tale

    What do others find helpful ?


    Hello Adrift,
    I’ve been there… scared at what might happen. I still have days when it’s all too scary, and there have been times when my daughter has been on the edge of making that completion.
    I too keep busy, though that’s not always the healthy option! I struggle to go away as I worry so much about what might happen in my absence, though desperately need a break.
    Your mention of a folder with details, is a good idea, and the website with recovery letters is something I’d not heard of before – thank you, I shall look at that.
    I hope you have a really positive time with your son at home, and are able to relax with him there


    Helen you’re doing an amazing job posting here whilst still going through a tough time with your daughter – thank you for doing this.

    Our situation is that we have a settled family life, me and my husband work very well as a team, I don’t know how people manage without that support.

    It turns out the ward was really not a great place for my son to be. He is on leave with us until his discharge date in 2 weeks.
    We are working on getting some support in the community set up as so far he’s had no actual therapy.
    He did have a psychological assessment Which suggested he doesn’t need medication for the depression.

    Looks likely that there will be a wait for psychological intervention in the community.

    So here we are with all the reasons for his attempt (presumably) still there,
    With him feeling worse after a week in a ward of high drama (from the other suffering souls there), and with treatment of any kind a few weeks off at least.

    He seems surly and angry with us now in a way that he wasn’t before admission.

    I kind of don’t blame him, he was admitted onto the unit at a weekend with no assessments or therapy available for 3 days – this I guess I’d expect. However No one from there spoke to him about what would be happening to him, no one told him who his named nurse or keyworkers were. He had no distractions in his room (until we got on top of that). He didn’t feel comfortable about spending time outside of his room due to how down he was and how the other people on the unit were behaving (nb I’m not blaming them, they were having their own crises).
    I’d feel pretty bad if I were put in that position too.

    I am extremely apprehensive about the future for our relationship with him, we love him so much and we’re at a loss to know how to best support him, on top of not knowing how to keep him safe.

    He had come straight from a tier 4 secure ward after a serious attempt on his own life back into our home and he’s determined to carry on exactly as before – in no way will he tolerate any amount of monitoring from us.
    He went straight out with his mates, although he did come home when he said he would.

    There are going to be tough times ahead I’m sure.


    Hi Adrift,

    sorry for the delay in responding, how are you?

    Has the relationship with your son improved since he’s been home, has he spoken to you about how he’s feeling?

    It’s hard to know just what has led him to feel that life is not worth living, and to know how best to support him, but don’t underestimate the value of your love for him and your willingness to take him seriously.

    Whilst I totally understand your desire and need to keep him safe, he also needs to take some responsibility for this. It’s not easy to hear, but ultimately it is his choice. You can do everything you can, but he makes daily, often hourly or minute by minute decisions as to whether to continue with life or not. I guess he is feeling pretty mixed up right now, unsure of how others see him, and needing to justify to himself that his recent decisions were well thought through. Part of him is possibly hoping that it’s all gone away and he can get back to ‘normality’, but that may not be possible.

    Don’t be frightened to ask him if he still feels suicidal. That might sound hard and frightening, but if he is, it’s best that you know.

    It is an exceptionally hard road to walk, but do all you can to keep the whole family walking the path together – all supporting your son, but supporting each other too. You will need it.

    Be assured that you’re not alone and there are others, me included, who are here for you.


    Today has been difficult. My daughter is in a low place and although she has managed to put her ‘mask’ on and go to work, it’s been a tough morning. I feel so tired, and so worried for her. She is in a vulnerable space and I can’t wave a magic wand and make everything better, although I so long to. I see a beautiful person who has had a number of deep hurts; who doesn’t find it easy to see her own worth and so doesn’t always make good decisions for herself. She is bright and worked so hard to get a degree, doing really well, yet isn’t finding the strength to use the knowledge and skills she has. I long for her to recognise and live in the truth that she is an amazing person, who is loved and has much to give to this world. I long for her to be released from the cruel grips of this dark mental state and to live a life free from the pressure of wanting it all to end.


    🙄 I write this as sat on a park bench watching two young children & two dogs wonder around without a care in the world – am I selfish? How would they know this morning I was shouted at, blamed, held totally responsible for the self loathing my daughter feels. Life is too hard, I don’t understand, I don’t care, I don’t listen, I’m not worth talking too. Perhaps at times all the aforementioned are true, the vast majority of times it’s the most absurd thing she could shout at me between profanities and self hate responses. It doesn’t stop me loving her unconditionally, as I’d say to her to infinity and beyond however it’s hard to take, time after time. Friends say she is a polite, beautiful credit to me, which of course she is, they don’t have to live with the daily ups and downs, irregularity of emotions, highs (very high) and lows (extreme lows) never middle ground. In the whole I support, reassure, hold, talk, listen, tolerate but today I’m exhausted. Thanks for being there forum xx


    Hi Sarah,
    your message could well have been my writing this morning after a deeply upsetting time last night. It’s so hard when we give all we can (and more) in love and support and affirmation, and then occasionally it gets thrown back in our faces. I too am exhausted. I need a break. But my pain and anguish pale into insignificance at the pain and turmoil of my daughter, that I can only guess at. How hard must it be to have every day as a battle to stay alive? Every day feeling guilt that somehow you’re not good enough? Every day feel that what you want is not acceptable, but the strain of putting on the mask to the outside world is too much effort?
    I too am grateful for the honesty and support found in this forum. For all those who are finding it too exhausting to live alongside, make sure you take time out to re-charge your batteries, doing something that’s life-giving for you.
    Sarah, take care and know that you are supported, even if it is from a distance, by others who know what it’s like xx


    Thank you.
    I am so sorry to hear you too are having a tough episode again. I really hope today brings a more positive mindset for her and indeed you! The emotional surcharge it takes to deescalate and just listen when the meltdowns happen is unexplainable to those who don’t have such challenges within their world, yes we will manage and get through each day as we see the hurt, despair, desperation, hatred our daughters feel and I totally agree when you say they feel try they are ‘not good enough’ as this phrase is spoken at each and every episode. She can’t, won’t, not good or clever enough to achieve! I so wish they would see how absolutely proud us Mothers are of them by everything they have already achieved when fighting their demons, how beautiful and adored they are and how regardless we will be here for them. Anyway we continue to reassure and hope they beat this eposode. We have each other on here from afar to keep each others strength, only we know how we feel.
    Speak soon, and take care too. Stay safe.
    Hugs xxx


    I’m aware that there are many reading this forum who are not writing posts. That’s fine and I hope you find it helpful. Please do write if you would like to and let us support each other – we’re not experts, just seeking ways to keep going and help out loved ones. In my case it’s my daughter who is suicidal, but it could be anyone. If you are in a similar situation, don’t struggle on alone,


    My son attempted suicide in the summer. I just can’t ‘move on’, I can’t get the constant worry out of my head, it just goes around and around. Even though I try to keep busy, my fear is constantly there. I can’t enjoy the good days because I don’t know when the day is going to implode, which as you know, can happen at a moments notice. Theres things I want to talk to him about but I’m frightened of how he will react. I’m walking on egg shells constantly and am utterly exhausted. Ive only just discovered Papyrus – I know none of you can make it better, but its a huge relief to know I’m not alone and that someone understands.


    Hello amandaen,

    My heart goes out to you. I’m glad you’ve found us, though sorry that it’s such a worrying situation you find yourself in.

    Those of us who are on this forum page are mainly parents like yourself, trying to get through each day, and helping one another with encouragement and any support we’re able to give. I hope you’ll find it a safe space to be honest and share how you are.

    I can only guess at how you’re feeling right now, but want you to know that we care. Sometimes we can feel so isolated, but I want you to know that you are heard and are not alone. Many of us live with similar tensions to yourself and know the eggshells and exhaustion that go with the fears that we will lose our loved one.

    One thing I’ve learnt, through Papyrus and also through ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) is the need to ask direct questions. You are having trouble knowing what to say to your son for fear of saying the wrong thing, but all evidence suggests that direct questions that can’t be misunderstood, are the most helpful. If you’re worried about whether your son is still feeling suicidal, ask him. If he says ‘No’, you can breath a little easier. If he says ‘yes’ then you have the potential to talk together about what help he might seek.

    You don’t mention whether you and he are getting any help, but don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Your GP, or the local mental health services should be able to advise you as to what is available for his age (you don’t mention whether he’s a young person or adult) in the area.

    In all the worry and fear, it is vital that you look after yourself. If you care for yourself then you will be in a better place to help your son.

    If you want to share further, or talk to one of us, then do direct message or reply on this page.

    Take care and remember that we’re here for you

    Shalom (deep peace)

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