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My Mother Is Suicidal, How Can I Help Her?


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Hi Everyone,

I'm not really sure how best to sum this up, but I am having real problems with my family at the moment. My mum and step dad have been trying for a baby, but my mum had a stillborn in August and miscarried in January. They have been waiting for 10 years to have a baby together because both my mum and my step dad have two children from previous marriages and they wanted to make sure that we were old enough to be able to deal with them having a baby. My brother went off to university and my stepsister went to live at her mum’s house. My step brother and I are both 17 so they decided that this would be an appropriate time for them to try.

My stepsister has also recently come back from living at her mum’s house; last week she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder after overdosing, self-harming and attempting suicide. My mum’s miscarriage occurred around the time that she came back and all of this happened which has made it impossible for her to separate the two events.

So with all that in mind, I've been really worrying about my mum. Yesterday I went downstairs and she was crying so I gave her a hug. I felt like I needed to help her and I remembered that she told me she had been posting on an online forum. I also knew what forum it was because I saw her on it a few nights ago. I found the forum online and found the thread that she had written. She wrote how she had been considering how to end her life and it broke my heart. How could she even consider doing that to me?

Please someone help me, what can I do for my mum? Is it wrong for me to be angry at her for thinking these things? Also, she doesn't know that I've read her posts, should I tell her? I know I probably shouldn't have looked at it but I really wanted to find a way to help her.


Someone help me :(

Edited by Nona24
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You sound like a really good person. I am sorry to read about your mother's suffering and yours too. Depression, even when tirggered by external events can sometimes involve disease pathology in the brain. That is something to keep in the back of your mind during this terrible crisis. One part of the brain in particular [during depression] has been linked to atrophy and this atrophy can represent a volumetric loss in the brain of as much as 20% in extreme cases. Depression has also been linked to thinning of areas of the outer surface of the brain, a thinning of as much as 28%. Now the research pointing to these links is still preliminary and subject to validation or invalidation by futher studies, longer term studies and new discoveries, so I don't want to scare you. But please at least consider that your mother may be suffering significant brain illness. External losses can be harmful to brain health.

Some good things you can do in keep informed about depression. There are books available about what to do when someone you love is depressed. Some can be accessed for free from public libraries. It is good to have allies. You can often call a suicide hotline advisor for council. You can contact a psychiatrist or psychologist and even with privacy restrictions and so on, they can often be helpful to you. A talk with you mother's doctor can help too sometimes.

It can help just to be there for your mother. Depression is linked to extreme negative thinking about the past, present and future. You might want to read up on Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It shows how depression affects thinking and causes people to over-generalize, over-simplify, negatively label and so on. While I am not suggesting you be a therapist for your mother, CBT can help you understand and deal with some things in her life and yours too. It is important that her depression not pull you into one because that can really happen. Depression can warp thinking sometimes. A bad event can be interpreted to be a never ending series of bad events without hope. But there is always hope, so the feeling is not accurate. A person who feels they have done something bad may view themselves as 100% bad, which is an over-simplification of their complex lives.

Others here will probably have more helpful advice for you today. If anything I have said has not been helpful, please accept my apologies and allow me to substitute my best wishes for my poor advice. Depression can be a brutal and savage illness. Please take good care of yourself. I commend you for your deep concern for your mother. That is really an inspiration to me. All good things to you! Please do not beat yourself up over anything. You are a good person doing the best you can given everything that is influencing you so powerfully right now. Please don't forget that!!!

Edited by Epictetus
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Just tell her how important she is to you and everyone else. Tell her that there's no good reason to end her life, ever.

As for the getting into her business, use it as ammo to help you (in a good way, obviously). Tell her you know what she's decided, and try to intervene. If all of that fails, try to persuade her to see someone about it or get someone to help you persuade her, might do her some good.

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Thank you so much for your kind responses and advice! It means the world to me to know that somebody is listening.

I think one of the hardest parts of this for me is not understanding why my mum wants another baby so much. She's always told me how proud she is of me and my brother, and I don't understand why she is considering suicide because the prospect of having a baby seems unlikely rather than being happy that she already has me and my brother. It makes me feel like I'm not good enough :( How is dying better than being able to watch your children grow up???

I need her and I don't think she understands that, even though I've told her so many times.
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Depression as a whole tends to mess with your mind something fierce (and is one of the worst things to do so). She's obviously just not thinking too clearly.

Either way, just try to see what more you can do for her. Just keep telling her all she needs to/should already know.

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God, I wish I knew what to even say here. I wish I knew what to do. If I had, I wouldn't even be here. I wouldn't need to talk to someone either. But I hope things turn out on the up. Hug her. If not for you or her, but for me. Because I wish I could still do that.

Sorry, I am a sad mess.

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I am really sorry that you had to read those words. Im sure that hurts you to know that someone you look to for security is hurting that bad. How old is your mom? How long has it been since she lost the baby? So much seems to be going on. First--gosh hormones are a powerful thing. PPD could be an issue. As far as you not being enough....I doubt that is anywhere near her thought process. What you are thinking iis a totally normal thing to have run through your mind, however, I can tell you that's not where her "head" is at all right now. Yes it's normal to be angry for her thinking that as well. Your thought processes are not like hers at all if that makes sense. You are at two very different ages any are not thinking the same.

It was probably great---raising you and she would like to do it all over again maybe? Life flies by so fast. Maybe she feels like her time has passed fertility wise. That can indeed be very hard for some women to deal with.

Its very hard to know how she would react to knowing you read all that stuff. Is there an adult who she is close to that you feel comfortable sharing the info with? That might be a place to start. Let us know how you are doing....

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I am really sorry that you had to read those words. Im sure that hurts you to know that someone you look to for security is hurting that bad. How old is your mom? How long has it been since she lost the baby? So much seems to be going on. First--gosh hormones are a powerful thing. PPD could be an issue. As far as you not being enough....I doubt that is anywhere near her thought process. What you are thinking iis a totally normal thing to have run through your mind, however, I can tell you that's not where her "head" is at all right now. Yes it's normal to be angry for her thinking that as well. Your thought processes are not like hers at all if that makes sense. You are at two very different ages any are not thinking the same.

It was probably great---raising you and she would like to do it all over again maybe? Life flies by so fast. Maybe she feels like her time has passed fertility wise. That can indeed be very hard for some women to deal with.

Its very hard to know how she would react to knowing you read all that stuff. Is there an adult who she is close to that you feel comfortable sharing the info with? That might be a place to start. Let us know how you are doing....

My mum is 44, I am 17. She was 33 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to my still born baby brother, at the end of August. She miscarried again at the beginning of January. Thank you so much for your words, it helps me so much. I tried to speak to my brother (19) last night but he is in a very difficult place himself at the moment - suffering from high anxiety and panic attacks. I couldn't bring myself to tell him about the suicidal thoughts but I did tell him how I was feeling and he helped me a lot.

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You are welcome :)

I looked back up at the top just now and saw that you answered some of that earlier...sorry about that. I can say from personal experience that the pain of losing a child is overwhelming. I never had a stillborn child...thats an intense pain I dont know....but I have had two miscarriages. I do know that pain, and it takes so very long to mend from. She had two strong hits very close together. She is still reeling from all that I can guarantee you. I remember a full year later after my first miscarriage we were on vacation somewhere and a wave of grief hit me out of nowhere and I cried so uncontrollably it caught even me off guard. My poor husband didn't know what to do!LOL

You yourself are very young to be taking this load on your shoulders. Bless your heart. Dont take responsiblity for all that is swirling around you. Thats a big burden. Just love the people in your life and maybe find someone who can gently tell your mom that maybe she needs to seek help from someone or maybe look at chosing something to help her get over this hurdle, like an antidepressant.

One day at a time....

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Hey nona, I. Am really sorry to read all your posts here and tat you find yourself in such a difficult and heart rending situation, especially for someone so young. It is reassuring to see that you have already received some very sound and heartfelt advice here. I believe that you show great maturity at a young age and really feel for you too.

One thing you said which really struck me was how you said "one of the hardest parts of this for me is not understanding why my mum wants another baby so much.". There were times during my upbringing and to this day, that my mother would sometimes say or do things that I could not understand. I haven't been in the Sam e situation as your mum as wanting children wasn't something I aspired to. But I do know how it might feel to be in your shoes somewhat. I wouldn't claim to understand how bad it must feel but I can go some way to relating to your feelings. I always found it terribly unsettling if things happened at home which made me feel worthless or without importance. I loved my mother so much but sometimes she didn't seem to reflect the same intensity of feelings back to me. It felt very hard contending with feelings of rejection. I don't think she was aware of or ever intended to make me feel that way, it just happened I suppose.

I think now,many years on, I can see that at the time, as a youngster, my world very much revolved around my mother. Anything that made her less accessible to me or that rendered her upset, angry, unwilling... Really really bothered me. I used to go out of my way to prevent things bothering her. I'd be on the look out for signs that something might not be right because it scared me when she wasn't herself.

I believe that your mother is genuinely proud of you and your brother. What she has said in that respect is a true reflection of how she feels about you both and it is really good she has been able to say that.

It is so hard to put yourself in the mindset of another person, even if you are for instance a highly trained mental health professional. What makes it even more difficult is when you are very close to that person you are trying to figure out. Trying to piece together aspects of their mind when they mean so very much to you is almost impossible.

it is quite possible that because the pain and anguish your mother is feeling is proving a huge burden to bear, her focus at the moment is very much internal. I don't believe she would be aware that her current thought patterns would be so very hurtful to you, not least because of how much your mum means to you.

I do remember very clearly at times my mother not being available to me. I can remember the fear of not having her there for me. that she was mindful of other things, other people. i felt vulnerable and i really needed her but i didnt know how to reach out. I do relate strongly to why this is so difficult for you.

I am relieved that you are able to post openly and honestly here. It is important to have an outlet for your feelings. I also feel that what you say and the way you have been reflecting in your posts, as I said above, shows great maturity.

It is so hard feeling that the support of a much loved and needed person who means the world to you is not currently available. But you are doing the right thing in seeking ways to help your mum through this. I can remember trying to help my mother when times were tough. I really do understand that you need her. Perhaps when less distracted she would be more aware of your needs and also more understanding. At the moment as your mother is mindful of other things she is less aware of your pain and needs but I am hopeful in time the situation will improve. I do recall with my mother that I really couldn't understand her thoughts and behaviour towards me. But I guess as I grew older and became more experienced in life, it became apparent to me that her world was more complicated than I had realised a the time.

Well Nona, I do hope that my ramblings will offer you at least a little comfort through a difficult time. Make sure you keep posting because you have many friends here. Also , don't forget that your mum looked to this site for help which is a good and positive thing which u will have seen from the helpful and supportive replies you have received as well. Bye for now

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Hi Nona. So many difficult things to deal with for someone your age. Your mother is lucky to have a daughter that cares as much for her as you do. You mentioned trying to understand why she wants another baby so badly. i cannot speak for your mom, but it may be that she and your stepdad want a child that is a part of both of them. You are your mothers, your brother is your stepfathers. It kind of is a yours, mine, ours type situation. The loss of a child at any age is difficult. With your mothers advancing age, the ability to have a healthy pregnancy and birth decreases with every year. Some women feel as if they are not "whole" if they cannothave children. Either of these might be possible cause for your mothers situation. I am so very proud of you for being there to support your mother. She needs you and your brother to stand behind her so keep it up. i can only imagine how difficult it must have been for you to read those words you mom posted in the online forum. Please remember it was not because of anything you said or did. When you mentioned wondering why you weren't good enough for your mother, my heart broke. When someone is in a suicidal state of mind, they really are not thinking of those they will potentially leave behind. What consumes them is the desire for all the pain to go away. i am sure your mother loves you very much and you are more than good enough for her. Has your mom received any type of counseling to help her grieve the loss of the two babies? It sounds as though she has not processed this yet, which is very understandable given it has only been a short period of time since the loss happened. Her changing hormones coupled with this grief can alter her thought processand she may not be thinking clearly at all. Continue to love her and support her. Let her know you care deeply for her and if she is struggling you want to get her help so she can gain the coping skills to move past this. Also remember to take care of yourself. This isn't easy on you either. Talk to a school counselor, friend, friends parent, or whomever you most comfortable with in sharing. If you need a listening ear, please feel free to PM me. i am willing to give you that ear. :hugs: You are a fine young lady.

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Hi everyone. First of all, thank you so so so much for all the responses. Being able to talk on here is really helping me as I don't really feel like I have anyone else I can talk to at the moment.

Things still aren't going too well here. I woke up this morning and heard my mum crying in her room, I called to her and my step dad told me she was very upset and he said he wasn't sure how much me going in there would help her. I didn't say anything and just opened the door. My mum was curled up in her bed with tears streaming down her face. When she saw me she reached out for me and I rushed to her to give her a hug. She kept apologising and I told her that none of this is her fault. I said the she was being so so strong and I told her not to cry. She quickly tried to compose herself and asked me what I was doing today. I had to rush off to college and I felt awful leaving her :( She's going to see the doctor tomorrow.

My mum has stopped posting on the forum I told you about, so it's hard for me to know what's going on in her head. I understand that it might be better for me to stop reading and checking the forum but I don't feel as though I can ignore it now that I know that she has been posting about the suicidal thoughts she has been having.

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Nona, your post is lovely.... That your mother reached out to you when she was feeling so bad is just wonderful I feel. You really are being so strong and your contribution towards helping your mum is ... Well so great I don't know how to describe it.

Far from things not going too well I really feel that this is a very good step in the right direction. I can appreciate why you'd feel things aren't so good because the feelings are just so intense. But seriously, that is a special moment you shared with your mum, really it is.

You, Nona, are a special person indeed. I believe your mum knows that which is why she reached out to you.

The way your conversation went with her too showed that she does value you and your response to her showed great maturity.

I can understand why you didn't like leaving her but your caring actions will have left her with a lovely warm feeling inside. Closeness like that is purely instinctive.

Hmmm,the forum,what to say? Well, it probably would be best not to look at it but actually I do understand why it's tempting. In similar circumstances in my life I have given in and read things I shouldn't have. If I am totally honest, whilst I felt I wanted to know what was going on, the information I found out ... Well, it would have been better that I didn't see it. But in the end, it's up to you.

Anyway, Nona, thanks so much for posting as its made me happy for you. Of course there's a long way to go but your mum knows u r there for her. Byeeeeee :-)

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Nona you are indeed doing all you can.....and its amazing. :) Im glad your mom is going to the doctor tomorrow. I hope she can open up and share what she is feeling. Give it time....grieving is a long process sometimes. Thank *you* for going above and beyond what most people your age would do. That says a lot about you! Keep us posted as you can!

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I am so happy to hear your mom reached out to you and is going to see a doctor. These are huge steps for her and will lead her toward further healing. You are a pillar of strength for her. Having a support system in place is essential. Make sure you have one as well. You may not need it right now, but as things start to get back under control with your mom you may find it all catches up with you. Often times the caregiver doesn't realize they need support too. Continue to share here with us. We do care about you and your situation. :hugs:

Edited by sufferinsilence
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Hi everyone, thanks again for the responses. I'm feeling a bit low so I thought I would check in. Everything's going well at the moment in general, my mum has been okay since Monday. She didn't go to the doctors in the end, she was meant to go today but I haven't seen her because her and my step dad have gone out. The reason I am feeling a bit low is because I'm home alone with my step sister (who was recently diagnosed with Boarder Line Personality Disorder after attempting suicide). I find it really difficult because she is really demanding and difficult to be around. I like to have my own space and I've just had a long hard day at college so I want to be left alone to do my own thing but she is constantly seeking my attention. I feel sort of bad because I don't know how to the best way of treating her is. Just feels like things are catching up with me a bit! It's been a hard couple of weeks and I feel like I can't talk to anyone about it :(

Edited by Nona24
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I'll say you've had a hard couple of weeks,Nona. You will be needing your own space too, I know how that feels. I don't have any experience with people who have borderline personality disorder but I do know that having someone seeking your attention when all you want is to do your own thing, is not only a hindrance but is very frustrating. Plus if it were me, I'd want to go & shut myself away but would then feel guilty for ignoring someone when they needed me.

Boy it's a complex situation you are in. I remember how my brother used to be a handful. He was older than me and really full on as a person. This was a long time ago and these days he would probably have been diagnosed with ADHD or something. He used to just spout a whole load of rubbish & there never seemed to be any peace from it. Rather than in your case of your step-sister seeking attention, my brother was a nuisance in all honesty. Trouble was none of us knew how to deal with it. My mother would never admit anything was wrong with him so he didn't get the help he needed. These days he has worked it all out and is much, much better. I get on really well with him too which is pretty cool after all the unpleasantness we encountered.

Hopefully as a family you will all be able to work something out. It's important for you not to take on too much responsibility as for someone so young, it is a lot to ask of a person. In fact ,you already have more than enough responsibility within the scope of your family with all the wonderful support you have been giving your mum.

so if you are able, don't take too much on. It might feel like an obligation but it isn't. You've got your own life including college that will need plenty of your time to keep in order.

so please Do look after yourself, Nona. Are there people maybe at college or within your group of friends that you are able to chat with? As a distraction as well, it might be a relief for you to do things away from home that give you some "me time". You are perfectly entitled to do things for yourself still. If you do find that everything gets on top of you, is there anyone at college you can go to? I don't know if there is a set up which offers support in such circumstances.

Anyway I am wishing you well and sending you love and warm, caring hugs because you are a lovely and very brave girl.

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Hi again! So I just had a very long chat with my mum. We started off talking about my career options and what university I want to go to and things. We then got onto the subject of my step sister. I told her I find it a bit difficult being alone with her and I find her extremely demanding and she said she understood completely. I then asked her if she went to the doctors in the end and she said she had. She said they were useless and basically they've lost her information about her being referred to a councillor so she decided to refer herself. They said they would get back to her within a week with details. She told me about how she feels when she has a panic attack, and that she had another one yesterday. We talked about routines for coping with panic attacks and she said that all the things that she would normally do when feeling anxious aren't working (e.g. yoga, meditation). She said that she feels as though it's getting harder rather than easier in terms of anxiety at the moment. At this point my step dad came in and we stopped talking. It's not that she doesn't like talking to him about it, it's more that she feels like a liability to him as he has so much else going on at the moment obviously with his daughter. The thing is, I found it really hard to know what to say to her to help, I tried my best to reassure her and tell her that she is being far stronger than most people would be in her situation. She said she feels as though she's failing and she's not being helpful enough. I said that she shouldn't look at things in that way, and that sometimes she does need to put herself first. I hope that I helped her by just being there to talk to, but I just feel like I need to do more for her. I pray that she will get the counselling that she needs to help pick herself back up again, she deserves so much more than all of this :(

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Hi Nona. From what you describe I feel,you are doing really well. The things you have said to your mother are just spot on, really they re. In some respects, there is only so much you can do. Ultimately it'll be down to your mum to find ways of improving, be the self-help, lovely caring and constructive words from you and one course seeing a counsellor. Sounds like your mum wants things to change and that's really good. She must feel very close to you and really appreciate how strong you are being.

I also feel you handled the situation about your step sister very sensitively. It must be a relief to have been able to chat to your mum.

I do relate to how the conversation ended when your step dad came in. I guess that as you say she is trying to protect him.

Typical that the doctor lost the referral. I remember once when I was waiting to,see my doctor when I felt really depressed, I checked in at reception but they forgot to call me through. Soi sat there for ages. Just when you least need it, things like that can happen sometimes.

Don't forget that you do need to look,after yourself. All the responsibility does not lie with you for any of this. Your mum ultimately will get the professional help from the appropriate source. And you have already provided her with warmth and reassurance.

I'm so pleased you have been able to open the lines of communication with your mum. It's a very special relationship that you have there.

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It's been a while since I last posted on here, mainly because I was starting to feel better about everything. I was still checking my mums forum everyday but she hadn't posted anything new for a couple of weeks so I assumed that she was starting to feel more like herself again. However, today I found a new forum she had started around a week ago. There was more of her contemplating suicide. She mentioned how she had put together a "suicide pack" and buried it somewhere so that it would be there if she needed it. This freaked me out. In her posts she mentioned how low she was feeling and how she was wanted to add a few more things to her suicide pack. Then she said that she came home and talked to her daughter (me) about things. This must have been the conversation I mentioned us having in my last post. She wrote "I know I couldn't mess up her life by ending mine... I am a mother, I have responsibilities."

This really crushed me inside. I honestly have no idea how I am supposed to feel. She still doesn't know that I know about all this.

She also wrote "spending time with my daughter helps the most." And this made me feel even more awful because I know that the reason talking to me is so helpful for her is because I know exactly what is going on in her head because I have read her forum. So I know exactly what to say and how to treat her without her knowing that I know. I feel like I'm playing God! I don't want to be going behind her back and reading things that she doesn't want me to know about, but I am terrified that if I stop reading it then one day she will do something and I would have been able to stop it if I had still been reading her thoughts. At the same time, knowing about all of this makes me terrified that she will do something and I will always have it in my mind that I was the only one who knew, and I should of told someone.

I'm really scared.

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She really does need to get professional help. If you are really concerned at some point, don't be afraid to take her to the emergency room. They will keep her for observation if they feel she may be a danger to herself or others. Another approach you may take with her is that you feel you need counseling for all that has happened. You have suffered these losses just as she has. Tell her you are afraid to go alone and ask if she would be willing to go into a family or group type therapy session. If she feels she is doing this for you, not her, she might be willing to accompany you. This is an awful lot for a young person such as yourself to deal with. You do need some help in the best way to deal with her as well. She can drain you dry emotionally if you remain under this kind of stress for too long. You are doing everything you can for her. At some point, she needs to be convinced to help herself. She is the only one that can do it. Nobody else can. Hang in there. You are amazing. :hugs:

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I've come back here because I don't know what else to do any more. My mum has been posting on her forum about how broken she feels and how much she misses our family but can't bring herself to see anybody because of the way she is feeling. She wrote how she misses who she used to be and it feels like all her dreams are shattered. PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO HELP HER, I CAN'T BARE THIS ANYMORE :( How can I just make her feel happy again?? She's still waiting for the doctors to sort out some therapy for her but they are being absolutely useless. I feel so so lost because she still doesn't know that I know any of this and I want to tell her but at the same time I know that would be a bad idea. I've been trying so hard to keep chatting to her and doing things for her and I've been asking her how she is feeling and I've been giving her hugs everyday. I've tried to hard to be around for her whenever she needs me and I've been crying for her everyday. Why is nothing I'm doing working?? Why can't I make her better :(

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It sounds like she has gone through events that are too overpowering for her psyche to handle. This is why she feels overpowering anxiety right now, and it's impossible for her to think rationally. Please explain her that this is something that will pass with time, even though now it's still acute and painful for her. You're doing everything you can do in your power. It's when she can process some of the emotions herself, without getting too overwhelmed that she can recover step by step. It's possible to heal from this kind of mental pain and distress just like it's possible to heal from physical pain. You just need to get treatment. You can't do that on your own. Therapy is the place to go.

It's all going to be ok. I'm sure the doctors will sort her out some therapy soon. Take a deep breath and remember that everything's going to be alright. It's not the end of the world. There's help available that will make everything better and balance things out again.

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Good evening Nona :) Please ...please hear me say this....*you* are not responsible for making this better. Please don't ask yourself "Why is nothing I'm doing working?" or "Why can't I make her better?" That implies that you are not doing your job or something. Please sweet girl understand this heavy weight is not yours to bear and fix. Love yes, hug her yes, be there yes, comfort where you can yes......but breathe and find joy for yourself in the meantime too. It is ok to do just that. Keep pressing to ask about when her doctors are going to get her help. Gently remind her to call and press that issue. It sounds like to me she isnt going to get past this without help.

Do take her to the ER if you feel like it gets acute. Again....you are not responsible for making this all go away.

Keep us posted.

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