Wife talks of suicide and I can't handle it

Posted , 10 users are following.

I posted here three years ago about the difficulties in my family, involving my wife being severely depressed.

In what seems like a moment, three years have passed and I can't see the wood for the trees.

My wife has been depressed for several years now. Initially, it was around the birth of our child but things have escalated since with several debilitating physical health complications that require medication. In August 2016 she deliberately took too many of these and had to be seen at hospital.

She has taken many practical steps to deal with this, from therapy to adjusting her work hours and I try to accommodate this by providing space and rest at weekends (where possible, given we have two primary school age boys). My work has been understanding but is full-time and with this, a large chunk of the cooking, housework and children's bed time etc, leaves little time for me to think practically about what to do.

I have some anxiety/depression too, and take some medication.

The pressure on me to get a new job/change things/come up with a plan is huge but i find myself saying nothing, burying my head in the sand etc. We are not in a position of having family close by or willing to help.

This leads to tension between us, threats of leaving, of suicide, that I often misjudge - freezing or shouting her down as I am nervous about what to do about it and hate to see the escalation of anger and despair.

Tonight, fretting over a work issue, she suddenly switched to 'I'm going to kill myself' mode and beyond saying 'don't say that' and 'don't do it' I could not find the words or actions to respond.

When we finally spoke she said it was the coldest thing she had ever seen and I fear she was right. Is this such an ingrained thing now that we barely raise an eyebrow? God, I hope not. By way of example, she said I was worse than someone who practices FGM - they are horrendous but they do it because they twistedly believe it is the right thing to do - and that I don't even do that. 

Children have heard arguments and got upset too. Not recently, thankfully, but on many occasions.

We love each other and have a lot of light and sun in our lives, especially with our children, but I am on tenterhooks for the moment it goes wrong. And know that my lack of change is accelerating that tension and the feelings of anger expressed directly at me.

I see other friends making changes in their lives and look on with envy that they have the energy, drive and headspace to turn things round.

We both want her to stop work but she is the primary earner and we are already very stretched. I feel guilty and unable to work out what to do.

Stubbornness runs in my family and I fear I am repeating mistakes of my parents who are divorced.

We are capable of so much together but I fear it all slipping away after one ultimatum too far, one too many silent response from me.

It is, I guess, for me to change things. But I don't know how.

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Wow. Life is really hard for your entire family. I don't know what to suggest but feel I want to reach out to you as you are clearly all suffering. Do you have supportive healthcare professionals around you?? It's very easy to say leave work and all of you focus on feeling better physically and mentally but the bills still need to be paid. I presume you are receiving therapy or counselling??? Is it worth speaking to your Dr to see if anything else can be done??? Do you have family nearby who can help?? I'm so sorry you are all going through this.

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  • Posted

    Hi Jim, that sounds terrible to live with and I thought my life was bad?  I think you may need to speak to your doctor to seek some advice as to what you do to support your children, yourself and your wife going forward.  Your wife is getting support (or should be), with this but you and those children aren't.  I would arrange to privately go to see your doctor without your wife and ask for help.  Good luck you need to do something I feel for the sake of your sanity more than anything.

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  • Posted

    Can you afford to bring somebody in to help with housework? Like a teenager? They are cheap and work hard. Are any of your kids old enough to help out? Don’t feel down on yourself these things happen . It sounds like you are both overwhelmed. Would you be able to get some support or help through the state or county that you live in? You could always put up a flyer at the colleges for help. I’m so sorry that you are going through this. You can always come here to talk and vent that always helps. This is a safe place for you to come.
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  • Posted

    Hi Jim. Have you gotten still with yourself long enough to ask yourself. Do I really still love this person or is it emotional blackmail i.e. "I will......." Sometimes these relationships become very confusing! We forget why we are really there when we get into a pattern of hurtful behavior. From both sides. 

    Do you feel loved?

    And then their are those two precious children caught in the middle probably getting whiplash from looking back and forth from left to mom and right to dad. 

    Have you two had individual therapy and marriage counseling? If not I think you need to start both asap. What do you think? Diane

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  • Posted

    Hello Jim , and welcome. It sounds like your doing everything you can, but might I suggest going to a couples counseling, try someone different, it sounds like you really want to help her, and good for you. Also talk to her doctor it might be nothing more then trying new medications. Don’t give up. A good marriage takes work. And I’m sure the kids don’t want, or understand what’s going on. Remember for better or worse. I’m in at 40 years, and I’ve lived with an  alcoholic , so believe me when I tell you he self medicated because of depression . There are great doctors then can help. Keep us informed, best of luck. Yuki50 
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  • Posted

    Hi Jim - i can feel the frustration and despair in your words. You are overwhelmed and bewildered as what to do next. The things she is saying to you (like FGM) is the depression talking. I wondered whether she has any sick or holiday leave entitlements with her work? Could she take some time off and stay in some retreat where she can be fully assessed in a place of peace and space? The time apart might will give you both time to reflect. A plan to deal with issues can be formulated and put in place. Another - tougher - action to take would be to alert the authorities next time she threatens suicide. It might be the call that changes things.

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