AIBU to still beat myself up over this on a daily basis?

(40 Posts)
FloweryOwl Mon 19-Aug-13 14:39:46

Sorry for this thread in advance because it is a bit of a downer.
It's coming up to the anniversary of my friends death in a few days. In the run up to her death she had gone through a really tough time to say the least, I won't go into details but it was pretty rough for her and I'd been spending a lot of time at her house and staying over at her house with my dc (1 year old at the time) and just making sure she was okay and looking after her dc 8 months.

The night before she died she rang me and asked me if I could go over, any other time I would of gone but I was starting a new job the next morning so had a lot of things to sort out and was up early the next day to get dc to the childminders. I had to iron the clothes for the next day and just get all my final things sorted for work. I told her I'd call in the next day after I'd collected dc from the childminders. She said okay, we chatted for a bit. Told her she would be okay and said goodbye.

The next morning she rang me at 9.17am, I'd started my new job at 8.45am and I'd left my phone in my bag on silent. She also rang one of our mutual friends around the same time who also couldn't answer because she was at work. By the time her child's father had arrived at her house to drop their dc off at 10.30am she was dead. She'd taken a massive overdose and was found on the bathroom floor.

I can't get over the thought that if I'd of just gone round to her house the night before or had my phone on me that morning she would of still been alive. The guilt is no better now than it was then. Why didn't I just go round when she needed me? I knew what she had been through, I should of gone round. AIBU to still beat myself up over this every day? My DH thinks I am.

McNewPants2013 Mon 19-Aug-13 14:44:12

It is not your fault.

Have you been to any sort of counselling, because i think you may need some to put the guilt behind you.

It sounds like you was a very supportive friend.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Mon 19-Aug-13 14:44:46

If you had, there would have been another time, and another, and another. Would you have given up your entire life to look after her? She made her decision, she would have done it no matter what.

Shrugged Mon 19-Aug-13 14:53:36

You poor thing. What a difficult situation. Your husband is of course right, but guilt is never reasonable, and it's not long ago. You were clearly a huge support and help to her, but you cannot ultimately take responsibility for the life and death of another person. I agree you should see a good counsellor and talk through your feelings, and learn some strategies for dealing with the guilty feelings.

Isabelonatricycle Mon 19-Aug-13 14:54:41

I'd like to echo what McNewPants2013 and OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly said - it is not your fault, and there is absolutely no guarantee that you could have prevented it. It is understandable that you feel guilty but it is in no way deserved.

I think you should look into counselling, though, as clearly your husband telling you that it isn't your fault and you still feel guilty. Someone trained in counselling is probably better able than him or us in helping you.

cantreachmytoes Mon 19-Aug-13 15:00:02

I didn't want to read and run and don't feel "qualified" to say much.

It's not your fault though. It's just not.

It sounds like you were a brilliant friend to her though. Being a good friend does not mean stopping living your life though. You had a new job and that's important for you and your family. She knew you would be coming over, but for whatever reason she couldn't wait and that wasn't your fault.

If she was such a good friend, would she really want you to feel bad about this?

AntlersInAllOfMyDecorating Mon 19-Aug-13 15:05:35

I have dealt with a friend with depression/ mental health issues. We would spend hours talking/ rationalising whatever. Then she would go home and hours later she would have self-harmed sad Or got angry again with her on/off bf. It ended in her taken an overdose. I did happen to find her. If I had got there half an hour later, she would not have been able to open the door and would have died.

In that situation - it worked all together - she was found, she was treated. She is now a wife and mother and nurse. These things are luck, chaos, chance and the dark dark blackness that is mental illness - it controls people beyond our capacity to reach them sometimes.

Your friend was in a devastating pattern probably beyond her control and definitely beyond your control . Although my friend survived I had to take measures to have my own support system - no-one is responsible for the mental wellbeing of another. You can't control their thoughts.

Be at peace, celebrate her memory if you can, know that you loved her and that somewhere she knew that, but was sadly unwell. There is nothing you could have done differently.

Edendance Mon 19-Aug-13 15:09:20

Chances are- she rang you both knowing you wouldn't answer the phone, it is not your fault, she was very ill. I second the posters suggesting you get help dealing with this and getting closure.

SomethingOnce Mon 19-Aug-13 15:12:49

You were a good friend and she was very ill - it wasn't your fault. That said, I'm sure I'd feel the same way in your situation, I'd imagine it's a normal response.

I wholeheartedly agree that counselling would be a very good idea.

Sorry you had to go through that, OP.

oinkling Mon 19-Aug-13 15:17:52

Although it's not the same situation, myself and my mother both gave up work to care for my grandmother when she was terminally ill with cancer. It was hard, even with both of us. She was transferred to a hospice after 18 months and the majority of the family visited each day. The day I skipped to get my strength back for the coming week was her last day. I beat myself up for years about this, always concentrating on that one day missed and never remembering the 18 months of very, very hard unpaid work me and my mum took on out of love. Now it's twenty years in the past, I think about all the things I did right and I'm proud. Not many grandsons would do what I did.

Similarly for you, I understand why you are focussing on one thing you didn't do. But don't forget everything you did do. You sound like you were a good friend when it was really needed.

wishingchair Mon 19-Aug-13 15:23:11

It really isn't your fault and likewise you're not unreasonable in feeling guilty. I agree that counselling would be a good idea.

A relative of mine took their own life. It is incredibly hard not to think if only I'd done this or said that. I once heard that really severe depression can be a terminal illness, and we should think of it in those terms. For some death is inevitable. You were no more empowered to prevent the death of your friend that you would have been if she'd been battling an aggressive cancer. And if that had been the case, you wouldn't be beating yourself up about how you weren't able to magic up a cure in time, you would be thinking that although the anniversary of her death is terribly sad and hard to face, at least you were able to give her and her baby a lot of support when they needed it.

You sound like a fantastic friend OP x

missrlr Mon 19-Aug-13 15:27:30

Another vote here for:
it is NOT your fault
and
DO seek counseling.
[thought Do you know the other friend she called - can you speak to them about this? They may be feeling the same as you ..... ]
ALSO
remember the fantastic things you did, you were there
The happy times you had with friend

You do need to take steps to make sure this is not adversely impacting on your life now

Chin up x

wishingchair Mon 19-Aug-13 15:29:23

Just want to add that although it's not unreasonable to feel guilty, that guilt is misplaced (just in case it wasn't clear!). I didn't want to invalidate your feelings IYSWIM.

cardamomginger Mon 19-Aug-13 15:31:18

It is not your fault. I completely understand how you feel, and no doubt I, and many many others, would feel the same. It is not your fault. There are no guarantees that anything you could have done, or subsequently, would have made any difference to the final outcome. If someone wants to kill themselves badly enough, they will find a way.

Have you had any counselling to help you through this? It sounds like some could be helpful.

Have a hug. XXX

AndyMurraysBalls Mon 19-Aug-13 15:31:57

Would she blame you? No, of course not.

You sound so lovely and caring I would love to have you as a friend.

You are still grieving and trying to come to terms with her death and it may be that you need some counselling. Don't dismiss the idea. Counselling is not just for close relatives and spouses. You had a very close relationship with someone who died in tragic circumstances and so you are a victim of a horrible situation. Get any help you can to make your life everything she would have wanted you to have. For her.

cardamomginger Mon 19-Aug-13 15:32:11

* could have done THEN, or subsequently...

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Aug-13 15:34:30

It is not your fault.

I can understand why you feel guilty, it's the "what if" element.

But you can't torture yourself forever over it. Nor should you. You sound as though you were a good friend to her,she was just unwell.

flowers

zeno Mon 19-Aug-13 15:38:57

Almost everyone in the vicinity of a suicide (and other traumatic deaths) lives with "what if" guilt.

Essentially, our thinking brains want to somehow redo events in such a way that the person remains alive. We keep going over and over, re-imagining things that have already happened and cannot be changed. It is very human, and very normal, which makes it no less painful.

Some people find that it is easier to live with if they keep in mind that it is a perfectly understandable need to try and make it all not have happened that drives what presents itself as guilt. It's not that they are actually culpable.

I hope that makes some sense. My bereavement counsellor put it more clearly than that I think!

MrsHoarder Mon 19-Aug-13 15:42:52

Its not your fault. Its human to feel guilty, but at some point you had to not be available to her, because you have family responsibilities. Sometimes there is nothing that could have been done, even if you had been available.

flowers

DropYourSword Mon 19-Aug-13 15:44:34

Although it's natural to question yourself in this circumstance, your were an excellent friend and this was dedicatedly not your fault.

fluckered Mon 19-Aug-13 15:47:52

oh god. listen I cant even attempt to imagine what you have been through as you sound like a brilliant friend. I can only say that I am sure a lot of people in your situation would think "what if" and "if only". please don't beat yourself up about it. perhaps talking to someone might help. and try remember all those times you were there for her. I don't do cyber hugs but I think you deserve one ((hugs))

HighJinx Mon 19-Aug-13 16:03:08

It is not your fault. It just isn't like that.

When someone very close to me killed themselves and I was tortured by what if's.

It took me a long, long time to accept that even if I'd been there that time there was probably nothing I could have done to prevent it happening at some time. I hated that feeling of powerlessness. I could not accept that I couldn't help someone that I loved so very much.

It took a long time but I accept now that I couldn't have prevented her from taking her life if she wanted to any more than I could have cured her from cancer or heart disease if that had been what killed her instead.

You may find counselling helps or talking to others who have lost close friends and family to suicide.

Finally don't let your friends choices and her illness destroy your peace of mind.

Nombrechanger Mon 19-Aug-13 16:12:21

How awful for you to have gone through this. I feel so bad for you.

Saying that, there is absolutely NO WAY WHATSOEVER that this is your fault. Unfortunately, your friend was ill and if it wasnt that time, it would have been another time after that. You couldn't have given up your whole life to be permanently on standby.

I know you probably would have done if you knew you would be saving her life but it just doesn't work like that.

Please seek help to let this go. It's not doing you any good torturing yourself and I'm sure that your friend would be upset with you if your life was spent depressed and wondering "what if...".

Tee2072 Mon 19-Aug-13 16:16:26

Absolutely not your fault. Do find someone who can help you with your guilt.

Someone who wants to die will find a way to do it, no matter who does or does not answer their phone.

magimedi Mon 19-Aug-13 16:23:35

Flowery you sound like a wonderful friend.

It is not your fault at all - please do as many others have said & find some help for yourself.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now