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7 years after DMs suicide and still struggling with so many things

(32 Posts)
laptopshmaptop Sun 16-Jul-17 23:05:57

I don't really know where to start.

Had counselling.
Then CBT, after which I felt I had turned a corner.
Then realised I wasn't doing so great after all. Dug out CBT notes and started using techniques again.

Had couples counselling as felt our relationship was deteriorating. Although issues were identified on both sides, it of course came back to the fact I can't get emotional support from my DH - which is a massive part of a husband/wife relationship - and realised I have been unable to cry, breakdown or show emotion in front of him since DMs death.

In fact, that's not entirely true. The only emotion I show is anger. I so desperately want to throw myself into his arms wailing and letting it all out, but physically can't.
I give myself a headache from the tension of all this.

I have now to get individual therapy to help me address this issue but I'm so scared of opening the flood gates. It's been 7 years for goodness sake! I feel like I should be in a better place by now.

I haven't contacted the counsellor to start this as I'm scared of what I'll have to face up to.

Also, because of the way I closed myself off, my DH struggles to know what was say/do when I bring something sensitive up. Tonight I brought up a situation with friends where I have been left out ^again (^that could be a whole other thread) but he pretty much acted like I hadn't even spoken. Is it any wonder I can't open up to him about things that make me sad?? It's not his fault. I have made him this way. And I know it's my fault, as I had ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages and used to cry in his arms all the time, so that bond and connection was definitely there before.

It just feels overwhelming at times. I often wonder if I'm depressed but my DM had addiction issues (including prescription drugs) and the thought of taking anti depressants fills me with dread.

On the outside my life looks great. Lovely family, good job, nice house, but on the inside I'm so completely broken and I really don't know whether I'll ever feel normal again.

Sorry it's so long, and thanks if you got to the end. I don't know what I'm asking, maybe just looking for reassurance from someone who's felt this low and come out the other side a better person.

Scottishgymnast Sun 16-Jul-17 23:19:25

That sounds so tough. Grief is so complex particularly when the cause is suicide. I haven't been in your exact position but I wanted to send some kind of response. Have hope, where there is life there is hope. To make changes you will have to work through some of this with your counsellor. The first step may be the hardest but what is the other option? You deserve to feel better than you feel now. Sending you warm wishes and strength to make changes.

gingernut0106 Sun 16-Jul-17 23:23:59

Didn't want to read and run. I haven't been in your position regarding DM but having suffered depression and avoided facing up to all the issues with a counsellor I decided to try and help myself. I'm now in a much better place emotionally but well aware that if I don't look after myself I could easily slip back.
I promise you that you can feel 'normal' again or at least a new version of normal but you have to be kind to yourself and try to address one small issue at a time. Good luck with it all xxx

laptopshmaptop Sun 16-Jul-17 23:30:07

Thank you Scottish and ginger

I really appreciate your replies.

I know I have to take this next step. It just feels like I've been trying to deal with this in various ways for so long, and it's exhausting.

I know I'll find the next round of counselling intense, but it has to be done. I need to make that phone call but I am scared to.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 16-Jul-17 23:35:01

I've no direct experience but I have a friend whose mother did the same. It's taken her years to come out of the other side, much more than 7. The things she would recommend (I think) are to take counselling little and often - so don't be afraid to restart it, lapse it, see how you go, pick it back up again. Tiny bites of the biscuit, iyswim.

Definitely some of this should be couples counselling to help you both work out how to communicate around this.

Be very aware that tough times in life can trigger extreme reactions.

Take care of yourself, keep fit. Don't be afraid of anti-depressants for short, well-managed periods of time. Allow your self to talk about your mum in 'normal' situations - she only mastered this a couple of years ago and to hear her casually say things like 'oh DM loved Corrie, remember?' Has been both a huge change and a way of her focusing on their relationship before her mum got very ill.

But above all be very gentle with yourself. You will get there, it is hard, but you will make it through.

laptopshmaptop Sun 16-Jul-17 23:48:56

Thanks for sharing this.

It's encouraging to hear your friend seems to be out the other side. Not that you ever get over it, of course, but that she is able to cope and seems happier now. I'm very sorry for her loss though, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

I really hope I can do this. I think what you say about little and often makes perfect sense. I guess I had been thinking that I'd get counselling and CBT and that would be it. Job done. It is only now I am realising that's not the case at all.

I also think I need to be more aware of when I'm falling into a pattern of negative thinking and speak to someone before it gets too much.

It all sounds easy written down! I need to learn to process what's actually happening to me in order to put that into practice!

The sadness is sometimes overwhelming, but I guess that's the way for most bereavements. I also worry that things have gone so far that irreparable damage has been done to my relationship with DH. That is something else I stress about.

laptopshmaptop Mon 17-Jul-17 20:35:05

Shameless bump.
Everything seems better in the morning then as bed time approaches, I seem to loose all sense of perspective.
I hate this.

Scottishgymnast Mon 17-Jul-17 20:45:15

Are you busy in the day and then evening is your time when the thoughts start? I think that is understandable but really really tough for you. Have you thought anymore about whether you feel able to contact the counsellor? How have things been with your partner today?

laptopshmaptop Mon 17-Jul-17 20:53:48

Hi Scottish

That's just it. I have too much time to think at night once the kids are in bed. I have been snappy with them today too, even though it's been a lovely day and they have been great sad

I didn't go to my class tonight either, and am generally feeling a bit sorry for myself. I know I would've felt (marginally) better if I had gone, but I just couldn't motivate myself to. I was always a glass half full kind of person, and it's doing my head in that I'm so negative now!

Uuuurgh, I need to email the counsellor, don't I?

laptopshmaptop Mon 17-Jul-17 20:55:40

Ps I said "loose" when I meant "lose"---- confused

At least I'm not so depressed I can't notice my spelling mistakes

Scottishgymnast Mon 17-Jul-17 21:15:03

I completely get the lack of motivation bit. Maybe if you felt you were doing something you might feel you had some control back? But as others have said therapy is tough and you need to be in the right position to restart. Evenings are hard. You can often function on auto pilot during the day a bit but there is no getting away from your own thoughts once the house is quiet. That's all part of the process though I think.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 17-Jul-17 21:22:12

Agree evenings are hard. Having a small thing to look forward to helps - a new book, a new episode of a TV series... The 'holistic' person in me wants to add that the small thing to look forward to could include spending time with DH... but that may be too much right now.

I'm trying not to spill my friend's story all over the internet as you will appreciate, but her experience has shown that there are good, kind men who will understand what you are going through and, though they may react in the moment to your mood or whatever you are putting out there, will remain loyal, kind and loving. He's made it through 7 long, tough years. Don't doubt him. But do try and reach out to him when you can x

Hassled Mon 17-Jul-17 21:23:13

All I can say which may be of any help is that when my parents died a small awful part of me was furious with DH for having healthy, alive parents - and so for not being able to understand my grief. Eventually (and it took time) I worked out that just because he had no real understanding of my pain it didn't mean he wasn't there for me. Please try to stop talking about faults - it's not yours or his. He's out of his depth, you've had way too much sadness to come to terms with. Have you had any specific bereavement counselling? Cruse are very good - there's a website.

laptopshmaptop Mon 17-Jul-17 21:50:18

Thanks Scottish I have a big work meeting tomorrow and I'll probably sail through it, and nobody would guess that my personal life is in turmoil.

Lonny I am very grateful for you sharing what you have. It really does help to know others get though this. I bet your friend is very grateful for your friendship too. Your last post made me cry. DH is kind and loyal and loving, I just wish I could let him be that without pushing him away.

Hassled your post really resonated in relation to what I said above about DH. I did (sometimes still do) feel a bit jealous and bitter about other people who still had their parents, and hearing DH or a friend moan about theirs made me want to shake them and scream "at least you still have your fucking parents!!" ... but resisted that temptation, thankfully!

I had some bereavement counselling and know you can fluctuate between the stages of grief, which definitely reflects the rollercoaster I've been on this last 7 years. I think I need help to recognise when I'm moving from one stage to another, going backwards in particular, and help with how to process my thoughts and emotions as is do.

The saddest thing is that I truly believe my mums actions were, in part, intended to relieve us of the burden of her illness. She said as much during and after other failed attempts on her life. However, the exact opposite seems to be true and it feels like I've been landed a life sentence.

abc3210 Wed 19-Jul-17 21:12:51

Hi OP. I have an understanding what you are going through as my husband died by suicide leaving me and my two young children behind. Over a year has passed now and I find the grief is not as intense as it was but it is still there and I expect always will be. I believe I will never completely heal and some days will be worse then others but I am learning to live with this and accept this is the way it's going to be. Me and the kids have had a lot of support and I have since been receiving counselling weekly. Without this support I don't think I could have ever coped. I'm still attending therapy but imagine me and my kids will continuously need to dip in and out of therapy possibly for the rest of our lives as we enter new situations and different questions come up for us. Op you should consider getting help from a suicide organisation as they have the skills here to specifically help you with suicide grief. Go and speak to your doctor honestly and openly about your fears of antidepressants. There are many AD that are not addictive and could make a positive impact on your life. I try to think wherever my husband is now he is at peace and is free from pain. I miss him terribly but life must go on and if I don't look after myself its the kids that suffer most. Please reach out and get the help you do need, it can only help matters

histinyhandsarefrozen Wed 19-Jul-17 21:28:10

I hope you do get the counselling, op. I've been going for six weeks now- so I'm a bit in the evangelical stage! - I find it v helpful. I'm trying to deal with dm's death (not suicide) 24 years ago!
It is really helping my relationship too, I think.
Over the years, I've become someone who both me and dh see (and like) as emotionally resilient, v unneedy- Now i am slowly learning to be a bit more emotionally demanding, dh doesn't completely hate it - in fact it's better when I'm clear about my needs, despair, whatever, and the sky hasn't fallen in yet.
I'm also 'an adult orphan' while dhs parents are in robust good health- so I understand that sense of jealousy and 'you don't get it' feeling!

laptopshmaptop Wed 19-Jul-17 21:42:00

Gosh abc

You're post made me well up. I am so sorry about your husband, and for yours and your kids' loss. It sounds like you have done the right thing from the start and sought the help you so badly need in such tragic circumstances. Thanks for posting, I know it's not easy.

I shut down. I went onto autopilot and acted almost as though it hadn't happened. It was also as though my Dad's grief trumped mine and I had to be ok for him. Well, appear ok. I tried to be ok for 2-3 years before I accepted I needed to get help. We had 3 years of meetings with doctors and the procurator fiscal and I could almost see myself talking at meetings, as if I was talking on someone else's behalf. Completely devoid of emotion and so matter of fact. Thinking back, it was weird!

I feel like I've damaged myself by doing this, but know with help I can undo that damage.

I went to a few SOBS meetings in the early months, but there was one woman who really spoiled it. Without meaning to sound snobby at all (although realise I do!) but she was really rough and dominated the meeting, she constantly interrupted and brought everything back round to her situation, and I stopped going because of her. The counsellor who ran the meetings tried her best to 'manage' this woman but she had as much a right to be there any anyone else, so there was little she could do.

I know my fear of medication is irrational, although - ironically- I've had to take paracetamol every day for the last 6 days due to the tension headaches being unbearable.

I have set myself a reminder to contact he counsellor tomorrow. Baby steps.

laptopshmaptop Wed 19-Jul-17 21:42:49

*Your !!! I seem to have lost the ability to type!

laptopshmaptop Wed 19-Jul-17 21:49:11

Thank you Histinyhands

And sorry for your loss. That is what everyone has always said about me.^^ That I'm so strong and resilient and an inspiration etc. It's makes you feel like you have to fulfil that role, and that you have to be ok as it's what's expected. It's a burden really.

I'm glad you're getting help and that you have the support of your DH. My DH has been amazing, but I need to let him in more.

AnneofGreenGablesAgain Wed 19-Jul-17 21:49:14

I am so sorry you've lost your mother.

I think pain from death of a parent isn't something that diminishes in a few years. Someone close to me lost their mother of sudden natural causes. The pain is now something she can cope with and she has a good life, but she still misses her mother very much.

I'm sending you un mumsnet hugs in case they help. I know you said you aren't always up to real life ones at the moment but maybe virtual is less threatening. I hope the counselling helps.

AnneofGreenGablesAgain Wed 19-Jul-17 21:51:11

Sometime even the strongest and most together of us need to be looked after flowers

laptopshmaptop Wed 19-Jul-17 21:57:58


Virtual unmumsnetty hug very gratefully received, thanks

It's hard, I miss my Mum so much, I'll often have a wee cry (to myself, never in front of anyone) when someone shares a picture out for lunch with their mum at a spa day, in the park, with their kid on first day at school... basically all the things I'll never get to do with mine again. However, the happy memories are slowly erasing the not-so-happy ones (mostly from the last 3 years of her life when things were hard for us all) and it is becoming easier to remember good times.

abc3210 Wed 19-Jul-17 22:39:00

Glad to hear you have made a decision laptop. I can totally relate to people telling you you're really strong. I have been told that since the get go too and think I must almost live up to it now. I have always been open to discussing what happened but have almost a way of detaching myself emotionally from it when talking to others. I never appear upset when discussing it as I don't want to upset the person I'm speaking with and make them feel uncomfortable. The exception to this though would be two very close friends and my councillor. I'm sure you're husband would only want to be there for you to lean on for support during this difficult time. Also the counselling would be another place you could talk openly and honestly.
It sucks, it really does. I can very easily fall into the trap of the poor me and why is my life such a struggle. I try my best, particularly for the sake of my children but I must admit it ain't easy. I wish I could fix it so that its resolved and we could all just move on with our life. Sadly this is one incident in my life that I cannot fix by doing all the right things. I have no choice but to accept what has happened and leave it at that. The best I can do is get the proper support to deal with it all and guidance on how to handle it with my kids.

laptopshmaptop Wed 19-Jul-17 23:00:12


So true, the kids need us so there's no choice but to make sure we're ok. And I thank goodness for the kids, they can be such rays of sunshine on dark days.

But it's definitely not easy. Like you also said before, I try to take comfort in the fact my mum no longer feels the pain and is at peace.

I don't think I'll ever come to terms with it as such, but rather I need to learn how to live with it, without it negatively affecting me and those around me.

Yep, it sucks big time.

Donthate Wed 19-Jul-17 23:04:29

Have also had suicide in the family it is devastating for all involved, I'm sorry you have experienced this. My friend recently had EMDR therapy. He went through a horrific experience 30 years ago and had suffered from ptsd ever since. He said the therapy has changed his life. Might be worth looking into.

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