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How to help DP - says he wants to die

(14 Posts)
MeltingSnowflake Mon 29-May-17 07:40:53

I just don't know what to do and feel totally unequipped to help him.

We've been together for 10 years, and although he's always been prone to low moods and self-hatred it's never been this bad. Every day is a painful struggle for him and he's told me a couple of times recently he really wants to hurt himself and that he just wants to die.

There are multiple issues going on - a shitty childhood, family history of mental health problems plus possible PTSD from the army. I've suffered from depression before, but never this bad so I'm not sure how to help him.

He's finally seeing a therapist, but he's only been a few times so far - I know it takes longer to work, but I feel like we're running out of time.

Now he's away for two weeks working in another city so he can't see his therapist and I'm so worried he's going to do something while I'm not there to stop him.

He point blank refuses medication or to check himself into a clinic (plus that would cost $$$ - we live in the US at the moment and have shitty health insurance). I try to reassure him that I love him, that I've been there and it does get better - but it doesn't seem to make a dent.

What should I do? I don't feel like I have anywhere to turn. My own therapist just tells me to be there for him and encourage him with the therapy but I don't feel like it's enough!

Sorry - bit of a ramble. Just no idea what to do... please help.

PretendingToBeAMuggle Mon 29-May-17 07:46:36

Oh I'm so sorry snowflake this soundsite so hard. I don't know what to suggest but didnt want to read and run, with you being in the US the resources for this must be very different. Are there any charities or organisations for ex-army individuals which could help?

MeltingSnowflake Mon 29-May-17 07:56:35

Thanks Muggle - that's not a bad idea, although to complicate matters, he wasn't in the UK or US army as he's from another country altogether! But perhaps there is something... not sure he'd go for it, but at least I could take a look

Iris65 Mon 29-May-17 11:38:54

My DP is also suicidal at times. He sees his GP and takes his medication though.
Several times I have got home and found him missing only to return hours later saying that he was looking for somewhere to hang himself.
It is really hard but apart from listening to him and suggesting that he contacts the Samaritans, his GP and the Crisis team (we're in the UK). I also accept that it is actually out of my control - which is heartbreaking but that is the reality.
It is a constant pressure (on top of many others) but I focus on trying to recover myself and become emotionally stronger. I am also developing a support network and I know several organisations that deal with people who have lost a loved one to suicide.
So I kind of have a plan in case it happens.

emesis Mon 29-May-17 12:07:59

This is so awful for you, I'm sorry.

I have quite frequently wanted to die in the past, but thankfully it didn't progress to planning my death or wanting to go through with it, it is a feeling that I'd so much rather be dead than alive (eg thinking how nice it would be if I accidentally stepped in front of a truck without meaning to).

I am always conscious of the burden that my depression must place on DH and he is just amazingly supportive. I think it must be an awful burden for him to bear.

Unfortunately other than be consistently loving and supportive (already a big ask) I think one of the best things you can do is acknowledge it's not your responsibility as another poster said. Keep checking in on him regularly and expressing your love and sharing things that are light when you can.

barrygetamoveonplease Mon 29-May-17 12:11:10

Detach - you aren't responsible for this and you can't fix him.
Support - encourage him to keep up the counselling.
Just be there when you can - sitting by him, giving him a hug if he can take it.

dangermouseisace Mon 29-May-17 16:50:19

so sorry to hear you're going through this snowflake

I'd really put pressure on him to get on medication. If he's feeling that bad that he wants to die, surely he's hit rock bottom and medication is not going to make him feel any worse. There is the possibility that it could make him feel better and if there is a choice between death or trying medication, I'd say trying medication is the least permanent option and therefore worth a go. What has he got to lose?

MeltingSnowflake Mon 29-May-17 17:01:05

I've been pushing the idea of medication dangermouse but he refuses to even go to the GP, and if I go on about it too much get gets really angry. I don't know why he's so against it. Saying that, he refused the idea of therapy at first and he did eventually go, so hopefully if I keep prodding him...

Thanks Iris, emesis and barry - I hadn't considered acknowledging that it isn't my responsibility. I can see how that could help - I just wish I could do more for him, I feel so powerless.

originalbiglymavis Mon 29-May-17 17:06:34

Has he had any blood tests? Bloody chemical imbalance can be a bitch.

Does he exercise? It can make such a difference in mental balance. If he is away, can he call or Skype his therapist?

deckoff Mon 29-May-17 17:08:06

You need to detach for your own sake, but that's so much easier said than done.

My dh is now saying he wants to come off medication which has in my view helped him out of his suicidal stage earlier this year, not too much I can do about it; it's got to be led by them.

Not too sure about this idea, but could you potentially pass a message to his therapist telling them how worried you are and asking them to discuss it with him? Maybe not and they definitely wouldn't be able to tell you if they did or didn't.

It might be that the more you push the more he digs his heels in unfortunately. Some people are scared of becoming dependent on medication, or that it wouldn't work and that would be their last hope gone.

You could research the different types, talk to your GP yourself about the realities of costs etc, and present him with a list of pros and cons?

Watch out for becoming depressed yourself, and seek support: it's really common while you watch the person you love most sinking like this (and is why you need to detach a bit if you can). flowers

MeltingSnowflake Mon 29-May-17 17:45:25

No mavis, unfortunately no blood tests - I can't even get him to the GP. It could be thyroid or another imbalance, but again he just won't accept that as an idea, he thinks this is who he is

He has been trying to push himself to a little exercise recently - I'm so impressed, I don't know how he's managing it. It doesn't seem to be helping yet, but it must be doing something.

Thanks deckoff I think I will talk to my GP about it, see what he recommends

originalbiglymavis Mon 29-May-17 21:12:44

Can you run with him or go swimming? A bit of a shove might encourage him - perhaps start training for a race? An incentive it goal is really positive and if he is ex services then he will have been used to being fit and have the discipline.

Was he in situations​ that may have caused PTSD? Have you come across CBT? I trained in it (long time ago) and I will try to dig out a site that explains it's use by the British forces.

First thing is to see a doctor though. He must rule out any physical causes before any treatments (any decent therapist will tell him to do this). Yes, it may be 'who he is' but it doesn't need to be - if he broke his leg, he would get it fixed wouldn't he? He deserved to be happy, doesn't he? There must have been happy times in his life - he can have this again.

It's scary to start getting help (fear of it failing, fear of your personality changing, fear of not being able to cope, fear of not having the 'excuse' of not doing things because of the illness... A million reasons).

Look after yourself too. It's hard being the supporter.

MeltingSnowflake Tue 30-May-17 00:35:57

Thanks Mavis - I'd love to read more about CBT & the forces if you can remember the link. I've used CBT myself, so I deliberately found a therapist for DP who specialises in it. He's given him a few things to try but - in DP's words - he doesn't have the willpower to actually do them.

I've been asking him to train for a half marathon with me, but he refuses - every time he exercises it seems to be a reminder of how far he's "let himself slip" (which, of course is not that far at all, it just feels like it to DP) and it reinforces his feeling of failure.

Everything I suggest - exercise, going to the GP, medication, etc. is just met with a "no." I'll keep trying though!

originalbiglymavis Tue 30-May-17 07:11:59

It's a horrible illness where often people just don't want to try it feel that they really can't do anything. You have to guide, lead and show them the way. They need to focus on something else away from themselves - usually something nurturing (ie charity work, gardening) or manual to work the body and tire themselves out.

Can you reframe the run to 'can you help me train for a 10k race? I need you to show me how and keep me on track'?

I found this for starters:

www.gov.uk/government/news/treating-ptsd-in-the-armed-forces

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