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My friend, not sure what to do

(24 Posts)
abyssiniam8 Wed 15-Jul-15 08:02:15

I don't know if I am posting in the right place, I am not really sure where to put this.

Background which I will try to keep brief. Friends with a couple, they have had some tough times. His sister currently ill on life support, her parents died earlier this year in an accident. Their teen son playing up, failing at school and being very difficult. He lost his job through redundancy and was without work for 3 years. Financially not back on track yet although he has found other work.

I chat quite often with both the husband and wife. I saw H yesterday and he seemed very down. Under the circumstances, this is not unreasonable.

Last night I sent him a message to see how he was and to ask after his sister. The chat went on for quite some time, very negative from his side, looking for reassurance that he isn't a bad person, telling me life is shit etc etc. I tried to be supportive and saying positive things. He then asked me (which is unusual as his wife knows that he and I speak and there is nothing between her H and I) to please not tell his wife that we were messaging. I asked why as there wasn't anything in the messages that I didn't feel his wife couldn't read, to which he just kept asking me to promise I wouldn't say, over and over. I agreed and said what was said last night would stay between us as friends.

He then told me, that at the time of my first message to him to see how he was, he was in fact popping tablets out of the foils into a glass to take. An entire box of Tramadol which belonged to his late mil. 30 tablets. which he was going to take last night along with a bottle of whiskey. He told me that my message made him stop and think and this is why he asked me not to say anything to his wife.

So, I didn't sleep a wink last night. I don't know what to do. I think someone in the family needs to know that he has attempted suicide last night, but I also promised him as a friend that I wouldn't say anything. If I do, I have betrayed him and if I don't, what if he tries it again and his wife is none the wiser what happened last night.

By the ending of our conversation, he had thrown the tablets out. He did say that he was drinking the whiskey though. I have messaged him this morning to see if he is ok and he has replied that he is.

I am a mess. I am in a position in the middle and don't know what to do for the best. I am now thinking that I need to tell his wife what happened, but she is suffering terribly due to depression, and I don't know how she will deal with this herself if I do tell her.

I just need to chat to someone about this. I cant talk to anyone irl either, as most of my friends know both of them too, and I have made a promise to him not to say anything...

MythicalKings Wed 15-Jul-15 08:04:43

Try to persuade him to talk to his DW.

Explain it's too big a secret for you to keep and it isn't fair of him to ask you. When you promised not to say anything you didn't know the full circumstances.

FuckyNell Wed 15-Jul-15 08:05:45

What a horrible situation!

You have to tell his wife. Really.

FuckyNell Wed 15-Jul-15 08:06:43

Also I would never promise not to tell anything, you never know if it's a secret just too big to keep.

LineRunner Wed 15-Jul-15 08:06:54

Over the years I've had a couple of similarly difficult situations, and I've compromised by getting the person to promise me that they will make an appointment to see either a doctor or a counsellor.

You can't control him, though.

Tough call.

RJnomore Wed 15-Jul-15 08:07:16

I have no idea what you should do - But I wanted to say you are a good, good friend.


WottaMess Wed 15-Jul-15 08:07:36

Why don't you call Samaritans and ask him to also?

abyssiniam8 Wed 15-Jul-15 08:13:49

Ok, I think that asking him to make me a promise in return to see a counsellor may be the thing to do.

I didn't even think of the Samaritans. It was just such a shock.

I don't know how his wife will deal with it if I did tell her though.

I know, I shouldn't have promised him anything. But this I did not expect.

abyssiniam8 Wed 15-Jul-15 11:01:41

I have just received a message from him now.

His sister passed away this morning.

Can this poor family not get a break.

I am so sad.

pocketsaviour Wed 15-Jul-15 11:13:08

Such a sad situation OP, I'm glad at least you were there for him last night to listen. What an awful time this family have had.

I found this link on the MIND website which may be of help to you, in getting him some help.

I do think you should keep your promise not to tell his wife. Mainly because if you do tell her, he will never open up to you again and that's one less avenue of support that he has.

However, I would encourage him as much as possible to talk to her. But most of all, for him to just keep talking. So many more men commit suicide than women, and I'm sure it's connected that many men have problems talking about their feelings, always thinking they have to be the strong one.

Good luck OP. You're a good friend. flowers

pocketsaviour Wed 15-Jul-15 11:15:39

Just to clarify above: if he does tell you he has definite plans to end his life, you will have to tell his wife, and/or call emergency services.

Owllady Wed 15-Jul-15 11:20:15

How absolutely dreadful sad
I think given the circumstances it wouldn't be unusual to call his GP for a home visit for him (you don't have to mention suicide etc) as he might need to be seen by someone for shock. I remember the GP came to see my mum after my sister died to talk through with her.
To lose three of your immediate family within months of each other is devastating

I hope you are okay too. This is a huge burden to put on you, understandable as it sounds like he is in an horrific situation, but all the same you need to look after yourself too

abyssiniam8 Wed 15-Jul-15 11:28:03

Thank you for that link Pocket. Just of those warning signs, I know 10 out of 12 apply to him. sad

He told me last night that his wife hates him and that was one of his reasons for not wanting her to know. I know she doesn't hate him. She is just trying to deal with her own issues too, and has probably not seen that he is hurting too.

I have decided that I am just going to keep in touch with him, and not say anything to his wife just yet. The whole family must be in shock at his sisters passing (this is very sudden and unexpected). I need him to know he can contact me if he needs to, and if I say something, then that will close a support door for him I know.

Thank you everyone.

Anon4Now2015 Wed 15-Jul-15 12:51:36

Even professional confidentiality is (usually) void when someone is at risk. If you feel that he is seriously a risk to himself then you MUST speak to someone who can help him get professional help.

Please please either tell his wife (but tell him first that you are going to do this) or insist that he speaks to his GP today about exactly what happened last night.

Yes, the family are going through a lot right now but it is much better that they know and can help him get some support than that they find him dead one morning.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 15-Jul-15 16:40:45

He then told me, that at the time of my first message to him to see how he was, he was in fact popping tablets out of the foils into a glass to take. An entire box of Tramadol which belonged to his late mil. 30 tablets. which he was going to take last night along with a bottle of whiskey. He told me that my message made him stop and think and this is why he asked me not to say anything to his wife.

It occurs to me that in saying that your message(s) made him "stop and think" he's ensured that you'll immediately respond to any he sends you in future and has not only obligated you to keep your 'conversation' secret, but also to devote your time to him whenever he's in need of a chat.

As this couple are clearly experiencing communication issues, it would be all too easy for the dh to focus his attention on you and for this reason I would suggest you make it clear to him that, having thought it through, you've concluded that his physical wellbeing comes before your promise to him and you'll be alerting his dw to his current state of mind.

My concern is that it would be all too easy for you to get suckered into being 'the only one' who cares, or who has time for him, and this will undoubtedly have a negative impact on his already troubled marriage.

BerylStreep Wed 15-Jul-15 16:46:46

I agree with goddess, knowingly or not, he has manipulated you.

I think you need to tell him that you can't keep this secret for him.

YellowTulips Wed 15-Jul-15 17:13:39

If it were your DH and the situation was reversed what would you want his wife to do?

Ideally you would be able to persuade him to speak to his wife.

However, I think this secret is just too big for you to keep.

You can't possibly monitor him and ensure as a friend he will get support from a third party in the way a family member can.

The burden of him possibly making another attempt and even succeeding is beyond the bounds of any friendship. thanks

cestlavielife Wed 15-Jul-15 17:28:00

dont tell him you will tell his dw.
just tell her.
and inform his gp confidentially.
she needs to know. his medical team need to know.
if he texts you again like this keep him talking but also call police to go check on him.

it is not fair on you to be told to keep this a secret.

what if he does succeed and you have not told anyone who could have tried to stop him?

maybe his wife hates him, maybe she doesnt..but if they living in the same house it isnt fair for her to find him dead when she could be made aware and could be asking for help. for him and for her.

sensiblesometimes Wed 15-Jul-15 17:56:22

You can't carry this knowledge that he is suicidal on your own . I would follow all the advise above, seek out professional help as much as possible. He is vulnerable, you have to act you are In such a difficult position and clearly such a caring and good person. I would seek out advice from Samaritans and GP firstly and keep chatting to him so that he knows you care, he probably feels like no one does.
Also I might hold back from telling his wife right now, she has obviously got her own pain to deal with and might not be in the right place to help him that doesn't mean you won't ever tell but maybe not now .

sensiblesometimes Wed 15-Jul-15 17:58:04

You certainly must not keep this a secret .

Clobbered Wed 15-Jul-15 18:05:38

Actually, he didn't attempt suicide, as he stopped before taking the tablets (as far as you know). I think the best thing you can do is to continue to support him as you have done. If you break his confidence, then he will not talk to you again, and may have no-one else to call next time he feels at rock bottom. If you need support, I'd second speaking to someone at Samaritans (you don't have to be suicidal to call them) and perhaps try to persuade him to talk to them too.

Shrivelleddate Wed 15-Jul-15 22:59:15

Break confidentiality in this situation- no option.
Persuade him to break it to his wife first x

abyssiniam8 Thu 16-Jul-15 10:00:04

Goddess, I must be honest and say that I had not thought about it in that way.

I agree that I have been put into a difficult spot though, whatever I do, someone is going to be hurt by it.

WhoNickedMyName Thu 16-Jul-15 10:38:52

Goddess has said everything I was going to say, and from an outsiders point of view, if you continue with these "don't tell my wife" private messages about the state of his marriage, etc, you're not too far off being accused of some kind of emotional affair - I doubt anyone in that household is thinking rationally at the moment and should the wife come across your messages who knows what she'd think.

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