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Mum tried to end her life(27 Posts)
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post but my has mum tried to commit suicide and I could use some guidance to help me work out what I need to do to help her. It was a genuine attempt, she is currently in hospital voluntarily. She has had a bad few months after her husband died but a lot of stuff I didn't know about has come out when talking to the mental health team and I dont know what to do to support her. I talked to her asking why but she said it was just a spur if the moment thing and both the nurses and I truly believe that given half the chance she will try again. She's perfectly lucid at the moment but gets very upset taking about her husband and I really don't know what to do/say to comfort her. I really think she is going to be successful in doing this one day and I just don't know what I can do to make any difference. She's had some psychotic episodes, again that I have only found out about today. I'm not sure what I'm expecting from posting and I'm that tired for being out with her all day I may fall asleep before anyone replies. Has anyone had to deal with this and had a positive outcome?
No personal experience as a daughter but some professional experience. Her agreeing to stay as a voluntary patient is a really good sign - it means that at least a part of her is willing to accept help. Talking and getting upset is good too, especially if she's talking about things she's not been able to before. Given her recent bereavement it's not surprising she is feeling hopeless. Don't let the psychotic episodes freak you out - they are more common than people know and may well respond to medication or simply fade when her stress and grief lesson a bit. As awful as you may feel, she's in the best place. Try to get some sleep tonight knowing that's she safe at least for the time being.
Thank you both. I'm tucked up in bed with one of my little boys next to me and wondering how this could all have happened today. She is safe for at least the next few days whilst they try to control her meds and let her talk about that has happened. It's just all a huge shock. One minute life is going one and then next I'm taking an emergency call saying mum has tried to kill herself. The MH nurses were so amazing, explained everything to me and reassured mum when she did start to let things go. I had no idea things were so bad. Got so caught up in my young family I didn't think any further.
My mum has attempted suicide 6 times and just been released from hospital. I feel for you, you must be so upset and stressed.
What I found helpful was to let myself experience my emotions at home. Allow yourself to vent. Hopefully you have a good support network. You need support to support your mum.
It is a really good sign that she volunteered to stay in hospital. And it is good that she is engaging with the staff.
Rest now (as hard as it is) this is a tough thing to go through for all of you. Sending you
your first duty is to you dcc , yourself and hopefully you have a partner to help you- if not then double the first sentence. You cannot save her if she wants to die. You are not qualified , so keep on reminding yourself of your priorities .
Grief is a very complex emotion and some people need long-term counselling and/or hospital intervention after the loss of a partner/husband/wife. I found the 2nd anniversary overwhelming. Friends did the '1sts' with me, but by the time I got the the 2nd anniversary everyone was getting on with their day-to-day life (as they should). I carefully planned my over-dose. It wasn't depression as such but this feeling that I simply did not want to live without my DH. (No children and family at a distance)
It took 2 years of very skilled Psychotherapy AND Counselling (two separate inputs) to get me back on track. My heart will never truly sing again, but I have never repeated my suicide attempt and know how to recognise dark thoughts. I became more involved with one family member and felt that I had a role again taking care of someone else. I felt valued and worthwhile as a member of a family not just hugely respected and valued as a work colleague. I needed that validation of 'being needed' again.
You need to take care of yourself - others are caring for your mother for the moment.
I'm an older people's psychiatrist in charge of a ward like the one your mum is in.
Please be reassured that she is safe and in the right place. They won't discharge her until they feel sure she is better and is safe and she will get community support after discharge. If she is allowing you to be involved in her care that's great and means you can be informed and involved in any decisions.
Of course this is a terrible shock. Don't feel guilty that you didn't spot it. If it's never happened before and she didn't tell you (which older people commonly don't due to stigma) then how were you to know?
The doctors and nurses will treat her and there is no reason (from what you've said) why she wouldn't get better, put this behind her and be able to enjoy life again.
Do visit, ask the team for updates and to attend any meetings. As long as your mum agrees then you will be welcome and we very much encourage families to be involved. We have a carer support group on our ward and we see it as part of our job to support families too, perhaps your mum's ward has similar? The only time it is ever a problem is if the patient refuses permission to talk to family which we would then have to respect.
If she is having psychotic episodes it likely means she is severely depressed but this is treatable in nearly all cases. The drugs do take time to work; at least a week to 2 weeks and those can be very hard times but she is safe in hospital. If the first drug doesn't work and a different one is needed then it can take longer but on average my patients spend 4-6 weeks in hospital so do try to hang onto the hope that she will get better.
Sometimes when people are very low it is hard to visit them because their thoughts are stuck on a very negative loop which they can't help. If it is too distressing then I recommend to keep visits short and to try to distract onto happier topics if possible eg bring pictures of grandchildren or happy memories. It isn't usually helpful to try to talk them out of it because they can't reason like that.
Families often worry when a person is acting and speaking so out of character that they have changed and will be like this forever but that is usually not the case and the person you know will come back as she recovers. A lot of times I know when someone has really turned the corner as the family say 'that is my old mum or dad back'
I am so srry OP to heat this happenned to you. At a bad time in my life I felt this way, after terrible grief but thankfully did not do anything. Thank goodness she is ok.
Mamadoc, I was reading your posts and was wondering..can very severe depression give psychotic episodes?
Yes, absolutely. Severe depression causes psychosis. Often believing you have committed a crime or have no clothes or money or your body is distorted/ not working (nihilistic delusions). Sometimes hearing voices saying negative things.
I'm sorry to hear this. I too have had similar with my mother. Five times in three years. She still has major depressive lows where she wants to kill herself. She has actually come to terms with the idea of death, and is very serene about it all. Although lately she has promised she won't try again.
Thank you so much everyone. I can't sleep as my mind keeps going over what has happened and it's reassuring to know there is lots we can do to turn things around. She's been transferred from a post a and e ward to a mental health unit and she says it's awful. When I was with her she went from telling me how everything was all paid for/sorted to saying she could wait to get out in the garden and go on holiday. She can't tell me why she took the overdose, just that she couldn't stop taking the tablets and she was surprised that she woke up yesterday morning. She's no regret for what she did and I truly believe the next chance she'll get she'll do it. The nurses I spoke to said they would section her if she didn't co-operate, thankfully she did, and they were certain that with medication changes and grief counselling she could get back on track. I'm just so shocked by what has happened but very much appreciate everyone's insight into this.
My dad killed himself on the third attempt and I know how awful this is.
In your situation I would
Tell your mum you love her and so don't want to lose her.
Get her a copy of Dorothy Rowe's book Life.
Tell her the small joys of life are worth living for.
Remind her of some precious moment you have shared.
Take time for yourself. Get support, and as a pp said keep visits short if distressing.
Expect family members to be a bit bonkers.
Not expect anything back from your parent.
Ask if she wants you there during during consultations (hopefully she will)
Check up in what she is prescribed or offered - and chase up appointments etc if they are not forthcoming.
Talk to the charity MIND.
I hope all works out.
Not DM, but DD. I agree with everything all PP have said, especially Coco. It will take a looooong time. With DD it's taken about 2 1/2 years. It's only now that I feel myself unwinding a little bit.
Agree with expecting family members to be a bit bonkers.
Please, please take time for you. And also, although it's hard to accept, realise that whatever she does, that is down to her. You can't make her get better, want to live . Please don't neglect your own nuclear family. It's very easy to get caught up in everything surrounding the critically unwell person and forget about the other people in your life.
I hope that all goes well. Your DM is definitely in the best place. I also agree with asking if she would like you to be there during consultations.
I wish you, and her, all good fortune.
Thank you again everyone. I haven't managed to speak to mum yet as her phone has no power and chargers aren't allowed on the unit. All I've been told is that she had a good night, she'll be assessed tomorrow and then see a consultant on Monday. I've asked her to phone when her phone is charged by the staff and I can see how she is. I still can't believe what she has done and I'm jumping every time the phone rings in case it's bad news. She is staying as an in-patient until at least Monday, I guess so the consultant can assess if she is fit to go home but I honestly think she is a danger to herself after this. She's going to do it at some point. I need mum to give authority to discuss everything with me otherwise I won't have a clue what is going on.
I need mum to give authority to discuss everything with me otherwise I won't have a clue what is going on
As 'next of kin* you ARE allowed to be included in discussions and be informed. Even though your mother MAY have said she doesn't want visitors, that does not preclude information being shared with you - her daughter.
For you to cope, you need information. Contacting your mother via phone will be an added bonus, but it is not essential. At the moment you are worrying about the unknown. You can't think beyond the here and now because every possible scenario is playing out in your head and your are fearful. Am I right.
Phone the ward again and state clearly that you are X, daughter of Y and next of kin. You need a Senior Manager (often the Senior Ward Nursing Sister) to contact you immediately to discuss the details of your mother's condition and care.
Sorry sad widow next of kin is not a legal status. Any information shared about an adult is either with the patients permission if they are able to give it or in their best interests eg if they are unconscious/have severe dementia.
Usually patients are asked at admission who they give permission to share info with and we abide by that. If they refuse our hands are tied.
It isn't usually a problem though.
OP if you are able you could ask to come to the meeting with the consultant on Monday so you are involved in decisions.
I would want to see the patient on my own first but after that I'm very happy for family input if the patient agrees.
I've managed to speak to mum now and she sounds like her usual self. Like nothing has happened. I had to ring the ward as her phone wasn't on and after about 10 mins I got through. I asked her to tell everyone they could talk to my sister and i about everything and she agreed. I'm going up tomorrow with my older son and she's really looking forward to seeing him. Yes, I'm totally scared about what us going to happen next. I can't process that one minute someone is fine and the next minute suicidal. It just doesn't seem right. We've taken her on a few holidays with us, she's stayed overnight etc. She wasn't alone over Christmas. She joined a few clubs and does something everyday. It's just the fact she suddenly got this thought and immediately acted on it. She's said she just wants to be with dad and that's it. I can't be at the meeting on Monday but I will ask to speak to the consultant by telephone. The staff I saw yesterday were quite happy to speak to me and even took me to one side to discuss matters in more detail away from mum. I told them to do whatever they thought was best, they would get no argument from me.
So I saw mum this morning for about an hour and a half. She was crying as she came to a side room and said dye didn't bring where she was. She was frightened she was locked up for life and would never leave. She can't recall why she took the overdose, she just remembers thinking she needed to get off the tablets (sleeping tablets) and once they were gone that was it. She woke up the next morning knowing her had done something silly but couldn't remember what. She said she misses dad so much and can't function without him. I had an honest chat about how she needs to help herself to move forwards and what I thought e problems were. She agreed that I had some good ideas to help her move on and she was going to think about it this afternoon. I now don't think she is a risk but it's not me who is to make that decision. She in the unit until at least Wednesday and knows she can't go home alone. We are looking at safe places for her to go to temporarily and will follow all the advice we are given after tomorrow's consultation and them Wednesday's reassessment. Thank you everyone who has given me amazingly helpful advice. You are all fantastic and you don't know how much I appreciate it.
I have been thinking of you and wishing you well. Tough times.
I would just like to say sorry you are going through this. Sadly my mum did the same thing as yours in October. It is very hard but just being there for my mum seems to be helping her. I live 200 miles away but I ring her every day and visit as much as I can. I talk to her about how she is feeling and just normal day to day stuff and she has opened up a bit more about things she was keeping to herself which I feel is taking some things of her chest, Also the medicine she takes seems to be helping. I get paniky when my mum doesn't answer the phone and I think I was in shock for the first couple of weeks but she does seem to be improving so hopefully my own anxiety will improve. I hope this helps a bit.
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