Any advice? Supporting suicidal partner.
My boyfriend experiences intense feelings of hopelessness and talks about ‘giving up’ often. He has seen a psychologist and is on medication but these feelings still come up.
He has expressed feeling suicidal and won’t go back to see a therapist as he feels he doesn’t have time. I have experience with depression myself but what works for me doesn’t work for him.
Other than begging him to not hurt himself, and to go see a therapist again, what can I do? How do I know if he is actually going to hurt himself or just saying these things out of pain and frustration?
Firstly, welcome to the forums we are so glad that you found your way to this supportive and welcoming community. We hope that you find ideas, options and support from the shared experiences and knowledge of all our members. This is a safe space to share and express your own feelings, struggles and experiences without judgement.
We can hear from your post that you have been finding things difficult with your partners feelings of depression for a while and hope you acknowledge the effort and fortitude you have displayed despite feeling as though you are ‘drowning’. Also please know symptoms do not pick and choose specific people, your circumstances are uniquely your own and are just as valid as any other individual experiencing mental health difficulties.
We see that you mentioned he doeesnt want to talk to the therapist due to not having enough time but we wish to reassure you that your therapist is a professional and would be great if he can keep the conversation going,in the journey of recovery.. Is there a possibility of a telehealth option - which can be done in his own time?
We recommend contacting the Beyond Blue counselling team. By engaging via phone or chat the counsellors can provide advice and support, please contact either via phone 1300 22 4636 or web chat: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support
Please also call 000 if at anytime you think he is in imminent danger or risk.
HojuCakes, thank you for reaching out to us. That is something really difficult for you to deal with and I can understand that you would be feeling so helpless right now. It is distressful to see our loved ones endure such suffering. Are there things triggering your boyfriend to feel the way he is feeling? Is it his job? or does he feel overwhelmed? There are certain stressors that you could help him change to enable him cope a little better. Those are environmental or situational. Id suggest having a discussion with him. Ask him what is causing those suicidal thoughts and how you can help him? Have a discussion about the barriers that are inhibiting him from attending a psyche appointment and see if you can find ways to overcome them in some way.
The key is to simply sit and listen to his concerns. Sometimes a ear is all a person might need in his situation. Suicide is a serious thing, and should not be taken lightly by any means, even if you think he could be saying out of pain or frustration. It can happen so suddenly with no warning. He can call beyond blue phone lines for some support, it might be more convenient if he is time poor. I also think for yourself, you may need some support too.
I'd like to join Sophie_M in greeting you here. I'm glad you've already met as Sophie gives pretty good advice.
I know when I was suicidal it placed a great deal of strain and worry on my partner, not knowing what to do, feeling powerless, afraid and even at times guilty -though there was no reason why.
So I'd like to offer a suggestion. Sophie has already talked about help for your boyfriend, and of course if you can persuade him to accept it - even if it takes up his time - that's exactly right.
One of the ways for you to feel a bit less powerless and be able to do something that might help your boyfriend if he becomes frightened of what he might do or simply overwhelmed is to see if he will do a Safety Plan with you.
The idea is he has a phone app and puts in it things that might help. It's not ideal to do it when really down, or alone. So I'd suggest you see if he will let you fill it in together with him in advance. When I was really overwhelmed I had no real ability to think or concentrate, so the App needs to be simple , no thinking required.
I'd suggest the free app for a smartphone, its called BeyondNow. and you can get it here:
Now you both probably will not be able to fill it all in at once, however you can make a start. Some bits are easy, such as emergency telephone numbers, but the truly worthwhile bit is harder. It's the bit about "Things I can do by myself". Here your boyfriend lists things to do that will help, songs, books, activities such as walking, going out for a coffee, all sort of things.
Mine has YouTube clips of songs and comedians, favorite books and movies, walking with my partner by a riverbank and tons more.
Your boyfriend may find it hard to think of things, so you help out by suggesting what has made him happier or distracted him in the past - can be anything.
Now I've talked about him and you ,but in such a worrying and fearful time you need your support too. Can I ask if you have someone you can talk frankly with and lean on a bit? They only have to listen to you and care, no need to try to 'fix' anything. Facing all this if alone is very hard.
As Sophie mentioned if you'd like you can talk with our friendly counselors on the 24/7 Help Line (1300 22 4636) or the link she has given
I do hope you can come back and talk some more, we are always here for you
Hi Hoju Cakes,
I am very sorry you and your partner are going through this. It can be really scary experiencing or being close to someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts.
I think you just being there for him is quite significant. Holding space for him to open up and talk if he needs to, letting him know you are here and willing to help if he wants to seek help.
Perhaps if he feels low on time he might be interested in seeking help on the BB forums like you have? Or he might like to get help via the BB phone helpline? These are easier ways to get support in a difficult moment while he isn't quite ready to revisit a psychologist.
Thanks Croix, yes I have a psychologist I see fortnightly and friends who support me. I find it so difficult as my boyfriend and I manage our mental health so differently. I would much rather speak to a professional when I need to, whereas I know he prefers to try and deal with it alone. I try and be as understanding as I can but I find it hard to think like he does.