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Surviving Suicide – Part 15

June 20, 2010

Just over 200 people have viewed my blog, but no legitimate comments have come so I’m wondering what people reading my blog think about it? I know many like their anonymity and won’t post, but I truly would love to hear your opinions not only about my blog, but also if you have any suggestions or ideas as to how I could best serve others who have either attempted to take their own lives or know someone who has committed suicide.

When all of this happened to me many years ago now, it started me on a real journey of self discovery. I wondered why this had happened, what I was supposed to learn from all of it, what I was supposed to do with my experience. I have thought so much about what my life purpose is, many do, but it’s been forefront on my mind for years now. I thought many times about writing my story and just now have taken action on that. I feel my life purpose is to share my story/experience to help dispell the stigma that is still very much attached to suicide, I feel open dialogue is the best way to do that. I’ve been told I have a gift of supporting others, and that I can serve others in this capacity, so my thoughts were to create a course to share what has worked for me to get me past this life altering hurdle in hopes I will attract others who think the same way and want to learn to heal and move forward. As I go through the process of blogging, many thoughts and ideas come to me, I jot them all down, but nothing is jumping out and whacking me over the head to have real clarity on it. This is why I ask for your help. I believe I am doing what I’m meant to do, I believe something will come to me, I know that it is helping heal me.

To carry on where I left off on yesterday’s post, I see from my calendar tabs that I attended a live performance of Mama Mia. It was an amazing, uplifting, happy production – many were up and dancing in the aisles and it dawned on me now, that I haven’t attended many theatre events, but did attend 2 really amazing ones while all of this turmoil was going on in my life. Rob looked after our son at my house while I went to the show, I had a huge list of things I needed done around the house, had been building the list for ages, and even though he wasn’t in a great mindframe, he seemed to relish to be able to focus on something other than his chaos and he got most of the list done. I thanked him very much when I got home, was surprised he’d been able to get so much done. He told me too that it felt good to have done something for my son and I other than cause trouble. He left and went to the boat and I went to bed still singing some of the songs from the performance, and I was feeling much more positive and happy than I had in months.

The next day I went to work and so did Rob. I noted that Rob told me that he couldn’t make it to Christmas in my tabs on Nov. 23rd. We discussed why he had that date in his mind, that the Christmas Holidays were always a high drama/stress time for him, always had been and part of that was from his upbringing and what he’d experienced as a child. I’d spent many Christmas Eve’s with my in-laws, they were German so always celebrated on the 24th and my family always celebrated on the 25th which had always worked out so well to not have that conflict. He told me he was really going to miss the gathering with my family, that he loved how we all got together and had a wonderful time, there was no stress, just the bunch of us celebrating and happy to be together and he missed that aspect of being a couple now. I’ve mentioned previously that special occasions were usually a nightmare with Rob, he hated them, didn’t really see any point/purpose to them, so never liked celebrating them, and in fact, almost went out of his way to make them as miserable as possible. I remember clearly asking him to please not take his life, to get a referral to someone who could counsel him about his depression and thoughts of suicide, to please not do that on a holiday that would be forever remembered for that act. It was not just for me that I asked this of Rob, it was for our son, and both our families.

I’ve made a note that I decorated my Christmas tree, Rob had put it together and assembled it when he was at the house while I attended the show. I was most definitely not in the mood for Christmas, nevermind decorating a tree which took hours and hours, but my son was only 9 1/2 at that time, and I really felt I needed to give him as “normal” a Christmas as was possible, so that spurred me on. Once it was decorated, I sat down for a long time looking at how beautiful it was with its twinkling white lights, many clear decorations that reflected the lights and it felt good that I’d done it and almost one month before Christmas so that I could enjoy it for quite a while during the season. I was glad I’d done it just for the sake of doing it as I had so little beauty in my life at that point too.

The last week of November 2000, Rob was in really bad shape. He had lost a lot of weight, was drinking a lot and had started smoking again. His eyes looked sunken, and he had a permanent look of fear and confusion in his eyes like I’d never seen before. I was astonished at the change in the man I’d spent almost 30 years with, Rob had always come off as very confident, overly confident in fact, many called him arrogant including me. I realized clearly now that all of that bravado was really a cover up, in fact, he was very insecure and as he was extremely intelligent, he was terrified of how his life had spun out of control so quickly. I remember recalling my earlier prediction of “I’m the glue, you’re going to come undone” and regretted that I’d ever said that as it was now playing itself out :(. I barely recognized the man I had loved and had spent most of my life with, it made me very sad. I was still in a constant state of flux still loving Rob, not really being “in” love, but the kind of love that comes with being with someone for a very long time and having gone through so much together, but the anger was right there too and ready to come out whenever he’d say or do something outrageous.

Rob and I talked a lot during this last week and although it was exhausting, I think both of us felt it helped. Rob would drain very easily and left work early almost every day. The added stress of not being busy and no income coming in was also a huge burden to Rob. He’d always felt he was the bread winner, the provider, and now that too was gone. Rob very much measured himself by success which meant his ability to generate money that allowed our very comfortable lifestyle. It’s odd, but no coincidence, that when something like this is happening, that all other events fall in alignment too. The week ended on Friday with Rob sobbing in the showroom, the kind of gut wrenching, body shaking, breath quaking kind of sobbing. He left that day just before 1pm saying he was going to see the doctor to get some help and said “I guess I don’t want to die.” I didn’t know what doctor Rob was going to see as he didn’t have a family doctor, but wasn’t about to question it. I was glad to hear one positive statement of wanting to stay alive. I believe he was seeing WC again.

Last night after I’d finished Part 14 of my blog, I tried to recall what other methods Rob had attempted. I know he tried 4-5 times, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember clearly what he’d done. I think we discussed many methods, why he didn’t like one over another but it amazed me even at that time, that we were even having these types of discussion and how they’d become a part of our regular dialogue.

Backtracking a bit in timeframe, I remember that somewhere after my divorce/separation course, I was being advised by everyone to go see a divorce laywer just to get the facts and know what my rights were. I did go see one, found out what I needed to know, how much it was going to cost if uncontested, but that it could be far more if Rob was battling and contesting it. I saw a local lawyer that I’d used for some other legal matters and he told me that if I really wanted a “ball breaker” divorce lawyer, he had a great one to recommend and gave me his number. I did contact the “ball breaker”, listened to what he told me over the phone, didn’t like his demeanour or his exorbitant cost and decided not to go forward at that time. Although at this particular time I was extremely angry with Rob, my own personality, conscience and integrity were still very much in play and I saw no need to literally smash Rob in the divorce. We had every asset 50/50 anyhow, and more or less I realized, I owned 50% of a large debt, so there’d be no winners other than the divorce lawyers if we proceeded. I discussed what I’d learned with Rob, hoping we could come to a sensible agreement without paying a fortune out to lawyers who would just have us going at each other until there was nothing left anyhow. Rob was still in asshat mode, figured he’d brought so much more to the table therefore it shouldn’t be 50/50 anyhow, so we just agreed to disagree on that one, and put the divorce or even legal separation on the backburner. I procrastinated and did nothing about this and as time went on, it was the least of my concerns and in the end, was not even necessary.

November 2000 came to an end, I remember thinking WHAT AN INSANE MONTH! I also at this point had stopped even thinking or uttering “what else can go wrong?” because it seemed every single time I said that, something else would come along that was even worse :(. So … careful what you think about!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. waltkaye permalink
    June 20, 2010 2:34 pm

    Dear Barb, sometimes it might by hard to manage a blog without much feedback. So, here is mine. Being on the edge between “want to live” and suicide, I am always interested how other people go on with their story.
    However, one suggestion: split your text into smaller chunks. When I am in “depression mode”, I quite often try to browse in the internet; but a long text is nearly unreadable for me in that moment. This suggestion is, of course, very personal – others might think totally different on that. CU

    • June 21, 2010 7:16 pm

      Hi waltkaye,

      As I did my new post today, I tried to keep in mind what you had said about splitting text into smaller chunks and I tried to do that today, but there are still some fairly long paragraphs because the train of thought all had to deal with that instance. I so appreciate your input and didn’t want you to think that I was ignoring it, sometimes though I can’t shorten the paragraphs easily and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to figure out how to put more spacing before paragraphs or even indenting on here. Did see something about upgrading CSS but I’m really not techie enough to do that. Just wanted to let you know!

      • waltkaye permalink
        June 22, 2010 1:18 am

        Dear Barb,
        I appreciate your feedback on mine 🙂
        Maybe, you could add some intermediate headers, like in newspapers or magazine, to indicate some structure. That would be helpful as well.

        If you need help, just tell. I am a techie…

  2. June 20, 2010 3:45 pm

    Thank you waltkaye, another g/f of mine mentioned keeping the blocks of text smaller too for the same reasons, that it was easy to get lost and lose your place, so I will really keep that in mind. Great feedback as to how you’re feeling when depressed and that it’s more difficult to read it when like that. I’ve tried to keep all the same thoughts within the same paragraph, but I will pay closer attention now.

    Really appreciate the feedback, and my wish for you is that your situation improves, I know how hard it can be and am so glad you reached out.

    Healing energy to you!

    Take care, Barb

  3. Daniel Hollywood permalink
    June 20, 2010 5:19 pm

    Hi Barb,

    Sometimes this is still hard to talk about, in 1969 while serving in the Air Force I started having severe depression, developed ulcers and had contemplated suicide myself. Thank God I immediately sought Medical help, The Doctor’s diagnosis was that my Father who I was very close to Passed away of a massive heart attack in 1966 while I was still a teenager, my Mother was an emotional wreck, so I ended up being her anchor in life and had no time to grieve myself, I very much missed my Father and never having the opportunity to tell him how much I loved him before he died.

    The Doctor said the emotional trauma of holding back my feelings and no outlet for them, plus having to be my Mothers Emotional support and now being in the Military with orders just received for Vietnam, and just recently being involved in my first serious Romantic relationship and having to tell her I was going overseas all came together to cause a breaking point.

    Luckily I only had about 6 sessions with the Doctor and I was able to resolve the situation, but that is not the case for most people, the same being the problem with Alcoholism and Drug addiction, you are in a state of denial, there is no problem, and you can take care of it yourself, or maybe these problems or feelings will magically to away. Medical or Professional help should always be sought, but it is sometimes hard to admit this, even to those you love.

    • June 20, 2010 6:50 pm

      Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for your heartfelt response. We all have our stories of what happened to us as we live out our lives, some are far worse than others, but they are all very life impacting. Losing your Father at such an impressionable young age and then bearing the brunt of supporting your Mom as well is a lot for any teenager, as most just don’t have the life experiences to be able to emotionally cope. The grieving process is so necessary and when you don’t go through it as you should, it always comes back later I have found and must be gone through in order to heal and move on. I’m so sorry you didn’t have the opportunity to tell your Dad how much you loved him, but I’m sure he knew and knows.

      The Vietnam war was unlike any other war it seems, and those returning did not get the support or appreciation for what they suffered through. You must have been on such overload knowing you had to terminate your first relationship at the same time fearing what was ahead for you. I’m glad your resolution came so quickly, some never achieve that. I agree medical or professional help should be sought, but in my own experiences with my husband, they were sorely lacking. I will blog more about that soon. It takes time to find the right diagnosis and treatments, whether it be medical or even the right doctor or therapist, and sometimes those on the brink just don’t have time on their side. It makes me very sad that people suffer so greatly and feel that the only solution is to end their lives. Somewhere along the line I heard this saying and it really struck a chord with me and has remained – Suicide is a PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY problem. I told my late husband this and he thought a lot about it, but obviously in his case, the chemical imbalance and the tortuous thoughts got the better of him. He did start antidepressants, but unfortunately only a few days prior to passing away. I was told at the time it would take up to 2 weeks for any real effect to take place that would be noticeable, and that dosages must be adjusted until you find one that works for you. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t bear the pain anymore and he lost the battle.

      As you’ve said on your comment here, your depression happened way back in ’69 and yet you too sometimes find it hard to talk about even with all your therapy and lessons learned. I don’t know why society views mental health issues the way they do, but so many suffer in one form or another that they really must find a way to make it not have the stigma it does. My hope is that no one has to feel shame or fear about opening up and asking for help one day.

  4. Daniel Hollywood permalink
    June 20, 2010 7:16 pm

    Hi again Barb,

    I’d forgotten two other situations that attributed to the trauma, When I was in Basic Training at Lackland AfB in November of 1968 we had an outbreak of Spinal Menenghitis, unfortanately I was one of the victims, I spent 3 weeks in a Coma and a total of 3 months in the Hospital, after a 30 Convalescent leave I returned to Lackland in a holding Squadron waiting orders for Tech School. I received orders for Administrative Training at Keesler AFB in Biloxi MS. In June of that year we were hit by Hurricane Camille. We spent the next two months cleaning up Biloxi, Gulfport and the surrounding areas, in addition we were pulling bodies out of the swamps, people that didn’t believe the Storm warnings.

    On August 5th I arrived at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport La as NCOIC in charge of Officer Actions, that was were I met Theresa, it seemed to be Love at first sight for both of us, and was my first Romantic encounter at that time, I’d asked her to Marry me two weeks before I got the orders for Vietnam. That caused us to have arguments because she wanted to get pregnant before I left, but I was concerned that if anything happened to me over there she would be a young single Mother and have to struggle to support herself and a child, these arguments lead to our breakup.

    But for all of this and the other circumstances I’d mentioned earlier I am still proud for having served my Country. I think your Blog will act as a Chatharsis for many people due to the fact that they can go back in their memories and clear a lot of things they may not have faced in a long time. Continue your writing and I’ll contiue reading.

    Thanks Barb

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