disability and suicide

Discussion in 'Welcome' started by bodhi, Jul 4, 2007.

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  1. bodhi

    bodhi Member

    hi everyone,
    First time posting. My partner is relatively-newly disabled and having a rough time adjusting to it. He attempted suicide in February '07 and continues to talk about "going Home" sometime soon. I'm having to deal with issues, not only as his caregiver, but as his life partner in trying to prevent his suicide. I'm happy to have found this forum.
  2. Robin

    Robin Guest

    Hey Bodhi, welcome to the site :hug: I see you may well like RPG's, I share a love for them as well and have played baldur's gate 1 and 2 endlessly maybe we could hook up and play online sometime, I still have it here somewhere (changed computers a while back) PM me if you want to chat about anything, RPG or how your feeling, anything :)
  3. crazy

    crazy Well-Known Member

    hey and welcome....that must be so rough for you.....im glad u found us here....i hope u can get the support ur seeking....
  4. gentlelady

    gentlelady Staff Alumni

    :welcome: to SF. I am glad you found us. Maybe we can help shed some light with how your partner may be feeling and how you can learn to help him through the rough times. I am looking forward to seeing you around the forum. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or feel like talking sometime. :hug:
  5. ~CazzaAngel~

    ~CazzaAngel~ Staff Alumni

    Welcome to the forum. :hug:
  6. bodhi

    bodhi Member

    thanks for the warm welcome! i tried to start a thread in "loved and lost" but so far no response. my partner has good days and bad days. he still talks actively about "going Home" and no amount of reasoning will help.
  7. Esmeralda

    Esmeralda Well-Known Member

    For more info, what is his disability? Have you talked to him about what it would do to you if he "went home"? Maybe he is in shock and cannot think about how to live with a situation right now, but after the shock wears off, perhaps he will be able to look at it differently or see your ability to help him?
  8. bodhi

    bodhi Member

    He is a doctor (closed his practice) and competed in bodybuilding (always loved working out). He was diagnosed with nemaline rod myopathy, which is a muscle wasting disease; no treatment/cure, aggressive and progressive. He'll eventually die of respiratory failure due to the weakening of the breathing muscles. At this point, he's weak and has poor endurance, though he can still manage his self care independently. Intensely avoidant of modifying his behavior to conserve energy. Severely depressed but won't take his antidepressants. Won't seek counseling to learn how to adjust to disability. Won't follow the advice of his physicians, his therapists, his family, friends, or me.

    I've talked to him a great length about the repercussions of his suicide, to no avail. I don't think he realizes just how difficult it will be for all of us who love him, or doesn't care.

    He loves movies and identifies very strongly with Virginia Woolf in "the Hours," played by Nicole Kidman. I keep telling him, "it's just a movie," but I think he romanticizes suicide and doesn't think about the "what happens afterwards."
  9. Anime-Zodiac

    Anime-Zodiac Well-Known Member

    Hey. Sorry to hear about what you and your hubby are going through. Hopefully he will see some sense. Keep at it and keep being strong. All the best.

    Oh and welcome to the forums.
  10. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Welcome to the site Bodhi.:smile: I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties experienced by your partner, and also by you.:sad: I hope you find some support and friendship here to sustain you thru your troubles.

    least xo
  11. bodhi

    bodhi Member

    Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome.

    My partner continues to have good days and bad days: more bad than good. He basically feels that disability is the end of his life, that he no longer has anything important to contribute to our relationship (or anything else). "You deserve better than this," he's said to me many times, referring to himself. "You deserve to have someone love you and take care of you the way you take care of me; and I can't do that." I replied, "Your BEING here is important to me." I tried to make him see that if he's successful in his suicide attempt, he may be at peace, but my struggle continues. "Besides, you're much more fun alive than dead," I joked.

    I once mentioned that I was starting to feel "burnt out" by all my caregiving responsibilities; last night he said, "are you ready for all this to be over?" He tends to be overly-dramatic, I think, but I always take him seriously each time he talks of "going Home." A discussion ensued about the consequences of his suicide, how devastated his family and I would be. He has a tendency to over-simplify things and remarked that we would "get over it." Eventually, perhaps, but the ripple effects would be long-lasting.
  12. gentlelady

    gentlelady Staff Alumni

    Is you partner able to use the computer or have you do things while he watches the screen? It maybe be helpful for him to see som of the survivors of suicide letters and writings. He will find there that it is not something those left behind just get over. Much of what I found brought tears to my eyes. I admire you for what you are doing. Keep letting him know that even though his disability may have changed the routine you had, he is worth every ounce of time and energy you and he put in. It is not a question of what anyone deserves. You made a choice to stay and help. What would he have done if the roles were reversed? I don't know the extent of his disability, but it does not have to mean the end of all things good. Many disabled people go on to have lives in which they are content. Don't give up on him, and do your best not to allow him to give up on himself. You both are in my thoughts. :hug:
  13. Vorath

    Vorath Guest

    Welcome.....I hope being here will help.
  14. TLA

    TLA Antiquitie's Friend

    Welcome to SF. :welcome: I hope we are able to share a bit and vice versa.
    my heart was in a ball reading of your tough situation, for many reasons. My doctor who was the first to diagnosis me of suffering with bipolar/mood disorder had an illness and also had to close her practice. It was sad for me, cuz I really liked her as my pdoc, but also sad that she was ill. I knew it very very hard for her to leave medical work. She was such a kind, caring person. As I'm sure your partner is too!

    So, ideas I share are only another person looking in.
    *I'm sure you both gooogled (internet) the nemaline rod myopathy (illness) to seek info. Maybe you can look for support or education for YOURSELF first. A lot of times "It is not time yet"....when is it time?? {thats what they tell me}. We don't know- we are all unique. If you start too soon, you can end further down in the hole. Resistance to change could be a way {+ or -} to help us.

    A suicide website says "Your opinion of their situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person it's not that bad, or that she has everything to live for will only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them help is available, that suicidal feelings do not have to be final."

    *Like other members here, I hope by reading the other posts on SF you both can relate, not feel so isolated. It is HARD to fight to LIVE, it is easier to give up & let your mind believe life is over. Many common strands of hurt are found here. This can feel like a warm blanket where people accept you and do not judge, but help and listen.

    *Having an illness or life-threatening condition in our body is a very tough thing to accept and deal with daily. IMHO every person has to decide how they can best deal w/ life. I love that SF encourages everyone to fight, so we can keep at it too. Plus, because we love them, we want them here as long as possible. I guess they have to want to be here too. If he dies from suicide is one thing; if he dies from body reasons is something else. I know you know that. I will be thinking of you both.

    *Do you need some voice-activation assistance on the computer? Do you have a community college in your area? Maybe you can link up to people that will help out with that for no cost. I’ve seen tech changes to help!! There are tons of things for PCs now.

    *I deal daily w/ a mood disorder and a hearing loss (both labeled as disabilities) even though not fatal, it is a obstacle. My body will not kill me, but my mind can. I still struggle w/ depression, & I push away the suicidal thoughts as best I can. IT IS NOT EASY. No disability is, really.

    *As much as he remarks about “going home”-you just may not know what else to say. Everyone thinks of death/hell/heaven/suicide in our own way. It may not be "going home". When he asked "are you ready for all this to be over?" --maybe that is just pain & hurt talking {wanting less pain for all}.

    You do try your best to show your partner any actions he chooses will affect you tremendously. In showing him love, understanding, acceptance w/ hugs to show support maybe the darkness may lift a wee bit.
  15. bodhi

    bodhi Member

    thanks for the thoughtful insights.

    My partner has no interest in the computer (never has) and as a result, is not very computer literate. I've tried to get him on, but he just gets frustrated and stops. He's also expressed that he has no interest in seeking help (either from the forum or group/individual counseling). In his mind, he doesn't need help. Before he was a physician, he worked as a counselor and to use his words, "I don't need someone with a social work degree to tell me how to feel." I, myself, am a physical therapist and know the good work that social workers and other counselors (both Masters and Doctorate-level) do. Often times, talking about one's emotions to another person (who is not a family member) can do wonders in exploring depression and coming up with solutions. But he won't have anything to do with it. "I'm dealing with my disability just fine," he says. [side note: I, myself, am seeing a counselor to help me adjust to feelings of helplessness and depression over our situation. I've offered to have him accompany me to my counseling sessions, but he refuses.]

    Being a physical therapist, I'm well-familiar with the lives of those who are physically disabled (either progressively or traumatically), and I know that it takes time to adjust to a disability. But I've known many people who have disabilities that lead happy and productive lives. His response is [my sincere apologies to anyone reading this who may have a disability]: "I'm offended that you say things like that. People who have disabilities aren't happy. How can they be happy? <scoffs> They're all just waiting to die." I was honestly quite shocked to hear him say something as insensitive as that, and reminded him not to generalize HIS feeling of hopelessness to the entire community of disabled people.

    I know that he is angry. Angry for his loss of his practice, angry for his loss of his physical abilities. As he states, "my life has been taken away from me." He has every right to feel angry, and I acknowledge that with him, but I also remind him that he can develop other aspects of his life that he CAN perform, that he CAN find pleasure in. His sarcasm is biting. "Yeah, maybe I can take up origami, or bungee jumping."

    The term "going Home" is his, and he fully means suicide. He was raised Catholic, but no longer practices. He says he's Buddhist (but does not follow Buddhist teachings), and cites the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in protest of the Vietnam War as an example of Buddhism condoning suicide. I did a bit of reading on Buddhism (I'm atheist) and suicide and learned that:

    "the first precept in Buddhism is to abstain from harming living things...including oneself! On the contrary, Buddhism is not only about caring for others but also about preserving a healthy body and a positive mind for oneself. Therefore, suicide is seen as morally wrong and will result in negative karmic consequences. To take one's own life, is also to destroy the advantage that human life affords for spiritual progress, even for gaining enlightenment. Someone contemplating suicide is, in one way or another, in a state of suffering, presumably seeking a way to end that suffering. Death, they believe, will bring such suffering to an end. From the Buddhist perspective, however, committing suicide will only lead to further suffering - a worse state in fact. Consequently, suicide is futile as it only makes things worse."

    One last thing: our intimacy has been waning for the last year or so. And when I speak of "intimacy," I don't even mean sexual intimacy, but more just the daily affectations like holding hands, a smile, conversation... He no longer initiates a hug or a kiss. When I kiss him, he responds with a little peck like you would give your great aunt Harriet. When we talk, he stares in front of him or to the ceiling. He told me, "physical touch is painful for me psychologically." When I asked him what he meant by that, he indicated that to touch or be touched is a constant reminder of what he no longer has the body he used to. So he doesn't want me to touch him or hold his hand, his kisses are like kissing a piece of furniture, and he generally is disengaged in conversation. He will sit for hours at a time drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes in silence.

    My friends (most of whom live out-of-state) encourage me to take care of myself, to continue with my interests, and to get some time away from caregiving, which I've begun to do. [another side note: I've quit working six months ago to provide care to him full-time] But then I fear that he will ruminate on suicide and fall further into depression.

    I know that we are in a difficult situation, and that there are no easy answers. I appreciate the concern of those here on the forum, and know that I find comfort in being able to come here and tell our story.
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