• We had a slight glitch and the forum deleted about 80 threads at random - we are restoring them currently but you may have had an alert saying your thread was deleted - please ignore this and do not be concerned. Thanks, Freya :)

Expectations and Handling Life Failures After an Attempt

#1
Hello,

I just joined and am seeking information and help. My son attempted suicide a week ago. He is in the hospital right now getting good care and and making progress. One of the things his doctor emphasized early in his stay at the hospital was a strategy for living and motivations. My son shared with the doctor what he really wanted to do with his life and why.

In my twice daily visits my son has shared a lot and we've had really good dialogue, better than ever before. He is 22-years-old and had been living on his own for the past few years holding down a steady job making pretty good money. He told me about the conversations with his doctor for making a strategy and doing what makes him happy in life. My son, while still depressed, was excited to share with me that he is very tired and bored with the lumber yard/hardware store job he has had for over two years and wants to go to college.

He has spoken everyday about how he never thought he had support from anybody to do what he wanted to do and only stuck with the boring job because he was trying to make people happy. Because I thought it was important to help support him I pulled together some information on colleges in our state that have programs he is interested in. The more we talked the more he shared his deep interest in pursuing the type of career he wants. I was excited for him, and he was very articulate in describing why he wants to get into that line of work. To land a job in doing what he wants he most likely will need a college degree. A lot of tech jobs you can be self-taught, but I think for him college is a good choice. He did not have very good grades in high school and tested low on his ACT so it will be a challenge for him to get accepted to college. He has told me he is willing to do whatever it takes to prepare, maybe start with just a semester or two at the local community college just to start or whatever. In high school he was rarely ever really motivated and found most classes boring. I don't think he had the zest or desire in high school because he didn't have a dream or goal in his mind to achieve.

He is going to come and live with me for a while after discharge to get a solid footing, build new habits and begin a new healthier lifestyle. We've both agreed on that. At the same time get into a support group and weekly or as needed visits to his psychiatrist for therapy work.

My concern is when after someone is released from the hospital after a suicide attempt and is diagnosed with depression, how to you plan for realistic expectations? There is a chance he might not get accepted into the college he wants to go to. My son's mother (my ex-wife) seems to have an influence on other family members and I detect that she is suggesting that my son getting his hopes up for getting into college and working to land a job doing what he wants is dangerous. I've heard outright statements from family in our private discussions, that it's not realistic to expect he could get into college and achieve his dreams. They think I'm leading him on too much and that thinking about, talking about and researching college programs is too soon and too much.

I'm looking for advice on this. I'm being very realistic about this and know that it might take a while for him to get stabilized, healthy and back on his feet. He has a lot of work ahead of him, but I plan to support him as much as I can. I for sure am not going to downplay his goals, especially right after his doctor suggest he make some goals. This is the only time since my son graduated high school that I've seen him interested in doing something he wants to do. I mean really wants to do, as in have passion for it. It seems to me that with some care and not being to grandeoise, we could start from the groundup with plans, do some research, find out college requirements and figure out a longterm plan. At the same time he knows he needs to get a new job ( he quit the other job just before the suicide attempt ) continue with treatment/therapy etc...

I got hit pretty hard last night from others in our family last night after our visit. They are very worried about him getting let down in the future and are fearful that his potential failures might cause him to relapse. I have to add that his mother does not believe he should have been hospitalized, does not believe in therapy/counseling and was not taking my son's warning signs seriously. As soon as I found out about the attempt, I found my son and got him to the hospital. I've been to every visitation they allow (it's very restricted) and my son has seen I've been there so he is seeing me as having genuine love and support for him.

Something he shared with me a few days ago was about a visit with his mother. I had stepped out to let them have privacy and made a quick trip to a nearby bookstore to get a pile of magazines for my son to read. While I was gone he shared with his mother his longterm goal of going back to college, getting a degree and then landing a job doing what he wants to do. He told me during this visit of just him and I, that when he shared his goals and dreams with his mother a small frown came upon her face and she stopped talking for a bit. To me it seemed like a punch in the gut for my son to have had his mother react that way. She is the one who thought he should keep working at the hardware store and not bother with college. My son shared that reaction with his mother because he for sure saw it, and felt like she wasn't supporting him.

So on one side I'm trying to support my son's goals and help buoy his motivation, but I'm needing advice on making sure I keep balanced and not let him wander into flights of fancy. I don't want to see his mother continue pushing him into jobs and a life he doesn't want, and one he finds boring as hell. He is a creative kid and told me that all through high school he wished he has spent more time on creative efforts (music and art) and less on athletics, but felt peer pressure from friends and myself to participate in sports. Five years later he is spilling his guts telling me how frustrated he has been for so long and he is weary of trying to please others.

I know this is a bit long, but it's all so complicated and I'm in new unchartered territory. I would be grateful for some solid advice on what you all think, and if you have had experience with something like this please share!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

TheCelt
 

lifetalkz

Well-Known Member
#2
Hello! First, I thank you for coming to SF with your concerns about your son. You will find a lot of people here (like me) who are in recovery from suicidal depression. I'm proud and very grateful to say that I have completely recovered from that disease-I haven't had any problems with anxiety or depression in over 12 years! But the way that I started in life was very different than the place I ended up in. My first attempt was at the age of thirteen. There were two more many years later. Like your wife, my mother did not believe in therapy and she had no compassion or sympathy for my emotional challenges. I won't lie-my mothers lack of love for me all but killed me. The best thing that I can say about it is that it made me strong. I guess what I'm trying to say is that-from my perspective at least, your wife will be a liability to your efforts (not an asset). It's unfortunate, but you can still make a lot of progress with your son by simply being supportive and being present for him every step of the way.

The thing that jumped out the most to me when I read your post was all of the future planning. I know from personal experience that when you're battling against deep levels of depression just getting through an average day can be difficult. I understand that your son wants to have some future goals that he can look forward to achieving. At the same time though, the emphasis at present should probably be placed upon creating coping strategies for simply getting through an average day without temptation to relapse. The problem with spending so much time and energy talking about events that may or may not happen in the future, is that no one is talking about the very real issues which are standing right in front of them. My advice (which is based upon more than thirty years of experience living with suicidal depression) is that you support your son in his dreams for the future. But also bring him back to present, over and over again so that he can begin to learn some healthy coping strategies for the times when he gets triggered (which will be many). I certainly wish you the very best of luck going forward-LT
 

Rockclimbinggirl

SF climber
Staff member
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#3
Welcome to the forum.
He has told me he is willing to do whatever it takes to prepare, maybe start with just a semester or two at the local community college just to start or whatever.
I think that the community college would be a good start. As for college, maybe start with a few courses instead of being a full-time student. I think he would qualify as a mature students (not sure if their requirements are different from high school applicants).

Lots of colleges have health centres with doctors and counsellors to talk to. Getting connected with one early on in the semester would be a good idea. And depending on how much his mental health affects him, he could look to academic accommodations. I have them at university and the small test room helps me a lot.
 
#4
Sorry to hear that you and your son are going through this, but I'm glad that he survived his attempt
My concern is when after someone is released from the hospital after a suicide attempt and is diagnosed with depression, how to you plan for realistic expectations?
This is an excellent question. It's important to have a dream in life, but also not to bite off more than he can chew.

In the US and most other first-world countries, there's vocational assistance available for people with disabilities. It sounds to me like they would be a perfect resource for him. He should qualify pretty easily I think. The standard for services is usually that someone has a disability that is a barrier to work, but is still able to work.

The program goes by different names in different places. If you are in the US or Canada, calling 211 or visiting 211.org might help you find it. You could also search online, it sometimes goes by the name "vocational rehabilitiation".

One of the services they usually provide is testing of aptitudes and interests. Counselors should be able to make some recommendations about what careers would be realistic for him. They often offer job search training, and even can provide free work training and job-related education.

If he's officially disabled, he may also be eligible for some hiring preferences, which could help a lot.

Hopefully with some help he'll be able to develop a realistic plan to a career that he likes.

Developing self-understanding may be critical for him, especially understanding what his stress limits are.

SF members here often develop a safety plan. That might be something that he could develop on his own, or with the help of a therapist

https://www.suicideforum.com/community/threads/read-this-first-safety-forum.134852/

Also, the links in my signature have some information about treatment methods. Adding on some treatment methods might be helpful

I hope that something can help!
 
#5
Thank you for all of your comments and insight, really appreciate it.

We are meeting with an in-hospital therapist today and my son to talk about safety plans and any other questions we have before he is discharged this week.

The comments about putting more focus on triggers and how to deal with potential issues sooner than later were helpful. I think my son would rather just think about the potential fun aspect of going to college than the hard work of realizing how he relates to people is sometimes a big problem. He has a lot of hard work ahead of him.

If he's officially disabled, he may also be eligible for some hiring preferences, which could help a lot.

Do you mean physically disabled? He is not. My son is a big, strong kid and has no physical issues. I'm not sure if he would want to be classified as disabled due to depression. Not even sure if that is possible in the U.S., but it might carry a stigma with him. Not sure, that could just be me projecting.

A good buddy of mine stopped by to visit with him yesterday. He works at a large university and knows a lot of ins and outs and gave my son some good advice on how to start slow with one or two classes before jumping into a full blown 4-year on campus endeavor.

There are so many things to consider with all of this, it's almost overwhelming.
 
#6
Do you mean physically disabled? He is not. My son is a big, strong kid and has no physical issues.
Being depressed is a disability. Having a disability doesn't necessarily mean that you are fully disabled. To qualify for vocational services, the just have some physical, mental, or emotional obstacle to work.

I'm not sure if he would want to be classified as disabled due to depression. Not even sure if that is possible in the U.S., but it might carry a stigma with him
You don't have to wear a sign or carry a card that says you're disabled. If there are medical records that show that he's been hospitalized, that may be sufficient for him to qualify for services. There is no thing that he would be denied as a result of qualifying for services.

If you, he, or both of you are avoiding services that could help him because you are on some level in denial, it doesn't sound like that would lead to anything good.

Please talk about vocational services with the hospital therapist if you have a chance.

A good buddy of mine stopped by to visit with him yesterday. He works at a large university and knows a lot of ins and outs and gave my son some good advice on how to start slow with one or two classes before jumping into a full blown 4-year on campus endeavor
This sounds like a good idea

He could even try starting a community college and transfer to a 4 year program later.
 

Aprilflowers7

Well-Known Member
#7
If you are living in the US, and your son is considered disabled, he can qualify for long-term or temporary SSI until he can get back on his feet. Mental health issues is considered a disability and people who try to commit suicide may not be able to go back to work right away or even school until they are able to handle it better. I think SSI would be a good option and there are even scholarship options available for people who are on SSI. I was rejected the first time but then I got a lawyer and then won the case. We only had to pay the lawyer $1,000 out of my back pay. Sometimes you get back pay if the case is long and drawn out and now I think back pay only goes back two years instead of three years like it did with me. I think they changed the law or something. So I think SSI could be one of your options as well as community college. He can also get Medicaid which can help him get the proper medication for his depression and help him achieve his goals. I don't think his goals are far-fetched, but he has to take it one step at a time and hopefully won't have any more issues which is why I think medication could be a possibility. I receive SSI, Medicaid, and the bridge card for my disabilities. The bridge card is for food. That is one suggestion I have. But if you try to apply for SSI I would get a lawyer first thing so the case can be handled quickly and more efficiently.
 

Please Donate to Help Keep SF Running

Total amount
$155.00
Goal
$255.00
Top