So much has happened since I last posted. I have struggled with the best way to write this post.
What has guided me in writing it is my belief that I must be honest with my readers, and I must also be honest in order to chip at the stigma that surrounds what I’m about to tell you.
About 10 days ago, my mother attempted suicide. She is 86 years old and lives in an assisted living home with her own room. She took what she described as a handful of sleeping pills on a Thursday night. She was found unconscious by the home’s staff the next morning and taken to the hospital.
The assumption was that she had had a stroke, though when a neurologist examined her, he thought otherwise.
All through the day that Friday, she became more and more conscious. That evening, she told me, my husband and my oldest brother what she had done.
My mother has been depressed for my entire life. She has mostly been untreated. She has taken antidepressants off and on, but she always stopped taking them.
With this incident, she spent three days in a mental health ward. She was diagnosed as depressed. She was deemed not to be a danger to herself and released to go back to her assisted living home. She is not seeking additional help.
Why she did what she did, what she wanted to do—all of that is her story. I can only truly tell you my story.
I have done a lot of reading about the aftereffects of attempted suicide and suicide. But this is not a post about how to care for the one who attempts suicide. It is not about recognizing the signs that someone is contemplating suicide.
Frankly, I’m not in the position to be able to write such a post.
But you can find information about suicide and suicide prevention HERE.
This post is about the messy, emotional aftermath of a suicide attempt by a family member.
Even though I have been familiar with the world of mental health issues for years, I still had a hard time imagining that someone in my family, someone that I knew, would attempt suicide. So I was first shocked. Then horrified and afraid.
Over the last 10 days, I have had a lot of conflicting emotions swirling through me. But the main one has been anger. White hot anger that has made my chest feel like it’s full and about to explode.
And hate. Hate and resentment and bitterness and anger have filled me up.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know my relationship with my mother has never been easy.
Even with that history, my emotions have surprised me and made me feel guilty. I don’t want to be a person who hates. I don’t want to be a selfish person.
Thankfully, I have talked with some wise people who have reminded me that it’s OK to feel this way and that it’s best not to deny the way I feel. I won’t always feel these emotions.
And perhaps others who have been in this situation have felt the same way as I have and felt the same fear about revealing that to others.
So I am revealing it to you.
I’ll be back on Wednesday with a better explanation of what some wise people and some quiet contemplation have helped me to understand.