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Suicide Isn’t Painless
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Author:  bunsonbyrner [ Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Suicide Isn’t Painless

Hey Guys,

It’s been a helluva year, all of it leading into what felt like a pretty good Christmas event with my immediate family, and my wife’s nearby parents and siblings. I was off work through the 27th, but ended up taking a fourth day off after receiving some heavy news on Wednesday night.

For those who don’t know, I’m type II bipolar, a condition I inherited from my mother, who is decidedly more severe than myself. A month or two ago, my parents paid a visit and my mom sat me down to yell at me that I was letting my bipolar issues destroy my marriage. There might be some truth to that, though “letting” is a strong word. Anyway, I said all that to say this: Wednesday, December 27th, my mom finally gave up the fight and tried to kill herself.

Around 1PM that afternoon, I received a text from her which read: “Love you !”

I thought nothing of it as she’ll often send texts like that periodically. I responded, but heard nothing back. What I couldn’t have known was that she had sent the same text to my dad and both my two sisters. Apart from a jumbled suicide letter she sent to her psychiatrists office, that was it for goodbyes. In the chain of events, she would have then popped 30 Xanax after drinking two glasses of champagne and then settled into sleep and unconsciousness and that might have been it. Fortunately, my dad deduced something was wrong and called an ambulance. It’s 8:20 on December 29th and I just got a text from my dad saying she is (mostly) awake and alert. The police got involved so she is being 5150’d, a state she’s familiar with from her bipolar type I friend, Katie.

Anyway, this knocked me for a loop. When I was a kid, my mom used to drive around with a shotgun in the trunk of the car with suicidal intent. More than once she drove up to the lake near the town we lived in and almost drove the car in at the boat ramp to drown herself. Since then, she’s done arrogant and irresponsible things with her medication that were borderline but not blatant suicide attempts like this last. Xanax is about as a effective as a BB gun as a suicide instrument, apart from potential liver damage or aspirating and choking on vomit after slipping into unconsciousness. But I’d bet a lot of money that my mom didn’t know that, and legitimately wanted to die this time.

I know she’s in a lot of pain. She won’t say so, but I’m 90% certain my grandfather molested her as a child. But all of that aside, this has left me feeling hurt, angry and rejected. Suicide is something I’ve thought about, even recently, but it’s the kind of place where I circle the parking lot a couple of times but never get out of the car. If anything, this has shown me how close I wasn’t to killing myself.

My tendency here is to self medicate through the pain, which I’m trying to do and have been largely successful. All the same, I have some feelings, and a lack of certain feelings that are hard to deal with. I thought I would share so I could externalize some of this. Thank you all for indulging me.

BB

Author:  rule62 [ Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

That's a tough story to digest BB. I hope your Mom receives the best of treatment and can possibly find some peace in this world. Same goes for you.

At least you know more about the disease at an earlier age then your mother did when she was younger. We have better medications and therapies just for your & your mothers illness. A lot of us know either family or friends with Bi Polar symptoms. Two people I know have it but won't admit it. Therefore they go on binges and depressions w/o getting the right medical assistance. You have an advantage over them by just admitting it and asking for help.

So sorry you have to go through this mess. Try to be a good example to your Mom and maybe she'll learn from you.

Author:  bunsonbyrner [ Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

It’s been surreal. My family are not good communicators. My mom pooped the pills around 1PM, and I didn’t find out until 10PM when my sister called. Since my mom’s vitals were good, my dad didn’t see it as a crisis or emergency. Never mind that it was a blatant attempt to take her own life, that I grew up with the fear of that happening every two or three years. I wanted to blitz out into opiate oblivion but didn’t, so I guess that’s something. The cold part of me doesn’t give a shit, but there’s another part that I visualize as a child running around in vacuous darkness, screaming for the mother he’ll never find.

There will be healing. But there will also be scars.

Author:  Amy-Work In Progress [ Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

The damage that can run in families can be devastating. It's possible that a cycle of abuse went back generations, leading to your mom's suicide attempt. The best news to come out of this event is that you have been able to sit with it, as uncomfortable as it is because of the memories of other attempts and threats of suicide by your mom, and not turn to drugs of addiction for comfort. You're right! That is significant progress. Don't discount your ability to feel the harsh emotions without getting blitzed. That's really important!

My paternal grandmother killed herself when I was a baby. She set everything up so that my dad would come over and find her dead. She withdrew her money from the bank in cash and labelled every piece of furniture, jewelry, and keepsake with the name of the person you should receive it. I was talking to my dad about a couple of years ago. He said, "You know, Ama. Not one person asked me how it felt that my mom left everything for me to find." My dad, although delightful and loving at times, also carries a lot of anger. And I think it all starts with his mother's suicide. It's hard stuff.

I wish you and your family the best as you grapple with your mom's suicide attempt. I hope that she gets the help she needs, but don't forget that you may need help too. It might be a good idea to talk to a therapist or join a support group of people with similar experiences.

Amy

Author:  bunsonbyrner [ Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

Hi Amy,

First off, thank you. I know we’ve corresponded a bit in the past, and you’ve always been on point. This is no exception. I haven’t been visiting the forum as much these days, so I’m sorry if this reply comes a bit late. I really feel for your dad. That’s some very heavy baggage to have to carry around. When my grandmother died the year before last (natural causes), my grandfather called me dad over to help him load all of my grandmother, his mother’s stuff into garbage bags for delivery to Goodwill. He also coerced my dad into taking photos of his dead mother in the coffin at her own wake. Maybe your grandmother assumed some level of strength from your father that no man truly possesses. Your mom is your mom, and she’s supposed to be there to nurture and protect. I hope your dad is doing alright. I can’t imagine being the one to find my mother on the floor.

School has started again, so if I’m not at work, I’m at school. My mom is...Well, she’s still alive. I can say that. She hasn’t been atending any outpatient therapy groups. She and my dad have just gone back to life as usual, like nothing ever happened and her suicide attempt was just an unfortunate accident. Since then, we’ve discovered that my sister and her poor decision making skills—coupled with the fact that she treats her children, my mom’s grandchildren as hostages, or bargaining chips—is behind a lot of my mom’s current emotional turmoil. It’s reached the point that my wife and I have been colluding with my other sister and her husband about staging an intervention for her. My sister, that is.

In the meantime, I’m finding more obstacles to my recovery. This forum is the only place I feel like I can go and really open up. My wife seems to resent that, but it’s hard to have a constructive conversation with her about myself without it dissolving into an argument. I’ve posted about it in the past, but last night—actually, very early this morning—we hit a new precedent when my wife asked me to sleep in the guest bedroom. We had gotten into an argument over a controversial comic book page I had written and drawn for school. My values were called into question, and when I finally acquiesced to her editorial concerns, she was still angry. I got very frustrated and confused. She had walked away and gone outside to close the chicken coup door and I made the mistake of shouting after her that I didn’t understand women. We were able to reach a ceasefire that didn’t involve me sleeping in the guestroom, but just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it wasn’t threatened. She said, “I don’t feel safe sleeping next to you.” Never, never ever, not once in almost eleven years of marriage have I ever threatened her with violence of any kind. And last night was no exception. She walked out when she got what she wanted out of me, and I shouted to be heard. The urge to use, to do something was uncontrollable. I didn’t end up taking any drugs, but I did give myself a couple of deep scratches with the tip of a steak knife. Cutting/scratching has been a go to for me for a couple of years when I get frustrated or angry. Weird as I suppose that is, the sudden stinging pain helps me focus, reunites me with purpose. I say all of this because I don’t really have another outlet. I’m getting older, and like my parents before me, I don’t keep a huge number of close friends, so I walk around with a lot of baggage. My wife wants to be that person, gets mad when I don’t share things, but often gets mad when I do, so doesn’t leave me with a lot of options other than to keep it to myself or post it here. I’m not actively using, nor am I considering it at this moment. I just feel like we keep circling closer and closer in this downward spiral toward divorce and I don’t know how to save myself or my marriage.

Sorry for the long reply. I needed to articulate some thoughts and kind of take tally of my problems and available assets and resources. Thank you again for your thoughtful response!

B. Byrner

Author:  Amy-Work In Progress [ Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

My dad is doing pretty good, although I don't know if he's worked through all of his anger from various things in his adult life. I think that part of the reason my grandmother chose my dad to take care of everything was because he was a pastor. Maybe she felt that he could handle things better than either his older or younger brother. Plus, I think Dad was her favorite. That would cause me to protect my son from something like that, but maybe she just felt that he was the one she could trust. This occurred in 1971, so I don't think that people were supposed to grieve for people the same outward way that we might do today. I don't know. But I like what you said, "Maybe your grandmother assumed some level of strength from your father that no man truly possesses." That rings true.

I am not a marriage guru. If I were then I could fix my own. We have mostly good days because we avoid talking about the important stuff that is lacking. I wish that I could tell you what to do, but at least you and your wife are still talking. That's important. I think that it's great that your wife wants to be your confidant, but I'm not sure she is equipped to understand the things that an addict struggles with. Is she prepared for the fact that you sometimes feel helpless and weak? That you can't promise that you won't relapse? Maybe she doesn't truly want to hear those things from you.

I do think, because of your cutting, that you should find a therapist who can help you learn to sit with the discomfort of those tough feelings. That is what you're relieving when you cut or use. Those uncomfortable feelings recede into the background when you cut. Learning to sit with them is important for your long term health and recovery. A good counselor could help you do that. Any coping skills you can develop, without resorting to maladaptive behaviors, are your friend.

You are always welcome to vent here and get support. It's so important to have that outlet you are talking about! I hope that things in your marriage can improve over time.

Amy

Author:  jennjenn [ Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

Hey bunson.

I'm really really hoping u take our advice on the counseling. The issues ur having in addiction, marriage and the cutting to make urself feel better are all huge reasons to go talk with someone. I guarantee you'll feel so good when u do and start feeling like u have a new perspective on things instead of being confused as to why this stuff is happening. I know ur having insurance issues but gosh it would be worth it.

I know a lot about divorce lol I can definitely say that because I've been through more than one. I was always that person who wouldn't give up and stuck with my marriage through everything, even when it was hopeless. It always ended the same though, things wouldn't ever get better long term. I'd have hope for a bit to only realize it was a temporary bandaid. I'm not saying that's ur situation but just be open to the possibility that ur destiny could be somewhere else. For me, it took til my mid thirties to find the right partner. Right now, I would 100% go through all those bad relationships again knowing that journey was taking me to my true happiness. That sounds corny I know but I just want u to know that we don't always have to settle for the fighting or the whirlwind ups and downs, it's ok to say this may not be where I'm meant to be. Please don't think I'm encouraging u to leave or anything like that because I'm not. I just want to say that we always have options no matter what the situation. We deserve to be happy because life is so fragile and can be taken at any second.

Author:  bunsonbyrner [ Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

Jennjenn and Amy,

Thank you both. I haven’t been on the forum in a bit, and was reaching the point where I might grab a steak knife and add a couple of white tattoos to my arm and came here instead. My parents are visiting again, which puts my wife in Appearances mode. I’m expecting an earful at bedtime after getting one of those “you blew it. I’m not going to tell you why or how right now, but you blew it.” Usually I blow it by not exercising her definition of common sense, which I consider akin to mind reading for most everyone else. I’ve been home from work for about an hour after a very long day at work. She’s been at home with the baby, but my parents were also here to help for a lot of it, so she wasn’t exactly on her own as she’ll likely claim. Her perception is as selective as mine, sometimes. Anyway, thank you both very much. You’ve given me a lot to consider.

Author:  Amy-Work In Progress [ Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

From what you describe it's quite likely that your wife is emotionally abusive. I found a really good article in Psychology Today which describes what emotional abuse is. Unfortunately, the term "emotional abuse" gets used too often when talking about disagreement, yelling, and blunt language. But what you describe goes beyond that. Here is an excerpt from the article I found and I'm also including a link to the article. (The author goes back and forth between male and female pronouns.)

"Commonly, the perpetrator of emotional abuse does not know that she is being abusive. Rather, she may be aware that she feels insecure about whether or not her partner loves her, so she feels compelled to accuse him of cheating, blame him for her unhappiness, or constantly check his voice and text messages, etc. The accusations, the blame, and the constant checking up are forms of emotional abuse.

He may think that he knows what’s best for his partner or what looks correct to the outside world, so he is constantly trying to control her every move, criticizing her harshly when she doesn’t do it his way or threatening her when she seems to go outside the lines. He may verbally attack her when she argues with him, because her arguing is convincing evidence to him that he is not in control of her. He may criticize her talking, her walking, her dressing, her interactions with others, her style of living and coping in order to gain and keep control over her.

For example: Mary constantly criticizes Tim in hopes that by putting him down, she will be able to control his behavior. She belittles him when they are alone, and she puts him down in front of others. When he tries to speak up for himself or call her on her behavior, she attempts to make him feel like he is crazy, like everyone knows he’s crazy, and no one would ever take him seriously (AKA gaslighting). She blames him for her unhappiness frequently, holding him responsible for how she feels. She takes little to no responsibility for her own choices and behavior. She uses a double-standard when it comes to her own behavior, not holding herself accountable when she does the same exact things for which she criticizes him. She calls him stupid, inept, dumb, and other like names frequently. When he speaks to her relatives or friends, she rolls her eyes in an attempt to manipulate them into disrespecting him. She frequently treats him with disdain and even disgust. She threatens to leave him or to stop speaking to him frequently. And she refuses to show him affection, giving affection only when he does exactly what she wants. She is especially cold, even nonverbal, when she is mad at him. Sometimes she goes days or even weeks without speaking to him. Mary also goes to other family members and friends of Tim’s to talk to them about Tim, thus isolating Tim from those who would be supportive and could let him know that he is being abused. Mary is showing a distinct pattern of emotional abuse that comes at Tim from several different directions:


1. Constant criticism or attempts to manipulate and control

2. Shaming and blaming with hostile sarcasm or outright verbal assault

3. The use of shaming and belittling language

4. Verbal abuse — name-calling

5. Withholding affection

6. Punishment and threats of punishment

7. Refusal to accept her part in the dynamic

8. Mind games, such as gaslighting, when it comes to accepting personal responsibility for her own happiness

9. Refusing to communicate at all

10. Isolating him from supportive friends and family
"


If your wife meets the definition of being emotionally abusive you may need to get some help for yourself, especially if you are still using cutting to relieve your negative emotions. Please find a skilled therapist who is also well versed in addiction counseling. I don't know if the way your wife is behaving can be talked out.

Amy

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tr ... onal-abuse

Author:  jennjenn [ Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

What a great thing for u to post for bunson to read Amy!

Bunson I know there's always two sides to every story but some things that u mentioned that ur wife has said or done, seems to me like u think maybe u deserved it or things in ur past make u feel like u might be the cause of most of her anger or actions..... I just don't really see it like that. Sure, as addicts we've all been unfair to our spouses or significant other at some point, but we shouldn't be forever punished for it or feel like our partners anger is always justified. I just want u to be open to the fact that u don't deserve to be a punching bag emotionally. Nobody deserves that.

Just be open to knowing that we all deserve kindness and just because we made mistakes in the past (or even now) doesn't mean we deserve emotional abuse. Sometimes our partner becomes a bit like a stranger after we've gotten off the active addiction train. Things we didn't notice before becomes a lot more noticeable now and bothersome. It's also 100% ok to wonder if ur just on a completely different path for ur future.

Author:  bunsonbyrner [ Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Suicide Isn’t Painless

Amy and Jenn-Jenn, thank you once again. As far as the emotional abuse aspect, I’m not sure. If it is, it’s more subtle than those scenarios. I often worry I’m emotionally abusive and don’t realize it. Most recently, we got socked with a big bill from the IRS who claim we didn’t do our taxes right last year. My wife has been, understandably, pretty distraught over it. Currently, I work full time and go to school pretty much full time (3 classes, 9 units). I’m not home a lot. When I have free time during what the rest of the world calls business hours, it’s maybe an hour here and there. My wife already shouldered the task of calling one CPA to examine our case. While she was absorbed in the Olympics last night, I told her to let me know where I could help. An hour or two later, literally as we’re both crawling into bed—she always, always brings up her gripes when we’re in bed when it’ll be my last conscious thought and I’m in a position to do exactly jack shit about whatever it is—she tells me that my saying that makes her feel alone, like not only does she have to figure out the CPA thing, she has to figure out and delegate my part in whatever ends up fixing this mess. It could very easily have been an argument, but I didn’t let myself bring it there. But that’s a helluva thing to just be laying there in the dark, staring at the ceiling through your own closed eyelids and thinking about having to carve your own slice of this giant IRS turkey when you know you’re not going to have much time if any. I’ve talked to her about her doing this, about as often as it occurs and it’s always about not wanting to spoil the evening, or tip toeing around my feelings even about things I wouldn’t have gotten upset over. I get upset because I feel like she’s reading me bedtime stories from hell. But is it abuse? Probably. I don’t know how you can grow up in the family she comes from and not be just a little bit abusive. It goes back generations, and some of the things that happened to her are literally criminal. She’s still prone to hide the family laundry where she can get whereas I’m, obviously, a bit more open. If people know, they can help you. I appreciate you both. Wish me luck. I’m about to call her. I suspended my call with her to get a bite. I’m at work and absolutely starving. She was pretty snippy with me on the phone, but about other stuff.

Thanks again!

B.B

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