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September 27, 2012 5:25 PM Subscribe
Mr. SPA told me last night that he thinks about suicide. Knowing Mr. SPA and based on the surrounding facts and circumstances, I think he's referencing suicide in a bid to talk about escaping from the stress in his life. In other words, I think he's asking for my help. I don't know if I can help him. What do I do?
posted by SPA to human relations (16 answers total)
Before I provide background, I want to say that there is no imminent threat that Mr. SPA will commit suicide. Mr. SPA brought up suicide last night during a heated exchange, which I will describe below. My question is really about how I, being emotionally depleted myself, help and support him.
Some background: Mr. SPA and I have been together for 12.5 years, living in the house we bought together 8.5 years ago. We are not legally married, but after all these years, we operate socially and financially as a married couple. Recent stressors in our lives include the expected death of my grandmother, the unexpected death of his father and his adult daughter, a recovering (?) heroin addict, moving in with us "for a few days" almost 4 months ago. (She's still here.) All of this has happened during this summer.
The immediate stressor before out conversation happened last night. I came home from work and found a syringe in a box of dog treats that his daughter brought to our house when she moved here. I immediately showed it to Mr. SPA. He confronted his daughter about it, stressing that drug use was completely unacceptable while she's living in our house. She left for the night in tears after giving us a bunch of excuses (? explanations?) about how this was an old syringe and she's been clean and she'll show us her arms, etc., in possibly the most histrionic way conceivable.
After she left, Mr. SPA and I discussed the matter. That lead to a larger discussion where he told me his feelings about, essentially, the worthlessness of his life. He said that I don't "really know" him and I don't respect him (which further questioning seemed to uncover that to him respect is loosly associated with agreement?) and that due to my lack of respect and everything else, he is struggling to find a reason to live. In addition, he feels it would be best for me if he weren't in my life. (I disagree and find his expressions patronizing.)
I don't know what to do or say. I am at my breaking point with the daughter and this living situation, myself -- though I am always very careful to behave with love and compassion I feel for both of them. I think the solution is to kick the daughter out but he absolutely refuses to the point where he essentially invited me to leave the house I'm paying the mortgage on if I didn't like her living here.
I have my own mental health issues and I'm emotionally depleted by all of this. In fact, I feel like I need to escape and have fantasized about suicide, myself. I'm not emotionally in the place to cheerlead him, but it looks like I have to. Is he just asking for help from me? Am I supposed to call 911 days later or report this to his internist or something? I told him that I didn't want him to harm himself because I love him and that he has an obligation to his children and me not to harm himself, but deep down, I guess I feel like suicide is a rational choice in this situation. I'm at a loss here.
I'm in therapy and I intend to tell my therapist about this when I see her at my next appointment. If things become more acute, I will contact her. In case they don't, what's the right thing for me to do?