My boyfriend committed suicide
March 27, 2012 7:02 PM   Subscribe

I left him. Packed up my stuff, and the pets. He was there trying to keep it together even though I could see his pain. He killed himself 10 days later. Everyone is saying it's not my fault and not to blame myself. How?

My brain knows that he was not well and that I was not in control of his actions. I asked him to get help many times. But he basically said that he was going to kill himself and I ignored all the signs. I didn't believe him and thought he was trying to manipulate me. When I looked at myths about suicide all I can see are the many ways that I failed. I left because the relationship was bad. We weren't happy. But this relationship has been going on (and off) for 14 years. He is all I know. I didn't want to be with him anymore but I didn't want anyone else. I wanted to know he was out there in the world somewhere.

We talked right before and he was very angry and raging. I told him I wouldn't stay on the phone and let him talk to me that way. He left voice mails saying that at least he knew that he was the last person who loved me and enjoyed me. His last text said that I'm selfish and that what was about to happen was my fault. I went to bed. Didn't hear from him again. The silence didn't even feel right. I called him, no answer. Called someone else to see if they'd seem him. Four days after that last text his body was found in the apartment that we shared.

I keep going back to all the ways that I was bad in the relationship and how I hurt him. He was begging me for love and I was so withholding and rejected him so often. Looking back he was so right about so many things but I was too stubborn. He told me that he needed affection to feel loved and he didn't get that from me. He'd say I was selfish, self involved. He's right. He was reaching out to everyone and just kept getting brushed off. He had to have been in so much pain! He had an awful relationship with his family and hadn't seen them in years despite them being 15 minutes away. He said and believed that I was all he had. And sometimes that was overwhelming.

On top of that I keep thinking not so much of the horrible things he said to me but the horrible things he said about me to other people. I don't think I've ever cared what people thought and all of a sudden it matters. During our last breakup he couldn't cope and the same thing happened. He said he attempted suicide but I thought he was being dramatic. He was crying out for help for so long and no one helped him. Especially not me. We were broken up for around a year and a half. During that time he became involved with someone else. I didn't have an issue since we weren't together. A few months after we got back together this person contacts me via email to inform me about the extent of their relationship and things he had told her about me. Things like he was embarrassed to be seen with me. That he was calling her begging her for sex and saying that he was confused between the both of us. Other things as well. And now I'm seeing this person fairly regularly. I'm obsessing over what their relationship was like and imagining them having sex. Wondering if he loved her. For some reason even after all this I need to know that he loved me. That he didn't love her. Because if not, then I've thrown away a huge chunk of my life with someone who didn't like me, didn't love me, was embarrassed to walk down the street with me. I know it doesn't matter but it's eating me up.

I do have a psychiatrist and have been diagnosed as bipolar and adhd. I believe that the diagnoses and treatment helped me clear my head enough to make me realize that I needed to leave this relationship. But now I feel like I've taken many steps back. I don't know what to do with myself. I feel so guilty and so desperate for answers. I don't believe in God so there is no comfort in thinking that maybe he went to heaven and is not suffering anymore. He's just dead. He died angry with me. Emotionally suffering. Everyone and every thing looks different now. I go to work and can hardly pretend to give a shit. My family is reaching out but what is there to say? People keep saying "how are you?", "are you ok?". I'm not even crying. And I'm a crier in general. Time heals all wounds - but what do I do now?
posted by puppup to Human Relations (51 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I am so sorry that you have lost someone who was obviously so dear to you, even though you needed to leave your relationship with him for your own well-being.

Might it help you to speak with someone who is specifically trained in grief counseling, as well as with your psychiatrist?

Perhaps some of these links might be helpful to you.

Night Falls Fast, by Kay Redfield Jamison, is a very good book about suicide (the author is a psychologist who has worked with suicidal patients, and who has the experience of attempting suicide herself). I hear good things about this book, but haven't had the chance to read it myself.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:09 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm so sorry this has happened.

It's not your fault.

It was an unhealthy situation on all accounts.

It's not your fault. You are not responsible.

You did what you had to do.

Time will heal you. You have to wait. There is nothing else you can do. You will learn to accept the cruelty of this situation and you will become wise. Please take care of yourself and don't blame yourself. You don't need faith in order to move on from this. Time will heal you.
posted by costanza at 7:12 PM on March 27, 2012 [8 favorites]

I'm so sorry. It's not your fault. I'm sure that a lot of people will reach out to you with these kinds of platitudes, but that doesn't make them any less true. It's not your fault, and I am sorry that this happened to you.

Can you see your psychiatrist more frequently right now? Sidhedevil's suggestion of seeing an additional person trained in grief counseling might also be appropriate.

As for what to do right now? Take care of yourself. Make sure you're eating and drinking enough water. Get enough sleep. And don't beat yourself up. This is not your fault.
posted by k8lin at 7:14 PM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Now is the time to be with friends, loved ones, family, whomever you can lean on. A lot. Rant to them. Cry to them. Tell them everything you said here. They can help you more than we can. Best of luck to you.
posted by mreleganza at 7:18 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am so sorry for your loss.

You are right he was sick and that sickness invaded your relationship with one another and to make yourself well you had to step away. It is so sad that this happened, and I feel awful that he was clearly suffering. But it also makes me feel angry too that you asked him to do things to make himself well for his sake and the sake of your relationship and he chose instead to go to this length to keep things the same.

Suicide is tragic and it's totally normal to feel ANYTHING at all as you mourn; sad, guilty, angry, numb are all par for the course. Please let others help carry the load when you need to. Keep in close contact with your psychiatrist, answer your family and loved ones honestly when they ask (even if it means telling them "I really don't feel like talking about it right now.") and give yourself all the time and space you need to feel safe. These folks have been where you are now and can help guide you.

I wish there was a way to give you answers and comfort. I wish for peace for you.
posted by goggie at 7:19 PM on March 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

This is a traumatic event of ginormous proportions, and I have an overwhelming urge to hug you, a person I do not know and will probably never meet. That tells me you need to be hugged by the people that love you a lot; every day, many times a day. That sounds very simplistic, but connection and support that is not abstract will probably serve you best. Turn to your loved ones for love, reassurance, and help. Ask for things that will make your life easier, even if it is just some groceries, a chat, or, yes, a hug.

Also, you mentioned you are seeing a psychiatrist, but I would strongly recommend seeing a therapist. Psychs and therapists serve two very different purposes and there is a lot to unpack here.

I actually don't think there is much we can say that will change how you feel about things. Clearly, this is not your fault, and it sounds like his illness was threatening to consume not just him but you as well. What you do now is cry, rage, and mourn. You talk until you can't talk anymore. You also listen to every positive thing someone says to you and really receive it, even if you can't really enjoy it for a while. It will take awhile to let go of the guilt & what-ifs, never mind your grief, but it will get better over time. For the moment, just simplify things as much as possible, cut yourself an enormous amount of slack, and ask for help. There are both loved ones and professionals who can help you handle your current situation and bring you closer to a state of acceptance. I wish there were magic words we could say to make this better, but, in lieu of those, best of luck to you.
posted by katemcd at 7:20 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is an awful situation, and I'm so sorry you are dealing with it. But you are not responsible for this. You did not cause it, you could not have prevented it. You could not have saved your boyfriend; you had your own pain that you needed to contend with, and two people drowning cannot save each other.

You need to continue taking care of yourself. Be vocal with your psychiatrist about the things you're feeling, on a regular basis; if you don't talk to your psychiatrist much except for med checks then you need a grief counselor. Narrow your focus for the next few months to just taking care of yourself. That is all you're responsible for. Some days it will seem impossible, and that is where you lean on your family and friends -- they won't know exactly what you're feeling, but they want to help anyway. Tell them you need a meal, or to go to a movie, or you just need to yell and scream.

Please, get in touch with a counselor you can see regularly. I'm sending all my good thoughts and vibes your way, puppup. I really feel intensely for you right now, and wish you the best of luck.
posted by lilac girl at 7:24 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've had persistent trouble with depression and being suicidal myself and all I can say is, it wasn't your fault. He probably saw a general physician regularly, who is a medical professional and entirely familiar with mental health issues, and he may well have seen a mental health specialist with or without your knowledge, and even the professionals couldn't avert this; so don't blame yourself.
posted by XMLicious at 7:24 PM on March 27, 2012

I am very sorry for your tragic loss. nthing the above advice from others. I am only answering one small part of your question, about everything looking different, how it's hard to care and not knowing what to think or do. A very eloquent writer named David Foster Wallace committed suicide (clinical depression) in 2008, but in 2005 he gave a commencement address that I think incisively cuts to the heart of what it means to live life. Once you have received help to deal with the tragedy and grief, you may want to read it.
posted by forthright at 7:26 PM on March 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

Oh no. I am so, so very sorry. I don't know what to say - I don't know what I would do. But if it matters, this is not your fault. When all is said and done, we are responsible for ourselves and ourselves only. You were doing the best you could to take care of yourself and that is all you could do and the best thing you could do. I am very sorry that he was unable to do the same, but it was not your responsibility, you can never be everything to everyone and you cannot save people from their own pain.

Now you need to take care of yourself. Reach out to anyone that you can. Be gentle and kind to yourself and stop telling yourself that you did something wrong. This is not your fault. Even if you don't believe it now, trust what the other people here are saying and trust that when you come out on the other side of this (which you will), that it will become more clear to you as well. You are not responsible for other people. Please be kind to yourself. Find people that you can lean on. My thoughts are with you. I wish you peace.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:31 PM on March 27, 2012

I am so very sorry and can only echo the above, this is not your fault...... On any level. Care for yourself.....
posted by pearlybob at 7:31 PM on March 27, 2012

If there was a way to hug you, I would. Please, please, take good care of yourself right now. The pain in your post is overwhelming. Letting it out like you did is a wonderful way to start. I wish you, in the least, moments of peace in the coming days.
posted by icanbreathe at 7:39 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I myself have been suicidal.


My take on what you wrote is this. He made the choice because he wanted to send you the ultimate f u. I would call that evil.

Please do get help to work through this. You did right to leave and you need to be supported till you can grok that in your heart.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:40 PM on March 27, 2012 [18 favorites]

I attempted suicide after a relationship went sour. Let me tell you about it.

When I was 17, I was in a sort-of-relationship with this girl. I loved her SO much, but it was a very unhealthy relationship. Eventually, she broke it off, and I became suicidal. I told her that I was suicidal. I didn't tell her in order to manipulate her, it was how I actually felt; but I'm sure it actually came off as manipulative. I wanted her to fix me. When telling her didn't make me feel better / fix the problem, I decided to actually attempt suicide. I didn't tell anyone else.

I attempted suicide and was very nearly successful (I am lucky to be alive). She ended up cutting off communication with me - I can't even imagine the guilt she felt. She was the only person who had known I was suicidal.

I've learned a lot in the 10 years since that happened. For one thing, the suicide attempt had little to nothing to do with her, and little to do with the end of the relationship. It was mostly about my severe depression at the time - I didn't know I was depressed, but I was. It was about my lack of communication with those around me. It was about my discomfort with being gay (I'm female) and my fears about the future. I thought it had to do with her - and to some extent, she was the trigger - but if she hadn't been the trigger, something else would have been the trigger.

I've learned how to deal with my deep and persistent depression. I didn't know how to at that time, so I resorted to a suicide attempt. I'm not angry with myself about that anymore; I didn't realize at the time that there were better options. But there are better options. I know now the impact that a suicide has on the people around that person. I know because of the impact of my attempted suicide, and I know because one of my good friends committed suicide.

Let me tell you from the inside: It was not about you. He probably knew that it was not about you, but even if he didn't know it, it was not about you. It was about his internal struggle, and there was nothing you could have done to fix that or change it.

I'm so, so sorry you are going through this. You have my deepest sympathies. Memail me anytime.
posted by Why hello, I am a sock puppet at 7:49 PM on March 27, 2012 [46 favorites]

My mother attempted suicide several times when I was a small boy. She was clearly in a lot of pain, and suicide was a way for her to try to stop the pain as well as a way for her to share the pain with others close to her.

Her suicide attempts were caused by her illness. Your ex-boyfriend's suicide was caused by his illness, not by you.

Let your friends and family help you. It is so great that you have people there for you, asking how you are. Spend time with them if you can, not necessarily talking, but just being with them. You may not know how you feel, you may be feeling many different things. Being with people can help with that. It seems like you know they care about you, which is good.

Your ex did something that can never be undone. It's there now, and always will be. But you can build a life, even with that hole in the universe that used to be him. You can still hold to life, as clearly you are. Just keep moving forward and way will open.
posted by alms at 7:50 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am so sorry for your loss. My dad killed himself 13 years ago after my mom filed for divorce. He had long struggles with several mental health issues including addiction. He told her that he was going to kill himself, and ended up doing it exactly as he told her he would. I don't blame her. I don't blame him. I don't even blame myself anymore (I did for a long time). We could not save someone who didn't want to be saved.

I can absolutely identify with the way you describe shutting down emotionally right now. I did the same thing for a long time and it felt like the only way to get through it. I can promise you that it does get easier and things will start to feel normal again. The best thing you can do for yourself is to talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Take care of yourself and take a deep breath. This is not your fault.
posted by elvissa at 7:56 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Take this or leave it -- in addition to all of the other contexts -- suicidal threats and attempts can be used by people who are abusive in their relationships.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 8:07 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

He's just dead. He died angry with me.

Yes. And his anger died with him. You can think about it if you want, but it's gone for good, and all you really have now is your anger with yourself. That's not the same thing at all, and you can get rid of that without harming anyone. Be patient and kind with yourself.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 8:07 PM on March 27, 2012 [21 favorites]

I'm so sorry. So terribly sorry. But what I really want to say is: Don't fall for this mindfuck. So his last thought articulated on this planet was hurting you? Don't give him that. He couldn't sort out his shit. And yes, he was, in his own way, in horrible pain. But this bequest to you? You've got to reject it. For the sake of your own sanity.


1. Therapy, STAT. If you're not already. Even if you feel stable & fine, this needs a professional to unpack. DO IT. Find the time, the money & the motivation.

2. Nobody can be another person's reason for living. It's just not a reasonable thing to ask of someone else. It's the ultimate in co-dependency, and if he was too broken inside to find another solution to his pain...that just can't be your fault. You didn't break him. He came that way. Visualize it as an illness. Some illnesses KILL. Your moving on with your life was perhaps the excuse, but it was not the cause. He was very ill. And instead of getting what help he needed, he put it on you. And then took it out on you when you asserted your independence. I am truly sorry. Reject the burden: It's not yours, and he was wrong to try to give it to you. An act of pure selfishness.

3. I am sorry that you have this 3rd party poisoning the well of memories. It's a retroactive trauma. Try and remember that the person who said these things to 3rd party was very ill. I doubt he was speaking from a place in his heart or his head where he could remember the spirit of those good times. But I understand about the poisoning and how it kills even the spirit of the original moment. In a very real sense, you are being robbed by this 3rd party informant: Robbed of your confidence, robbed of your memories, robbed of the good that hopefully, at some point, underpinned your interactions with him. If this 3rd party has not disappeared back under the rock they crawled out from already, encourage them to do so. Maybe try to schedule some time/phone time with mutual friends who might remember the good times. People who can remind you of the laughter & caring that you once remembered as there. It hurts in a different way to speak of these things when someone is deceased, but it's a far better hurt; healthier.

I'm sorry you've had this loss, and these horrible things done to you. Talk to God, start a journal, see a therapist, talk to people until you DO cry, and let some of the pain and poison drain out like pus from a wound. I will keep a good thought for you as you struggle to move past this.
posted by Ys at 8:15 PM on March 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'm so sorry about your loss and pain. My sweet son Charlie committed suicide a couple of years ago while he was living with me, so I know some of how you are feeling, and how hard it is to carry on while feeling so much guilt and pain. All one can do is to keep on putting one foot in front of the other, doing what is necessary at the moment. The most important thing is to be kind to yourself; it's the only way to recover.

Your "ask" doesn't say how long ago your friend died. For me the first month was awful. The first week was excruciating, like a nightmare that I wished to wake from but knew I could not. I drank a lot the first month, dulling the pain after work; it helped me get by but obviously is no good longer term. After a month, the agony and self-reproach faded slightly, only slightly but enough to recognize that life went on. It does get better, truly. Time heals, as you wrote. It's still bitter two years later, but one gradually manages to live with oneself, and even to appreciate life and enjoy oneself.

Like your friend, Charlie was mentally ill, and had been for years. He had been in the hospital and we thought he was getting better, but one morning I found him dead. In some desperately sad way I can almost see that for him dying was better than living, but it's terribly hard on us when we are left alive with our grief and feelings of responsibility.

You must take care of yourself, be alone or be with other people, but be sure to eat and drink, to keep warm and to sleep enough. It will get better. Your friend did not die because of you.
posted by anadem at 8:24 PM on March 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

I'm so sorry, about your situation and also because I doubt I can say anything that would really help, so in advance, I'm really sorry.

A few things, as they come to mind:
Well, you wonder if he loved you. I know if it was me, I'd wonder that too. I feel like if one doesn't believe in god, love takes up some of that slack, creates meaning, gives a purpose to one's life, so I don't believe this is a fruitless or selfish or immature question. On some level, there's a romanticizing that goes on in our culture about love-related suicide, as well, which is difficult to entirely untangle oneself from, but you can't take refuge in that even if you wanted to since he'd said those things about you. Still... look at it this way: that person who lashed out in hate, anger and resentment, that wasn't really him. People suffering from depression badly enough to take their own life aren't really capable of expressing themselves truly, because the illness so frequently takes control and twists the words around. One becomes a lot less capable of expressing love, or experiencing love, or any positive feeling. So in many ways I think it's meaningless to ask if someone in the grip of such darkness loved you, or anyone else. Even if they would have, if they could only express their feelings through vengeful, hateful words, then it's so tainted no longer love. This is what you realized when you left him. Love could no longer grow in that environment; neither of you could love each other anymore.

You know best if he once loved you; if you stayed together so long, surely there's been something between you that mattered once, and that is what you should remember. Once he must have been someone who'd never want to hurt you, and who'd understand that you regret any pain you caused him. Once he must have been someone who trusted you, and someone you trusted, and maybe pieces of all those accumulated good memories lodged in his heart and contributed to his pain-- because they were good, and he felt so bad. However, those memories aren't 'you' and aren't 'yours' in the sense of belonging solely to you; they are simply something that you had both shared at one time, something which was tainted, broken, eaten up by darkness, anger, sadness, resentment. You both lost something; the difference is that he lost it, but took it out on you. He wasn't simply depressed-- he used his dark feelings of rage, hopelessness, frustration, and so on as a weapon, to drag you down, to hurt you, and that remains unacceptable even now.

I'll also tell you this: the person I'd loved most in my life and gave the most of myself to is also the person I think I raged against the most, complained against the most, said the most resentful and spiteful things about once I felt he wronged me. So while I think the things we say in darkness and depression aren't love, it's easy for intense and passionate romantic feelings to turn to spite after a break, so in a way him being so negative about you is actually a sign he was hung up over you. A person who really doesn't love doesn't care, and wouldn't even have mentioned you rather than going on about you resentfully to someone else. When I did that with a partner, it's because I wasn't over my ex; I couldn't let go, even with a partner I cared about and had a great time with. Naturally, the pain I felt manifested in complaining, spiteful comments, and general negativity. Not to say all that was a sign of love-- obsessive romantic fixation... yes. Once it's so twisted, I'd avoid calling that love, though. It's just the ugly track-marks crippled feeling leaves behind; inner poison turning into words.

And yes, it is all about time, though I know how little that helps. Time, learning to take responsibility for some things, to forgive oneself for the things one cannot change, learning to watch the intense feelings and accept them as valid and let them go. Who you were doesn't have to be who you are; I think in a way, that's the freedom he must have been grasping after and failing to find. How does one escape one's past? One doesn't. One accepts it, understands it, and learns to pay more attention to the future.
posted by reenka at 8:31 PM on March 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

Seconding the rec for the Jameson book. I saw her give a one hour talk shortly after she published the book and the one thing I took from that which should be useful to everybody: suicide is very common. It is one of the leading causes of death in young people. There is silence and stigma surrounding the fact of suicide that doesn't do anybody any good. Nearly every single person that we know has had a close friend or family member commit suicide. It is very likely that somebody very close to you can give you much better input and feedback on your question than us ask metafilter question answerers.
posted by bukvich at 8:33 PM on March 27, 2012

This is as much your fault as if he'd died of bone cancer. Which is to say, not at all. He had a disease and nothing could help it but trained medical professionals, and, like cancer, sometimes they can't even do much.

My go-to book for really bad times is When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödron.
posted by desjardins at 8:49 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is awful, and I'm so sorry for your loss. What you need to know is that things like this can so easily go any number of ways, and you shouldn't blame yourself for his death—or what he might or might not have said about you or how he treated you when he was alive. None of that is your fault or responsibility. It's your decision now how you want to remember him and how you want to honor his memory.

What you wrote makes me think of an ex of mine who, a few months into our relationship, told me he felt suicidal. I stayed up with him that night, and when morning came, I urged him to go to a clinic, then left for the day. I smack my forehead whenever I think of that—of course I should've made sure he went! But I couldn't read his mind—just as you couldn't read your boyfriend's mind. Instead of going to the doctor, my ex disappeared off in search of a sufficiently tall building or bridge. A friend and I were the ones who, after being unable to reach him by phone later in the day, got someone to unlock his living space—and discovered a whole cache of suicide notes. Luckily, that wasn't the day for it—it just as easily could have been, but it wasn't—and he came back, then consented to being checked into a hospital's psychiatric ward. I visited him throughout his stay, then took on his work on a project we were both part of and helped him deal over the next year-plus (at times long-distance) as he transitioned to psych meds, therapy, and CBT.

We went through a lot together—and then I ultimately met someone else who was a better match for me and broke up with him, even though I worried that by leaving him, I would basically be leaving him for dead. And since he angrily broke off all contact with me not long after that, including blocking me on social media, I haven't had a way of knowing how he's been. It's been five years since we broke up, and I'm married now, but I still Google him sometimes to see if I can find signs of his commenting on blog posts, writing or creating art, etc. I assume he's still out there somewhere, but I have no way of knowing that for sure—and given how the end of our relationship went and the things I know or suspect he said about me to others, I doubt his friends or family would tell me if he did die.

All of that is to say, things ended in a terrible way in your case, but you couldn't have known that this would happen—it could just as easily have gone a different way—and what this hinged on wasn't your actions, but rather a series of flipped bits somewhere in his mind. It is not your fault that the bits flipped in just that exact sequence to produce his behavior. Read Ys' and Clyde Mnestra's comments closely—they have some very good advice—and be well.
posted by limeonaire at 8:53 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hope that your psychiatrist is someone you can talk to about your feelings without having him or her invalidate your feelings as so many people do. Or that you have a friend who is a good listener who will do so. I don't know about you, but I always feel very alone when I talk about feelings that are difficult for people to deal with or that they wish didn't exist--such as anger or guilt--only to hear "you're not at fault" or "don't feel that way".

Your feelings of guilt, your feelings of jealousy, your feelings of anger, of sadness, of *anything* are valid, and you deserve to work through them with someone who will hear you.
posted by parrot_person at 8:55 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

As for "you shouldn't blame yourself": actually, you should feel however you feel, and explore those feelings, including sharing them with others without being corrected. Don't allow people to tell you how you "should" feel.
posted by parrot_person at 8:57 PM on March 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

A relationship is not a replacement for therapy. You are and were not responsible for his mental health. When we love someone dearly, we may feel responsible for them, but we are not, in actuality. Each of us is responsible for our own lives, our own health and well-being. Loved ones may point the way, but we must accept it. We rely on one another for love and affection, but not for our health.

This man made the decision to take his own life, and he would not have done so unless he was truly in pain. This was not an act of love, nor was it an act of hatred. It was a fearful act of desperation. You may have heard this man begging for your love and affection, but what he was asking for was respite from the thoughts, to be free from the pain. This was a creature thrashing about, trying to get something from you that you could not give.

Your sense of loss is intensely personal, and it always will be, because this is a person you knew, a person you loved. A real flesh-and-blood human being, who would still be here today, if only. His ghost lingers if because you can imagine him still here. It's the "what if" that hurts.

I was desperately suicidal myself several years ago. I blamed everybody – my family, my friends, women. It was like bailing out a sinking ship – there was so much guilt and self-hatred and pure, animal resentment directed internally, inflicted upon myself, that it was a relief just to point the finger elsewhere, to unload some of the blame on somebody else. Blame was a convenient tool, a necessary crutch to keep living, but it was never more than a comforting illusion. And I made some mistakes and hurt many people who had never harmed me intentionally, but were simply unable to provide what I desperately needed, to take apart my life and put it back together in a way that made sense. I have been to therapy for years, but I still occasionally feel the old darkness creeping back, and I look at it for what it is, and I think that this is something I am, something I own, and I work harder.

We are all responsible for our own health. Though we love one another and so cast our lots together, this responsibility is not ours to give away or to take from another. The mentally ill do not need more love or affection, joy or happiness. They need therapy. Please do not blame yourself. This man needed a therapist and didn't know it, or he knew but was too afraid to face it, to own up to the facts of his life. There was a tragedy here, but it is not your lack of care for him.
posted by deathpanels at 9:23 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

When something very similar happened to me, I came charging into my first ever therapy session with the objective of finding forgiveness for the person that caused this awful trauma that had just upended my reality. I was pretty abruptly told that forgiveness was a long term goal, and that forgiveness, which can be seen as another term for acceptance or peace or resolution, takes much time and effort to achieve, if in fact you ever do reach it, so it's not a given outcome. Time heals all wounds, yes, in a passive sort of sedimentation way, things just accrete on top of the trauma. But here you have to actively work through, on your own or with a helpful friend or therapist* all of your feelings and doubts, to normalize them within the context of a pretty extraordinary event, and then with what you hope to be your ongoing normal life. You will come through this, but it will take a massive (integrated over months) effort to do so. IT IS WORTH IT. One step at a time, or day, whatever... but the end objective is to find that way of going forward in which you can validate and address the pain and struggles you have experienced from this, while also not forcing you to confront them at every step. Eventually, ideally, finding peace. As far as I can tell, this is largely an internal process.

*Here's a caveat I discovered... Unless your friend or therapist has close experience with suicide and its aftermath, they will not be very familiar or good with the emotional topography of what you're feeling. Rage, anxiety, displacement and distance are all perfectly healthy, normal responses, however, to those blessed enough to be innocent of suicide they seem misplaced or strange when and where they just see grief. This makes communication a bit fraught while you're raw and just seething with all of these emotions, which they may not understand the full underpinnings of (ever, if they're lucky).

So what do you now? You put yourself together, every day, affirm your life and why you do all these things every day while knowing that you will be working on this problem for the foreseeable future. All the emotions and all of the regrets of the past need to be put to bed, as comfortably as possible, because the present is really all you. As is the future. Finding forgiveness and putting yourself into a better place in the future are really intertwined objectives. If only there were a protocol for this... alas.
Memail if you want more blathering buck-ups. Although, further caveat, this is the one year anniversary of my trauma, so i've got only that amount of perspective.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 9:24 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Therapy. Friends. Exercise. Allowing yourself to feel everything that you feel. Expressing what you feel, no matter how angry, cruel, pathetic, dark, sad or strange. Scream if you need to. It's how you feel, it's all part of you, it's all okay. Accepting that this tragedy hurts and will continue to hurt. Accepting that there's nothing wrong with you for hurting, that there's nothing wrong with you for not figuring out how to stop hurting, that there's nothing wrong with you for feeling guilty.

There must be something we can do better ss a society to help avoid these outcomes.
posted by univac at 9:27 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

The biggest thing my mother (and my siblings and I) had to learn following my father's suicide was that suicide is related to depression not to shit that happens in your life. Sure, shit that happens in your life can make your depression worse but that condition has to be there beforehand.

You did not cause his depression. You did not create his irrational response. You did not force him into this situation. You were not responsible for saving him. He was not asking for help if he hinted at it and you only saw it in hind sight - someone who asks for help goes to someone and says "holy shit help me".

I've struggled with depression all my life and I've had periods where I just flounder about helplessly and angrily, thinking "why the hell isn't anyone noticing or helping me??" but in the end, it's nobody else's responsibility. If you'd dragged him to help (no matter it's form) against his will, he would've resented you and the outcome would not likely have changed. We bullied my father into going to therapy a year prior to his successful suicide; he completed the program flawlessly but did not want to be there one bit.

I understand that you're searching for a cause; it's what people do when they lose a loved one. My mother had the exact same response: "What made him do this?" She beat herself up over it for months and all it did was delay her personal healing process. My father did not leave a note and even then, the reality portrayed by someone about to take their life is inevitably skewed - I've been there, I've read what I wrote and it made no sense post-depressive episode. You will find no peace here.

Your partner had an illness. The outcome of that illness is regardless of your behaviour. You did not "make it worse", you did not trigger this, you were not responsible for his well-being. Staying with him would not have made him better.

It's been 6 years since my father passed. Feel free to memail me if you need someone to talk to.
posted by buteo at 9:38 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am so very sorry for your loss. I had an on and off again friend/enemy commit suicide in middle school shortly after I told him that I didn't want to be friends anymore and it weighed on me for a long time. Therapy helped a lot and I hope you see your psychiatrist on a regular (weekly, for one hour) schedule and that you get along with them well. That is to say, you should feel free telling them *anything*. If that does not describe your relationship with your psychiatrist (1 hour per week, high compatibility and trust), you should consider adding a psychologist or other therapist to get regular help.

It was helpful for me to later learn that suicide, more than anything, is an impulsive act. It's not necessarily an act of overwhelming burden over time. Most of the time, it is a fluke of opportunity and impulsive thoughts. Survivors of serious (near-death) suicide attempts have later remarked that they didn't "make up their minds" until mere minutes before the attempt. As such, it's such an accident of mental and environmental factors that suicide is more like a lightning bolt strike. An accident.

No one outside of the individual experiencing suicidal thoughts can control when or if the lightning bolt will strike. Only the individual experiencing suicidal thoughts can grapple with the forces at play and calm the turmoil.

It will take a long time for you to understand this emotionally, but please know that you were not a factor in any way, shape or form for what your ex did to himself. It was out of your control.

Over time, I hope that you can find peace with that fact that what you did was brave. You truly exited from a manipulative relationship. Threatening self-harm to get one's way in a relationship is emotional manipulation and it was harming you to stay.

I'd like to restate the feelings that you are confronting:
I didn't believe him and thought he was trying to manipulate me. [...]

I keep going back to all the ways that I was bad in the relationship and how I hurt him. He was begging me for love and I was so withholding and rejected him so often. Looking back he was so right about so many things but I was too stubborn. He told me that he needed affection to feel loved and he didn't get that from me. [...]

On top of that I keep thinking not so much of the horrible things he said to me but the horrible things he said about me to other people.

From an outside perspective these all appear to be the types of feelings that a manipulative partner would try to make you feel in order to manipulate you.

No generous partner would blame their loved one for withholding affection "to feel loved" because equal partners realize that they are responsible for creating their own internal feelings of love. When we love selflessly, we realize that we create the love we feel. We are responsible for our own emotions and no one else can create emotions for us. Selfless lovers don't steal love from the people that love us. Selfless lovers share the love that they're already feeling and generating for themselves.

Likewise, loving partners do not say horrible things about the people that they loved in the past and then try to go back to them. That is also emotional manipulation.

I also at one point in time lived with a woman who I loved who had suicidal and self-harm ideation. Many people actually have blamed me for being harsh during our breakup. I don't know. But I am very fortunate and happy that I had support from my therapist at the time and that my ex is a suicide attempt survivor and is thriving in a new career. In her case, we were lucky and lightning didn't strike. But that's all it is: luck.

Again, I hope you find peace and are not shy about finding all of the support you need. Everything that has happened to you is very traumatic and you have every right to be gentle and kind to yourself until you start healing.
posted by Skwirl at 9:41 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is an important distinction to be made between having the DESIRE to help someone, and having the ABILITY to help them.

When someone is drowning, what they need is NOT for you to swim out to them and place yourself in danger. Doing so will demonstrate the sincerity of your desire to help, but will not do you or them any actual good. What they need is a trained lifeguard with inflatable clothes.

Likewise, people who are depressed and suicidal need the assistance of, as somebody has already said, trained medical professionals.

Please be kind to yourself. This was not your fault.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:49 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow. I am so sorry.
I have been through a somewhat similar situation. 30 years ago, or nearly. It ranks up there with the top 5 most difficult situations I have had to navigate in my lifetime (so far, I'm 50+)
People may blame you, a few did with me, most did not. Whatever they think is not your problem.
Others upthread have said that you should acknowledge your feelings whatever they are and not let others tell you how to feel. Agreed, 100%. BUT, if you feel at fault I want to tell you NOT TO DO THAT. There is just NO WAY you are responsible for his death, so feel how you feel, but please realize you did not cause his death. You can try and try and do everything you can think of and still not save someone from their own hand.
I couldn't.
I had to get away from him to save my own life. I did try to save his. Didn't work.
Am a non-believer as well so it's not like I'm praying for you exactly but I'm sending all my powerful good great love yes-ness toward you and I hope you get it ALL. Take whatever goodness comes your way, let people help you, find a therapist if that's what you need.
You can Memail me if you want.
posted by bebrave! at 9:50 PM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am so very, very sorry.

Nthing the suggestion that you find a grief counselor and/or a support group. The website for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ( has some excellent resources.

As you work through your grief and associated emotions, please remember to take care of your body as you heal your mind. Try to eat right, get enough sleep, do exercise for your body and mind (yoga is good), and indulge in things that help you relax (pedicures, massages). Of course this is easier said than done, but it's true that physical health will help facilitate mental well-being.

These are things that helped me in the first year after my brother committed suicide.

You are not alone. I will keep you in my thoughts.
posted by Boogiechild at 9:58 PM on March 27, 2012

Just because he said something to her doesn't make it true. He was very sick and was probably say all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons. He may have not been in a place to be honest about the truth. She, too, may not have your best interests at heart. You should believe what you know inside and live that as your truth. After all of those years, you two must have had a serious and deep connection. That remains true regardless of whatever negative things he said or whatever hurtful things he did.

This was not your fault and not in your power to prevent. None of us can have that responsibility. Here is a story along those lines. Each one of us must bear the final responsibility for our own life. Sometimes people do not want to continue living. It sounds like he was very sick and in pain. I'm sorry for the hurt that he caused you as a result. Lots of love to you during this very hard time.
posted by salvia at 11:25 PM on March 27, 2012

This was an act of violence, self-directed. You left the relationship for your own health and safety. Maybe if you had stayed, the violence would have ended your life, too. We hear such stories in the news every day. There is no shame in honoring the drive towards life, in rejecting darkness and death. That was his path, but as close as you were to him, it is not yours. Love your life; make the most of it.
posted by Scram at 11:25 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, please reach out to a support group that focuses on this type of tragedy.

I could have been you. Really. Long story, but I could have been you writing this, feeling this. It just turned out slightly differently in my situation, but I acted as you did. You did right.

And I get the obsessing thing. Oh my dear fellow MeFite, those things he said to you and that other woman? Yeah - none of it was exactly true, even if he meant it in the moment. He sounds like an absolute vortex of drama, and sadly, even though he is gone, you're still up in the vortex. TIME will give you perspective on this aspect. I heartily suggest you research and start employing techniques to break this habit of worrying about this other woman and the dynamics of that relationship, even though I recognize a bit of the obsessing is ABSOLUTELY part of your grieving process. Yes, the obsessing is part of grieving. And you still need to put it down intellectually until you can revisit the issue in the future from a place of emotional stability.


Why is it so bad if you "wasted" 14 years? I've got you beat, I wasted 16. Except it wasn't wasted! It just was not what I thought it was during all that time.

It's OK.

You are not a fool and you are not to blame. YOU DID NOT FAIL.


I just really came in to give you a *hug* and to say you are not alone.

There are great big heaps of science and philosophy that we could dive into here - but we won't. You'll do that IRL with others.

Just telling you that you are not alone and you WILL find peace about this, if you actively seek it.


I saw a great quote the other day I'm still thinking about...

"Forgiveness is the act of giving up Hope on a Better Past."

In short, you can't change what happened. Giving up the hope that things could have been different (impossible in so many ways, for so many reasons, most not under your control) is a way towards moving forward.

Move forward. Don't stop.

Thank you for writing this question.
posted by jbenben at 11:38 PM on March 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

A partner threatening to kill him or herself in order to make you stay is effectively the same as the storybook device of the villain making the hero choose which of his or her loved ones the hero can save. It's a very effective method of tricking someone into feeling responsible for a death when they are absolutely not culpable in any way.

He sounds like he was a very troubled man. You tried to persuade him to get help, he ignored your efforts and tried to keep you around through manipulation. This doesn't make him an evil person, but the responsibility for this is squarely on his shoulders.

Follow the advice about grief counselling.
posted by fearnothing at 12:15 AM on March 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

My heart goes out to you.

My ex killed herself, leaving our three children mother-less. Her choice. It was upsetting for me (we had been divorced 15 years, after 20 years of marriage), devastating for the children, and will no doubt reverbrate through the rest of their lives. At least we were spared the stuff that was heaped on you, but there are always questions ...

We are not responsible for others' actions - they are. We can only hold ourselves responsible for our actions, and if there are any things we did, or failed to do, which might have contributed, we can recognise this (while NOT accepting responsibility for another's actions), and deal with it. Keep seeing the psych, and perhaps get some grief counselling too. Also read up on realistic and unrealistic guilt, and know that in these difficult times it can be hard to see things straight, and as a result we take on board stuff that a cooler head would dismiss.

I don't think seeing the other person he had a relationship is a good thing, as it seems to be stoking fires that need to be damped.

See if you can find a support group, in my area we have ones that are specifically targeted at people in your situation.

Your priority is to heal yourself, if you have underlying issues these need to be addressed to make you whole. That may help the healing from this loss, but it is likely to be a long road (sorry :( ) that may not be properly started until your other issues have been resolved, or at least substantial progress has been made.

Discuss how you progress with your psych, how he/she sees the priorities for you.

Good luck, God bless you on your healing journey (and feel free to mail me if you want to)
posted by GeeEmm at 12:43 AM on March 28, 2012

Again and again reading through your post, I just kept thinking "It's not your fault". You loved him, he knew that and you were a convenient target when he felt the need to lash out, right until the end.

I'm sorry if this sounds a bit harsh towards him, but I've given and taken my fair share of lashes in the past and it's a horrible, but very human, thing to do.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 2:06 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Being through something very similar:

My own experience is that, during the first year, I'd hear, "It wasn't your fault" and my brain would automatically and savagely tear that idea to shreds. My family acted in character and were not sympathetic in terms of addressing my guilt, which did this weird thing of intensifying it.

Coming to understand and believe that it wasn't your fault -- AND IT WASN'T -- may take a while BUT YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT. When any thought related to guilt comes up, it may help to note that it is not there -- I mean, literally, write it down. This may help in working through things in therapy.
posted by angrycat at 4:00 AM on March 28, 2012

Sorry, "note that it is there*
posted by angrycat at 4:01 AM on March 28, 2012

Your impulse to leave was healthy and good -- you were protecting yourself from the coming violence. Keep that in mind. You did the right thing for yourself. How disconnected he was, that his last words and gestures of this earth were rage directed at someone else. That right there is profoundly sick, and utterly beyond your control, responsibility or ability to impact. As it's been said upthread, one foot in front of the other. You did the right thing for yourself.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:55 AM on March 28, 2012

I'm so sorry.

I was once in a relationship with (what sounds like) a similarly troubled person, who also threatened to kill himself after I left him and made it clear it would be my fault if/when he did. He was hospitalised just before that point and didn't commit suicide, so I don't want to sound like I know exactly what you're going through when I don't, but I hope some of my experience can be of help to you anyway.

That breakup was an absolutely awful time, one of the worst experiences of my life. I was in such pain and shellshocked confusion trying to deal with everything that had happened, and trying to reconcile "he was really hurting" with "he treated me badly" with "he loved me" with "I could not have stayed" with "I made an active choice to leave"

First off, it is, as everyone said, not your fault. I know that can be tough to see when he told you that you were all he had, and I know how easy it is to think "but still, if I'd just done this, maybe he wouldn't have made that choice," but you actually couldn't have stopped him doing what he did. You couldn't. Even if you'd managed to work out what he was going to do and get to his house that night and physically restrain him from harming himself, even if you'd been able to do that - he could still have committed suicide the next day, or the day after, or any of the days after that. This is not your fault and it was not in your power to prevent.

Second, you're taking an awful lot onto yourself here, describing yourself as selfish and self-centred and withholding, and saying you rejected him and you failed him. I remember feeling exactly like that too, and oh Lord, the guilt. (I think for me it was even a necessary part of accepting that I had, in fact, made the decisions to distance myself and to leave him, even if I couldn't yet acknowledge that these were good decisions to make.)

When you can view yourself a little more compassionately (which might not be right now, but will come in time), you'll be able to process your actions differently. You were in a bad situation and a tough relationship, and your choices were informed by that. Also, if you were distancing yourself emotionally from him, that could well have been your self-protective instincts kicking in: your brain saw that you couldn't actually help, realised he was drowning in his own pain, but also realised that swimming out to save him would just result in him pulling you down too. Also also, I'd be willing to bet good money that your actions weren't anywhere close to the way you're seeing them now. When someone else's pain is so massive and overwhelming, it can feel like selfishness to think about your own needs even a tiny little bit - but that doesn't mean it is.

Third, he treated you badly. That doesn't mean he wasn't suffering, it just means that your suffering does not become irrelevant when someone else's is greater. If he treated you badly because he was suffering, that still doesn't cancel out the truth that he treated you badly. Manipulative behaviour isn't the sole property of people who are dishonest; "if you leave me I'll kill myself" is still a manipulative and unfair thing to say to someone, even if it's true, even if it comes from a place of awful howling pain. It took me a long, long time to really appreciate this, but it helped a lot once I had.

Fourth, I totally understand why it's very important to you right now to establish whether or not he loved you and exactly what that meant. I think those are fine questions to pursue, but I really don't think that speaking to this other person is the best way to pursue them. This is something you need to work through from your own experience and your own feelings, not gain from someone else who can repeat awful things your boyfriend said about you. For me, it helped to think of love as a strong emotion that doesn't necessarily translate into great behaviour: three-year-olds love their parents, but they still kick and scream and yell "I HATE YOU POOPYHEAD", because they're three and their brains aren't the brains of fully-developed adults. For you that might help too, or it might help to process what he meant by 'love' as something different from what you mean by it, or it might help to just leave the question behind you altogether.

Fifth, realise that even if you had stayed, he would not be happy. He would still be suffering, and he would still be angry. Even if you had been an absolute saint in regards to everything he did and said, even if you had sacrificed every single aspect of your own needs and your own happiness in the cause of making him happy, he would not be happy. He might have seen you as the one and only way out of his pain (and then consequently resented you for it when you couldn't magically save him), but you weren't. You couldn't be. Nobody is. You can't love somebody better when they have this kind of severe mental health problem, any more than you can hug somebody better when they're schizophrenic.

Sixth, what really really helped me make sense of my experiences and how I felt about them was speaking to a counsellor. I'm not one of the 'therapy, now!' AskMe people usually, but speaking to that counsellor helped me so, so much, and I can't recommend it strongly enough.

I'm really sorry this happened. Please take care of yourself.
posted by Catseye at 5:34 AM on March 28, 2012 [6 favorites]

Condolances and sadness for your loss.

In terms of guilt and regret, you must know and feel that there was not another choice for you to make in this situation. At the time in which you made the decision to leave, that was the best decision -- a necessary decision. And you must know in your heart that was the correct decision for you.

It is difficult to accept, especially after being with someone for as much time as you were, yet you must accept that you did not cause this, and you are not responsible for this in any way. When you left, you made the painful seperation that couples make. In an instant, you are no longer responsible for the other person. Your lives began taking different paths at that point, and his actions from that point were his own.

I keep going back to all the ways that I was bad in the relationship and how I hurt him.

This sounds like your thoughts transmuting your sadness into guilt. Could it be that you are so sad, you cannot express it? You feel in shock? The current state in which you find yourself must be immensely difficult, and therefore perhaps you are looking for reasons -- the story that will allow you to make sense of the tragedy.

He was begging me for love and I was so withholding and rejected him so often. Looking back he was so right about so many things but I was too stubborn. He told me that he needed affection to feel loved and he didn't get that from me. He'd say I was selfish, self involved.

It sounds as if there was mental illness present on his part. There may very well have been no way for you to reach him -- or offer him what he needed. Nobody could, for it sounds like the love he wanted was inside himself. It does not sound like he could find sanctity and rootedness within himself. Again, nothing you could have done would ever have been enough.

In the post, it sounds as if this relationship consumed your life in a way that became unhealthy. Neither of you was responsible for that, nobody is guilty. This situation has unfolded in this way, and response is sadness.

He said and believed that I was all he had. And sometimes that was overwhelming.

This is a strong sign of codependancy. Nobody can fill that role in someone else's life. It's a very difficult position to be in, and there is no graceful way to change those relationships. It sounds as if you realised that, and understood that staying in this relationship was very unhealthy for you. Remember, when you made that decision, you made the absolute best decision possible at the time. The fact of what has resulted can have no bearing on that decision, for you could not see the future.

He died angry with me.

I know this is hard but he died in desperation from mental illness. You may think he is angry at you because there was something you could have done but did not do. You could not have done anything else about this. As long as you believe you could have, you will feel guilt and it will be hard to heal, for you may continually replay your actions in your mind, trying to find peace in a new story.

It's not your fault. I don't know you and neither does anyone else here, however, we all can say it's not your fault. Some of us have had experience with similar situations. In my case, when I felt overwhelmed, I said out loud to an empty room, "It's not my fault." And I kept saying it until a dam broke and there was utter sadness. But no longer was guilt present.

Everyone and every thing looks different now. I go to work and can hardly pretend to give a shit.

You're grieving and in mourning. It's okay to operate at a reduce capacity for a while. Do what you have to do to get by and be extremely gentle with yourself. Based on the description of you and the relationship, you are a very strong person. Strong enough to stick with a very difficult relationship for a very long time. You were capable of being empathetic to him -- perhaps overly so. And at this time, you need to be empathetic to yourself. You need to take care of yourself, and realise this is a significant loss. It's not your fault. There's nothing you could have done. And there is sadness.

Be strong. Time will heal. The road may be rough for a while, but you are taking care of yourself, and you are reaching out. And remember that grieving in a social process. Other people are there for you. Be gentle and take care of yourself.
posted by nickrussell at 6:09 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

After my mentally ill mother committed suicide on my birthday I was, among other things, furious at her. One of the things that helped me to live with/get through the anger was an hour of vigorous exercise a day. I had just started grad school a couple of weeks before, the university was at the top of a very steep hill. Instead of driving there I started walking. Then I'd work out on the machines at the gym. I remember banging away on some machine muttering "fucking bitch" under my breath.

Take care of yourself, eat, exercise, sleep. Spend time in nature; walk on the beach. Don't obsess on ifs. Make up a ritual of some kind. Give away things that remind you of him.
posted by mareli at 6:44 AM on March 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just a quick note about therapy and psychiatric treatment. It sounds like you are seeing a psychopharmacologist who dispenses medication for ADHD and bipolar. This person may not be the right individual for talk therapy and grief counseling. I would urge you to get a referral from your psychiatrist and instruct your psychiatrist and therapist to coordinate with each other regarding your care.

Please, above all else, focus on your own health.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:48 AM on March 28, 2012

It is not your fault.
posted by Silvertree at 7:36 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

... not to blame myself. How?

Here's how: thousands, millions of people break up every day -- ending relationships just as fraught, from partners they're just as upset with -- and don't kill themselves. The difference in the equation here was him.

I've thrown away a huge chunk of my life ...

On monday, you've thrown away all the hundreds and thousands of days of your life before monday. On tuesday, you've thrown away one more day. On wednesday, one more day. Make a ritual each morning of "throwing away" today. Then, given the day's already ruined, go make the best you can of the remainder. Your life is in the present.
posted by ead at 9:03 AM on March 28, 2012

It is not your fault.
posted by Falwless at 11:29 AM on March 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

there are many people who go through terrible on-again/off-again relationships and breakups ... and they don't kill themselves.
posted by cupcake1337 at 5:08 PM on March 28, 2012

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