I have to say that until now, I have been looking in vain for resources for couples and families dealing with the aftermath of a suicide attempt (as opposed to successful suicide) and yours is the first that I have found.
I read the article about your family in the newspaper and also listened to your family on the NPR Voices in the Family segment and a number of things rang true for me. I consider myself fairly self aware and astute psychologically but in facing a situation similar to yours I have felt alone and really it has hit me harder than anything I have ever faced. I was beginning to think I was going to have to write the book, but you beat me to it.
The most recent and most devastating crisis occurred recently (my husband has a history of depressive episodes, but this was the first suicide attempt). The previous episodes now seem trivial by comparison but of course they were not.
I somehow feel that this is an area (the emotional needs of the partner, the family) that has been completely overlooked by…everyone, psychiatrists, clergy, social workers. Is that your sense too? I have felt for years that a couple needs help to come back from a depressive episode, that just prescribing drugs for the depressed individual and sending them on their way seriously underestimates the effect on the couple of such an event. Suicide is not sexy.
And of course, how to deal with the emotional issues of ones’ children, when they are aware of what has happened—a whole other project. And on top of that, when they are teenagers, so hard sometimes to communicate with, and so vulnerable, on the cusp of adulthood, with big decisions to be made—just the time when they need their parents to be the most reliable and in some ways, in the background, not having crises of their own!
I look forward to receiving the book and the angels.
I wish you well.
MJ, a worried wife from Montana