Mom Attempted Suicide

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: For the last few months my mom has developed a drinking problem. At first she just drank beer to get a buzz, but now she’s turned to hard liquor. I understand that she says she only drinks because she’s unhappy. She has been chronically depressed since she was a teen. We have a lot of mental disorders in the family. My grandfather and uncle have schizophrenia an I have bipolar disorder. Anyway, lately she has been really stressed out from the bills piling up, and my recent pregnancy. Yesterday she was drunk again and just started crying at the table saying that she wanted to die but that she was to much of a coward to do it herself. For a few seconds she seemed to feel better and she got up to drink a glass of water. While she was at the sink she turned to my sister and i, grabbed a knife and slit her wrists. The way she looked was really weird she didn’t look like my mom. I had to call the police and an ambulance to come get her. she started pulling her hair out and beating her head on the floor and counter top. The police took her to the hospital in a straitjacket, where they sedated her and tied her up. They want to admit her to a special clinic for the mentally insane and i just don’t know what happened.

A: It sounds like things piled up to the point where your mom simply couldn’t cope any more. She tried to medicate herself with alcohol but that didn’t work for her either. She then got desperate and did something that is a huge cry for help.

You did a great job holding it together and calling the police and ambulance. It must have been terrifying to watch your mom fall apart like that. As unfair as it is, you had to be the adult in the situation and take care of her. That must have been really, really hard, especially since you are only 15. You can be proud of yourself for responding so well in an emergency.

As difficult as the last couple of days have been, it may turn out to be a turning point. Your mom may finally get the help she needs. You and your sister can reassure her that you love her and encourage her to stay at the clinic. Doctors there will probably evaluate her and will develop a plan for how to help her get better and solve some of her problems. Most clinics welcome family members to stay involved through family meetings and maybe some family therapy. You and your sister might also find it helpful to talk to a therapist, both to make sense of what your mom is going through and to help with your own feelings.

I hope you and your sister have some relatives and friends to turn to. You also deserve some extra love and support right now.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Dec 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Mom Attempted Suicide. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/12/06/mom-attempted-suicide/

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