Psych Central

Boyfriend attempted suicide for a second time

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My boyfriend and I were having an argument over the phone last night. When the conversation ended he said he needed to do what would make everybody happy. He insinuated that no one would miss him either. He said he was going to drink windex. Something inside me told me he was serious. I drove to his house and as I walked into his room, he began ingesting windex. I grabbed the bottle and he started throwing up. I emptied all of the cleaning products that were in the bathroom and called the suicide hotline number. I read on the bottle that he needed to drink 2 glasses of water or more, so he did. He immediately started feeling better, but still felt a little dizzy. He told me he wasn’t going to harm himself anymore. He just couldn’t deal with not meeting his family expectations and my expectations. He feels his life isn’t worth much because he didn’t graduate from college when he was “supposed to.” He was teased throughout elementary and high school and never received much support from his parents. His brothers also keep to themselves, so he feels very unloved. He has an expensive car he can’t afford, so everything seemed to have accumulated last night. I stayed with him throughout the rest of the night. I wanted to show him that there are people that care about him. I prayed and cried because I couldn’t believe he wanted to relieve everyone from the “stress” he causes. He felt everyone would be happier without him there. I love him so much and I would never want him to just give up on his life. He told me, “this life is so hard.” I just never could’ve imagined that he would reach that point. The first time he attempted suicide was at the age of 13, but he never received counseling. He has really low self-esteem and I want to help him. We’re both 25 and very much in love, but now I know that he is depressed. He hid it very well. What do you suggest we do besides finding a support group? Thank you for your advice. Best regards.

A: That night must have really scared you! I’m so glad you responded to him. There are those who think that people who really want to commit suicide don’t talk about it. That’s just not so. Talk about suicide should always be taken seriously and you did the right thing.

Now that the immediate crisis is over, it’s time for your boyfriend to get some serious help. His problems are long-standing. As much as you love him, you probably don’t have the skills needed to help him come to terms with himself. For reasons he probably doesn’t entirely understand, he is still holding other people accountable for how he feels about himself. And somehow it never occured to him that his death would stress you and his family far more than whatever ways he thinks he has failed you.

I suggest counseling for both of you. You are fortunate to live in an area where there are many qualified therapists. Go to the “Therapist Locator” on our homepage for some help locating one or ask your doctor for a referral. Your boyfriend really does need to work on building his self-esteem and on finding a direction for his life. You could benefit from having the support of a therapist to deal with your own feelings of anger and sadness that he would even consider leaving you that way.

Please also give your boyfriend the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 800-273-8255. Counselors are available 24/7 to talk to anyone who is feeling depressed and alone and desperate.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 May 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Boyfriend attempted suicide for a second time. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/29/boyfriend-attempted-suicide-for-a-second-time/

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