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I am new here and i need some help. My son is 15 years old and was in a two year relationship with a very nice girl. Well she died in a car wreck a few months ago and a couple weeks ago my son attempted suicide by ingesting a lot of pills and trying to slit his wrists. His big sister found him and luckily and i thank god that he survived. But there were no signs that he was to that point or that he was even contemplating this. Well he has been in the hospital since first a week in ICU and then he was transferred over to the mental side of it. I just don't know what to do i feel awful i never saw it. And now my 18 year old daughter is having nightmares from walking in and finding him like that. I am just at a loss i guess and looking for some insight or advice.
 

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Your children and you need a therapist. Probably individual therapists plus family therapy. Contact your son;s psych hospital for a referral.
 

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I'm so sorry for your son's loss.

Please try not to beat yourself up that you didn't see it, Mama. Some people are very good at keeping things inside, especially at an age where they naturally withdraw a bit from parents anyway. Maybe the hospital can recommend a group for teens dealing with loss? I was part of one as a kid and it was helpful, just having other kids in similar situations to be sad with.
 

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Are you confident that his therapist is doing a good job? Is it possible that there is someone else who might do a better job?

I know that you are all too well aware that your son suffered a severe loss when his girlfriend died. I am so sorry for his loss and the pain you are going through now. Losing a long-term girlfriend in this way - someone he was in love with - is an experience which has set him apart from most of his peers. He's gone through a kind of grief that most of them cannot understand. It may even set him apart from his family, for the same reason. This can be a very lonely place.

Is there someone to supervise his therapy who has either experienced a similar loss himself, or who has specific expertise with teens who have lost a loved one? I've heard it said many times that a therapist is most effective when they've worked through similar issues themselves. Is it possible this applies here?

Do you think it might help to think of what they're giving your son as medicine which is necessary in the short term?

If you would like a referral for yourself or your daughter, I can recommend a very skilled therapist and healer who works both in person and also does sessions on Skype. Her name is Susan Miner and her number is 203 240 6860. She might be especially good for helping your daughter who is having nightmares. My heart goes out to you all.
 

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I'm so sorry this happened; I feel so bad for all of you.

My brother attempted suicide at 22 and was also in the ICU, then a month of lockdown in the mental ward. They overmedicate terribly I think (and my brother wound up being hospitalized for a month a few more times, so always the same drill).

Unlike your case, my brother wasn't grieving, his severe mental illness manifested after a bout of heavy stress and he was changed for good unfortunately.

Did your son show any signs of mental illness before his girlfriend died? How are they diagnosing him in the hospital? If he didn't seem despondent/mood swings, etc. before his girlfriend died, I'd be inclined to only want him on a SSRI after he leaves the hospital. The other drugs (mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics) can be really awful.

I'm hopeful for you that heavy therapy/bereavement counseling for your son will put him on the right path. I'd talk frankly with his psychiatrist at the hospital (hopefully he can disclose to you as your son is a minor? not sure) to see what they think (if he's just grieving or if there's possibly an underlying problem).

Hugs to you.
Jen
 

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Cutting is not a suicide attempt but it is scary and dangerous. It's also a sign that he is unable to manage his emotions in a healthy way. I went through it with my daughter. She went to see a psychiatrist and she is going for me assessments but the cause is different than yours. You're already doing good by giving him help. Hang in there and just continue to listen and be there for him.
 

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Cutting is not a suicide attempt
Agreed, but what led you to believe this was cutting? If he was in ICU for a week (!!) it was a lot more than that. There was a drug overdose involved as well as whatever sharp objects were used with whatever intent.

Miranda
 

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Agreed, but what led you to believe this was cutting? If he was in ICU for a week (!!) it was a lot more than that. There was a drug overdose involved as well as whatever sharp objects were used with whatever intent.

Miranda
You said he slit is wrists. I was told by a guidance counsellor that it's not a suicide attempt. However it can be fatal if the major blood vein is cut and that happen if the cut is vertical with the inside arm. My daughter was cutting and it was due to stress, she says, and was influenced by some peers at her school.
I don't think deep down your son wants to die. I think he misses his girlfriend and wants to see her again. You can try telling him something like, "She is in heaven, watching you. But I don't believe she wants you to be where she is right now. She would like you to enjoy life as much as and as long as possible."
When my daughter told me she was having suicidal thoughts, she was upset and scared of those thoughts. She doesn't want to make the family sad and, since we are spiritual, I've explained to her that people who take their own lives don't go to a good place. They get stuck in between realms because the only thing that awaits them is Hades. You don't have to mention any of that, but I found that it worked.
 

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You said he slit is wrists. I was told by a guidance counsellor that it's not a suicide attempt.
Sorry, your guidance counsellor is wrong -- or else you are over-generalizing what you were told in one context. You can't say that slitting wrists is not a suicide attempt. "Cutting," which is about self-harm of the skin, is typically not a suicide attempt. But attempting to slit into the radial arteries and deeper tissues of the wrists is a fairly well-known method of attempting suicide. It's not often successful, but it is a potent marker for suicidal intent.

I'm just a commenter like you, so obviously neither of us knows how deeply, or with what aim, this boy "slit his wrists." However I read the WorriedMom0000's original post thoroughly and I think it's dismissive of her concerns to say that this was not a suicide attempt. He clearly came extremely close to dying whether by knife or by drug overdose or by the combination; with ICU costing tens of thousands of dollars a day, people don't end up there for flesh wounds.

Miranda
 

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I think intent is very meaningful here. "Slitting your wrists" indicates a deliberate attempt at suicide. I actually was a cutter long ago myself, and at one point deliberately aimed for the wrists and accidentally cut somewhere I shouldn't have. The intent was absolutely not suicidal, but I would have never ever described the act as "slitting my wrists."

I hope your son is doing better, OP. My best friend attempted suicide in high school, and I feel like people were much too quick to forget about the whole thing and move on. 20 years later we're still friends and she's doing well, but I can see that the core of her problems was not dealt with after the incident and she struggled with little support for much of early adulthood. If I have any advice for you it's not to sweep this under the rug or assume things are all better when this initial period of crisis subsides.
 
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