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Suicide "attempts"

Losingit321's picture

So the past 6 mons the skid had "tried" suicide... but these are taking a couple pills - putting bleach in her mouth.. basically things that cannot kill you- anyways we went to a show last night for a couple hours (mind you she's 13) and we get home to the police and an ambulance for yet another one of these attempts. 

The kids mother is useless honestly and really doesn't want her.  But I think I am going to suggest that she spend time there when I am working from home.  I don't feel I should be left alone w/ this kid anymore.  When the BM called me yesterday I reminded her several times that she and the father share custody and her father only has residential.  I am sick of the responsibility being pawned off... 

So do you think I am out of line if I tell my spouse that I don't feel comfortable w/ her alone.  I am sorry but if she is going to act like this she needs a babysitter.  Also, neither parent checks her social media at all and I have a feeling that this is where it's all stemming from... I don't know I feel like I want to run away from these crazy people! 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I'm flabbergasted that neither parent has stepped up to figure out what is going on. Taking pills and putting bleach in the mouth ARE suicide attempts, and those "less lethal" forms fall more in line with attempts made by women.

SD needs therapy, and yes, she needs a babysitter. When YSK was actively suicidal, we didn't leave them alone except to sleep. We did knife counts. We made sure they didn't have access to medication. We kept cleaning products in our bedroom. I think the first time we left them alone was to go to dinner, and that was only after their therapist told us they were stable enough.

This isn't your responsibility to address, but you could end up being at fault if SD does injure or kill herself when you knew, as an adult in the household, that she had made suicide attempts. If you want to protect yourself, you may need to consider moving out if your DH or BM doesn't step up to actively help SD. It's one thing to not know and have it happen, or for her to be actively in treatment and it happen. It's a whole other ballpark of willful neglect when SD has harmed herself multiple times and no adults stepped up to do anything about it.

Make it abundantly clear to your DH that SD needs to get help and a keeper during the day or you are gone. If SD is taking it all, a few therapy sessions, locked down social media, and a babysitter every day will get her to stop (though I contend any child who is hurting themselves or pretending to hurt themselves for attention still needs therapy and help). If she is serious, though, but just hasn't been able to fully commit (which happens more than you'd think), it might actually help her become functional. Ignoring it, though, spells legal disaster for you even though you're not the parent.

ESMOD's picture

even a drama/cry for help attempt could accidentally become final.. or cause life altering medical issues.. that could result in you having a dependent adult in your home for the rest of your marriage.

This should NOT be ignored.. and if the child needs to be committed a few times to break her of this attention seeking (if that's all it is).. then so be it.  has she been hospitalized at a mental facility?

Losingit321's picture

She was admitted last night- after calling crisis services.  I feel bad for her but I also feel like as a step my hands are really tied. 

Losingit321's picture

I cannot ignore it... I have seen a lot over the years that I have brought up to her dad... she was 9 and doing very inappropriate things online... to which we would always fight.  So I stopped mentioning anything.  Even when I told DH you are protecting your daughter by taking things away.  I really think it was a matter of not wanting to deal w/ it.  She's the youngest and there are 2 others of his.  I try not to judge parents but in this case I see 2 ppl that clearly just don't want to address what has gone on.  I guess for now I should be glad she's been admitted and then take it from there.  

Winterglow's picture

This is a kid who was told by her mother that she didn't want her ... Please take these suicide attempts seriously because sooner or later she will succeed. Bleach can most definitely kill. She needs therapy and she needs it like yesterday. Suicide attempts are a cry for help. Please get her that help.

As for it stemming from her social media, can't you see any other reasons she'd want to take her life? OTOH, if she has unfettered access to the Internet, she will eventually find an efficient way to top herself. Don't let it come to that. Please.

This is less about you not being alone with her than her not being alone at all. No more leaving her alone when you want to go out. She must have company. And she absolutely must have therapy. Has she ever had a mental health assessment? 

Losingit321's picture

She has been admitted - so we will see.  She has been seeing a phyciatrist and therapist for the past month.  I feel for her I really do.. for whatever reason she feels this need.  I do suspect tho that better parenting would help.  This kid had a tablet when she was 3 and has been doing things online since.  She is at a rough age.  I have tried to instill some good ideas in her about not looking for outside validation etc... but it's not working.  So maybe after this she can go to a facility for a while... Clearly she does need help for whatever reason.  I feel very limited tho in the fact that I cannot make medical dec or really parent her. 

Winterglow's picture

I understand that your hands are tied. Personally, I would feel very angry at her parents if I had repeatedly warned them and if they had done nothing about it. This is a child's life we're talking about, they should be doing all in their power to help rather than letting things just "happen".

I'm glad she's been admitted - she needs more than you can currently give her. 

Please keep us updated, will you?

Losingit321's picture

Yes I am frustrated because it all goes ignored.  One day we are sitting on the couch and i see her get inappropriate pics I again mentioned this... and her dad does nothing but say it's "not right" ... ummmm but you let her keep all of this- it's a danger. 

Winterglow's picture

And it never occurred to him that she might be conversing with a pedophile or that she could have given out your address?  Doesn't he care? Or does he only care if he has to actually do something? Is he always so lackadaisical?

simifan's picture

Please take these attempts seriously. As a mental health professional, I have seen several attention suicide attempts turn lethal. One in particular always stands out in my mind - he took his roommates pills (only 7 pills) that he didn't know anything about & killed off his entire imune system. This was a 32 year old adult not a child. It took over three months of torture for him to die. All the while, begging not to let him die. He eventually died from sepsis which was extremely painful. So much so, it still haunts me almost 30 years later. Had SD tried antifreeze instead of bleach she would likely be gone. 

This child needs serious professional help. No one that threatens suicide should be left alone. Hospitals even pay for 1:1 staffing for suicidal patients. 

Losingit321's picture

Wow that really just opened my eyes to how bad this is.  She has been admitted and I think that is the best thing for her right now honestly.  I am hoping they find something where she can go in for a while to try and get healthy. 

bananaseedo's picture

I guarantee they will hold no more then 72hrs and release her to her father.  Dad would actively have to insist to get her to a facility with extended treatment.  Welcome to mental health care world in the US.  Where kids/young adults get failed ALL the time and the families suffer as well. 

ndc's picture

It is unfair (and unsafe!) for this unstable SD to be left at home with you while you're working.  You cannot supervise her while you're working, nor should that be your responsibility.  But clearly she cannot be left alone.  Even though it would not be at all your fault, can you imagine the guilt you would feel if this child attempted to, or even worse, DID, kill herself while she was in the house with you while you were working?

This is the proverbial hill to die on.  Tell your husband in no uncertain terms that he needs to make other arrangements for his daughter.  If he does not, give some serious thought to why he is not willing to consider and prioritize YOUR feelings and desires.  A good partner would.  And then get out of the house.  Can you work elsewhere?

Losingit321's picture

I could go into the office but it's so strange now we have to reserve spots etc.  I am going to have to really talk to him.  I have thrown it out there a few times but I dont think it's sinking in. 

ndc's picture

Maybe you need to reserve space for a week or two.  Tell your H that you're going to work in the office starting next Monday and SD needs to go to BM.  Then work in the office or let them think you are until SD spending the workdays with BM becomes routine.  What is their custody arrangement?

SeeYouNever's picture

It's good she's admitted, that should happen every time she attempts something. This might come across as snarky but I am dead serious. Whenever a kid has a suicide attempt you have to make the biggest deal about it possible take it as seriously as if you had found a gun in their hand.

There is an attention seeking aspect to suicide attempts but at its root is a cry for help. So you give them that attention you make a huge deal about it you start treating them like they can't be left alone take them to mental health professionals at least once a week and do all of the follow-up. In other words make it a huge deal and be super annoying about it. They cannot get mad at you for taking it seriously and if they ever start saying things like "oh it wasn't that big of a deal" then you know that they are probably not going to try it again because you made your point. On the other hand if they are very seriously troubled taking it to the extreme is the right thing to do to get them help and dig out of the hole. 

Usually after being admitted a couple times there are no more casual attempts. 

Rags's picture

As a parent I would go all in on aggressively addressing the suicidal tendencies or behaviors.  If a kid would kill themselves I would be destroyed but I would do everything in my power to address the risk assertively for as long as it would take to get them "well", or... they succeded in their efforts.

Heaven forbid.

They would know I cared, was taking action, and that their tendencies would be met with full bore intervention including institutionalization, full time professional oversight including while using the toilets, baths, showers,  a home stripped of any and all risky items that might be used for suicide attempts (knowing fill well that if htey want to, they will find a way).  They would live life under the supreme hairy eyeball for as long as it took to support them through those tendencies.

Fortunately, so far anyway, our kid seems reasonably safe from this risk though I do occassionally grow concerned based on his extreme introversion,  cyclical moods, and not irregular long periods without communication.

I truly hope that my default state of extreme optimism is not hiding a risk.  The thought is alarming.


Carriem's picture

I think it's best to know that unfortunately it doesn't get better from here. The fear will always be there for you regarding where she is and if she succeeds the guilt eats you up. Regardless of what the parents are doing I would be advocating for this child to get her every bit of help or whatever it is she needs. When others aren't fulfilling their role or duties someone has to step in. It's very hard to turn your back knowing the parents won't step up. This would be the hill I would die on because for me, it's morally incorrect how the parents aren't stepping in. That could also be driven by fear but they also need help navigating through this. 

I'd believe anyone who says or acts suicidal. The consequences are to catastrophic not too.

She doesn't need to convince you that she's suicidal, she only needs to convince you that she needs help and I think you've acknowledged that.

Losingit321's picture

She is now at her BM's for the week- I just felt that with me working I cannot watch her the whole time.  She is home and doing fine but acts like nothing ever happened!  Told her to get off all her medications and WHAM they said this was prob social media which is what I thought.  

Losingit321's picture

I am not sure!  I have an appt on Tues and going into the office on Thurs- so he will have to figure this out w/ the BM.  I honestly still do not feel comfortable- I have an elderly dad and sometimes I need to run out- I dont want this responsibility. 

Winterglow's picture

This is not for you to work out, it's for the parents to work out. You aren't free to provide surveillance, for goodness sake! You are WORKING! What part of that does your DUH not understand? Just tell him you're not doing it. He HAS to deal with this - we're talking about his child, right? You have responsibilities towards your father, not towards someone else's child. 

Losingit321's picture

I haven't said much as of yet other than I cannot be left alone w/ her and explained that this isn't fair to me.  Should be interesting what he "expects" next week.  I mean I know he's not ignorant but come on... I shouldn't have to nudge him to take care of this.  It's honestly insane to me.  

This has been a week honestly- I wish I could just throw in the towel with all of it!