Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Suicide is Painless?

A few months ago I watched my mother die a slow and painful death (amazingly it only took 24 hours after I found her, it could have been a lot longer) after taking a huge overdose of paracetamol.  Why she chose this method when there were plenty of other prescription drugs she could have used that would of been much quicker is beyond my comprehension.

Why she chose to do it at all is also still really beyond my comprehension.  I am still waiting for the coroners reports to arrive with the views of the mental health professionals that had been dealing with her.  However I am quite certain that there probably won't be any answers to my questions within them.

I heard this week of another suicide, that of a young man who had been plagued by mental illness.  Is the relief that he ached for the same as what my mother did?

My feelings on the whole debacle change from moment to moment.  I have been very angry, I have felt very worthless, numb, confused, sad, relieved and many many more emotions.

At the moment I am really feeling that maybe it was not the result of a mental health 'issue'.  She had a life that was plagued by horrific experiences for the first 17 years.  These had scarred her so deeply that she was never able to accept any help in trying to come to terms with them.  Her last 5 years were also enveloped in great sadness after loosing her youngest daughter and her beloved husband.  She just did not want to be alive without them.

So was there anything that could have been done to prevent her from taking the action that she did?  I still have to believe not at the moment - partly because this is the only way I can stop myself from taking any blame for her actions ( I know this is a little selfish but hey - I still have a family to be there for).  At the moment I really don't think anyone else could have done anything to help her - she did not want it - in fact she very actively refused to engage with any help that was offered.

So my experience is that suicide is not painless for the person who takes their life, and most certainly is not painless for those that have to face the trauma of finding them and then dealing with the grief that inevitably follows.


  1. I cannot attempt to answer your questions about your mother Jane, no-one can, but this I will say.
    There is a point in the descending spiral of unhappiness/melancholy/misery/depression, call it what you will, when suicide seems the only possible way to obtain relief.
    I truly believe that for the person concerned, at that time, no-one else exists. No opinions, offers of help, possible options even register with the individual.
    As to the method. That is not usually the result of long thought, it is the immediate solution and the apparently simplest way.
    There is no comfort I can offer you except to say that you could almost certainly have made no difference to her decision.
    I do not say this lightly, but I do have actual experience so have some insight into this distressing scenario.

  2. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. You and your family are surrounded by people who care deeply about you all. Coming to terms with the events of the last few years is a process which is starting to take shape. The thoughts you have aired here are a part of that process, and in doing so you show a willingness to accept the need for help and advice.
    You will recover. It will never be easy to deal with the grief, but it will get further away, and that distance will allow it to focus less sharply in your day to day living.