Don't know how to cope with my wife trying to commit suicide

My story is only 4 weeks old and it already feels like a decade!

4 weeks ago I went upstairs to see if my wife wanted any lunch only to find her on our bed conscious but unresponsive, panic sets in and then I see the multiple packets of paracetamol and anti depressants all open and empty, ambulance called, paramedics find self harm marks I didn’t even know existed and a night in hospital on Obs and visit from the crisis team follow, after she self discharges she was to have visits by the crisis team, these happen over the weekend followed by a visit to the consultant on monday, I receive a message from my wife telling me that the Dr thinks it’s best that she is admitted but as there are no beds in town available they would do twice daily visits and see from there, when I come home from work crisis team come round and i find out that the Dr gave lorazopam to help with the anxiety but she had taken 4 doses all in one go, it is discussed and decided between us all that its best she goes into hospital, a bed becomes available on tuesday at 3pm we are told at 1pm in those hours between my wife does some more self harming, we go into hospital and she is admitted, when I go and visit in the morning next day her wrists are bandaged because she has tried to slit them at night, it’s only 3 days after the overdose, obviously there are meetings and talking with Drs and nurses about medication and trying to find things out, 4 days later she jumps off of the wardrobe in her room onto her head and ends up in A&E, 2 black eyes, bruised face, strained and bruised wrist, twisted little finger and bruising to her legs, the staff at the hospital decide she is at high risk and remove all of the furniture and all of her belongings from her room, understandably she kicks of because she demands to leave she ends up on a section, we then spend the next week working at making her safe, the week after we are at the stage when she is coming home and spending time with me and our daughters (7, 11 & 14) this had been going really well and getting easier and more natural.
Sunday 10th Feb I get a phone call from the ward to tell me they have taken her to A&E but she has told them not to tell me what has happened, much texting and ignored calls later she answers and tells me she has taken an overdose of pills she took form the house on saturday when she came home a mixture of Naproxen, Mitazapine and paracetamol she got from the shop, she ended up have the 3 stage IV over night.

She has written many notes and made spider diagrams on her lack of emotion and feelings and why she wants to end her life but over the weeks between the jump and this overdose it seemed that things were moving in the right direction, she went from a section and seeing the psychologist to being allowed off site with a chaperone then to being allowed to go to the local shop on her own, as soon as she has been given an opportunity she has taken it to plan and set up a suicide attempt. After the first overdose I had brought a safe to keep the medication in ( I have a fair bit due to a back problem) this saturday I had forgotten to lock it (I don’t lock it when she is in hospital) I left her alone in the house for 8 minutes after doing the food shop, during this time she has checked the safe and removed the pills even going to the point of only taken 1 blister pack out of the boxes so the still sounded like they had stuff in them if I checked.

Really don’t know what to do and how to cope now, I’m trying to hold down my job, keep house and look after the kids, I have support from family but we all thought things were getting better now this just feels like a kick in the teeth, our eldest knows about the 2 overdoses and the cutting, little 2 just know mum finds the world too much and has gone somewhere to have a break but the longer it goes on the more anxious they get.

Didn’t really intend to write this much it has just pored out of me as I’ve typed, as much as he professionals are trying to help, I’ve come on here to see if there’s maybe someone who has been through or is going through something similar, it’s all come as a massive downward whirlwind as this is the first time anything like this has happened in the 15 years we have been together.

There’s much I could say on this, but I think I need time to make a considered response. There’s so much to get wrong on this.

To answer your first question, yes I’ve been there. In fact, I’m broadly there again at the moment.

For now, make sure you and your daughters are the absolute centre of your life. Your wife is in a safe place. Your daughters really need you right now, more than they are showing.

I wrote much more than this, but decided not to post it - I really do want more time to make sure I say the right thing.
I’ll be back, but for now - just keep going.

Oh bless you, I don’t have answers for you but I hear you and I see you struggling.
My DH hasn’t gone as far as your wife but I do know the feeling of wondering if I will find him dead when I get home with our little boy. He has talked of slitting his throat or taking an overdose and it’s terrifying. In the end I’ve become quite numb to it all.
I can’t imagine how you are feeling knowing she is going through this, and juggling work and kids and your own feelings too, it must be incredibly difficult. Keep posting on here if it helps, we’re always here to listen if you need to get things off your chest.

I am so sorry to hear about your distressing circumstances. I can imagine this must be a particularly difficult time for you and your children.

Alongside supporting your wife and children, it is really important that you get support for yourself. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, and can be contacted for free on 116 123.

Has the hospital or your wife’s GP suggested counselling for your wife and made any referrals? Not everyone is willing or able to engage with counselling, but if you haven’t already then it could be worth raising the subject. If you live in England details of local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services are available on the NHS website. Mind and Rethink Mental Illness provide a wealth of information and support about mental illness. Also there is a charity called Maytree which offers a free 4-night/5-day stay with befriending for people in suicidal crisis. They can be phoned on 020 7263 7070 or email

I have included the websites to the above organisations below:
IAPT directory on NHS website: therapies %28IAPT%29/LocationSearch/10008

Once again, I am really sorry to hear about what you are going through. I hope you find the support you need both on this forum and elsewhere.

Thanks for your replies.

I don’t know how to do it, she acts like its no big deal or says she’s more useless because she didn’t succeed.
The worst thing is trying to discourage her about coming home to ‘act like nothing has happened’ because thats what she wants, it’s also coping with the lying, I know sometimes she just tells me what she thinks I want to hear and it’s a bare faced lie, she fluctuates between sort of trying to work with the staff on the ward and then back to saying it’s all crap, nothings working, theres no point being there, it’s pointless talking nobody listens/wants to hear the truth.

As awful as it sounds I don’t want her to come home yet, right now I don’t believe she won’t try again in the first opportunity she gets, I can’t support 24hr care for her at home, I said to her tonight about coming home for tea tomorrow and she declined saying she wasn’t sure, that was at 1900 now 2hrs later she’s almost demanding to come home, I can’t keep up with the rollercoaster and I’m running out of things to say.

Hi again. Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back. I’ve tried writing and re-writing this, but I’m going around in circles.
I hope all has gone as well as it could for the last few days for you.

No advice here, just my experiences.

  1. The majority of people suffering these episodes appear to get “better” and never reappear within the system. Few seem to go on to be enduring. It isn’t quick though…

  2. I’ve been going through this time and again for over 25 years now. It doesn’t doesn’t get easier, I still haven’t found out how to get it right and it hurts every time.

  3. You must protect your children. My wife took up most of my attention and my daughters ended up with severe issues. My eldest escaped hospitalisation by the slimmest of margins, but after much hard work has now got herself sorted. I never understood the damage being done to them at the time, as the issues started when my daughters were young and didn’t understand fully. Teenagers are so much more vulnerable.

  4. You must look after yourself.

  5. There are lots of people going through this at the moment. You most definitely are not alone. Sadly though, it is very isolating.

  6. There is no right way, or right answer. There’s lots of wrong ways though. And the only way to find them is trial and error.

I have refused to collect my wife from hospital several times after she had OD’d.
I have sat comforting a friend in the hours after her daughter died (from an accident) only for the police to turn up at my door to tell me my wife had been found having taken a huge OD and was in critical care. My wife has gone missing for days on end.
My wife has also been well for long periods of time and we have had great times too. And at times, I have to remind myself that my wife has been well more often than she has been unwell. So it isn’t all bad.
I could have left my wife years ago. I decided not to. I am still undecided whether that was the right decision - the personal cost has been very high.
But still, I come back to the first point… Many, many people do recover.

In the past I have had access to a carer group where I could talk openly and confidentially about my life - that group was an absolutely vital rock when I needed it (when I first realised I’d become a carer!). I would recommend finding a non-critical group like that if you could.

I really do hope all gets well for you. Take care.

My wife is not quite at your level, but I too am going through this at the moment.

Its hard, trying to juggle everything. I was training to become a teacher, but had to give that up. Partly because of suicidal attempts by my wife, but more that I emotionally could not keep having to do all that was required for the course, while worrying about my wife and kids (1 & 4), on top of having to deal with daily flare ups. I’m waiting to hear what financial support is available now that I am a carer. I’ll keep you updated, as I know I’d prefer to be out working than on benefits, but times when you have to let a plate drop, just need to choose which one.

What helps me is groups like this where people with similar experiences can provide support and advice. Depending on where you are based, there are carer support groups. For me Carers Matter Norfolk, they can provide counselling, financial advice and help, help with family support and running of the house. I suffered without support for too long, being too proud to reach out for help. This helps no-one. As others say, you focus on you and your kids. However, allow time to worry about your wife. You obviously care about her a great deal, which is what makes the situation so hard.

Some say writing things down to get them out helps or give yourself set times to allow you to explore the intense emotions this has created. You just need a way to release them, otherwise you will become overloaded and either burnout or have a breakdown yourself. I feel slightly hypocritical, as I don’t manage to do this all the time. Feel free to message me whenever you need a chat, not on here all the time, but try to check this at least every other day.

Stay strong, you are not alone.