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Old 03-29-2008, 01:06 PM   #1
Bigfoot07
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Suicidal spouse - what next?
My spouse of more than 15 years recently attempted suicide. This person has a history of bipolar disease and has been hospitalized a few times before. This time they were nearly successful in their attempt and it has left me and our only child wondering what comes next. My principal concern is for the safety and well-being of our child. These recent events have left me terrified that my spouse could be released from the hospital and make another attempt or worse; make an attempt that could harm our child either physically or emotionally.

I still care what happens to my spouse and sincerely hope they find a way to get healthy, but I cannot picture a life together anymore. While our child and my spouse are emotionally close, but the very idea that our child might be at any risk due to my spouse's mental condition is far more than I can tolerate. Unfortunately, we live a few states away from family and I am responsible for more than 90% of our income so it's impossible for me to be present at all times. I simply cannot imagine having this person living in our house now or for the forseeable future.

The issues of marital separation are complex enough on their own, but with my spouse's condition, I'm overwhelmed and not sure what should or could come next. We are safe and coping reasonably well at the moment and my spouse is still in the hospital. I'm hoping that someone out there has a similar experience or could lend even simple advice. What do I need to be doing right now?
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:25 PM   #2
2ndWind
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
Bigfoot, have you read the thread entitled "Bipolar Wife," also under legal issues? Sending lots of support your way.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:48 PM   #3
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
Seems like you need to see an attorney just to get some idea of what you are dealing with as far as legalities go. Every state is a little bit different.l You don't have to do something right this second but you do need to keep your child safe. I'd seek legal advice pronto.
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Old 03-29-2008, 06:41 PM   #4
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
Unless your spouse gets on and follows a treatment plan with a doctor, parenting abilities will be minimal for your spouse. Most bpd can be controlled but, as you already know, compliance can be very difficult to achieve with the patient.

Your spouse is still in the hospital? It could be that after this stay your spouse will have appropriate medication and treatment and be able to follow a treatment plan. Have you been able to see your spouse since hospitalization? Have you requested time to sit with her and her doctor(s) to talk about abilities and what you can expect?

Have you talked to a counselor about what to do with you and your child? I think this could be really important for both you and your child. First, it will help your child process what is happening and that they have a parent who is sick. A counselor will also help you understand more about the disease and its ups and downs. A counselor will also help you as a parent to know what things to watch for in your child. Always remember this illness runs in families. As your child grows, he or she should be aware of what's what with the disease as well.

Get your information in hand and then talk to a lawyer about your legal options. I can't promise you that your spouse will come out of this episode completely able to handle being a parent. Many, many times a patient is able to do that. Other times the patient is not.

Get yourself informed. Talk to professionals. Your way will become clearer.
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:35 PM   #5
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
That is a seriously walking on eggshells situation. I believe you need to get into see her counselor and follow the lead. Get yourself into a support group too if you can, there are too many issues to take simple advice.

Does your daughter know any of the facts?
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
What was your marital situation before the attempt? Re: your child the best you can do is provide support and stability to the extent possible.
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:53 PM   #7
Tuffy
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
When I was in a simular situation I discussed seriously with family who lived out of state about the need for support and help. A couple of them were prepared to come stay for several weeks if need be. If that is what you have to, then that is what you need to do. I ended up using a combination of neighbor support, the kids went there after school all I told the neighbor is my ex was unwell. Family support on weekends, the kids went to relatives and friends nearby. Also consider hiring someone to help out when your child is around.

It's hard. I know for a long time I thought I was walking on egg shells. Your spouse needs to stay in treatment, needs to keep re affirning that they won't kill themselves and you have to be watchful. It's no way to live life long term.

But if your spouse refuses to cooperate with treatment, you may have to take steps to keep them from your child, it's bad but that may be what it comes down to.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:25 PM   #8
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
Face reality. Don't expect anything to change.

Protect your child and yourself.

Find a lawyer and file for divorce. You may have to support her/him for a while a la alimony as you are now because they are ill and you have/are supporting them. Fight for custody of your child.

Or -

Accept this is your childs and your life forever or until she does.

I mean no offence to Bookie or anyone else - they don't get better. The only thing you can do is figure out how to live with it.... or get out. If this is how you want to live and the atmosphere you want your child to be raised in then stay.

Or not.

Obviously I vote not. Whatever it is you end up paying to your spouse to support them apart from you IMO is more than worth your peace and chance to live an at least partial "normal" life in/with a stable enviornment for your child to grow up in. You might be able to deal with it but can your child ? - or are they potentially going to be permanently damaged ?


Take control of your and your childs future - don't leave it in the hands of others/your spouse.


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P.S. - While the popular opinion is divorce is "bad" - it isn't in many cases. It is the best option/choice more than many want to admit.

Signed - happily and thankfully divorced from a mentally ill spouse/mother.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:01 PM   #9
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
Bigfoot may find that his or her spouse is not able to follow a treatment plan and function well as a wife and mother. No shame in divorce in that case at all. In fact, as you know, I recommend it.

Starion, your children's mother has a diagnosis and is not taking the responsibility to follow a treatment plan. Because of her behavior she will not get better. We don't know if that's what bigfoot's spouse is doing or not.

Now to the "you did so offend me" part:
Stop hiding behind your awful experience and use the brain I know you have to get educated about the total disease. Don't judge all victims by the irresponsible behavior or your children's mother.

Or do you really believe that I, a victim of bpd who has successfully followed a treatment plan for years and will until the day I die of natural causes doesn't deserve a loving relationship, is not a fit parent, and is To Be Avoided?

I'm really steamed at you this time. If I send you a dollar would you go out and buy a reality pill to put your awful experience in its rightful perspective in the spectruum of bipolar disorder?
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:36 AM   #10
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Re: Suicidal spouse - what next?
Good for you bookie.
My sister has BPD and is faithful taking her medications, following a treatment routine and doing what she needs to do to stay healthful. She understands she has a chronic disorder and she understands that it is her responbilty to stay healthful.

She is married, has two wonderful little kids and seems to be doing great with the usual frustrations of family life.
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