Yesterday, my mom called mom my husband to tell him a very close family member had taken his own life. My husband told her he would tell me at a good time. I just started a new job a few weeks ago and he knows I’m really involved in work stuff so he didn’t want to bother me there. He told me after dinner. I was devastated. At 26, he was gone. We were very close growing up and he had worked so hard - a good job, a good life, all on his own. He was a good listener and a funny dude without being obnoxious. He was a great uncle to his sister’s kids.
I’m not coping well. I went to work which was the best thing I could do and then had to leave. I’m dealing with this long, drawn out stressful bullshit from some bitch who hit my car and refused to provide information. My PPD has been getting progressively better but with OCD I can’t turn my mind of.
Our family is ridden with mood disorders. Like me, many of my uncles, cousins, and even my grandfather have had bipolar or unipolar depression. Most of my cousins have BP I or II. Several of us have OCD. The family member who past has an older sister who attemped suicide twice as a teen. As she was my closest friend in the world during those times, I felt responsible. We don’t talk about these problems in our family. Catholics have BIG issues with this stuff. I was screaming from the rooftops the second time that something was wrong. However, no one did anything. She has permanent liver damage but has gone on to deal with her demons (including substance abuse) well. She is a wonderful parent. She is a loving wife and great person raising two bouncing feminist kids. My grandmother who believes suicide is cowardly and sends you to hell blamed me for this relative’s attempt at taking her life. Her words were “Why didn’t you stop her?”
My relative grew up dealing with the emotional moving and baggage of his sister. His mother kept him under lock and key and blamed him anytime he did normal teen things. When she found he smoked at joint at 17, she forced him to do all kinds of chores for weeks. She thought that would “fix” him. Instead, I think he only learned how to hold it in until it was too much. My parents never got me treatment as a child (something that really bothers my therapist) despite me having experienced a lot of trauma (a sexual assault, a death of a friend, and my relative’s attempts at suicide all in a 2 year period). I never once talked to anyone. My dad would threaten me with it and then say it would be a disgrace. He was on the board of a community mental health provider but he saw these people who were getting help as “less than”.
In recent months, I’ve tried to resurrect this dialogue as my sister and I are reeling from my dad’s substance abuse and inability to see beyond himself. We worry about our family because it’s just so loaded and no one is listening. My mom acted totally confused about the fact that their disowning me weeks after my baby was born would have an effect on my bipolar disorder which I’ve told her I have had since almost 8 years ago. She ignored it because I wasn’t “broken” and I had never taken drugs?
So, now, here I am still beating myself up. I’m heartbroken that he felt this way. I’m so worried about his family. And all I want to do is get in my car and drive back to the Chicago area right now. I just want to help. I want to go so badly. Any advice on the dealing with guilt? I am taking my anxiety meds right now.