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  #1  
Old 04-01-2017, 07:32 AM
Poohbay Poohbay is offline
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Default Fiance is depressed, talks about suicide

So my fiancé has 30 to life with parole. He's been depressed lately. Like he just called and told me he's having all these crazy thoughts. That he knows he's going to lose his whole family. It doesn't help that none of his family visits him. They didn't when he was in county either. Says he's thinking about taking his life. This isn't the first time he's said that. I asked how did he think that would affect me and our son. He says that's partly the reason. That there's no guarantee our son will want him in his life or that I'll be there for 10 years let alone 30. I told him I just don't know what to say. He said his family just tells him to pray. But he been lost faith and told me he only prays for me and our son to stay in his life. I just don't know what to do say. I can't lie, recently my faith has been little to none. I usually can be so positive or find some silver lining. I was just wondering if anyone has experience dealing with this.
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Old 04-01-2017, 07:56 AM
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I encourage you to ask him to seek medical help and be patient with him. I can't imagine what a sentence like that does to a person.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:23 AM
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I'm sure his sentence is hitting you very hard too. It's hard to help someone through their depression when you are battling through it as well. If you choose to stay with him try and get through this together. Lean on him and let him lean on you. Write a lot. I'm sorry you are all going through this. Maybe you can assure him that no matter what happens in the future you will always be in his life. Sean has a cellie who has a 30 to life sentence and the guy is 35. He said he sleeps all the time because he is depressed and it's sad. He tries to talk with him and kind of cheer him up when he can but it's just going to take some time to come to terms with it all.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:37 AM
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If you can pray your depression away, it was just a case of the blues. If he's really depressed, and anytime somebody's thinking seriously about suicide, they're pretty depressed, prayer isn't the answer.

Something you both need to understand - suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide ranging from brief thoughts through to planning out and practicing for an actual attempt) is a symptom of the severity of the depression. Such thoughts are not his own thoughts - they are a product of depression, not his own mind. Ideally, a person having a thought of suicide would instantly recognize this and go, "ah ha! i don't really want to kill myself! I'm just experiencing an indication that my depression is really bad! It's about time I visited with a doctor, and quit suffering this way!"

But, that doesn't happen. People think that all of the thoughts they have are their own and not a product of illness. It's called depression because it produces thoughts that are aberrant. Just like cancer produces physical pain, depression and other mental illnesses produce mental pain, and thoughts that strengthen the hold and depth of that depression in a person's mind.

So, what can he do? Obviously, if he's suicidal, he needs medical help. He also needs psychotherapy/talk therapy. Studies show that the combination of medication and talk therapy have the greatest chance of success.

Beyond this, what can he do?

1. hygiene. He needs to take a shower when he's supposed to take a shower, put on clean clothes when he would normally put on clean clothes, brush his teeth, run a comb through his hair, and hit the barber as he would when he isn't this depressed.

2. sleep hygiene. He needs to stop the caffeine in the afternoon, go to bed when he normally goes to bed and get up when he's supposed to get up.

3. eat as normal - don't over eat, don't under eat, don't avoid eating. The last thing he needs is a major weight loss or gain as it screws with his endocrine system and can perpetuate depression.

4. exercise regularly - exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. it's that simple. So simple in fact that exercise is prescribed for depressed patients in a number of mental hospitals in the EU in addition to meds and psychotherapy.

5. keep to a schedule - work, groups, school, whatever his normal schedule is, keep to it.

6. fold a paper in half the long way, write every negative thought he's having on one side. Write the reality on the other (no matter how harsh). You can help him with this.

7. encourage him to get help. Quit walking around with a broken leg and actually let the professionals help him the way they can. He is not weak for being depressed. He is weak for refusing to treat it.
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2017, 10:54 AM
Poohbay Poohbay is offline
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Oh I am extremely patient with him. As I understand that this is the hardest thing he's ever dealt with. Once he gets back to his prison I will encourage him to seek medical help. Now he may not take my advice but I'll still tell him.


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I encourage you to ask him to seek medical help and be patient with him. I can't imagine what a sentence like that does to a person.
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:00 AM
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Yes it's very hard to help someone when your hurting as well. But I always try to be that bright spot in his day. And always be positive and encouraging. And yes I say all the time that we have to lean on each other. I need him to help me get through this just as much as he needs me. When he first got to his prison he was sleeping a lot. Now he's interacting a little more. He's at county now though dealing with a issue. So hopefully his spirits will pick back up when he returns to his prison. Sounds crazy I know. But there's more from him to do at his prison. And I think him staying active and social helps a lot. It doesn't help that the guys in county have been telling him not to trust me. That's one thing I hate is that this other guys love whispering little negative things about our relationship to him. This is hard enough without all of that.




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Originally Posted by Sean'sGirl82 View Post
I'm sure his sentence is hitting you very hard too. It's hard to help someone through their depression when you are battling through it as well. If you choose to stay with him try and get through this together. Lean on him and let him lean on you. Write a lot. I'm sorry you are all going through this. Maybe you can assure him that no matter what happens in the future you will always be in his life. Sean has a cellie who has a 30 to life sentence and the guy is 35. He said he sleeps all the time because he is depressed and it's sad. He tries to talk with him and kind of cheer him up when he can but it's just going to take some time to come to terms with it all.
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:03 AM
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He sounded a lot better when we talked earlier. As a person that has battled depression and suicidal thoughts/actions I completely understand the severity. Which is why I will recommend he seek medical attention. But I don't think he's full on depressed. I think he just has bad moments. But since this wasn't the first time he's mentioned suicide I think seeking medical attention would be beneficial.



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Originally Posted by yourself View Post
If you can pray your depression away, it was just a case of the blues. If he's really depressed, and anytime somebody's thinking seriously about suicide, they're pretty depressed, prayer isn't the answer.

Something you both need to understand - suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide ranging from brief thoughts through to planning out and practicing for an actual attempt) is a symptom of the severity of the depression. Such thoughts are not his own thoughts - they are a product of depression, not his own mind. Ideally, a person having a thought of suicide would instantly recognize this and go, "ah ha! i don't really want to kill myself! I'm just experiencing an indication that my depression is really bad! It's about time I visited with a doctor, and quit suffering this way!"

But, that doesn't happen. People think that all of the thoughts they have are their own and not a product of illness. It's called depression because it produces thoughts that are aberrant. Just like cancer produces physical pain, depression and other mental illnesses produce mental pain, and thoughts that strengthen the hold and depth of that depression in a person's mind.

So, what can he do? Obviously, if he's suicidal, he needs medical help. He also needs psychotherapy/talk therapy. Studies show that the combination of medication and talk therapy have the greatest chance of success.

Beyond this, what can he do?

1. hygiene. He needs to take a shower when he's supposed to take a shower, put on clean clothes when he would normally put on clean clothes, brush his teeth, run a comb through his hair, and hit the barber as he would when he isn't this depressed.

2. sleep hygiene. He needs to stop the caffeine in the afternoon, go to bed when he normally goes to bed and get up when he's supposed to get up.

3. eat as normal - don't over eat, don't under eat, don't avoid eating. The last thing he needs is a major weight loss or gain as it screws with his endocrine system and can perpetuate depression.

4. exercise regularly - exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. it's that simple. So simple in fact that exercise is prescribed for depressed patients in a number of mental hospitals in the EU in addition to meds and psychotherapy.

5. keep to a schedule - work, groups, school, whatever his normal schedule is, keep to it.

6. fold a paper in half the long way, write every negative thought he's having on one side. Write the reality on the other (no matter how harsh). You can help him with this.

7. encourage him to get help. Quit walking around with a broken leg and actually let the professionals help him the way they can. He is not weak for being depressed. He is weak for refusing to treat it.
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:02 PM
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Good in that "silver lining" sort of way that you've had your own battle with depression. You can offer peer support without all those platitudes that simply don't work.

Look, if he's new to this sentence, he's in mourning. He's mourning the life he thought he was going to have and unable to find a life of meaning inside prison at the moment. Mourning and depression go hand in hand - depression is actually one of the Kubler-Ross stages of mourning. The trick is to not get locked in to the depression self talk.

He does have to talk about everything he was going to do, the life he thought he'd have, especially with you and his kids. He's going to have to find a life of meaning in prison. It's very hard to do, especially with that kind of sentence and everything he cares about outside the walls. You can help him find a life of meaning. If he's a reader, there are plenty of books written by prisoners - some that had dramatic impacts on the world. MLK Jr. wrote his Letters from a Birmingham Jail, Thoreau wrote Walden after his stint in prison, coming up with Transcendentalism as a result. Hell, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf while in stir, though I wouldn't recommend reading it in prison or out - it's just an example of prison writing. You can find lists of stuff written in prison, from Carroll Chessman writing from death row when all of his writing materials were removed from his cell (he wrote on toilet paper) to the Marquis de Sade, who did the same thing ( he wrote on his laundry, the asylum laundress in on the whole thing). There's amazingly inspirational writing to amazingly disturbed writing (remember, the term "sadism" comes from de Sade's name and is probably why he won't be able to receive anything from de Sade). The reason I'm telling you this is because he can have a life of meaning inside prison. He can be a part of his children's lives, if he wants to, with the tools and limitations that he has. Sure, his kids are going to get pissed at him for not being able to actually be there, but he has plenty of time to figure out how to handle this stuff, and to figure out how to participate to the best of his ability.

He can also have a life of meaning in prison. He can refuse to allow prison to incarcerate anything other than his body. His mind, his spirit, his heart are free, as long as he doesn't allow Corrections to rent space in his mind, spirit, and heart. All of that is up to him.

But first, he has to mourn the life he thought he'd live. He has to go through all of the stages of mourning - anger, denial, bargaining, depression, acceptance. You can help him with all of it, should you so choose. Chances are, you've had to mourn things and people in your own life. Hell, you are probably mourning the life you thought you'd live with him, and are going through your own cycle of mourning. Be aware of where you are in all of this as anger meeting anger can be very bad, as can depression meeting depression. Hope you are able to create a format where you are open with one and other as you create your new lives. The alternative is not talking for fear that you'll adversely affect the other - something that never works all that well. If you've been depressed to the point that suicide has floated through your mind, you know that talking about it doesn't cause you to actually act on it. Usually, the opposite is true - being able to talk with somebody openly and honestly about their thoughts actually helps move a person away from suicide.

If you're not already, you might want to look into peer training for the mentally ill. It's a pretty good movement - it takes people who are recovered from mental illness and trains them to work with people who are struggling. It will give you a lot of extra tools.

And if you even remotely think he's at the stage where he has a method chosen, don't take it on yourself to help him. Yes, suicide watch sucks, and he may hate you for it, but it beats the alternative.

But then you know depression well enough that you can be a real asset to him as he navigates this obstacle to a full life.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poohbay View Post
So my fiancé has 30 to life with parole. He's been depressed lately. Like he just called and told me he's having all these crazy thoughts. That he knows he's going to lose his whole family. It doesn't help that none of his family visits him. They didn't when he was in county either. Says he's thinking about taking his life. This isn't the first time he's said that. I asked how did he think that would affect me and our son. He says that's partly the reason. That there's no guarantee our son will want him in his life or that I'll be there for 10 years let alone 30. I told him I just don't know what to say. He said his family just tells him to pray. But he been lost faith and told me he only prays for me and our son to stay in his life. I just don't know what to do say. I can't lie, recently my faith has been little to none. I usually can be so positive or find some silver lining. I was just wondering if anyone has experience dealing with this.
He needs to seek professional help, like talk to a therapist or counsellor, he needs encouragement and he need someone who he can vent out his frustrations and worries. Convince him to get help right away..
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
And if you even remotely think he's at the stage where he has a method chosen, don't take it on yourself to help him. Yes, suicide watch sucks, and he may hate you for it, but it beats the alternative.
Red alert flags include choice of a method, as yourself pointed out, and choosing a time. I had an online acquaintance who posted in a chat "I will be gone tomorrow". She was furious that I contacted emergency services in her city. She's still alive. I'll make an enemy to save a life.

One warning sign that is easy to misunderstand is a sudden burst of cheerfulness.

The suicide prevention hotline can and does talk to the people around a suicidal person. Do give them a call. You have a need, not a want.
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