Yesterday it was reported that 15-year-old Paris Jackson, daughter of Michael Jackson, was hospitalized for attempting to commit suicide. It’s so sad and horrible to see such a young girl going through something so tough. I think this kind of situation always brings up questions such as: how do you deal when a friend or a boyfriend/girlfriend is suicidal? Imagine if your significant other felt the way Paris does – what would you do?
Well, I know what I would do, because I already went through this. A few years ago, I dated a guy who was suicidal. It was scary, very upsetting and really confusing. I know I’m not the only one who has gone through something like this, so I wanted to share my story with you guys so you can see that, if this happens to you, you’re not alone.
I dated my ex, let’s call him C, for almost five years and the entire time we knew each other, he was suicidal and very depressed. I knew this about him before we started dating, yet I went into the relationship anyway thinking that I could help him get better. I was wrong.
Things didn’t start out badly. It wasn’t until our first big fight that I really saw how many problems C had. He did something that really hurt my feelings and we were having a huge argument over the phone late at night. It was just a regular bad fight until I threatened to break up with him – that’s when C lost it. His voice changed completely and became very emotionless and monotone. He said something like, “Go ahead, break up with me. It’s just another reason for me to kill myself.”
Obviously, I freaked out and started panicking. I was 15-years-old and my first love was telling me all about how much he wanted to his end his life. He told me he was in the bathroom with a razor blade and he could end things right then and there. I was terrified and crying hysterically. I promised him I wouldn’t break up with him, but it didn’t seem to matter – he just kept going on about how miserable he was. Finally, I woke my mom up to talk to him and calm him down because I was so scared that he was going to do something. It was a horrible experience.
The next morning, C acted like nothing had happened, even though I was still shaken. When I brought it up, he brushed it off like it was no big deal. He seemed fine, so I let it go. Maybe he was just upset from the fight? Except I was wrong. That sort of thing started happening more and more, until it was to the point where I couldn’t say anything to C without him threatening to kill himself. While some may call this a manipulation tactic, I know that C genuinely had depression issues he needed to work out – so while I was aware that he was manipulating and controlling me by making me feel guilty, I also felt like I couldn’t take the chance of not taking him seriously. Imagine if he went through with it? I would never be able to forgive myself.
After a few years of this, I had fully committed myself to keeping C happy at all times. Except it didn’t work. These suicidal episodes got worse and worse. A few times, I caught him with cuts on his arms. Twice, I called his house in a panic to tell his mom I was worried about him (only twice because she didn’t listen to me). I begged him to go to therapy, but he refused. It didn’t matter what happened, whether he did something wrong or I did – he always turned a fight around to make me end up feeling sorry for him.
Of course, all of this took a toll on me. I went from a happy-go-lucky teenager to someone who was constantly stressed out and scared. I was also miserable because C brought me down. It’s hard to be happy when you’re constantly with someone who is severely depressed and it’s impossible to live your own life when it becomes centered around keeping one person happy. I didn’t do things for myself – I did things to keep C from thinking about suicide.
When I was finally able to pull myself away from our relationship, things got worse. C started seriously cutting himself, overdosing on prescription pills and using other illegal substances to not only numb his pain, but also to get my attention. But I had finally come to the point where I realized that I needed to start focusing on myself. I had finally realized that my life could not revolve around making C happy because C had to make himself happy. It sounds selfish, but I had to turn my back on C. I loved him and cared about him so much, but he was controlling every aspect of my life.
It wasn’t for years afterwards that I realized that if C had killed himself, it wouldn’t have been my fault. He had (has) serious depression issues and I, as a teenager trying to figure out my own emotions, was not equipped to handle them. I think that’s the most important thing I learned from this entire situation: it’s not your fault. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is this depressed and wants to commit suicide, it’s not your fault. You can’t handle it on your own. You need to get outside help for this person, or they need to get it themselves. I tried to take on C’s issues on my own and felt like I had failed when I couldn’t make him happy. I see other girls go through the same thing and I just want to hug them and tell them they need to take a step back.
So, what do you do if your boyfriend or girlfriend is suicidal? Get them help if you can. Be there for them if they need to talk. Show them that you love and care about them. But don’t make it your own personal mission to help them get better. In cases like these, serious help is needed. When C would tell me he was suicidal and I would cry and beg him not to do it, it didn’t make things better – in fact, I think it made things worse. Just remember: you can help up until a certain point and then it’s up to them.
Have you ever dealt with a suicidal boyfriend or girlfriend or friend? What did you do? Have you ever been in my situation? Tell me in the comments.