A Look How Suicide Effects Families

This is one of a series of interview feature articles where I interviewed family and friends about their experiences with my diagnosis between 2007 and 2010, one of the worst stretches in my life. This one features my mother, who for privacy reasons we will call Angela. It is written from an objective outsider in a sense because I am writing this as J.E. Skye so that I can still use David as the subject.

A Look at How Suicide Effects Families

It had been a tough year for Angela and her family. Angela could only watch as her son David wilted away, consumed by depression. It was the second time in a year that her son decided to overdose on his medication forcing Angela to rush to the hospital. “The whole time he was belligerent,” Angela says, remembering. “I was scared, he kept trying to open the door of the van while it was moving saying he wanted to die. His dad was very angry —just let him die.”

It wasn’t David’s first suicide attempt, and it wouldn’t be his last.

The memories are vivid in Angela’s eyes as she remembers the months before David’s diagnosis almost 10 years ago. “I didn’t have any idea what was coming. Looking back, I want to kick myself for not seeing the signs,” she says, recalling.

On Halloween night 2007, David decided to say goodbye to the world for the first time. It was Angela’s youngest son that alerted her that David had disappeared, saying his goodbyes on social media. They found him, later, in a large oak tree in the abandoned lot next to their house.

“The light had gone out in his eyes,” Angela said about that moment. “The David that I knew was no longer looking at me. It was in that moment I realized that my son was gone. I was looking at a stranger.”

It was less than a month later, around Thanksgiving, that David had his first suicide attempt. What would be known as his method of choice, David chose his sleeping medication to overdose to try and end his life—once and for all. This would be the start of a long and tiring journey for Angela. David spent a week in the psych ward and was diagnosed with Bipolar One disorder.

At the time, Angela had mixed beliefs that David was truly Bipolar saying, “I thought that it was an identity crisis that would go away. I don’t think we could reconcile with the fact that he really meant to commit suicide.”

One thing was clear to Angela—David had checked out of the world. The only person who wanted to help David was Angela herself, and she fought hard to save him. Twenty-two at the time, David was an adult without insurance, a major obstacle she would have to overcome. It would take research and a little luck to get David into the adult system of care for mental health. “I didn’t know at the time, but I had somehow gotten around the system. When David first saw his doctor, he didn’t know how I had gotten the appointment without insurance,” she says, smiling.

The hours, days, weeks, and months passed for David as he was locked in a war with severe depression. All Angela could do was watch helplessly as she was unable to pull him from the depths of his darkness. Angela could only sit and wait for the next time David decided to commit suicide.

What would be the last time, David again tried to take his life in 2010 much to the dismay of Angela. It was the closest David ever came to taking his life. David would spend three days in a drug-induced coma in the intensive care unit, and every moment was torture for Angela. “There were people on that hospital floor that were fighting because they wanted to live,” she said. “Any other patient on that floor would gladly take over his life. I made a decision if he woke I would tell him—no more.”

The days and months following David’s last suicide attempt Angela would see changes in her son’s attitude. The changes were slow and gradual according to Angela, but the things that were changing in David made all the difference in the world. Two years after his last suicide attempt Angela got the biggest surprise from her son.

“David told me he was going back school,” she says. “It was scary. I didn’t know how the stress would affect him, but it was good he was interested in anything again.”

Angela sees a bright future for David. In this future, David finishes his degree, sells his first screenplay, completes his novel, and starts his mental health blog that he talks about starting all the time. In all, Angela sees a future.

When asked if she still sees the struggle in his eyes, “Every day,” she responds. “But he is taking it one day at a time.”

Suicide in America is a serious problem. In ten years David tried unsuccessfully three times to commit suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2017) “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, with an estimated 44,493 Americans die from suicide each year and at a cost of 51 billion a year.” These are staggering numbers, and suicide is preventable. Angela’s story just a glimpse into this world, and while her son survived his suicide attempts, many others haven’t been so lucky. The best thing that someone who is suicidal can do is get help. There are so many outlets out there for people and, as David learned, getting help can put you on the right path again.

Remember. Always keep fighting.

Photo By: Guillaume de Germain

By James Edgar Skye

I am a fiction and nonfiction novelist, screenwriter, short stories, novellas, and blogger. I published my memoir, "The Bipolar Writer: A Memoir," now available on Amazon. I also write articles on this blog. My author website is www.jamesedgarskye.me. In 2021, I am going legit with my ghostwriting business, "The Bipolar Writer Ghostwriting Services." I also have a podcast anywhere you can find podcasts, just search for The Bipolar Writer Podcast.


  1. Thank you for your honesty in this post. I suffer from Bipolar I as well. My family didnt believe in therapy or medication until after my 3rd attempt. But honestly, that instance I didnt want to die, it just seemed like the only option. After extensive treatment, i no longer have those thoughts, but i also choose to fight it everyday. If anyone reading this can relate, keep fighting!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for sharing. I do the same. Everyday is another opportunity. Those dark thoughts are truly behind me, even if they will always be on the horizon. I am glad you survived your third attempt and found a way to erase those thoughts. Always keep fighting.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a wonderful post. I myself have considered suicide several times when I was suffering from depression but I never had the courage to attempt it. Things got better with time but I’ve learnt to take serious care of my mental health and never to let myself down again.

    Each day is a struggle but like you said, always keep fighting.

    Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad you never went to the deep dark abyss that is suicide. It is a horrible place. I am lucky being a survivor considering the doctors gave me no chance of living the last time. It was then I decided that it was time to really work on my mental health. I never want to be so deep into my depression my thoughts go to that place. Thank you for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just wanted to say. I struggle every day with seeing the impact of two siblings try to take their lives. If I am honest it makes me angry as I had major depression myself and often felt suicidal but I could never do that to my loved ones. This week as I had watch my grand niece battle a siezure and be taken to emergency what happened to my sister all came flooding back, My mother who found her has fallen this week after watching that and is now in hospital. I used to think there was something romantic in black thoughts and I know how hard it can be to pull energy away from that place and choose light love and life. So i try to do that every day. Thanks for opening this subject up and sharing the impact on others, its very courageous of you. Love Deborah

    Liked by 2 people

  4. James I totally agree that a depressed person should get help and there are indeed many outlets there helping to fight depression. But it’s easier said than done. What a depressed person need is a person they can trust. A person that understands. But what I feel is that these avenues of help often fail in this aspect. I think the best way to fight depression is through purpose and hope but I don’t know how to ignite that in a person for I am loss myself. I totally agree with you that a depressed person should keep fighting but you should know better. It is tiring. Sometimes you just want to let everything go. Even life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate and understand your plight. It is easy for me to say keep fighting because I have fought for every inch of where I am in this moment. I do know it’s tiring. Even now when things are better in my life it is still a daily struggle to just get out of bed. I found my writing to be my reason. I just believe that someone can find their purpose. It will never be easy and I hope that you don’t get the impression from my work. I always talk about how hard it has been and try and give hope in a hopeless world.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My heart breaks for your mother, and for you, that you’ve been to the depths of despair not once, but three times. My bipolar mother took her life ten months after my father (her rock) died. Upon his death, she rocketed into mania, was hospitalized, visited level for less than a week, dove into deep depression for a handful of months, was finally hospitalized again, and took her life about a month later (on Christmas Eve). As much as it was a shock because she’d never attempted suicide before (to my knowledge), I could see that with my father gone, she couldn’t even begin to process the grief of his passing.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s