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What To Do? Blamed For a Suicide

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by WonderingEMT, Sep 17, 2007.

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  1. WonderingEMT

    WonderingEMT New Member

    Greetings all. I am an EMT-B in West Virginia, and new to all this. I have not been formally diagnosed with PTSD, but I think I may have it. I would rather get the opinions of others who have it and get their advice as to how to proceed from here than go see a therapist outright. I'm hoping to avoid that.

    Long story short, I saved a girl from drowning 10 years ago, when I was 24. She was pinned upside down under water, and I breathed for her until we could get her an air supply. I then passed out from lack of oxygen while still under water, and was clinically dead for about 3 1/2 minutes, until CPR revived me. From that day on, she and I were good friends. Her family loved me. We kept in touch often. Then, in 2004, I moved to Pittsburgh to be with my cousin, who was going thru a nasty divorce. As often happens in life, we lost touch then. I wound up moving back home a year later. Time went on until last Sept 16th, I received a phone call. The young woman I had saved had commited suicide, and had left me a suicide note. In it, she blamed me for her actions, saying I abandoned her when she needed me the most. She had moved to Florida to go to college, had apparently fallen in with the bad crowd, and had tried to contact me, but couldn't. Her family now blames me, as well. The people that loved me and hugged me now leave me pictures of her on my truck with "murderer" written across it. Ever since that night, a year ago yesterday, I dream about the night I saved her. My mind plays thru the entire call, right up to the point where I died in real life. That's when I wake up, choking on the water from my dream. It takes me a few minutes to realize I'm ok and in bed. I've had to resort to sleeping with the lights on so I can recover quicker. Therein lies my problem. I can't sleep. I have no other symptoms that I can find except I get bad headaches at least once a week now. I'm not anxious or stressed. I don't think about this at all during the day, only when I try to sleep. It hasn't affected my day to day dealings with work, or friends and family. I don't have bursts of anger or depression. I'm not suicidal in any way. I just can't sleep. I've tried Rozerem to help me sleep, but it doesn't work. I don't want to take drugs that can be habit forming to help me sleep, so for now, I just deal with it. My faith in therapy and counseling is nil. I've had many friends who are more screwed up now than they were before counseling. I'm at a loss of what to do next. I need advice. Please help. Thank you.
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  3. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

    From what you describe you are right, it doesn't sound like *all* the symptoms typical of PTSD, but extreme stress of the family harassing you and the loss of the love of that family and your friend. Only a doctor can tell you and I think it would be a good idea to get it checked out so if it is you can do what you can to stop it progressing.

    I would not even know if it was possible to save a life, be in that person's life for so long, and them to just end it and try to blame you of all people for it, and not have nightmares. Obviously the family is in denial and needs a scape goat and cannot face it was her choice, her action, and her fault. They don't want to blame the death on her when it is easier to blame you and they can take it out on you.

    I would still suggest counseling to look into getting all this sorted out and work through what is on your end, that family needs to do the same for their end. People you know who have had counseling may have seemed worse because therapy normally makes you pull up lots of issues you stuff deep down and try to avoid. So when facing all the covered up issues you do get worse for a while, but then you get better, it just takes a while. If therapy is stopped before it is finished then you would be worse.

    Curious, do you blame yourself too? Have you been able to mourn for your loss of a friend?

    Your situation is quite unique. To save a life that decided to throw it away, a life you almost died for.

    Welcome to the forum and at the top you will see a link to "forms". It may help to fill out and look at and take to a doctor.
  4. She Cat

    She Cat Policy Enforcement Banned Premium Member Sponsor $100+

    Welcome to the forum....


    She Cat
  5. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    Hi WonderingEMT, I would be wondering too if I were you. Your experience passed out in the water from a lack of oxygen and clinically dead certainly sounds traumatic enough to result in PTSD. Did you say that your symptoms, of this last yr., are: weekly headaches, inability to sleep, dreams of re-living the day of saving this girls life, which sounds as if it includes dreaming of your traumatic exper. of 'passing out in water', 'not enough oxygen', 'clinically dead'. And, then you wake up choking.

    All I can say is as I read each of the your statements of the symptoms that you don't have. I thought to myself, ...... perhaps, not yet.

    I would seriously consider challenging yourself and your lack of faith in counseling/therapy, bc though you may or may not have PTSD now, and perhaps may never get it, you too may be progressively heading toward it.

    I can't help but think this: How many nights can you lay in bed, WonderingEMT, unable to sleep, and re-think about what's bothering you pertaining to all this, and that injustice, before you do start getting stressed, anxious, depressed and so forth. And, especially if you're unable to see and believe all the truths surrounding all the nonsense to do with blaming you for something that is so clearly beyond your control (her suicide).

    So, I do hope you will consider less of what is going to get you to sleep and exert more energy finding out whether or not you have PTSD or PTSSymptoms that may eventually cause PTSD.

    And, for the obstacle in your way, and that of preconceived fears of what just might happen with you if you seek therapuetic help, well only you can decide how to resolve this dilemma.

    I mean if you think about it, one way or the other you're in a position in which you will be taking a risk.

    WonderingEMT, Welcome to the forum !

    Sincerely, Hope
  6. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi EMT, welcome to the forum.

    Firstly, its not your fault she committed suicide. Secondly, her family is angry at you because they don't want to be angry at her for taking her own life. Blame is easy to project elsewhere other than where it belongs.
  7. Squarepusher

    Squarepusher New Member

    Hi Wondering!! You did an amazing job in saving that girls life!! Wow, that is something that no way would I think to do or be able to do, and you even risked your life for her and died for 3 minutes.

    Based on the simple reaction of the parents calling you murderer, I can see how their daughters suicide is related to their own family weakness.

    It is clearly apparent that you not only saved this girls life literally, but were a huge support for her for several years later as she seemed troubled and come from a troubled family as well. So you were a huge support at that time for her and her family ... its a shame that they couldn't carry on with your strength without you ... but please dont confuse yourself and think its your fault. The girl could have gotten caught up in heroin, meth or any other drugs in Florida, and messed her mind up and killed herself and blamed you, that doesn't make it your fault of course.

    I am sorry for you losing the life of a friend, and the friendship of a family, but you have done more than I could have possibly done and have defenitely stepped beyond the line for service to the community. Please dont allow people to take advantage of you by blaming the weather on you and you accepting it. You can be doing a disservice by taking too much responsibility and not allowing people to work things out for yourself.

    So, sorry for your troubles and your loss, and I hope you can recover from your symptoms speedily.
  8. RNning

    RNning New Member

    Hey Wandering EMT

    Yes, I think you do need to see someone. I too have dealt with suicide - I found my mother after a gun shot to the head at age 6 - even to this day, I do not sleep properly. I have found seroquil quite beneficial in reducing the nightmares. It is unfortuanate that people are ostracizing you and blaming you. At the end of the day, each individual on the face of the earth are responsible for their own actions.

    You do not own her suicide - but you do owe it to yourself to get some help. Try a counsellor that specializes in trauma, PTSD and EMDR. I have found that some of the EMDR techniques help me with my sleep and nightmares as well.

    I do understand your pain - I am not sure that you have taken the time to grieve the loss of your friend - for some of us - that is a part of the process that gets delayed.
  9. EmoxxKid

    EmoxxKid Active Member


    ....Belive me...I know this will sound very corny...

    But I wish I could just give you a huge hug....and I just want to tell you...

    Your a good person. You saved her once. You played the hero already. She was mentally ill...and as sad as it was....she needed you to play the hero again.

    It's not your fault you were not there.....

    Even she...before her last moment knew this had NOTHING to do with you...She just needed someone.

    You ....as stated before....already were her someone.

    You need to be your someone right now..more than ever....

    Your amazing....

    She knew this.....that's why she reached out for you.

    So don't...not for one moment think it was your inabilty or lack of self that caused any of this.

    You did your job.

    Be blessed.
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