What I am about to write might be obvious to most of you, but it needs to be said. Divorce is difficult. No, not the legal or procedural aspects, but rather the emotional, mental, and physical toll it can exact on both spouses and their children. Recently, this was made all too clear to me and my client...when his wife took her own life about two months before the scheduled divorce/custody trial.
She was a young, educated woman, with two children who loved her very much. Objectively, she had everything to live for, but apparently she felt the stress of the divorce and child custody proceedings was too much to bear. Needless to say, everyone involved is mourning her and now introspectively thinking about what each of us could have done to recognize any plea for help. Even with the understanding that this was a contentious custody case with serious allegations being made by both parties, and knowing that the wife had a largely undocumented history of mental health issues, I never felt like she was in danger of committing suicide. Maybe it is because suicide is so unfathomable to me.
My client on multiple prior occasions had expressed to me his fears that his wife was "missing" and may harm herself, but each time it proved to be a "false alarm." Even most recently, when she went missing and no one could contact her (which had happened a few times before), I again assured my client that she was likely fine and would be back in contact in a couple days, after she cooled down. She was found later that day. To his credit, my client attempted to get his wife into counseling several times, both during their marriage and after the divorce was filed. She insisted however that she did not need counseling and was not a threat to harm herself.
If you feel like you are drowning and there is no hope, please know there are people who love you, care about you, are on your side, and are willing to help you in any way they can. Please know there are local and national resources available to help you. If you are involved in a divorce, your attorney is there to help you and guide you through the process, and to try to take most of the burden off of you. If you have suicidal thoughts, tell your attorney, tell your friends, tell your family, or call the hotline below. No matter how contentious the proceedings may get, no matter how you might think there is no hope, you will be okay, it will get better, you will survive.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
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