I recently read that teen suicide was up 18% over the past decade. The authors tend to point to a drop in anti-depressant use. In my opinion, that may only be a part of it. The economy is poor; parents are working more so kids may not be getting enough social support. The educational system is getting to a point of resembling a military boot camp where children are no longer allowed to be kids; the focus is on testing and nonsensical zero tolerance policies in which honest mistakes can ruin an entire educational career. Then, of course, we have people with stripped health insurance policies (if they are even lucky enough to have them at all), so psychological care (i.e. talk therapy) is difficult to obtain. Anyhow, I digress…
I am writing to appeal to anyone out there who is feeling like ending it all or has a friend who has confided in them about suicidal thoughts. You are not alone. There are people that you can call for advice and/or help. The most popular suicide hot lines are 1-800-suicide (800-784-2433) and 1-800-273-talk (800-273-8255). SPAN offers a page with state and local resources.
It’s often said that suicide isn’t about ending one’s life…only the pain. The pain can go away. I cannot tell you when or how because each of us is on our own unique journey and this is only a rough patch in the road.
Although there are common warning signs, again, every person is unique and the depression will manifest differently with everybody.
Are you (or your friend) thinking about dying: is there talk about disappearing, the world being better off if you/your friend are no longer in it?
Have you (or your friend) suffered a recent loss; such as divorce, death, end of relationship, job loss, faith, reputation, and/or self-esteem?
Has your (or your friend’s) personality changed: do you (or he or she) feel sad, anxious, tired, apathetic, indecisive, and/or withdrawn? Are they no longer interested in former hobbies and activities?
Do you (or your friend) act differently: are you (or he or she) having trouble concentrating on schoolwork, a job, and/or chores? Do you (or he or she) sleep too much, not enough, have a lot of bad dreams? Do you (or he or she) eat too much? too little? Has there been a significant change in your (or his or her) weight?
If you answer yes to a number of these questions, tell someone now (a counselor, teacher, parent, somebody)! Above all, trust your instincts: you know yourself and you know your friends, if they are acting out of character, take your concerns to a responsible adult.
Depression is a serious business, suicide more so. If you feel so lost, so alone…. Tell somebody, now! If someone tells you that they feel like ending it all….Tell someone, now! In the latter case, do not worry if your friend will be angry with you. They will thank you someday, trust me. If there is any doubt read the following essay.
Dedicated to T.E. – May blessings follow you and yours wherever you may be…
The Scream . I was lost and wanted to find an end to the pain.
We sat in that bar for hours. I listened, he talked. When he could say no more, I asked him if he loved his daughters. After he affirmed his love for them, I told him my story of things that are usually held very close to the vest.
fe as well.In fact, every time I obtain God’s blessings, I thank my childhood friend silently.
I have four children (thank you), earned three college degrees (thank you), can see a sunset (thank you), and sing out of tune while dancing clumsily out of sheer joy (I thank you but don’t think anyone else will). I pray that your life is perfect and that you’re rewarded with love, peace and prosperity. Because of you everyday is an exercise in gratitude and my catch phrase is “thank you”. Anyone that I have helped in the past twenty years or will help in the future is a tribute to your foresight and ability to do the right thing.
Thank you, T.