Are you listening?
In February — of this year, I received an email from a reader, or I should say, from one of my reader’s educational tutors. Kelly C. is an after-school instructor and when one of her young teen students wanted to write his paper on the topic of Suicide he showed her my blog Cheri Speak and my many writings on suicide, depression, bipolar and mental health in general.
To protect the students and Kelly, I will merely provide a portion of her email to me for reference…
Hello [Cheri]! I tutor at a local school for students with emotional issues. They recently had to choose an
“instructional” topic to write about. XXXXX, one of my students [name redacted] chose suicide prevention in teens, which he said was important for family reasons.
I was in the computer lab with him again last week and he showed me your website. He asked me if I’d write to you to suggest some other sites for you to share! I thought his request showed initiative (he’s normally shy!!), so after checking out his suggestions I decided to send them along 🙂
If you don’t want to hear from us, please let me know in an email response, but I’m sure my student would be thrilled if I could say that their work made a difference in the world outside of school — it may even be an encouragement to open up more!
Kelly, I didn’t forget, I have just been very busy and suddenly, while sadly in my life I am having to deal with this very real issue right now, I realized that I could not let another day pass without addressing your email. Tell our friend (you know who), that I said “thanks” and this one’s for them. 😉
Suicide is not something many people talk about often let alone at all. Unless it has touched our life in a very real way, we have very little understanding of the reality. Even for some of those it has touched, understanding is still outside their grasp.
Instead of trying to understand suicide after someone you know or love has taken their life, prevention is where the conversation on suicide needs to be, especially when we are talking about our children.
In addition, saying things metaphorically or jokingly in conversation like, “That dude should go kill himself”, “Their life is worthless, they should just be off this planet” and worse, are things that should never be said, because the sad reality is, the person who hears them [whether they were meant to or not], may just be the person who has been thinking heavily about taking their life. This is another reason “Bullying” is such a current topic.
Suicide is no joke. It is no laughing matter. It is literally a matter of life and death and death…only takes mere seconds to accomplish.
Our Future Is Growing Up…Or Are They?
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in “youths” ages 10-24. That is staggering to say the least and shameful — of us, to say the best.
Growing-up is a difficult task and the bombardment of environmental toxins, drugs, absent parents and more are additional stresses that are now more pervasive than they have ever been. That nowhere takes into account very real abuses inside of homes and families, bullying and a plethora of other “situations” that can feel to big — for some, to bear.
These kids are our future and if we are honest, the now — which is the “future” we once looked forward to and are responsible for creating, is not the future we planned for them. We are as at fault for the medicated and depressed nation we have become. When 1 in every 5 kids is medicated with SSRI’s or other mind-altering drugs or are taking a polypharmacy of more we have a problem that is more than just serious…we are still not listening.
Life Is Freakin’ Hard
If you have ever said, “Life is hard, get over it”, you have no real idea of what you are asking someone to “get over”. The burden of life is not only on the one suffering through it, but also on those around the one suffering.
Knowledge is power and knowledge paired with genuine understanding of the emotion, is a gift. Listening, without judgement. Sometimes, what you know or what you think you know is not more important than what someone else is feeling and the simple act of listening and mirroring can go a long way to conveying true understanding so that you can help.
Someone who is suicidal or who suffers from the hideous throes of true suicidal ideation needs your ear. Too often when it is sought, they are given your mouth and words instead.
Seeking help is a difficult thing, especially when it is in relation to something so personal, so painful. Dropping clues however, cryptic is common, but those clues mean nothing if no one is going to listen once someone discovers them.
Somewhere, someone in YOUR life…a child…right now…is not in a good head space. It doesn’t mean they are crazy. It doesn’t mean they are attention whores. It doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about it…because you can do something about it.
Suicidal ideation is not something to be left unchecked, untreated or unacknowledged; it isn’t something someone just “grows out of”. It isn’t a “phase”. It is the cliff on which your loved one is walking and if it was literal and you could see it with your own eyes, you would reach out and grab them, saving them from the inevitable fall to which their path was leading.
Grab Them Now…
Instead of waiting to dial 9/11 — when it may be too late, arm yourself with the 4/11 while there is still time to save a life. That life may be the closest person to YOU, right now.
The following links were sent to me from Kelly on behalf of her student. The carefully compiled list is a wonderful resource and I encourage everyone to learn more about suicide and mental health so that you can be someones hero.