Six years ago my friend lost her son to suicide. I was in town when it happened and the grief that family felt was like a heavy, hot, wet blanket. It was suffocating. It was like an elephant standing on your chest. My friend lives with that elephant every day. I would like to share her wise words of advice to those who have children who suffer from depression or discouragement. She writes, “Tomorrow is supposed to be oldest sons birthday… but my oldest son committed suicide when he was 19, he should be turning 25. So what have I learned from this and what can I tell you that might help?
1. Ask your kid what it is like for them to be a kid during this day and age.. things have changed so much.
2. Ask your kid if they are happy.
3. Ask your kid if they think you are doing a good job as a parent.. and be ready for the answer, and put your ego outside.
4. Listen to your kid.
5. Spend time with your kid and I don’t mean by running errands, going out to dinner, going to movies etc. I mean spend time talking to your kid.
6. Tell your kid you are proud of them.
7. Kiss your kid and tell them everyday you love them..every single day.
8. Be kind to yourself and stop thinking you are doing a shitty job as a parent.. you are doing the best you can.
9. Take care of you so you can take care of them.
10. Ask your kid if they have ever felt like harming themselves… and be ready for the honest answer..don’t talk over them, don’t tell them how to feel…but help them. I could go on because I have learned a lot from my dead son (yeah I know that seems harsh how I put it) but I have learned a lot and still am learning. I love you all and hope you never, ever lose someone to suicide. I highly suggest learning about it… <3 miss you Bubba..everyday, every hour, every minute”
My friend is in pain. I understand this pain from a different perspective only because I have attempted to die many times. I’m not sure the people who were actually successful really wanted to be in the very end. It is a tragedy whenever one succeeds because life can and does get better.
Do you know what I think makes the biggest difference in a person’s life? What could decide in any given moment between life or death?
People just want to feel they are supported.
There are a million reasons why people, no matter what their age, take their own lives. Literally, a million reasons. They could be gay, bi, trans, depressed, labeled as mentally ill, labeled as anything they don’t agree with, misunderstood.. like I said, a million reasons why people feel like their suffering is too much to continue living with.
The ONE thing that could make all the difference in the world, is to feel supported. YOU can provide that by simply being accepting of things and people who are different than you. You can make a difference by adjusting your own attitude about what’s right or wrong in this world. WE are the ones that are creating this world. Every single day a new person arrives here. A brand new, never before in existence human being. Millions of them. We love them in the beginning but before long, we begin to mold them and teach them to conform until eventually they are no longer unique, they are variations of something else. A cross between themselves and what they believe they’re supposed to be just to fit in and feel accepted and feel supported. The sad thing is, NOTHING they do will be enough to make them feel whole. Do you know why? Because nothing but complete and total acceptance of themselves is good enough. And they will never achieve that unless they stop feeling the pressure to conform to the opinions of others!! Do you see the cycle here? Each and every single one of us is stuck in this same cycle. Not one of us doesn’t feel the pressure to “be” something that someone else expects of us.
So it’s time we start supporting. Start supporting first yourself, then those closest to you. Allow for individuality. Allow for creativity. Change the world by being the kind of change you want to see. Let’s all start making a world where kids are happy to be alive. The suicide rates will cease to exist when we all start supporting each other’s need to be the greatest version of ourselves we can possibly be. Starting with me.