Suicide is heartbreaking. And suicide is especially crushing when a teenager has made the lethal choice to end their life. What happened? As the adults in their lives, we cannot fathom how things went so bad so fast. We feel so certain there could have been another way, a different choice. Yes, we might have been mad, but love comes first, above all, and we would have helped you.
And so begins the hell for parents and loved ones of a teen suicide. You are full of questions and “what ifs,” reeling in shock and disbelief. You rethink everything. What did you miss? Were there signs? You thought it was normal teenage angst and withdrawal. You had no idea it was this bad.
Or maybe you did. Maybe your teen’s life was a maelstrom of chaos and upheaval. He or she kept unraveling, becoming riskier, angrier, withdrawn or hell-bent on self-destruction. You were considered the enemy. Communication had shut down. You felt powerless. It was hard to recognize this snarky stranger who avoided eye contact with you at all possible costs as your child.
The teen years are an emotional roller coaster
Teenage years, by definition, are tumultuous. The brain is not fully developed. Hormones reconfigure bodies and play havoc with emotions. Psychologically, teens need to individuate — pull away from their parents to become their own person. These years are physically, emotionally, mentally and socially difficult. They can be hard to negotiate. Teens can be extreme and dramatic — and their parents, too, who wonder who they have become in trying to manage and protect their teenager. It’s a highly sensitive and volatile stage of life.
Please click this link to read the remainder of this article which is a part of “Frame of Mind,” a new month-long series focused on teens and mental health by the Huffington Post Canada:
Loss hammered you incessantly. Grief hollowed you out until you were gasping for breath, empty and fully spent. Your heart was broken and battered into a heap of crumbled bits and pieces. And still, you stood.
Anguish carved you open in unexpected and totally disorienting ways. You lost your footing; you lost your way. Nothing made sense anymore. There were moments when thoughts of your own death seemed like a cool pillow on a sleepless night, blessed relief for the heated pain that endlessly coursed through you. And still, you stood.
You stayed alternating between almost-catatonic numbness and torturous, cycling agony.
Please click here for the full article.
The wonderful editors of the Huffington Post Canada blog have put together a month-long series on teens and mental health, entitled Frame of Mind, which you can access here. There are a number of first person-stories and many focus on suicide.
As you know, suicide is a global epidemic that calls for our awareness, education and compassion. This series is a great start in that direction. Do check it out. New articles will be added regularly.
Unhappy Child Sitting On Floor In Corner At Home
Suicide is frequently a sudden, surprising and shocking death that leaves family members reeling in disbelief and heartache. Suicide is akin to lobbing an explosive into the middle of the family. There is enormous collateral damage.
For children, the death of a parent is a traumatic event, which is especially intensified for young children. However, when the death is a suicide, the trauma is heightened even more.
Arguably, suicide is the hardest death to accept. There are so many unanswered questions.
Young children do not readily understand the concept of suicide.
Read more here.
(Young Minds Matter initiative: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/adele-mcdowell/children-of-suicide_b_9233092.html)
Suicide is not an easy conversation. Period. It is weighted with the feelings of real or perceived judgment and taboo.
Survivors search and seek for answers and clues about the thinking and feeling behind their loved one’s choice to irrevocably end it all. How could this be? Why did this happen? What caused this? What was the tipping point? Didn’t you love me and the kids enough to stay? What could I have done differently? Why aren’t you here? You know it was their choice, but you still feel responsible — in a conflicted, connected way — and wonder if you could have done anything to change the outcome.
For the survivor, suicide is unbelievable and surreal. It is a game changer. Your life is permanently altered. It is the day time stands still. It is the day you stop taking a full breath. It is, alas, the day people can avoid you; talk about you; and, even, blame you.
Continue reading here:
Every experience brings us wisdom. This is what Native Americans call “medicine,” also known as our personal power.
The shocking loss of Robin Williams on August 11, 2014 has had a profound impact on opening the door and bringing suicide out of the closet. Not only did Robin expand us with comic genius and acting during his lifetime, he opened our our hearts and stretched our minds with his death as well.
The Huffington Post (Canada) featured my article which identifies the lessons we have learned following his suicide. I invite you to click the link to read the article in full.