Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Parallel Lives--A Story for World Suicide Prevention Day

In a thousand ways this story is hard to write. I write it though because I want you to understand that there is a life beyond those desperate moments of wanting to take your life.

Mine starts when I was 15. I hated school, I hated life, I was deeply depressed and wanting to run away from home. I had recently broken up with a boyfriend who was everything to me. After that breakup though I met another guy. He was funny and he had a lot of qualities I liked. He was older than me though, a senior in high school, and I think he might have looked at me as too young for him.

One afternoon we were talking on the phone and I felt for certain that he was going to ask me out on a date. He didn't. And I lost it. With my depression fueling my actions, with rejection confusing and angering me, I went to my mom's bedside drawer and took all of the pills in it and went into the kitchen. There I pulled out a bottle of scotch and I poured all of the pills in my hand and downed them with a few swallows of scotch. Not certain that I had done the job, I found some aspirin and allergy medications and I took those too and I went and crawled in bed and started crying and called my ex-boyfriend that had broken my heart months before. I told him what I did and he told me to get some help and I told him I would and hung up and apparently passed out.

I woke up to my mom telling me it was dinner time so I came out of my room and sat at the table horribly nauseated from everything I had ingested and I asked to go back to bed. My family didn't know what I had done and I hadn't left a note. All I wanted was to be dead.

The next day I awoke alive and was disappointed. Still not wanting to admit to what I had done, I went to school. I sat in my first class in and out of consciousness and my math teacher, who I am grateful for to this day, could see something was wrong and he allowed me to excuse myself to the bathroom. I sat on the bathroom floor sick, sedated and pale and someone must have found me there because after that I don't remember what happened.

The next day I sat on my mom's bed with her and we cried together as I told her about what I had done. She was horrified but told me about how she had struggled as a young girl too and she understood the pain I was in. Knowing my mom understood helped me but I needed professional help. Within days I was sitting in a therapist's office being treated for major clinical depression.

That was me at 15. A young girl struggling in life and desperate for help and for someone to take notice. I was lucky. I lived and got the help I needed. I could have died that fateful day but somehow my life was spared and because it was, I was able to get the help I so desperately needed.
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The Parallel

My boy, my sweet young teenage boy, struggling in school, struggling with prodromal schizophrenia symptoms, struggling with depression and bullying and he would tell you that the worst part of it all was that he was struggling to find a girlfriend. My sweet young teenage boy had many girls who were friends but no girls who wanted to be his girlfriend. For reasons I don't know and can only guess, he didn't have a girlfriend and to him this was just what he needed to feel a part of high school life. His friends all had girlfriends and he felt deeply alone.

One evening he couldn't take it anymore. His friends had invited him out but they were all bringing their girlfriends. Thomas wanted to go but he wanted a girlfriend to go with him. That was not to be. So, he began chatting with a friend on Facebook and sharing how much he wished he had a girlfriend. His friend worked valiantly to get Thomas out of the house and out of his mind where he would be surrounded by people who cared. Thomas didn't want to go. He wanted to stay home and while chatting with his friend he told him that "he just couldn't go on anymore."

I missed all of this because I was on the road on my way home from a trip but I came home to my husband in the front yard telling me that Thomas had threatened on Facebook to kill himself and someone had called the police. They were no longer there and I questioned their absence. It turns out they had left because Thomas had assured them that he would be okay with his dad. That wasn't enough for me. If the police weren't going to do anything to help my boy then it was up to me to save his life. I sat down with him on the couch and in a similar conversation to the one I had with my mom after she discovered I had wanted to take my life took place. I told Thomas how I understood his pain and I promised him things would be different someday but together, with tears in our eyes, we packed a bag for the hospital and went and checked him in to our local psych ward.
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Here we are now, my boy and I, alive and unscathed and for myself as his mom, I keep a vigilant eye on him constantly always trying to gauge his moods. The possibility that he could end his life is acutely a part of our lives and it is my life's mission, my experience with the same sort of pain, that makes me his savior in times of deep depression and hopelessness. My own life is no longer in danger by my own hand because with age and experience I can see that there is ALWAYS A WAY OUT, ALWAYS SOMEONE TO TURN TO, ALWAYS HELP, ALWAYS SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE WHO CARES.
I write this story of our parallel lives, Thomas's and mine, because on this day, World Suicide Prevention Day #WSPD14 we need to be reminded that we are not alone.

Nobody is alone.

You do not suffer alone.

Somebody out there cares.

You just need to find the strength to even just whisper the words "Help me, I want to die right now." and someone will listen.

Reach out, get help, and see what life has in store for you.

I promise you it won't always be this way.

And so I think to myself from time to time and most especially today, had I been successful that day when I was 15, had I not gotten help, I WOULD NOT HAVE HAD MY TREASURE, MY LIFE, MY BOY. He would not exist on this planet had I died that day.

Even closer to my heart, had that young friend of Thomas's who chatted with him on Facebook at Thomas's lowest time, had that young man not had the wherewithal to call the police, my boy could be dead right now.

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From The Suicide Prevention Hotline: No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you'll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, ANYTIME 24/7."

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