Wake Up! Your Teen Is Trying To Tell You Something!

Wake Up! Your Teen is Trying to Tell You Something! - Anchor Of Promise

The above quote was by my daughter in the height of her depression and suicidal tendencies. As a parent, it was difficult to hear but also eye-opening at the same time. What she shared is very true to how teens feel.

This month all across the nation is focusing on the awareness of suicide. It is not a topic that people like to discuss. It has in many years been a very taboo type of issue and the less talked about the less to deal with.

However, because of that attitude, many more teens and young adults are taking their lives like never before. To be honest, many parents don’t even know that their teen is struggling with depression or suicidal issues. Teens often will hide how they truly feel for many different reasons and parents become either in denial of what is happening around them or they truly don’t see the signs that are a part of this problem.

Teens that have friends who have taken their lives are also susceptible to suicide. Between the loss of a friend to their own frailty of life, their thoughts are heightened to another level of how they will begin to cope with what lies ahead. If they are already experiencing depression or any other mental illness, this will only precipitate those emotions and actions of suicide. Distorted thoughts and unrealistic ideation only adds to this dilemma when many times through movies suicide is glorified or even beautiful up to the very end.

As an example of what I am referring to, we often hear about famous actors or actresses at the peak of their career who suddenly died of suicide. Their life is spanned across the world as to what a wonderful person they were and what a great actor they were and continued accolades of their life lived on in everybody’s memory to cherish. What is NOT shared is those closest to them on the devastation that suicide has brought. So teens are misguided into a lie that what that actor/actress did was the best thing ever.

In the meantime, the growing number of teens and young adults killing themselves has not diminished and parents are left wondering what did they do wrong.

Whether or not the parents did anything wrong is not the issue. The problem is how are we as a nation going to resolve this epidemic that continues to grow each year. I for one cannot stand back and say nothing when there was a time that I almost did lose my daughter. So I am speaking out and saying, “Hey, here are the symptoms, let’s meet it head on and rescue these teens the best we know how.”

So with that, I am posting a list of some easily seen symptoms for depression and thoughts of suicide along with the not so easily symptoms. If you know of any teen that has any of these symptoms, please alert their parents or guardians to keep it from getting escalating. If it is your teen, seek help immediately. Don’t worry about guilt, shame or embarrassment. In the end, those feelings won’t matter if you have saved your teen’s life.

Parents should take note of these symptoms of depression and suicidal thoughts. Because they often go hand in hand I am writing for both.  In the end, PLEASE consult someone in the medical field:

Emotional changes – despair, hopelessness, sad, guilt, shame, unloved, worthlessness, feeling hurt, moody, anger
Written and Oral Clues – writing words on body, in poems, in songs, pictures of self in dying positions, liking things that mean death or extreme sadness, saying words of feeling unaccepted
Behavior changes – crying over a lot or even small things, spending hours on TV or internet or being alone and not wanting to go anywhere or be with anyone, forgetting personal responsibilities or not caring at all, even if they are punished for something
Sleeping – Sleeping a lot, or not sleeping at all, nightmares, feeling tired all the time or taking lots of naps (insomnia was prevalent in our home)
Eating – Over indulging or not eating at all. Losing or gain weight in short periods of time
Their appearance – Unkempt – not caring about cleanliness or what others think of how they look, or focusing on identifying sub-culture groups such as Goths, Emo’s (please note: Not all Goth’s or Emo’s are depressed or suicidal)
Dangerous and risky conduct – Running away, cutting and burning themselves, attempts at suicide, drugs, alcohol, sexual inappropriateness or activity, games that are life threatening
Education – drops in grades or sporadic grades, not caring when school work has deadline dates, increasing violent behavior
Health – (feeling sick a lot) headaches, stomach problems, feeling dizzy or light-headed (these were common for my teen)
Being impulsive, reckless and not caring about the risks they are taking
Obsessing over death – writing about it, talking about it, singing about it, wanting to see cemeteries or talk about someone’s funeral, taking pictures of what they would look like at death, etc…
Harming themselves to make them more brave for the ultimate decision of suicide or make the pain go away: such as cutting or taking a poison or drug that doesn’t cause death.
Asking questions – If I die today, will I go to heaven? If someone commits suicide, will they go to heaven? What is heaven like? What is hell like? Will anyone miss me if I die?
Making statements that refer to not being around for certain events or wishing that they were never born.
Giving away items or precious memento’s to others such as family and very close friends
Emotional breakdowns that are uncontrollable – can be fits of crying or anger
Posting cues or comments on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc…

For more information or help, please click on the link below.

Suicide Prevention

You heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help… Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:22-24

13 thoughts on “Wake Up! Your Teen Is Trying To Tell You Something!

  1. While I agree with many things you have written here; respectfully, I have to disagree with things on the list. Although it does contain some clues; it also contains many elements of being a teenager. Many, many teens have said to their parents ” I wish I was never born”.

    It’s a period of development whereby children want to separate from their parents. What better way, than to dress like Goths or Emo’s, be consumed by music about suicide and death, write about it, draw pictures, etc.? That all takes a lot of energy. That is energy, people with depression, simply don’t have.

    It gets the maximum attention and can make parents hysterical. It’s a way of fitting in with a subculture, which distances themselves from their parents. It can actually get them a lot of attention; although negative it may be.

    If teens are consumed with death and suicide; ask them why. The quote right at the beginning of the post, “I talk about it and I want it because death won’t hurt you, life does” opens the door to a conversation with your teen. Why do you feel your life hurts you? Why do you feel death is a better alternative? Is there anything in your life which makes you want to live? What changes need to be made to make your life better? How can I help?

    People, including teens who commit suicide; don’t often display signs. It’s an inner turmoil which they want to hide, rather than exhibit. This is why suicide is often a shock to people, because they don’t see the signs and don’t see it coming.

    Also, self harm, such as cutting, isn’t, necessarily, about building up pain tolerance. I’ve never heard it described as such and it’s an interesting perspective. Usually, it’s a learned form of coping and a way of releasing frustration, fear, anger, pressure, resentment and alike. Many people who cut themselves, don’t want to commit suicide.

    The teen years can be just as difficult for the child, as for the parents. The best way to protect your teens is to communicate with them, respect their opinions, value them as people, love them unconditionally, support their growth and understand they will make mistakes.

    I’m sorry if I sound disrespectful; that’s not my intent. Suicide is devastating and I’m glad it’s finally being discussed.

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    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this issue. I can certainly understand why you carry the views that you do. I could and will eventually respond to your comments later on but I would like my daughter to respond to you first because she has firsthand knowledge about this area.
      Comment about “I wish i was never born” – I used to say that to my parents daily, mainly my mom and did I mean it? Yes, I did wish I was never born especially when I had gone through a lot of things in my life. I think some teens will say it for attention or just because their upset or something stupid but I see it as why would you want to even take that risk? If their saying it then they must have meant it. I agree teenagers and myself included can be immature and say things but I noticed the more that sentence is used the more it’s being acted on.
      Comment about “goths, emos, energy” the first thing I would want to say about that is this, “I am Goth.” I have been emo as well but at a younger age. As I got older I thought of it more childish and moved to the goth appearance. I have been for quite a while now. I’m not as out there in my appearance as many are but I am labeled to be goth throughout my years. I have many friends that have the pale dead skin, black hair and the whole get up. My thoughts on their life style, well, I’d have to sadly admit that emos are most known as suicidal teens. For many it’s a stage in life and they grow out of it but how would you know, especially in my generation?
      Regarding Goths, I admit goths are a lot more noticeable when you see them. Usually they just pop out of nowhere like when you’re at a public place like the mall. You don’t see many and that’s not because of suicide, most of them are usually locked up in their room casting spells, listening to music that most likely you could go deaf from or just spending their time with their gf/bf and blocking out the rest of society. A lot of them are interested in blood, horror, talk about how everyone should die but the goths I’ve heard that have murdered or committed suicide, most of them had a condition – a mental illness, something traumatizing. No one just goes out to kill or kill themselves just because they feel like it. Something most likely happened in their life that triggered that reaction. I’ve asked plenty of friends of mine that have lived the goth life longer then I have and the percentage of them agreed that they wouldn’t harm someone. I personally believe there’s a limit to everything just like in life. I feel goths and emos and even just teens in general can go overboard to where its not just a way of attention or appearance to get back at their family its now going further into actually finding amusement in harming themselves and with influence. It would be no different than being talked into doing drugs or smoking.
      Because just like the normal things in life humans will be addicted to it wouldn’t be any different than wanting to take the next step in seeing how far you could go. I know for myself when I was suicidal I started out cutting small and when I got tired of doing tiny little cuts. I’d go and try something sharper that could be more challenging and risk taking. But for those who are a lot more brave and enjoy the pain, well, they’re a goner and I don’t say that in a joking matter.
      As for energy “whatever that means” I had been a very depressed teenager. I didn’t like to be. I do try to be positive as best as I can because I do feel for my family and I don’t like knowing that they have a daughter that hated life and complained a lot because of fears, incidents or just straight out boy troubles. I know for me I think the people that are depressed have the most energy because their living off of everything with that depression. For me I could be up late at night writing poems or posting things about how life is sad.
      Personally energy is just a word to me. A football player can have as much energy as he wants when he plays the game but when he gets home he could just wish life was over with. My point is a lot of the happy people appear that way but no one would know them for them unless they lived with them themselves. Now I can say that that’s not how it is for everyone but for the teens that are depressed, why would they go through all this hard work and no one notice it’s because of depression? The only difference with emos and I guess goths too is that they don’t mind letting people know that their miserable.
      ONE THING I DO REQUIRE OF ADULTS AND TO BE AWARE OF is that teens play a role….. That’s the hard part for adults to figure out whether their kid has issues or they’re just being a attention hog. How do you define the two? Because nowadays attention hogs will go pretty far out there to the point they could be labeled as suicidal when they really aren’t. Then what do you do about the ones that really are suicidal? How would you tell the difference?
      Yeah I had my time of showing off too but I did it because I wanted to see who would reach out to someone like me, especially with my looks, comments, and feelings. See who’d accept me you know? Some people did accept me and other people just thought I was a freak. I couldn’t care less about what other teens thought of me, I wanted the acceptance from adults because I knew they were the ones that judged more.
      The ones that I feel aren’t fake are the ones that hide their cuts. Why show it if you enjoy it because once you show it you’ll be made to stop it. I know a boy that had a good life. Had girls, had a mom that bent over backwards for him and out of 2 other boys he was the favored one “which he was very aware of” and he took advantage of that. At 16 he started cutting on his chest and areas of his body you wouldn’t normally see unless you’re wearing summer clothing or going to the pool. And for a boy that got everything I couldn’t help but ask myself “Why?” Why would someone that has everything other teens want be so depressed. I never did find out but that’s my point, it was unexpected and kept secret for a pretty long time. Then there’s the boy who wanted to be Emo, had cut, had runaway and finally attempted suicide and ended up in the hospital. He did EVERYTHING outwardly. He didn’t hide anything.
      Comment: Many people who cut themselves, don’t want to commit suicide. Sorry. But that’s not true. Unless it’s for attention the majority of teenage deaths started out with a little cut on the wrist. Just like addictions it takes over and they just can’t help themselves to just put the knife or whatever instrument right through them. Some probably figure they’ll live and tell the story of how they stabbed them self.
      I have 2 best friends that aren’t emo. I asked my friend (who has cut) would the rest of her friends cut and try suicide and she said yeah, they’d try it. What I find sad is, kids and teens have gotten so brave in the things they do, they don’t mind trying suicide just to see if they’ll survive or not. I guess they figure “oh my mom or dad will realize I’m gone or they’ll find me and take to me to the hospital before it’s too late. So overall, most teen cutters do die… That’s just how it is.
      I know for a lot of teenagers, whether they are emo, goth, depressed or something along those lines, most of them never heard of God. If they have its very little or they hear about it but not enough to believe that following Christ could change their life. I’m a Christian “Yes I can look Goth and still be a Christian” but appearance doesn’t make who you are. God is the only one that has been able to help me find my worth as being important and I can now live and think about a future. Yes, I do have ups and downs but for others, they don’t have anyone who can give them hope like God can.

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  2. I’m generally tolerant of the options and beliefs of others. I’m sorry if you both felt I was down playing your experience, by questioning some concepts of it. When my teenaged son developed severe anxiety and depression, I was able to pick it up very quickly, as it mimicked what I have experienced most of my life, plus what I have learned from extensive study. You might like to read some scientific studies, to understand my perspective and the experience of others.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-244X/14/137/

    http://www.bmj.com/content/332/7549/1058?hrss=1

    I don’t want to get into a debate about who’s right or wrong, because there is no right or wrong. Suicide is personal and what one person goes through maybe totally different from another. I disagreed with things on the list; I didn’t disregard them. I actually found the perspective very interesting and hence, made a comment. I don’t think I’ll bother stopping by again, because I feel somewhat judged and misunderstood. I’m very glad things have turned around for you both.

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    • You hit the nail right on the head. You shared that you have been through this experience as well as studied it. Most parents don’t have that opportunity or wisdom in seeing it so you were fortunate and ahead of the game on that. It was not our intention at all to make judgment. My daughter just wanted to educate you. Unfortunately internet does not allow the tone of the voice, otherwise you would of heard a young person trying to share with you her experiences and the problems she has dealt with, especially with adults not really understanding the teen’s perspective. She will be saddened that you felt judged because again, that was not her intent. You are right, there is no absolute right or wrong because each family’s situation is different from another. Thank you for the links you shared with me, I definitely will look into them. Again, my apologies if you felt misinterpreted or misunderstood.

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    • Hi ladies. I have ‘pressed this article and will read it when I have more time. I thank you both for your views as all perspectives are important and worthy of great consideration. The bravest comments of the thread, in my humble opinion, are those of Stacey’s daughter as she was brave enough to air her views, something which I admire and hope one day my daughter will be able to do. It is hard to look at depression and suicide with anything else but your own personal experiences, whether or not you have training. I would like to say to lifecoachwriter that I am so pleased you were able to pick up on your sons depression so quickly, I wasn’t – and neither was my friend whose son sadly took his own life whilst waiting ( too long) for appointments with professionals. I would also like to say that I was sad to hear that you felt judged. I am sure we are all in this journey together. May our hearts be bound by our common cause -to understand and help in whatever way we can. Much Love to you all.

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      • Thank you Asha. I do appreciate and will continue to learn as others share their perspectives and information. I hope that you LifeCoachWriter can educate others in what you have learned through your experiences so that it can be powerfully received by others who can’t see or don’t know what to look for. We can all learn something.

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  3. Reblogged this on M.A.S.H and commented:
    I thank God for the wisdom of this lovely Mum who writes so honestly about her experiences and the lessons she has learnt along life’s way.

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    • That is so sweet! I wish I didn’t have to write about these things, but God uses our experiences and struggles to bring about healing for not just ourselves but for others too.

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  4. Thank you for sharing all of this – very open and honest 🙂 I believe the key to helping our young people and parents/carers is to go through everything together. Sharing/talking to each other, helps us to try and understand that every young person deals with things in different ways, every child/young person is unique. The key factor is making everyone aware, that includes professionals as well. Sometimes there are indicators as to how a young person is feeling, but we must also realise that sometimes there are not, as young people do sometimes keep things hidden. We must also take on board that times have changed from when we (I) was a teenager, so much pressure for our children/young people ! – Let us all keep on posting/blogging so we can raise more awareness on this important matter – signed – a youth worker

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    • Yes, I agree! The generational communication is huge and unless we as parents and youth workers understand this, it will be most difficult to help young people/our teens. All they really want in the end is for us to listen.

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  5. When i speak to other Mums at our support group the one thing they always say is that they don’t understand why their teens self-harm. But quite often the young people themselves don’t understand and so my advice is not to ask ‘why’ and not to beg them to stop, but to listen and keep listening; to love and keep loving; to comfort and keep comforting; to accept them as they are, wounds and all. Unconditional love is a powerful weapon in the assault against depression and self-harm. I am totally in awe of youth workers who don’t need to get involved and don’t have the same blood-bond but nevertheless are willing to invest in our young people. God Bless

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    • Part of the reason why that question is asked is because for some moms, they wonder if they somehow encouraged that behavior and that it is their fault in some way. I would say for most cases, it is not the parents. The pain is so deep that some teens don’t know how to describe it while others can. You are right is not begging them to stop. You can share how you are concerned for them and want to help them relieve that pain. You can encourage them to share their feelings and emotional pain in other ways. I like to encourage them by the giftings they already have. So if they are musical or an artist (which covers many genre’s) or they can write lyrics, poems, journals, through hobbies, etc…, then you should not push but create an atmosphere in which they would be encouraged on their own. In the end, for my daughter, she stopped because she saw the hurt and concern in me and how much I loved her. She saw me pray for her and I would tell her that I loved her and prayed for her. It really changed her attitude in how she looked at things in her life and within herself. You are right – unconditional love is powerful, powerful to break the chains of a self-harmer.

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