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.
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