***this may be upsetting for some. It is for me. Which is why I need to write it and get it out.***
This morning, while leaving for work, I noticed a bunch of police cars and civilian cars down our street. I live in a very small town so this was more than a little abnormal for us.
I called Chuck, who is at home with the kids today, to see if they were there when he took Zachary to school. Chuck wandered outside to check things out (yes, we’re gawkers) and the neighbor across the street came over to give an explanation for things.
The 15 year old boy who lives about 6 houses down from ours committed suicide last night. He hung himself. He had apparently told his girlfriend/friends last night that he was going to do it, but they all just thought he was joking.
I cried this morning when I found out; I’m crying now as I write this. I don’t know this teen. I don’t know his parents. But my heart still is wracked with sorrow for his parents. To walk in and find their son in such a way….how incredibly horrible for those parents. It’s something that likely will forever be burned into their memory as their last moments with their son.
My worst nightmare happened this morning just 6 houses from us. Dealing with bipolar, suicide is a very real concern for me. It’s a concern that started almost 3 years ago, already, when Zachary started telling us that life was too hard to keep living (his words), he wanted to kill himself (again, his words), or how he wishes he was never born (do you see a pattern here?) I’m scared to death of what Zachary’s teen years are going to be like. Chuck has publically stated that in his teen years he was suicidal and after a round of anti-depressants (bad news for bipolars) we dealt with the suicidal tendencies just a few years ago as well. It is probably one of the most frightening things I’ve had to deal with as a wife and mother; I don't ever want to deal with the more frightening possibility of an attempt succeeding.
I think it’s so important, especially considering that suicide rates are on the rise to understand and watch for warning signs in children and teens. Suicide among children is very rare; however, those rates jump dramatically when the teen years arise. Suicide is the 3rd leader of death for teens. Girls are two to four times as likely (depending on the sources) to attempt suicide; boys are 4 times more likely to succeed though. Sixty percent of suicides are committed with a gun that is found in the house, or the house of a friend. I’m not against guns….but PLEASE store them properly (meaning locking the gun up, keeping ammunition in a locked area away from the guns). And watch for the warning signs of possible suicide:
talk about suicide or death in general
talk about "going away"
talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
pull away from friends or family
lose the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
have trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
giving away personal items
experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
self-destructive behavior (drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or driving too fast, for example)
I’m not a suicide expert in any way, shape or form. I have just as many concerns, fears, and worries about it as the next mom. So, if you have any questions, check out the United States Suicide Hotline or Suicide.org. There are tips, numbers to call for parents as well as teens or adults thinking of committing suicide.
My thoughts and prayers go out to that family on my street today. And to all of the other nameless families that are or have gone through this. I know it may be harsh to say, but I pray that I’m not in those shoes during Zachary’s teen years.