I John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Suicide. It is a very ugly word. It is an ugly word that if turned into an action leaves behind a lot of questions, hurt, anger, confusion, and many other emotions.
Recently, Netflix introduced a series that is based on the book Th1rteen R3asons Why. I have watched the series as well as read the book. Both actions by me brought a flood of emotions and memories.
I say this to confirm that, yes, as a teenager, I did attempt suicide. There are things that I remember that I have expressed in the past, and there are yet other things that I have never told anyone–or if I have, I didn’t let it be known that it bothered me. Throughout school, I was teased and made fun of. I was picked on and called names. My belongings were taken and hidden from me. The more you are told over and over how worthless and pathetic you are, the more you believe it. When you are told that since no one knows the boyfriend that you say you have,he can’t be real because no one would ever like someone as ugly as you, it wounds you very deeply. I once asked a teacher why everyone always messed with me. He laughed and said, “Because you are standing there.” So…because I am me, I am made fun of? No other reason but because of who I am? For someone that I respected, looked up to, and trusted to say that to me, took me to rock bottom. Ridding everyone of me, getting out of everyone’s way, seemed like the only solution to me.
Obviously, the attempts didn’t stick. This only depressed me even more. I couldn’t even kill myself right. Could I do ANYTHING right?! A friend ended up finding out what was going on, and told a teacher. Then, of course, it went to the principal, who called my mom. My mom took me to the doctor. There was talking. There was medication. There was crying. I saw what all of this did to my parents. I can’t say I never thought of it or planned it out again, but here I am.
Back to Th1rteen R3asons Why. The plot is simply this: girl records self telling the reason why she killed herself before she does so. She has 13 reasons, and in these recordings, she tells each person what they did that led her to take her own life.
I am addressing this for a few reasons:
- Many teens are watching this show. This is something that we need to talk to our kids about. We need to be involved in their lives. We need them to know that, no matter what, they can come and talk to us if they are being bullied.
- I read an article in which the writer of said article stated that she felt that the show was glorifying suicide and showing how to get revenge on those that caused the loss of life. I guess it really depends on how you look at it. It could be seen as her taking revenge on her peers, but I look at it differently. The way I see it, kids can watch this and, maybe, see the shameful behaviors that led to this girl taking her own life and relate to themselves or those around them. I see it as raising awareness. Kids are mean. There is no question about it. It seems to me from what I see and from what I hear from my kids, that it is getting worse. There are things that my kids tell me that they hear or see that I never would have thought of at their age.
- It really can be a snowball effect. One person starts in on someone, and everyone else follows. The more people get in on bullying someone, the more weighed down the subject of the bullying gets. It can be overwhelming. The person can feel like they are drowning, and there is no way to get out of the abyss of despair that they find themselves in. They feel that their only choice is to end it all. That would make everyone happy…right?
Before I go any further, I would like to throw out a few statistics from the CDC. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth aged 10-24. There are approximately 4,600 youth suicides annually. Although girls attempt more often, boys are more likely to succeed. (https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/youth_suicide.html)
These statistics are scary. That children think there is no other option than to end their lives is one of the most frightening things I can think of. That this is being caused, at least in part, by the way that they are being treated by others, make me want to cry. What are we teaching our children when we don’t discipline them for being hateful toward others?
We need to take control of the situation and encourage our kids to talk to us. We need to be approachable. They need to know that they aren’t going to be judged if they come to talk to us. We need to have an open mind and help them work through their issues. Bullying others needs to stop. Please talk to your kids. Please pay attention to them. There are so many crying out for help, and we just aren’t noticing.
What are the warning signs?
- Talking About Dying — any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm
- Recent Loss — through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
- Change in Personality — sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
- Change in Behavior — can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
- Change in Sleep Patterns — insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
- Change in Eating Habits — loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
- Fear of losing control – acting erratically, harming self or others
- Low self esteem — feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”
- No hope for the future — believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change(http://www.apa.org/research/action/suicide.aspx)
Need help or know someone that does?
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
It is possible that I may return with more. I guess we will just have to wait and see!