Today, it’s going to get real… like “real talk”, and it’s probably not going to be a popular post, but it’s time we shed some light on a very serious subject.
There’s no way to even start this conversation without bringing up the new television series on Netflix that is bringing teen suicide to the forefront. The show, Thirteen Reasons Why, is getting some major feedback for bringing a book wrote by Jay Asher to life. When I first started watching this, I wasn’t near as prepared as I thought I was. As a parent, you see the world in a different view then teens do. As a mother, I watched thinking, Oh my gods, this is happening right now to so many kids/people. (The tears flowed through-out this entire season of this show. I won’t lie.)
The show starts off with showing you a school locker that’s covered in pictures of a young girl, teens taking selfies in front of it, saying how sad and how pretty she was… as her friend watches the others go to her locker knowing they didn’t even know her. Then the story really starts. You hear and learn thirteen reasons why she did what she did. It all starts with what the main character thinking a harmless picture that was taken of her while on a first date, was literally nothing but fun for her and the date, (just being silly and capturing their time together) gets shared around at the school among the “jocks”. (A picture that captures her sliding down a slide, literally gets shared by another boy (sends a mass text to the whole school) who he shows the picture to, and she gets a “reputation”. When what she thought was a great first date with a boy she had a crush on, all went sadly wrong.
The story goes on and on from there. One small thing that seemed innocent, became the start of downward spiral for a girl who just wanted to fit in. It’s a show/book that people need to hear or read to see that what people blow off as no big deal can become more than you can imagine. More pain than they ever let on…
With anywhere from the verbal abuse to the online abuse that’s being played out for so many kids, it’s like people have no idea of what empathy is anymore. People picking on one another just because it seems to be the “popular” thing to do. Why the hell do we do that? Why is there such a need to “fit in” with the “norm”? That is mind boggling to me on so many levels. When a child/teen/adult is constantly ridiculed by others, what do you think that does for their self-esteem? Why would you be the one to keep causing pain to someone who is different than you?
There’s a personal story of mine, I would like to share how suicide effects so many…
When I was in high school there was a guy named Luke that was the “popular” guy. He had many friends, he was so funny, and gosh darnit if I didn’t think he was the cutest guy. We had a science class together, he was older than me, and he always asked me for help. (Which I thought was pretty cool, I won’t lie.) He just did that so he could talk and not do the work, but I didn’t mind, because he was who he was, and well, I was who I was. He became my friend over time, and Luke would wave at me in the halls etc… It was like being invited into the “cool kids” club and since I was younger than him and he was an upperclassman it was pretty cool or so I thought. When I was a senior, he was already in college, but I never forgot about him.
It was a Friday morning, I was staying the night with a friend and we were getting ready for school, when a close friend of mine called me. At first, I couldn’t understand what she said through the sobbing noises, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. “Luke, killed himself last night..” At first it was like I didn’t know what she meant, it didn’t register to me. Not the Luke, I knew. In fact, I asked her for his last name again, because it just couldn’t be the Luke I was thinking of. Not that Luke, not the guy who had accepted me as me, the “cool guy”… no it wasn’t him. It most definitely couldn’t be him… It couldn’t be anybody I actually knew. (I didn’t go to school that day, it just didn’t seem real.) But sadly, it was. My mind raced with questions of why? Why would he do this? He had everything going for him? Why didn’t I know he was sad? Why hadn’t I tried to keep in contact with him? WHAT THE HELL just happened? Needless to say, rumors flew around the school, everyone with different reasons why or what had happened? I never really knew why, even though now, I do… I didn’t want to know why then… it hurt too much. (I had failed at being his friend, we had all failed him some how is how I felt at the time.)
By the end of the school year, (I was in speech class and we had to give a speech on something that was controversial.) I spoke about teen suicide. I remember reading it out loud, as my teacher had tears fall down her face (she knew Luke too) … As I cried while I read it thinking of my friend who had taken his own life, I never wanted anyone to do that again. Whether I knew them or we were friends, I just didn’t want that to happen ever again. To anyone.
There’s a pain that you feel deep inside when you lose a loved one, but there’s a different pain you feel inside when someone takes their own life. You feel helpless on so many levels…
There is a serious epidemic growing in this country. No one speaks about it, and no one likes to shed light on it, because it hurts…
When you say things or do things that seem harmless to you, but you keep doing it, YOU ARE THE BULLY! When you watch others go through pain, and you do nothing… You aren’t helping either. People sit back and think it’s not my problem, or that’s sad, or the best answer I have heard lately is… “They are disturbed and they need mental help.” That doesn’t help either.
Really? You think that when someone is going through a hard time, that it’s because they just need mental help? (That’s now the answer for everything, sometimes they just need someone to listen or stand up for them.) “Just pop a pill and you will be fine, no no, no need to talk about the real world.”
It’s alarming as to how popular is to say to others (doctors, teachers, principals even) and to just push people aside because they have their own lives?
Recently, I heard from another parent, that when a child went to their counselor to talk about why they were sad, the child was told that it was because they were needing “mental” help and should be put in a “psych ward”… You’re kidding, right? This is happening more and more, and when a student can’t go to the “safest” person to tell what’s going on, then why the hell do you have that job? When you turn the table back onto the person, making them think they did something wrong, you aren’t helping… You are causing more of the pain. There’s a lot of students cutting themselves, causing harm to themselves, and others who know about it and they are sitting back and watching… Are you just “too cool” to help? These people aren’t weird, they are hurting… Don’t be the bully, be the one who helps.
Like I said in the beginning, this wasn’t going to be a popular post, but it needs to be said. If you know someone or you are someone who is hurting, please, please know that others care. There is someone who is loving you, even if you don’t feel that way.
( I promise, that I am loving you!)
Parents, it can be very hard to see the signs, it can be hard to even know your child is thinking of harming themselves or depressed, but always ask questions. If you come to a point where you don’t think you can help, there is many organizations and others who can.
Don’t give up, your life is precious. You are here for a reason. I promise you that!
The statistics of teen suicide is heart breaking. It’s the 2nd cause of death from ages 10-24. Each day on an average there is 5,240 attempts at taking their lives, and this is mainly from the 7th to 12th grades. Often it’s three times the number of females that attempt suicide than males. If you are in a position at a school and you can do something to help I urge you to do so! Don’t just chalk it up to kids being kids or “girls being girls” at this age. (This was also a recent answer given to students as the parents asked what is happening.) Start awareness to help others, start talking about it. The kids may want to harm others too, the amount of school shootings is growing, and that is scary! Very scary! Bullying is at an all time high throughout the country, whether it’s face to face or now through the internet. Don’t be one of those people who sit behind a screen and do nothing. Speak up!
So if you can help in any way I urge you to start today! Don’t be one of those people who think it won’t happen at your school or with someone you know (because it can be)…
And I hope and pray that you never know that kind of pain, the kind of pain someone feels when they do this. Be the one to help, not make worse. Look for the signs… If they mention it, talk about it, talk to someone, anyone…
I just want others to know there is many organizations that will and are there for help and resources. One is Itgetsbetter.org and they also help with many of the LGBT community. Even if you are different than the norm than you keep being you! That’s what makes you wonderful!
The suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Please call if you need someone to talk to.
If you have read this, and you are a parent, a teacher, a counselor, admin at a school, and you need help with how to bring “light” on this subject, please know that you’re not alone. There are many resources for this and don’t be afraid to address the situation.
For the ones who read this who may feel there is no one to help you or that you are alone, YOU ARE NOT! Keep fighting the good fight. Tell someone you trust that you have these thoughts. Your LIFE is worth it! Or if you know someone who needs help, or you think they might, tell someone. Talk to them… Help them!
(You can always contact me too if you need someone to just listen or resources of any kind.)
Be the kindness in this world. Be the light you want to see in others. Be the positive when there’s so much negative.
As always, I don’t get paid for talking or discussing any of this, it’s my own thoughts. If you haven’t watched 13 reasons why, please think about it. Especially if you know someone who is in school. The reasons may not seem like something important to others, but it can become more pain for them than what you ever thought imaginable.
(May not be suitable for all younger viewers. I really want to stress this.)
Or you can check out the book by Jay Asher. If you need help of any kind please feel free to contact my page or me directly. I promise I won’t let you down… I will do my very best to help in any way I can. (I’m sharing a quote from the book. This is how the story begins… Please, don’t take this as a way out. YOU are worth the fight!)
Depression is very real, you aren’t alone! Keep your head up love.