This very special guest post is written by Janice M. C.:
Suicide is starting to be talked about, but not nearly enough. Part of why it is being talked about is the new series on Netflix: “13 Reasons Why.” This series is getting mixed reviews, but it is opening conversations and I highly recommend watching this. Watch this with your entire family. Yes, some of the episodes are a little graphic, but they give you warnings for that.
Before I go any further, I guess I should start with who I am and why I am doing this. I’m a suicide survivor. Like that name? That’s what they call you when your child, your sibling, your partner – anyone that is a huge part of your life, that decides to end their life by suicide. I don’t have any special training for speaking with you. I’m a single Mom to 3 beautiful girls that I love with all my heart and soul. I’m more the type that learned things through life. This is one life experience you do NOT want to have.
On 10/26/15, I lost my youngest, Heather, to suicide. She left a few notes to us, and I know that she loved us, but she didn’t want to be in this world. While she knew we could think she was being selfish for choosing this, she thought it would be selfish to make her live in a world that she didn’t want to be in. She was 22. She’ll never get older. She’ll never know that life can get better. For her, there was no reason to go on. For us, there was every reason for her to live on. It’s been 18 months now, and I still cry over so many things. It’s a life none of you want to know. If you do know, my sympathies go out to you. My heart bleeds for you.
When Heather took her life, I already had a blog. We knew we had to tell her friends, but how? Since my girls and I did share things online, I wrote a post, RIP Heather. In the first few days, someone told me to write everything down. Trust me, I don’t remember much of what I wrote, but I did. Eventually the blog name got changed to HelpStopThePain.com. Things I had written down were on the blog and in a few other places. Anyway, I also shared the first 6 months online in a book. It’s free on the site, or you can get it on Amazon. But the point of it was – no one needs to go through this pain. I still can’t read the book, it’s full of all the pain. I’m still hurting from it and I know I will hurt for the rest of my life. We, my other 2 daughters and I, decided that we would keep the blog going and any life that we could save, we would do it in Heather’s memory. It is our way of keeping her alive with us.
Heather’s suicide came as a total surprise and ripped our souls down to their very core. She was a beautiful person, inside and out. She worked in a group home for developmentally disabled adults. She was taking classes to become an EMT. When a friend needed help, she was there. She helped to stop a few friends from ending their lives and she got a few friends off of drugs and into rehab. She cared. She was a great person.
I hope and pray that none of you ever feels this pain. Some of you will be saying that my child is too young. My child has their act together. So many things you can say, but the fact is that 1 in 4 are affected by suicide. Since losing Heather this way, suicide is a huge part of my life. I have heard of children, 10/11 years old taking their lives. Most of the parents that I have spoken with all say the same thing. They were happy. They were laughing all the time. They hid the pain from those closest to them. Most, like us, had no clue this was even a consideration for her.
Suicide is a leading cause of death—and it’s preventable
Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed the current coping capacity of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Sometimes there are NO symptoms!
So, how do you talk to them? How do you start the conversation? Start with 13 Reasons Why. There are 13 main episodes and then there is a final episode. The final episode is the actors, producers, directors, writers, etc. that share the main message. Watch it all! Talk with your kids after each episode and ask them what they thought of it. Ask if any of those things are happening in their lives or their friends lives, and just open the conversation. Let them know that there is no reason too embarrassing or too hard to talk about that you won’t help them with. I would have loved to watch this with Heather. I know if she was still with us, she would have been one of the first to watch it. She was a real movie/TV show fan.
I can’t bring Heather back. I do have dreams now and then, but they aren’t enough. Most of my conversations with her are one-sided. She can’t answer me. I can’t pick up the phone. I can’t send her a text message. Many of you are happily making plans for Mother’s Day. My plan is to try to hide my tears from my other girls. The reality is that I just want to forget the day and crawl under the covers and cry. All holidays are like that. Life is like that in general. This isn’t something you can “get over.” (BTW, that is the worst advice you can ever give anyone!)
So, you decide. Is having the conversation with your kids too hard? Harder than risking losing them forever? Is that show you are watching or that book you are reading more important than your child’s life? If you want information about it, there are many areas to go for help. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has so much information to share. Share with your family and friends. Let them know that are really there if they need you.
I’m going to end this now, but I want to say one thing: You are never alone!
There is always hope! If you are in crisis, in the USA, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Text the Crisis Line – it’s Free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- text START – to 741-741.
I’m an almost 60 year-old single Mom with 3 beautiful daughters, one now an angel in Heaven. I have no special training for this – just life’s experience. Please feel free to contact us if you need to talk or have any questions- HelpStopThePain.com
I attempted suicide in high school, I was a crystal meth addict who now doesn’t even like to go near prescription or over-the-counter drugs, have lived thru physical and mental abuse, rape, molestation – life sucks – but it can always be worth it