More Than I Can Bare
One of my long time best friends called me the other night with a horrible pain in her heart. She needed someone to talk to. Rumor had it her daughter might be suicidal and she was trapped on a business trip until the next evening. Her husband was home handling the situation, but she wasn't going to be okay until she could hold her daughter close. She needed to look deep into her daughter's eyes to get a 'read' on what was really going on inside her mind. Until she could really sit down and talk to her daughter, she could at least pick my brain as to what to do. We talked a bit about when we were seventeen, and I tried to commit suicide. Now, all these years later, what could I say to my friend or to her daughter to make it all better?
I grew up in a very dysfunctional home and had no reason to believe that I was loved or had any sort of an emotional support system. That's not what threw me over the edge although looking back I think it set the stage by insuring a very low self esteem when entering high school. I wanted to die because I was in love with two boys who were best friends and I knew I'd never be able to choose between them. It was more than I could bear. I wanted to escape the pain of dating one and longing for the other. Both were amazing wonderful souls.
I had met one when we were fifteen and we'd fallen instantly into a wonderful relationship. He was my first true love. He was struggling with his mother's new husband and became very distant and moody. In my insecurity, I assumed he wasn't interested in me anymore. To test my theory, I scribbled out a heart he'd drawn on his notebook with our names in it. He took it to mean that I was dumping him and seemed at peace with the idea. I was too hurt and insecure to admit that I was just testing him and didn't really want to break up. He was too hurt and insecure to stop me. Neither of us knew how to speak openly from our hearts. He occasionally asked me out on dates after that. I would think we were about to get back together and then he'd be gone again. He had moved to a nearby town to live with his dad and stepmother. He gave me the telephone number of his best friend to call if I ever needed to reach him.
One night after a year of him dropping in and out of my life and stealing my heart every time, I finally called his friend to find out when he'd be back in town and more importantly, would he ever get back together with me? According to his best friend, the love of my life thought I was a slut even though I was still a virgin and he had no intentions of getting back together with me. However, his best friend was there to pick up the pieces of my broken heart. The best friend was every bit as wonderful and amazing as the first, but in his own unique different ways. We really loved each other. We were sixteen and planning to get married when we turned twenty.
Since they were best friends, my ex would drop in on us to visit and hang out. It was extremely difficult for me to see him during those visits. My head said I should hate him, but my heart still danced a jig every time he walked in the room. My ex and I ended up having a long talk one night. He confessed that he really did say that I was a slut, but that he regretted it and never really felt that way about me. It was just stupid sixteen-year-old boy emotions tied up with our past together He thought I was better off dating his best friend and gave his blessing. It killed me. I was still in love with him and he was telling me to stay with his best friend. His best friend was the sweetest kindest boy I'd ever dated. Neither of us would ever dream of hurting such a beautiful soul. I couldn't tell either of them that I was in love with both and for months I slowly went insane unable to speak openly with either, terrified they'd both reject me.
Eventually, I snapped and couldn't bare the pain of wanting one and the guilt of never wanting to hurt the other. I suspect that it's some kind of a primitive fight or flight mechanism that gets triggered when we become bombarded by negative emotions. When we feel that the situation is hopeless and we have no way of changing the dynamic, then we can't fight it. So, we need to flee and suicide is the ultimate form of taking flight. It's really hard during that time to stop and logically realize that emotions are ever changing and as such they don't have to be fought nor avoided. You just have to wait them out and make positive choices and changes to promote the shift in dynamics that are creating the overwhelming emotions we want to run from. At seventeen, I couldn't see that.
I also think that if a teenager doesn't believe that anyone will cry for them when they're gone, then suicide becomes a very real consideration. Years later when I had two toddlers and my life was a mess, I found myself wanting to escape from life's pain again. It was completely different that time. I knew that my two children would be heart broken and psychologically screwed up for life if I committed suicide. As a single mom, I was their only sense of security. I was their whole world. I could get depressed enough to want to run away from my problems, but I could never seriously consider suicide like I had in high school. Someone needed me and would be destroyed if I left. Perhaps that's where the answer to teen suicide lies. Does the teenager believe that someone else's life will become unbearable if they die?
Almost two years ago, my son came to me in tears and told me that he was suicidal. The idea of life without my child was, more than I could bear. I knew first hand what it feels like to be in so much pain that you just want to die. To imagine my own child feeling that way was worse than anything I've ever endured. We talked a long time about the things that had destroyed his will to live. We talked a lot about the 'feeling' of being suicidal.
We talked mostly about how it's bad enough to have someone you love die unexpectedly in a car wreck or from Cancer or something. It's an entirely different thing to lose them because they chose to leave. I told him to imagine how he would feel if I committed suicide. The pain he felt just imagining it brought him close to tears. He said he couldn't bear it if I did that to him. I told him with tears in my own eyes that I felt the same way. My daughter joined in and in tears she put aside all of their sibling rivalries and poured out her heart regarding how incredibly painful it would be for her if he ever died. We were very close in those next few weeks as we worked together to make a lot of changes in his world and in his outlook. He's doing wonderfully now. He is very happy in a new school, with a girlfriend that is the love of his life, and he's found his old zest for life's adventures again.
So, I guess my advice is this.... Tell her what her death would mean to you. Does she really know in her heart of hearts how much you love her? Don't assume anything. Yeah, you have to take her in to some kind of a therapist. But, whatever you do, don't make her feel like some kind of a screwed up nut. And don't ignore this. Even if she's just talking about suicide to get attention, find out why. She may be testing the waters, looking to see if anyone would even care.
There's nothing more depressing than finding out that nobody would care if you dropped dead tomorrow. Find a way to make her see that emotions are temporary and that together you can fix anything that life throws at you. Does she know you're in her corner? Help her change her life. Find out what it is she's struggling with and coach her, guide her, help her to create positive changes. Teach her how to overcome the pain rather than to succumb to it.
Copyright 2004, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge
About The Author
Skye Thomas began writing books and articles with an everyday practical approach to life in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, and parenting. After years of high heels and business clothes, she is currently enjoying working from home in her pajamas. Go to www.TomorrowsEdge.net to read more of her articles and to get a free preview of one of her books.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 10, 2003
5 Notions That Americans Should Put Out To Pasture
Wisdom and knowledge come from the same family but are as different as apples and watermelons. What we call common wisdom is what made you expect me to say oranges instead of watermelons. Common wisdom flows off the tongue like water over the falls but doesn't always require that the brain be fully engaged. Some people call this, the common wisdom of the day. This particular kind of wisdom is rarely examined for truth or any other useful quality. It is commonly accepted because it is so commonly heard. It is much like an unpaid commercial that we set into motion not knowing where it came from and with little regard to whether it is true or not. It is like an old pal who always steps in to keep a conversation going when we run low on original ideas. It is almost never questioned and in most conversation, it is only a matter of who is going to say it first. Some of these sayings so glibly passed around among us are innocuous, while others are outright misleading and sometimes dangerous. Here are five of them that should be challenged, examined, analyzed and if reason prevails, will finally be put out to pasture.
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Yes you got it. You read it correctly. We're not out of our minds. We really are saying that "anything that's worth doing is worth doing poorly". When we found this quote by Joachim DePosada on the web site: The Gary Halbert Letter, it struck such a huge cord. It made such immediate sense to us. The more we looked the more we realised that our lives were built around this quote. What about yours?
How To Develop A Grateful Mind (The Best Medicine)
There is one sure fire medicine that cures all difficulty and opens the way for your greatest good. It allows you to sleep well at night, wake up refreshed and filled with enthusiasm. Obstacles evaporate and wonderful possibilities appear. This medicine is abundantly available, has no side effects, can be taken in large or small doses regularly. You need no one to prescribe it and the more you take, the sweeter it is. The medicine is a good dose of gratitude, taken daily, at least three times a day.
Shaping the Future with Positive People Power
We must shape the future and control our destiny.
?you are, he is, she is, they are? But you knew that already, didn't you? Or have you really stopped to think about it recently ? or ever for that matter?
Direct Answers - Column for the week of September 22, 2003
Inspirations: Even More Things Ive Noticed Along the Way So Far
Some people live in and talk about the past so much it's as if they are "planning for the past."
Brilliance in Balance
"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
How Four Words Can Enhance Your Life Of Prayer (Pray More In My Hectic Day? You Cant Be Serious)
"I would like to pray more. But ... how to find the time?"
What Movies Can Teach You About Meaningful Coincidences (Use Them to Get What You Want)
When you have your dream clear in your mind and you go after it in the right way, the universe will send you miraculous help through meaningful coincidences. Sometimes you may have only one opportunity to receive such help. That's why you must be ready.
Motivation and Inspiration: Illusions 101
Q: I was wondering if you could recommend any books on motivation and change that are fun to read and that aren't all rah rah, if you know what I mean. Could there even be such a thing as a book that's like a novel or short story that's about motivation?
Its Better to Give than to Receive
"It's better to give than to receive." You've probably heard that popular saying.
Two years ago I was in a wheelchair and told I would be paralyzed for life. Today I can jog on a treadmill. How did this happen?
A Prison Cell?
Do you have a goal? A focus in life? Have you invested a great deal of time, effort, money to achieve and yet feel you haven't made it yet? For all your effort do you still feel that there is something missing in your life? It is obviously very important to set goals in your life. It gives you a focus a way forward a mechanism for making decisions when faced with a number of options. However, it can also be a prison cell.
I feel rather foolish writing this letter, but I need help. I am a 67-year-old man living on social security. My wife and I divorced, but I never lost my love for her. One day we ran into each other and realized the magic is still there.
Go Ahead... Journal! (Taking Time To Record My Souls Journey With God)
Imagine sitting down in a relaxed setting -- a setting youlove -- opening a publication, and discovering that you aretotally relating to the heart and soul of the author.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of January 6, 2003
Songs of Life
I imagine when we die we find out how in-tune with our hearts we should have been. Not an easy thing to do with all our mere mortal vices getting in the way.
The Cracked Pot
Letters on Life#3
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