Teen suicideFor a long time, I found myself severely depressed. I had a bad break-up, during which my ex-girlfriend left me for my best friend after two years. I couldn’t eat, and I cried myself to sleepjust about every night. I just didn’t have the energy or the will to get out of bed, or even see thesunlight for days. I hated everything and everyone around me.Depression really is a life consuming disorder that you just can’t help; it’s almost like a commonemotion for me, always angry, sad, mad, confused and ready to end it all at any given moment.There are things in life that you can’t explain, like the feeling depression gives you, but if it getsthat intense, where you’re about to pull the big one, you just have to sit down and think, “Is itreally worth it?” Of course, at the time, you think it is, but when you calm down, you alwaysremember why you stayed and everything that you would have left behind. It can only happenonce.Suicide is like a match; one strike and that’s it. If it ever gets to that point, take it fromsomeone who has suffered manic depression; Get help. As much as you don’t want to admit it,it helps to talk to someone, anyone, to make you feel better. I hope my story can help.My name is not important. But what is important is that you know the main points I need tomake. I went through the toughest six months of my life, during which I dealt with an abusiveboyfriend, self-harm, and drug abuse and losing my baby.I had been with a guy for over a year when he started showing signs of abuse. It seemed tocome all at once. One day he’d tell me I was worthless, another day he’d guilt me into havingsex with him, and the next he’d hit me right there in my geometry class. No one even seemedto notice. But I stayed with him, because when he wasn’t that person who seemed to hate me,he was my light at the end of the tunnel, or so it seemed.He had always helped me with my family or other problems. Then, one day, probably thebiggest problem came up. My friend had committed suicide. I needed a shoulder to cry on, andit wasn’t him. Then things got worse. He kept up with the abuse. I was even thrown into thewall in the hallway at the funeral home,. But I attempted to hold my head high. I would say hejust used me as stress relief and that this phase would pass.I took pills and cut myself to attempt to take myself out of the pain he was putting me through.Then, less than a week after my friend’s funeral, he dumped me for a girl he had been screwingon the side. In a way, I was relieved to be done with him and to have him out of my life forgood, because he only brought darkness.
I was relieved, that is, until the pregnancy test came out positive. I found out on my 16thbirthday. I couldn’t gather the guts to tell him in person, so I texted him (lame, I know). Hereplied saying it wasn’t his, that I was nothing but a whore the whole time we were together.He said I was a waste of a year and a half of his life. He also said I wasn’t going to try to takeanother eighteen from him.I never replied, and it took a few days for me to try to figure stuff out before I told my parents.In the meantime, it sunk in. I thought, Okay, I’m doing this. I’m going to be a single mom. I toldmy parents, and they were furious, so furious my dad left for the weekend. He said it wasn’tbecause of me but because of the situation. I told them abortion was not an option, and I waswilling to keep adoption on the table, but only if it was an open adoption.About a month later, when I was about three months pregnant, I began feeling intense crampsand stabbing pain that made me throw up. I also started bleeding uncontrollably. My momrushed me to the hospital, where they told me the worse news I could’ve gotten. I was in theprocess of having a miscarriage. The best thing for me to do was to go home, let it run itscourse and see my family doctor in the next few days. I went home and cried in my room fordays on end. I also picked back up my habits of cutting and taking any pills I could find. Ithought it was my fault. I also thought that if my baby couldn’t live, I shouldn’t either.Getting over such extreme stress in a condensed period of time wasn’t easy. I lost friends, myboyfriend, my baby, my sense of self, the respect and trust of my parents and so much more.But I realized the only thing I could do was to remove myself from everything that was negative.I know it sounds easy, but this included blocking people, changing phone numbers, even whereI lived for a while. I had to take time for myself so I could realize what I truly wanted, withoutthe influence of others.When I came back home, and back to school, I was left with three best friends and the supportof teachers. My ex-boyfriend was still there, and I even had classes with him. But I knew who Iwas, what I stood for, and that he was no longer a part of my life. I was walking my own path,20 times stronger than what I ever was before. Just because he left me in the dark, didn’t meanmy future couldn’t be bright.I still struggle from time to time with my confidence, or the little hole in my heart where mybaby was. But who doesn’t have a bad day now and then? I made it. I had my world shaken, butI still stand.Less than a week after my 21st birthday, I received the worst phone call of my life. My bestfriend in the entire world had died.
Everything was so confusing. I talked to Emily (not real name) Monday. I spent thatconversation complaining about a recent break-up I was going through. I had to head to class,so I told her I had to get going. She asked if she could call me later that night because she couldreally use someone to talk to. I never got a phone call…Tuesday I had an exam in one of my classes. When I got out and checked my phone, I had a tonof text messages and a missed call from a friend (Kristi) who I never really talked to anymore,but she was close to Emily in grade school.The text messages said things like, “Is it true?” I had no idea what anyone was talking about, soI checked the voicemail from Kristi. She sounded upset and told me I needed to call her back. Iremember the exact spot I was standing when she told me that Emily was dead. I was at a lossfor words.All I could say was, “How?” Kristi said that it was suicide. I wouldn’t/couldn’t believe it. Emilyhad always had suicidal thoughts. She always struggled with her life, for as long as I have knownher. But I couldn’t believe it because of the conversation I had had with her less than 24 hoursbefore. Emily wasn’t even 21 yet, but she was a heavy drinker. The weekend before her death,she had gotten into a drunken driving accident. She hit a parked car and ripped the back end offof it. She turned herself in and spent the night in jail, calling me the next morning to have mysister go pick her up.During our last conversation, I asked her, “Was the accident enough to make you change?” Shesaid to me, “Casey, I’m not even 21 and I am an alcoholic. I am going to talk to my sister andjoin an AA class or something this summer.”Because of that conversation, I couldn’t believe she had killed herself. I said I would go to mygrave saying that no matter how she died, it was an accident. I didn’t know how it hadhappened until later that evening.I spent the day getting texts and messages from all kinds of people, some whom I rarely eventalked to. Everyone wanted to know if it was true, what happened, how she did it and why shedid it. I was angry with all these people. If they wanted the “gossip,” they should be askingsomeone other than her best friend. And I didn’t feel it was anyone’s business. Yes peoplewould know she died and eventually most people will find out how, but it was no one’sbusiness why she did it. She spent her whole life hiding things from other people, so who was Ito spread all her secrets? I got a lot of angry people back at me. One even said, “Enjoy the gloryof knowing.” I don’t think there is anything glorious about losing a best friend to suicide.That evening I got a text message from a guy friend asking how she had done it. I still didn’thonestly know how it had happened, and I told him that. He said he was hearing rumors back
home and wanted to put an end to them if they weren’t true. He said people were saying sheshot herself.There was NO way I was going to believe that. I said, “Absolutely not,” and told my mom whatwas being said. My mom had just gotten off the phone with Emily’s mom, and it was true. Emilyshot herself.Everything became 10% worse at this point. It took it to a whole new level that I couldn’tfathom. The only words to describe the way I felt was heartbroken. I couldn’t understand whatcould have happened to push her to do something so drastic.I am a psychology/sociology major and had taken a class on suicide. All I kept saying to myselfwas that girls weren’t supposed to do it that way. Guys hang and shoot themselves; girls don’t.And I didn’t want to believe that she did.Emily wasn’t close with her family. Her friends were her family. She would do anything for anyof her friends. Emily and I went to two different colleges about two hours from each other. If Iwas ever upset, she would be on the phone with me saying she was getting in her car andcoming to take care of me. She was truly the best friend anyone could ever ask for. Her familycremated her. She wouldn’t have wanted that. She wasn’t religious. There was no casket at thefuneral. Her ashes weren’t there. They didn’t bury her. Her mom couldn’t deal with the idea ofputting her daughter in the ground. So Emily is sitting on her parents’ mantle. Which shedefinitely would NOT have wanted.Emily wasn’t close with her family at all. She and her mother hated each other. I have beenEmily’s best friend since 7th grade, and I know all her darkest secrets. I was the only person shecould tell everything to. And I never once heard her say one good thing about her mother.It breaks my heart that she is stuck in her parents’ home, the one place she hated more thananything. There are so many things that followed her death that have angered me.Initial reactionsWhen someone close to you dies, you might experience a variety of emotions, including shock,disbelief, numbness, sadness, anger or loneliness. It may seem like everything has been turnedupside down. Everyone reacts to loss differently, and it’s normal to experience many emotions.This is all part of a grieving process. During this time, it is important to take care of yourself.Shock and disbelief
It’s normal to feel a sense of shock when someone close to you dies. You might experienceshock through physical and emotional reactions. You may feel dizzy, nauseous, dazed, numb orempty. As part of feeling shocked, you may not believe that the news is real.Shock may cause some people to react in an unusual way when they first hear the news of adeath. For example, some people laugh hysterically. This is often a result of the shock, and notnecessarily because the person finds the situation funny. Shock is different for everyone andmay last for a couple of days or weeks.It is a good idea to take it easy. If you feel like things are building up on top of you may want tosee talk to your school or college counselor or another mental health professional.NumbnessShock may also mean that you feel nothing when you hear of the loss. As a way of coping withthe news of a loss your feelings may become numb. This may mean you feel like you aredreaming, or the event seems unreal. Sometimes this can make it hard to cry or feel any sort ofsadness. Over time you are likely to start feeling emotions.GriefAs the shock and numbness lessens, you’ll probably start grieving. Everybody grievesdifferently and unique factors may affect the way you cope. Remember, if someone’s reactionis different to yours, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this person cares less than you do.Knowing the factors that affect grieving can help you understand your reaction (and others’reactions) to loss. Some reasons why people grieve differently may be:■The person’s relationship with the person who has died.■Other losses they have experienced that might be resurfacing with the new loss.■Gender. Men and women have different ways of managing their grief. Men are more likely tofeel restrained and might feel the need to show that they are in control of their feelings. Theyare also more likely to be physically active in their grief. It isn’t uncommon for men to sort outpractical problems or focus on small tasks while grieving. Meanwhile, women are more likely towant to share their feelings with others. This may mean they talk about what is happening orcry more openly than men.■Cultural background. Cultural groups express grief in different ways. The rituals, ceremoniesand rules around what is considered respectful mourning may vary depending on your culturalbackground. Crying and showing lots of emotion in public does not necessarily mean thatsomeone isn’t coping well with grief; instead it may be a way of managing grief.
■Age. Children of different ages understand death differently. Younger children may notunderstand that a person who has died isn’t coming back. Older children, on the other hand,understand that the person isn’t coming backLife sucks sometimes, and most people, at one time or another, feel s—-ty. This can meandifferent things for different people. It might include feeling sad, angry, stressed out, or fed up.It might also be a sense of not feeling like yourself or feeling physically sick.Why you might be feeling s—-tySometimes it is difficult to work out why you are feeling shitty. Identifying the factors that arecontributing to this feeling might help you to work out how to deal with it. Remember —it’s justa feeling and it’s likely to pass.Some reasons you think life sucks and you feel like s—t:■You’ve experienced one or several tough or stressful events;■People around you areexperiencing tough times. It’s not uncommon for other people’s unhappiness to influence howyou’re feeling. This could be because it is hard to see people you care about feeling sad, orbecause of the way they’re coping with their emotions, they are difficult to be around.Notbeing able to identify the reason for how you are feeling is not uncommon. Factors that mightcontribute to feeling s—-ty include:Psychological factors■Stress or anxiety—Stress can come from many different sources, like pressures at school,work or home from parents, teachers and sometimes your friends, or even your ownexpectations;■Grief or loss—this can include the death of a loved one, or the end of a relationship orfriendship;■Depression and other mental illnesses.Social factors■Family problems, like parents going through a divorce or fighting, or transitioning to a stepfamily;■Problems at school or work, like bullying or violence;■Relationship or friendship problems, like breaking up or fighting with a boyfriend or girlfriend;■Moving into a new house;
■Starting at a new school or job;■Living with someone with a mental or physical illness or disease;■Feeling bored or uninspired, like over school or summer vacation.Physical factorsPhysical or biological factors might also influence your feelings and reactions as well as how youthink about yourself and the world around you. Physical factors might include:■Not eating well;■Not getting enough exercise;■Not getting enough sleep;■Using drugs or alcohol;■Being sick, or fighting off illness, which can make you feel run down and not well;■Chronic illness or other medical conditions;■Hormonal changes, especially for women during their menstrual cycles. This may happen afew days before you get your period and you may not make the connection immediately.What to do if you’re feeling s—-tyWhen you’re feeling low, you might have the urge to lash out at someone, even if they hadnothing to do with your feelings. Here are some ideas that might stop you from blowing up andhelp you get to a happier place.Get informed. Once you figure out what might be causing you to feel shitty, you can dosomething about it. On the Reach Out site, you’ll find tons of info on different issues, includingdepression, family and relationships. You’ll also find suggestions on how to manage yourfeelings and where you can get help.Talk to someone. Talking to someone you feel comfortable with, like a friend, teacher, parentor counselor, can be a great way of expressing your feelings. These people might also be able tohelp you identify why you are feeling crappy and work out strategies for dealing with it.Chill out. Sometimes getting some space away from what is making you feel this way or achange of scenery can be helpful. This might include going for a walk or listening to yourfavorite music, reading a book, going to the movies, or whatever works for you.
Express your feelings. Writing down your feelings or keeping a journal can be a great way ofunderstanding your current emotions in a particular situation. It can also help you come up withalternative solutions to problems.Express your feelings in a way that won’t cause bodily damage to yourself or another person.Try yelling or crying into a pillow, dancing round the room to loud music or punching a pillow.Get creative. Find things to do to distract yourself from feeling shitty and that get you thinkingcreatively. This can include drawing a picture, writing a poem, or playing a game. Even thoughyou might not feel like it at first, even a little creativity might be enough to shift your mood.Look after yourself. Feeling shitty may be your body telling you it needs to take time out, andpushing yourself physically might just make things worse. Take time out to spoil yourself bydoing something that you usually enjoy. Even though you might not feel like it, exercising andeating well can help. Getting plenty of sleep is important, too.Exercise helps stimulate hormones like endorphins, which help you feel better about yourself. Ifyou haven’t done a lot of exercise before, it might be a good idea to start doing somethingsmall a couple of times each week, such as a 15-minute walk or two or three laps in a pool.Visiting your doctor for a regular checkup can be a way to make sure there you don’t have anyphysical health problems.Avoid drugs and alcohol. Try not to use alcohol or other drugs (including lots of caffeine orother energy-boosting drinks) in the hopes of feeling better. The feeling is usually temporaryand the side effects often make you feel worse.If you need someone to talk to nowTry calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the Boys TownNational Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 if you would like to talk to someone right now. Bothhotlines have trained volunteers ready to listen 24/7.