The Dating Experiment & a Guest Post from Elodia Strain - You guys, I'm so excited about Elodia Strain's new novel! I absolutely loved her previous books & this one promises to be just as fun to dive into. And ser...
Mar 14, 2010
That day, the school psychologist visited his class to talk to them about suicide. The older sister of one of his classmates had hung herself over the weekend. They were able to revive her, but she died the next day.
My heart was heavy the whole day. I couldn’t stop thinking about the young girl’s mother and how she must feel. I also considered the desperation the girl must have been feeling to follow through with something so life altering.
There was a time in my life when I contemplated suicide, and I have scars to prove it. I look back now, from an adult perspective, and realize that my sadness at that time was much of my own making. I understand now that the inability to forgive myself for my sins and shortcomings was a motivating factor in my suicide thought process.
Youth often have difficulty placing past actions in perspective. They may feel that the steps they’ve taken are irreversible and that their prospects for a happy life have been forever shattered. If parents can keep the lines of communication open and remain accessible to their children—and sympathetic to their problems—they can do much to help dispel these fears. Unconditional love and understanding are the tools that work best.
Face it. Being a teenager is hard. There are many new social, academic, and personal pressures. And for teens who have additional problems such as divorce, substance abuse, or conflict at home to deal with, life can seem even more difficult.
Teens think deeply—about their existence in the world, the meaning of life, and other profound ideas. It is not uncommon for them to also think about death. In some cases, death even seems romantic—think about Romeo and Juliet. However, wishing to be dead, thinking about suicide, or feeling helpless and hopeless about life, are signs that a teen is in need of help.
So what makes some teens begin to think about suicide? I think one of the biggest factors is depression. A teen who has suicidal feelings often sees no other way out of problems or emotional pain they are experiencing. Depression also distorts a person’s viewpoint. They tend to focus only on their failures and the difficulties in their life. These negative feelings are often exaggerated and it is easy to become convinced there is nothing to live for. In my case, it was an attempt to communicate my desperate unhappiness—a plea for help.
I think it’s very important as parents to know the warning signs, and realize that no child is immune. Here’s a list of the most common ones:
• pulling away from friends or family
• changes in eating or sleeping habits
• major changes in appearance
• talk about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
• talk about suicide and death
• self-destructive behavior (drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or driving too fast, for example)
• no desire to take part in favorite things or activities
We have a loving Savior who already died for our sins. Repentance is not a one time opportunity. He suffered for everything we will ever do wrong. His unconditional love is the key.
Suicide is a very real thing that affects the lives of many families. It is important to remember that most people who contemplate suicide really don’t want to die. They simply want the pain to stop. The atonement not only covers our sins, it covers all of our pain and disappointments as well.
New Era: Questions and Answers
Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not by M. Russell Ballard
NAMI – Teen Suicide