Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for those ages 10-24. So as parents, what do you do when your child is showing symptoms of depression and self-harm? In the open letter below, a mom shows empathy and understanding while reaching out to get her child the help needed.
My dearest child,
I see you hurting! I see you pulling away and shutting down. Please don’t think I don’t notice. I’m here for you! I’m always here for you. I will listen to whatever you have to say, however big or small.
I have watched you hold in all your frustration, all your anger, all your fears and worries. No matter how many times you where told to or asked to talk them out.
You are bottling them up; you are overflowing; you are exploding in pain. It has not gone unnoticed.
You are stronger than you think. You are amazing. You will do great things! Don’t let this overcome you; I’m here!
The bloody tissues have been found. I know! I know you are self harming! I know you are self harming, because the signs are there. I know you are self harming because I too at your age was a cutter. I do not judge! My dear child, I do not judge. I do not blame. I understand! I have been there…
My dear child, I love you. I notice. I’m here!
We will get through this.
Don’t hate me for getting you treatment…. It brought back so much pain and memories in myself. It wasn’t easy for me to have you hospitalized. I count the days, now weeks, that you have been there. Just waiting for you to be home. I know you will never truly be better and healed. But being able to handle and cope with the pain and have healthy ways to deal with life. I know you are still struggling with the new techniques and new skills being taught: The ice diving, orbeez, stress balls, frozen oranges, and face clothes used for distracting and texture change. Chewing on ice, sucking on sour candies or hot candies, chewing gum. And trying to go to someone and talking to them when you’re having an off time and changing your negative thoughts to positive thoughts. All are hard and new!
You are stubborn just like your mom and know what works and just look for the best way to fix things to stop the hurt without hurting others.
My darling child, when you are a parent you will understand. You too will hurt for your child and your grandchild. You too will worry for your child and your grandchild. From the time you find out you are going to be a parent until the day you are no longer on this earth. It’s just what we do.
Don’t worry about adding stress or worries to my so called plate; that’s what it’s here for.
I’m never going to give up! I’m never going to stop trying, and I’m never going to stop fighting for you.
I want you here, I want you to live, I value your life. You will do some great things and I can’t wait to see what they are. You’re an amazing, caring, sweet person. I’m so proud of how hard you are trying and working and doing what everyone is asking you to do.
I’m so thankful for your good friends and family that all love you so much. Your BFF that reached out to her mom and did the right thing and reported your plan of suicide. And her mom who called me. This should show you that you are not alone; you are loved and valued and wanted. Your family and friends continue to visit and call and check up on you during your hospitalization.
I’m so thankful that your BFF took you seriously and noticed a change in your behavior and mood. Your friends noticed that you where no longer your happy self, that you where more sad and withdrawn. You just didn’t seem yourself anymore. You had given up and just didn’t care much anymore. You had gone from being an active fun going child to sleeping all day and not wanting to get out of bed.
As well as other friends, these are true friends for life! Not everyone has these; you are one lucky child.
I tried the therapy route and medication, and I tried to avoid an inpatient stay. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own anymore once I got the call from your BFFs mom that there was now a plan. I knew I had to call and find a bed for you at one of the best places I could.
I called McLeans Franciscans children’s hospital to make sure they had a bed for you to avoid the ER and the psych ward for a long haul of a wait and make it less traumatic for the both of us.
Resources for if your or someone you know is struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts:
McLeans Franciscans child and adolescent (3-19)
Samaritans of the Merrimack Valley
1-877-870-4673 – Samaritans Statewide Crisis Help Line
1-800-273-8255 – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-508-532-2255 – Call2Talk
Suicide Prevention Program of Massachusetts
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
Center for Hope & Healing
Mental Health First Aid USA
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Endurance Behavioral Health (13-20)