Friday, October 3, 2014

Suicide watch in Junior High school?

My mother, Mary Schweitzer Baker who ended her life at the age of 68, by swallowing the business end of her gun. She was intelligent and articulate and talented but also was bipolar

In sorting through some old papers (of which we have a lot of since we've lived in this house for almost 40 years), I came across a poster I saw in a Junior High School - the school our son attended in the 1980's.  Even then, apparently suicide in young folks was a rising cause of death in our youth - today in 2014, more young folks die in suicide than in auto accidents (auto crashes were the most prevalent cause of death of youth in the 1960's when I graduated High School).  I will share the bullets on the poster as follows:

Suicide - think...
  • Your mother loves you
  • Your friends will miss you
  • People DO care
  • Counselors can help
  • Teachers will listen
  • You're not alone
  • Suicide is a cop out
  • Think of those who need you...
Before you act...

As I typed this out, I began to see problems with it...  the young person who is contemplating suicide, thinks his/her parents don't love him/her and that people don't care and that they won't be missed. They don't care if they are contemplating a "cop-out" (although actually that reason may be a stronger deterrent than some of the others as young folks are very sensitive about what others think of them).

With many families having both parents very involved in their jobs, kids are often lonely and depressed. And in fact, it's quite easy to become lonely in our busy society of today especially if one is a kid or at the other end of the spectrum, aging.  Having experienced some clinical depression myself, I know that when a person is depressed, they almost think they are doing the world a favor in exiting it.

We have had more than a few suicides in our family (much too many - my mother - my grandmother - etc).

Bottom line, is the greatest deterrent to suicide for me, is my Catholic faith - I know that if God feels I should be living, my committing suicide is a direct affront to God and I don't want to go there.

But life gets hard at times... especially when one is aging...

"Still, there were those moments so seemingly hopeless that I would cry out to God in anguish. Having journaled many of those desperate cries, I realize in retrospect how hope had sustained me through my knowing there was purpose in suffering..."

from EMBRACING DEMENTIA- A CALL TO LOVE by Ellen Marie Edmonds

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