I used to air my dirty laundry (to a degree) on this blog. The idea of this blog was to be sort of an anonymous truth and usually ugly truth of the things that happen in my life. If you look back 2 years ago I was having huge problems with my coworkers at a fast food joint. However today is to really talk about my daughter, J14, and how I feel like I’m failing her as a parent.
I read books about teens and depression. She came to me in January and said she was having not only suicidal thoughts but was beginning to dwell on them long enough to come up with a couple suicidal scenarios. Now I did not want to be one of those parents (and this is not a strike at any parent) who had a child commit suicide and be saying: I had no idea! If only they had come to me!
The reason I mention this is because my parents were almost those parents. In the 5th grade I had written my suicide note (5th Grade!) and it was discovered by a student who sat next to me, took my note to the teacher and I swear the only help I got was from the school. I had weekly sessions with the school counselor, who firmly believed my problem was rooted in bullying, and I was bullied, but really I was trying to get away from my sexual abuser and at 11, the only way I knew how was to either run away (which I attempted multiple times) or just kill myself. (A side note: I did tell someone, not that I was depressed, but that I was being sexually molested, and the person I told… didn’t believe me. She told me to stop making up bad stories to hurt people. If she didn’t believe me: who would?) At 14 I finally did get away from my abuser, but this post really isn’t about me, it’s about my daughter. However I do have a kinship with her because she is going through exactly what I went through.
At 12 my daughter was sexually molested, she never told me, I found out when her abuser was arrested for something else, and he confessed to it. Lucky for him, he was in police custody or I would have killed him. No doubt in my mind I would have killed him, then called the police and let them arrest me. The state offered some family counseling and we attended 6 weekly sessions, but at 12 my daughter didn’t seem all that problematic with what happened to her. At 14 she really began to develop problems and I immediately got her help. I started reading books about teen depression, teen PTSD, how to be a parent of a child with depression, how to live with someone with PTSD. J14 was hospitalized for two days, and released, but no follow up therapy afterwards, no medication. Russ and I sought out a therapist for her, found one we liked and can afford. J14 likes her. However it wasn’t enough, the therapist came to us and said she needs medication and more intense therapy. We took J14 back to the hospital, she was not hospitalized but placed in an Intensive Outpatient Therapy (IOT) which is not cheap and we can barely afford. She’s still having her meds adjusted, J14 is taking Lexapro (which is not cheap) and Trazadone. She says mood wise she feels better, but she’s still having trouble coping.
From what I understand J14 is being bullied at school (when addressed to the school they said that it has to continue happening to be considered bullying 😡) She’s isolated herself from her friends and her grades are in the toilet. Which are all the things I did in 8th grade. I only did work in the classes I liked, Science and electives, and did 0 class work or homework in Math, Social Studies, English… I literally did nothing but read books in the back of English while the teacher lectured. All through school I was showing the signs of suicide (and my daughter is showing them too) but back then I had no idea what the signs were.
So for anyone who needs to know:
Signs of Suicide
- withdrawal from friends and family members
- trouble in romantic relationships
- difficulty getting along with others
- changes in the quality of schoolwork or lower grades
- rebellious behaviors
- unusual gift-giving or giving away own possessions
- appearing bored or distracted
- writing or drawing pictures about death
- running away from home
- changes in eating habits
- dramatic personality changes
- changes in appearance (for the worse)
- sleep disturbances
- drug or alcohol abuse
- talk of suicide, even in a joking way
- having a history of previous suicide attempts