Here’s my throwback Thursday post for this week…
I remember when I first started high school. My friends and myself included kind of sorta thought we were invincible. We were the good kids who got good grades and promoted having good clean fun.
However, in high school, in between all those fond memories, there are some memories, that I would rather forget.
As a freshman in high school I tried my best to get along with everyone, and mostly all I was doing was either saying a simple hello and acknowledging people, because that’s a major part of high school…trying to fit in socially.
It’s been awhile, so I can’t remember if it was the end of Freshman year or the beginning of sophomore year, an acquaintance of mine who would become a good friend confided in me that he or she was not necessarily considering taking his or her own life, but was having thoughts along those lines.
I admit, our class was sort of a pressure cooker. We all were personally motivated to be successful and get good grades and be active participants in different extracurriculars whether it was music related or sports, and many of us, even if we didn’t like to admit it faced a certain amount of pressure to do well from families.
Anyways, I’m not sure if it was that sort of pressure that caused this person to reach out to me, but how I handled the situation proves how young, naïve, and stupid I was.
As an adult now, I would have encouraged this person to open up to his or her parents or one of the guidance counselors at school and would have volunteered to go with him or her if that would’ve helped. However, this was in the day when writing notes was “the thing,” I tried to write him or her encouraging notes to lift him or her up. This continued for at least 6 months, until one December day.
It was a Monday and I was coming off of an emotionally draining weekend. A death had occurred in our family so I had missed class that Friday and spent both days with family. It was a heartbreaking weekend too. There were moments of laughter of course, but there were a lot of tears.
Back to the following Monday. I was in study hall with my friends. I wasn’t feeling super great because of the time of the month, however, I was suddenly called down to the guidance counselor’s office. Apparently I had been implicated in some sort of “suicide” ring and my parents had been called.
Needless to say, I tried to explain to my parents my side of the story, but they were reeling from the shock that they had been called about me having that sort of issue and that one call ended up breaking down a lot of trust I had with them. They were just as upset if not more so than I was over what had transpired that weekend with the death in our family and the call from my school just made it ten times, if not one hundred times worse.
My parents decided to take a look at a personal journal I was keeping, which I didn’t really care whether they read or not. In my house, anything written down is never necessarily private or sacred, so I didn’t think they would necessarily find anything and I wasn’t trying to hide anything from them. However, after they read it themselves, they were not on the same page and begged to differ with me.
Pretty heavy stuff, right? I didn’t necessarily want to open up about this, but at work I heard there was a recent suicide and suicide attempt in local school districts, and it just brings to the forefront in my profession how real issue this really is.
I’m not a trained psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist…but I can say it’s important that when faced with this issue to open up to other people you trust and help get that person the help that they need if he or she confides in you about having any serious thoughts of suicide. As an adult, I wish I had opened up to my parents right away and even the guidance counselor at school, because I had no business trying to handle that situation on my own, no matter how well-meaning my intentions were.
My apologies for the more serious post…but it’s something I wanted to address.