Life Looked Good
Our high school son was a high-energy, 3 sport athlete, life of the party, good grades sort of kid. His two younger brothers looked up to him. Life appeared great.
It all came crashing down
One night, he was out with friends during his Junior year and the police stopped the car he was riding in because a tail light was out. This should have been no problem, but my son had far too much to drink. The impulsive track star panicked and set off running, only to be caught and put in jail. No parent wants to get a call at 2 am, from a voice that sounds like your son, proclaiming he has ruined his life!
In church the next day. He was rather catatonic. He talked of killing himself because he couldn't get past thinking he had ruined his life. When asked how he planned to take his life, he admitted he would tie a rock to himself and jump off the pier that we live near. Being a nurse, I knew to take his thoughts seriously, especially because he had a plan! I immediately decided we were going for help right then.
My husband could not quite understand my urgency, after all this same day was my youngest son's birthday. Couldn't we celebrate him first? But anyone in the medical profession is taught to seek help immediately for suicidal thoughts
Getting Professional Help
Our son did NOT want to go to the mental health hospital. So I point blank looked at my 6 ft son and said, "I’m your mom, I love you and we are going."
I'm so glad we went. It was the beginning of his journey to getting the help he needed. They set us up with counseling, and my son allowed me to be part of the counseling, which helped as I was able to give history around his story. They realized it was not just an alcohol abuse issue, there were too many other signs. We were referred to a psychiatrist, who thought he may have bipolar disorder or ADHD. We had to try different meds. There was no instant fix. I had to stay vigilant and watchful as he was in depression. I'll never forget one day when I came home to find he had one of our hunting guns out. We were also dealing with the court system during all of this, due to his running from police and drinking underage. It was a very difficult time in our lives.
However, with new medications used for ADHD, things started to turn around. We also received a lot of support from Young Life, as he was involved in this ministry as well.
Just over a year later we sent him off to college. We prayed he would be able to navigate the new environment he would encounter. We were thankful that at least now he had the tools to understand himself better.
Today, I am happy to share that he is alive, and has a beautiful wife and son and a career as an attorney.
I am aware all stories don’t have happy endings. My friend's grandson ended his life a year ago. But I share my story today because I hope and pray it will encourage others to stay vigilant when your loved one may be showing signs and symptoms that things are just not right with them.
And to those who feel like there is no way out. Call a hotline, or speak to a counselor at school. Allow friends or family to help you get into counseling. Sometimes it can be hard to make these moves on your own. When it's hard to see a way out, allow others to help, even when it doesn’t make sense! You are loved! God loves you for always!
P.S. - I grew up in dysfunction and was suicidal but never shared. I wish I had. My life may have been easier in many ways. Grateful I didn’t take action on my thoughts.
May God Bless you with strength!
If you or a friend need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, for free confidential, 24/7 help. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. For additional help, please visit the suicide prevention resource page.