I recently attended a Suicide Prevention Course which made me reflect upon a young boy aged 12.
This child, or young person, had parents that argued in front of him all hours of the day and night. The arguments were always about money, or jealousy; the father thought his wife was having an affair at work and vice versa.
The one and only escape for the boy was school. When school ended and he had to go home, he never wanted to for fear of what events would transpire.
One night was particularly bad, it started with remarks at the dinner table which led to the inevitable shouting, then pushing and finally the dad slapping the mum. In retaliation mum left the house, got into her car, and drove it into his dad’s new car, with all the boy’s friends in the street and their parents watching on. Once mum came back into the house, everything escalated. The young boy tried to calm things down and keep his mum safe, shepherding her into his bedroom and barricading the door by putting his bed.
This didn’t work. The dad forced his way in, even with the boy leaning against the door trying desperately to keep it shut and pleading with his dad to stop. Dad then spat at the boy and told him, ‘You are no son of mine.’
After further shouting and screaming, the dad left the house for the rest of the night.
At school, this boy tried so hard to fit in, and in doing so and wanting to be popular and liked, he made up his own reality and part of this was to brag, be big headed and be someone else. If a friend had something which raised the attention of others, this boy made up lies that he had something better. For a while the attention routed positively to him, but this quickly changed and he soon became the object for bullying. In order to defend his exaggerations he became confrontational and end up in fights.
Soon, the sole escape of school was no longer a safe place. It resulted in the boy becoming quiet, withdrawn, not completing homework, being late for class, sitting on his own at break times. Despite all of this, no one noticed him, not even the teachers. This cycle went on for years.
With nowhere to hide and no one to talk to, the boy had had enough, he couldn’t take any more. One day he decided to end it all. He hadn’t planned the day, nor had he planned any method for what he was going to do. Just simply on that day he came across a ball of string, and decided then and there. He took a length of the string and doubled it over for strength, then tied one end to a beam in his house. He got a stool, stood on it, and tied the other end of string around his neck. Then he stepped off the stool. For seconds he was hanging… but the string was just not strong enough. It snapped and he fell to the ground, gasping to regain his breath.
The boy never tried this again, but the bullying at school continued, and the emotional abuse which he suffered from his parents continued all through his last years of school.
At 16 having left school, the boy went to college to gain the qualifications he had not attained T school. he felt all those school years were for nothing, he felt useless, stupid, but was determined to put that right. After a year, he gained the qualifications and secured a job, but the problems did not end. It was only the start.
To escape all of his feelings and issues the boy discovered alcohol, he drank to forget, and feel better. He discovered girls, but never let anyone close or trusted them enough, and as soon as they tried to get close, he would push them away by being nasty, cheating on them and telling them he had cheated.
All of this and much more the boy experienced, and carried with him all the way into his early adult life.
When parents argue in front of their children, there are consequences. The way you act and behave does impact on the lives of your children. It is possible also that you are teaching them that the only way to deal with their problems is to behave in a similar manner to yourself, and so the cycle is continued, from you, to them, and to their relationships and then their children and so on.
Signs of awareness of suicide:
- Voicing feelings of hopelessness, saying things such as “What’s the point of even trying? I know things are never going to get better”.
- Episodes of sudden rage and anger
- Reckless behaviour and engaging in risky activities with an apparent lack of concern about the consequences
- Talking about feeling trapped
- Abusing drugs or alcohol, or using more than usual
- Noticeable gain or loss of weight
- Becoming increasingly withdrawn from friends, family and society, in general appear anxious and agitated
- Inability to sleep or they sleep all the time
- Sudden mood swings – a sudden lift in mood after a period of depression could indicate they have made the decision to attempt suicide
- Talking and acting in a way that suggests their life has no sense of purpose
- Losing interest in things, including their appearance
- Putting affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will
That person may even threaten to hurt or kill themselves, talk or write about death, dying or suicide, or actively look for ways to kill themselves, such as stockpiling tablets.
What can you do?
If you notice any of these warning signs in a workmate, friend, relative or loved one, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling and encourage them to seek help.
As a final word, the boy in the story above was myself. I wasted too many years before I decided to seek help, and now I only wish to help others in order that they may get support, and sooner than I did. My experiences inspired me to become a counsellor and I now have many years of experience working with people from every path of life with depression, suicide and grief. Send me an email or set up a free consultation anytime so that we can have a chat about what’s going on for you.
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