Wash Away the Rain

Suicide Is Not An Easy Way Out

I need to set the record straight.

Suicide is not an easy way out. Ever.

No one comes to the decision to end one’s life on a whim. You do not get to that place without suffering, greatly.

I shared a number of articles during the height of 13 Reasons Why on Facebook. I wanted to provide a counter-argument to the “at least it’s starting an important conversation.” No conversation about suicide should happen without a co-occurring discussion on mental illness and mental health.

The idea of revenge suicide is neither fair to those left in the wake of a suicide nor those who have fought their own demons and lost. To get to the point in which you think death by your own hand is a good idea, you must first suffer from some form of mental illness. A healthy brain will not go there.

Yes, a sexual assault can act as a catalyst as it can send the survivor into PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Yes, bullying can exacerbate an already struggling mind, but again, a healthy brain won’t just decide to travel the route of suicide.

Do people feel guilty in the wake of anyone’s death by suicide? Yes. We all have what if moments in which we question what we could have or should have said or done. I felt that way last summer; I still feel that way. We can hold individuals accountable for things like bullying, stalking, or other immoral and/or illegal activities, but we cannot lay blame solely at their feet.

Recently, Chris Cornell’s death by suicide had many in Generation X pondering our mortality. 52 is too young to die by any means. I listened to Soundgarden as I read a number of pieces that came out in the wake of the news.

I found myself nodding along with one. Until the author referred to “young kids” and suicide as an “easy way out.” The author has since edited his post to remove the “easy way out” and reference to another musician’s suicide as “petulant,” so I won’t link. But let’s address it anyway:

Nope.

No.

No.

Suicide is not an easy way out, not even when you’re a tween or teen. You see, as adults, we are afforded the luxury of hindsight. We can tell our tween and teen children that, yes, life gets better. That someday mean girls won’t run their mouths (though that’s a lie). That someday they won’t care what others think (though that’s not always true). That their hormones will even out and things will make a little more sense (until they go all wacky again). That they’re not alone (that’s the truth, kiddos).

But in that moment, to that young person, sometimes the problems seem insurmountable. Sometimes the self-loathing that often accompanies Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) makes a teen feel like the world would be better off without them; that they can’t do anything right; that they’re always hurting other people; that they deserved to be treated that way. I’ve recently been discussing suicidality among adoptees with a group of smart women. Trauma can begin on Day One, folks.

The truth is that children, tweens, and teen are not exempt from mental illness. I wish they were. Oh, I wish. But we’ve been living it for two years now. I’d give anything for my daughter to feel like she belonged on this planet, that her life has purpose, that she is as beautiful as the rest of us see her. But that’s not her reality right now; it’s not our reality right now.

I was once a teenager with an undiagnosed mental illness. My anxiety during my senior year was so high that I couldn’t function, even though to the outside world, I seemed just fine. I wasn’t. A teacher recognized this and set into action a series of events that should have given me a diagnosis and treatment. It was the 90’s and we didn’t want to believe teenagers could have mental illnesses, so nothing happened.

And nothing happened when I was hospitalized in college after an attempt to take my own life.

It wasn’t until I was a Grown Ass Adult, had birthed two babies and was parenting one that a doctor said, “Oh hey, you kinda sound like you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.” Yeah. I did. I do. I likely have since I was a young teen. I likely always will.

Now our generation listens when a child talks about suicide, no matter their age. Generation X listens because we weren’t heard. We talk about it, online and in person and with our kids and with strangers, because it matters. Because we want our kids and our peers and the parents we care for to know they’re not alone.

No, suicide isn’t the easy way out, for the younger generation or those of us Gen X’ers fighting—tooth and nail—to survive each and every day. It’s an excruciating journey which ends one life and throws many others into crisis, and it’s one that we hope, by talking about it in real, valid, edifying ways, we can help other avoid.

Suicide Is Not An Easy Way Out

If you’re struggling with parenting a suicidal teen, start here.

 

Land Of Nod: Design for Kids and People That Used to be Kids

Oh Hey, May

Oh Hey, May

That moment when you blink and some months have passed.

I’m now 36. My husband is now 35.

I’ve now gone on my first cruise and we’ve decided that, yeah, we’re “cruise people.”

We’re in the middle of baseball season which means I’m simultaneously loving it, praying for rain, cursing the fact that I’m missing Penguins playoff games, sweating, freezing, mumbling under my breath, clapping, holding babies, and eating soft pretzels with cheese.

I love soft pretzels with cheese.

School ends on Friday. On Monday, our oldest son went to the middle school for a tour while I cried into my coffee at home. Today Marley went to school so our oldest son could do a presentation for “Teach the Teachers” on White German Shepherd Dogs. I have no pictures because children swarmed us. Marley thought it was the best thing ever while I practiced deep breathing. Tomorrow that same kid goes to Akron to watch a minor league baseball game. He’s so excited he could burst. Thursday brings the Awards Ceremony and Friday is Fun Day.

AND THEN IT’S SUMMER VACATION!

Remember in past years when I was all, “blah, blah, we don’t do summer bucket lists or any bucket lists,” or something anti-whatever-is-currently-popular because I’m sometimes a jagoff? Well, this summer I want to do all of the things. My bucket list bucket is so deep I’m not sure how we’ll do all the things, but we’re gonna give it our best.

I sit on my front porch a lot lately, mainly because I planted all of the flowers, including our first every Fairy Garden which ended up in two big pots because I over-purchased. I still have a few things I want to purchase for the front porch, but it’s slowly becoming the porch I imagined when we bought the house five years ago.

Five. Years. Ago.

I’m hoping to get the new deck built by the end of summer. We’re, SURPRISE!, going on vacation with my family to the beach this summer. The boys got to go last summer while the parental units (us) stayed home and worked. Life is different now, so we get to go, but that involved moving money from our Early Summer Deck Rebuild Fund to the June Vacation Fund. The Late Summer Deck Rebuild will be just fine.

I’m back in yoga. Which means my arms and shoulders and abs and FEMURS kind of hate me. But I needed yoga in about eight different ways. A new studio opened in Zanesville, and I’ve fallen back in love with my body and the weirdly strong things it can do even though it’s been over a year since I regularly practiced yoga. I assume my arms will stop aching right about the time we go to build the new deck which will, yes, cause them to ache again.

It’s a cycle, this life.

I mentioned on Twitter (which, btw, is still alive and kicking and where you can keep up with the complete downfall of our current government) that I receieved my first rejection letter of 2017. Which means, yes, I’m writing again. It feels good. It feels right. Now is the time to do so. And so I am.

I can still do hard things.

I still have hard days, but I’m allowing them to be solitary and not take over entire weeks or months. Mother’s Day and the dreaded day before felt really hard this year for so many reasons. Then I woke up on Monday, went to yoga, and allowed myself the grace of starting again. In short: My medication, therapy, and positive affirmations seem to be working. I’ll stick with them and thank everyone and thing that brought this current state into my life—some of whom are you, so thank you.

I have pieces for this blog rattling around in my head and on various pieces of Post-Its and journal pages. They’re coming, all the words. I move a little slower with them now, think a little more, weigh the words before and as I type them, but oh, they’re there. It’s a really, really great feeling to move from black nothingness in my head to the creative space I prefer to dwell. I like it here.

All this to say: I’m here. I’m okay. I’m a blonde now. And most days, save for Hallmark holidays, I am happy.

Who would’ve thunk it?