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Posts Tagged ‘Jamie Hubley

Brenden Robert Lumley, 16: Depression, “…the worst bully…” Claims his Life

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Every time I learn about another teen suicide, it wrenches my heart.  Sometimes, I even get overwhelmed writing about them.  And, sometimes, I just cry.  That was the case as I read about Brenden Lumley’s suicide, which occurred on December 9th, read over some of the information, and looked at some of the pictures that his loyal and devoted friends and family are posting on the facebook memorial page that has been set up, by them, in his honor.  Nothing, though, moved me more than a letter Brenden’s mother, Sherry, wrote to the assembled group of friends and family.  She spoke openly and honestly about the wonderful 16 years she was able to spend with her son and how incredible of a young person he was; she spoke of the “bully” that claimed his life; and, she passionately reached out to other young people who may be dealing with depression, as well.  And, she made me cry. Brendan

Thank you everyone for joining this group, in support of the most amazing person that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing….my son….my life….Brenden (Boo) Lumley.  What strikes everyone the most when they think about Brenden is his amazing smile, his laugh and what a great loyal, honest and trustworthy friend he was.  I know he will be missed by so many, and I really feel that he would want me to share a few things with all of you…his family…his friends…and anyone who has been affected by this tragedy.  Most important, Brenden never meant to hurt anyone; he just could not deal with the pain and the rage that tormented him inside.  He did have so many loyal friends, and he had his big brother who always tried to protect him and guide him.  And, of course he always knew that he had me, his mommy, and he knew that I loved him more than life!!  But, where he got stuck was not wanting to bother any of us with his pain, he didn’t want to put that weight on us, even though we tried so many times to encourage him to let us in,  But, he did not want us to hurt the way that he hurt, so he trapped it inside.

Depression robs us all of any peaceful thoughts…it allows u to believe horrible things about yourself and eventually if you allow it to….it will close of any light in your life until we feel so alone that you feel like there is no other choice!!!  That is simply not true at all!!!  It is worse than any other disease because it can only be diagnosed by your heart, and the only cure is for you to be humble enough to accept the help from the ones that love you…which is very hard for some people to do.  Brenden thought it was impossible.  Depression is the worst bully and one that we cannot just lock up in jail and throw away the key!!!

Please know from me personally some of the pain and effects of suicide.  Brenden left behind a brother who feels like he couldn’t protect him, a step brother who feels lost without him.  Two sisters that are scared to walk freely in our home because of the terror that we all still feel from what we witnessed that night!!  A mommy and dad that feels so much guilt, so much loss, broken hearts and the most unimaginable pain every moment of every day!!  We are frozen in time, and our world will NEVER be the same!!  It will take years for us to rebuild this home again and to fill it with peace, happiness and love again!  Please honour Brenden’s name and stand up against depression, please talk to the people who love you…believe me…you are not alone even…but depression will tell you otherwise!  I promise right now that if anyone ever feels alone, I WILL be your friend.  I CAN help you.  I WANT to help you.  I WILL find someone to help you!  Brenden would not want any other family to go through this pain and what we have been through.  Don’t be scared…don’t be too proud…seek out the ones that love you, they want to help you….and if you really don’t think you can find anyone…I AM HERE.  I was here for my Boo, but he could not take my hand.  Please don’t make that same mistake.

Thank you all again for your love and support.

Sherry Ayres….mommy of Brenden (Boo) Lumley and siblings…..suicide survivor…friendBrendan-Lumley-213x300

With bullying and the terrible effects it’s having in school and online today, there’s a tendency to overlook the fact that not all teen suicides are a result of bullying.  Although there are no “official” statistics, due in part to the fact that bully-related suicides are enormously downplayed, depression plays a major role in many, if not the majority, of teen suicides.  It was depression that claimed Jamie Hubley’s life.  It was depression that claimed EricJames Borges’ life.  It was depression that claimed Brenden Lumley’s life.  There are more…many, many more.

Brenden was surrounded by an overwhelming amount of love and support.  The depression lied to him an convinced him otherwise.  That’s a common trait with that disease.  I was told by one of Jamie Hubley’s family members that he, too, was completely surrounded by lots of love and support.  I know that to be true.  Like Brenden, he couldn’t see it.  The depression wouldn’t allow him to.

It’s time that we, as a people, remove the stigmatism of mental illnesses, depression in particular.  As we’re seeing over and over, depression can be deadly.  If we’re truly concerned about changing this climate of young people feeling so alone and hopeless that they fell ending their lives is the only way out, it’s imperative that we begin to put into place mechanisms for them to better deal with their depression.  Whatever it takes.  Whatever will spare another family from having to go through what Brenden’s is going through right now.

Rest in peace, Brenden.  You were loved, and are missed, by many.faces of Brendan

***IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ARE STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION, TALK TO SOMEONE!!!***

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

BEFRIENDERS

FIND OUT IF YOU SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION(then seek help!)

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: the blog page

Andrew Mulville, 17, Death by Suicide

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On Thursday, March 22nd, 17-year-old Andrew Mulville ended his life.  According to the news releases following the event, he wrapped himself in a blanket and stood in oncoming traffic.  A horrific way to go, but a very graphic illustration of how serious the issue of depression can be.  I long ago got away from describing the actual suicide event for fear of influencing others:  copycats.  However, in this case, the graphic description was already provided in the local news.  Besides that, there’s also more to that, which I’ll get to momentarily.

Whereas Andrew’s suicide was from the previous school year, needless to say it’s still very raw to Andrew’s family.  Losing your teenaged son to suicide is traumatic enough.  The healing period can be years…if ever.   In far too many cases, and this one in particular, some of the details of the event, what led up to it, and the handling of its aftermath only makes matters tremendously worse for the grieving family.

  • The issue of bullying.  For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, bullying is looked upon and dealt with in such an ineffective manner, it’s as if people who bully are given carte blanche to simply continue business-as-usual.  In this case, the bullying came from ADULTS!  Parents from his high school were lobbying to have him expelled from his school.  His infraction?  Cheering for another school’s sports team.  These parents were calling the school, demanding that he be expelled.  He only learned of it by word-of-mouth from other students.
  • The issue of depression and mental health.  In many cases where bullying is the suspected culprit that pushed a person over the line to suicide, typically there are other, underlying mental health issues involved.  In many cases, it’s depression.  I’ve talked to several different families of these young victims who told me that, whereas bullying was a factor (to whatever degree), the depression had become so severe that the victim had reached their point of no return.  That was the case with Jamie Hubley.  That was the case with Andrew Mulville.  The problem is mental health issues are not properly addressed in schools, and in our society in general.

It’s proving to be an endless task of trying to temper the bullying that we’re seeing amongst school-aged children today.  However, when it’s the adults, PARENTS!, who are leading the charge, that task becomes next-to-impossible to meet.  The idea that adults, with children in the same school, would launch such an attack on one of their children’s peers is beyond reprehensible.  Their actions led to Andrew’s being egged, his car being vandalized, and even his younger brother being bullied.  I’ve said many times in this blog that in order to efficiently address the bullying problem we’re seeing in today’s schools, we have to first address the adults/parents.  It starts at home.  And, here is as clear-cut of a case as there ever will be.

When asked what she would like to see happen in response to her son’s suicide, Andrew’s mother had this to say:

Mental health education focused on with curriculum that is in-depth and age appropriate to age level…I want polices at schools as to how they address these situations. Some are left to handle it the way they see fit. I want mental health parity, don’t honor some and not others. Give kids more of a voice in the process.

That would be a great place to start.  Removing the stigma of mental health issues and addressing them honestly and effective will save lives.  Period.  As for the bullying, it cannot be stressed enough that we will continue to spin our wheel and, in the process, lose young people to bully-related suicides, until it is addressed honestly, seriously, and realistically with the adults.  The parents.  The major influences in these young people’s lives.  Says Andrew’s grieving father:

…Look at the kids. They’re reaching out to us, and we owe them more than what we’re giving them.”

Exactly how many more self-induced deaths will it take for people to realize this simple truth.

Sorry we, as a society, failed you, Andrew.  To the family of Andrew Mulville, I extend my most sincere condolences.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Lifeline

Enough is Enough: the blog page

Depression Warning Signs

 

Memorial Day and Remembering

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The Memorial Day holiday is meant to reflect upon and honor those brave young men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our country.  That’s not to be taken lightly.  Whereas we here in America still have fight amongst ourselves for freedoms that are supposedly guaranteed to us, if we didn’t have these brave warriors fighting for us on the international stage, we wouldn’t even have the freedoms that we do enjoy.

The Memorial Day holiday, for me at least, is also a time to reflect upon the far-too-many young lives we’ve lost in another war.  A war that’s still raging.  The war against our teens, and especially our LGBT teens.  Whether it’s because of suicide or from violence against them, whether they’re straight or LGBT, or even perceived as LGBT, the loss of life of a young person to this war is a blackeye on the face of our society.
This is a senseless, and needless, war, to be sure.  It’s a war that could end on a dime if the ones waging the war would simple learn acceptance rather than hatred and intolerance.  The losses continue at a staggering pace, and little more than lip service seems to be going on to prevent it from reoccurring.  That makes this a very deadly and dangerous war, indeed.
I remember as far back as my first year out of high school.  That was the very first time I encountered a teen suicide.  He was an underclassman, sophomore if my memory serves me right.  I didn’t know him, personally.  However, a lot of my friends did.  I saw the devastating effect it had on them.  I went to the wake with them.  The devastation on his parents’ faces is permanently etched into my mind.  That event changed me forever.
I remember back to my own failed suicide attempt(s).  I remember waking up in ICU and looking at the board that displayed the names of the people in my particular ward.  There were two of us.  When I saw the second name, I had to do a double take.  Iknew that name.  My mind raced, even through the grogginess of the anesthesia.  I glanced over to the person in the other bed, and sure enough, it was who I thought it was.  I’d known him when he was younger: 13-14.  He was my best friend’s neighbor and friends with my best friend’s younger brother.  And, he was very obviously gay.  It exuded from him, even as a young teen.  Now, he was 19.  I worked up the energy to ask him, with alarm, “what are you doing here!?”  His response gave me chills.

“I’m here for the same reason you’re here:  I tried to kill myself.”

Even as I lied in a hospital bed recovering from my own failed suicide attempt, I was heartbroken that this young man had found life as a young LGBT teen so unbearable that he thought suicide was the only way out.  I prodded for more of an explanation.  I revealed to him that I knew when he was 13 that he was gay.  He revealed that he realized it when he was even younger.  He obliged my prodding.

“My whole family disowned me when I finally came out of the closet.  My dad said he wished I was dead.  I just couldn’t handle it anymore.  I’m only 19!!, and I have no family!”

I cried with him.  And, it was there that the seeds were sown for doing something to make a difference.  Nobody should have to go through what he was going through.  No young person should have to feel that death was better than dealing with the negativity that is cast upon being gay or lesbian.

I remember, even at an earlier age, having a friend who was slightly younger than myself.  He was very flamboyantly gay, which was a white elephant back in that day.  I remember a phone conversation where he revealed to me his inner feelings:

If I could take a ‘straight pill’ tomorrow, I would.  Being gay is just too hard.  I’m tired of being shit on everyday.  My dad acts like I don’t even exist!

Sadly, neither of them are with us today.

Today, while we remember those brave young men and women who put on military uniforms and go to combat and paid the ultimate price for our nation’s freedom, let’s also remember the brave young men and women who put on their own “uniforms” and go to battle daily against a society that routinely engages them in a different kind of battle.  Different, but no less volatile.

Today, we remember the hoards of young people who have lost their lives simply because a society can’t find it in their hearts to accept rather than hate.  Whether their demise came from their own hands, or at the hands of someone, the result is the same:  they are all casualties of a war that should not even be being fought.

To the young men and women who gave their lives protecting our country, thank you.  We honor you today and everyday.

To the young people who’s lives were cut short because of a society that made your lives unbearable, thank you for touching our lives.  We love, honor, and miss you today and every single day.

More on Kenny Wolf

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Every teen suicide is hard to take.  Each time I write about another one, it takes another piece of my own soul.  And, there are some that I take very, very hard.  Jamie Hubley, for example, hit me like the ton of bricks.  To be sure, it was his suicide in October that led me to embark upon this campaign to make a change.  Kenny Wolf’s recent suicide hit me as hard, if not harder.  He was right here in my back yard, right there from my old neighborhood.  I know it’s counterproductive to blame myself at all, but I can’t help but wonder…with me doing this right here in Maryland, why wasn’t this blog or the facebook blog page reaching him?  And, if it was, what could I have done differently with it to prevent this from happening?

Second-guessing aside, I have some vital updates about Kenny.  Firstly, all reports of age were wrong:  Kenny wasn’t 17, as originally reported, nor even 16 as it was later reported.  Kenny was just 14 years old.  Secondly, his event wasn’t Thursday, the 5th.  It happened Friday, the 6th.  Thirdly, I have a link for those who would like to leave their personal condolences for the family and friends.  It goes without saying that this is an extraordinarily tough period for Kenny’s family and friends.  Indeed, for the entire community.  Letting them know that there are those of us around the world who are mourning Kenny right along with them will, I’m sure, help with their healing process.

Lastly, I can’t stress enough that if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, or any mental issues, bullying, and/or suicidal ideations, please, please, please reach out!!  There are many people, professional and non-professional alike, ready to reach back.

Suicide Support

STOP Teenage Suicide

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Befrienders

With this tragic event being right here in my backyard, I’m redoubling my efforts to reach out and bring this epidemic to an abrupt end.  Sadly, of course, it’s not going to bring Kenny back.  Or, any of the other teens who ended their lives far too soon.  But, it will, hopefully, prevent another family from having to go through what Kenny’s is going through right now.  That’s my promise.

Written by Ron Kemp

April 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

Historic Moment

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While we’re enjoying a moment of relative calm, and I’m knocking on wood as I say that, I figured this is a good time to do a little reflecting.  And, sharing.

We’re in a time period right here and now that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a much younger man.  I’ve always said that the only way things were ever going to change would be for every gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trangender person to come out of the closet and make themselves known.  That day is here.  We’re coming out at the workplace; we’re coming out in middle and high school.  And, our voices are resonating around the globe.  It’s a beautiful day.

Of course, it isn’t coming without resistance from “the other side”.  That just means that we’re doing something right!  We’re standing up and telling the world that we are no less equal than anyone else.  And, it’s scaring the hell out of “them”.  That’s fine.  Change scares people.

And, of course, there’s still a lot of work to be done.  The issue of bullying and LGBT teen suicide is a black eye on the face of this, the new Civil Rights movement.  Slowly but surely, as more and more people are standing up to be counted, changes are being made even on that sore spot.  In some cases, sadly, the change isn’t coming fast enough.

We’re at an exciting time in our history.  Not just LGBT history!  History, period!!  Within the next 10-15 years, marriage equality will be the norm.  The LGBT teen suicide will be next-to-nil because the changing environment will no longer tell them that they’re freaks, sick, or damaged.  It will embrace them.  At the very least, it will accept them.  What a major boost to their collective self-esteem that will be.  We’re on the forefront of that movement right here, right now.  And, years down the road, people will look back upon this time as the turning point, the point in time where we stood up and told the world ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and made them listen.  And, there will be names that will stand out.

Kevin “Kel” O’Neil has created a monster of a facebook community, and website, that is truly changing and saving lives!

Lyndsay Winegarden created a safe haven for at-risk teens in her effort to STOP Teenage Suicide.  That’s no small feat.

Charity Smith created a forum for people to come out anonymously.  How huge is that!?  That’s a major step for many people.

When Jamie Hubley committed suicide in October 2011, several tribute pages popped up on facebook in his honor.  One in particular, though, has morphed into the most loving and caring support community online.  People there know each other by name.  When people have struggles, there’s always, always, always people there ready to rush to their assistance.  Amazing.

Young people are coming forward bravely and very effectively and reaching out to their peers in an effort to make a difference.  Brett Simpson created a video encouraging other teens to contact him personally if they needed someone to talk to or if they were struggling.  Not satisfied with that, he turned his personal social network page into a support community AND started a second one.  The response to both has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Jonah Mowry is part of a group of teens who have decided to take the matter of bullying, as well as their future as LGBT teens, into their own hands.  They are organizing what they’re calling the Monster March Against Bullying, with the goal of having tens of thousands of teens from all over the country (world?) march with them to San Francisco’s City Hall in October.  That’s incredible stuff!

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that it was Jamie Hubley’s suicide that made me decide to roll up my sleeves and get involved in trying to make a difference.  This blog was created, and will always be written, in his honor.  He gave me my true voice.  And, since its inception on November 7th, I’ve been humbled by the response it has received.  It’s being read by hundreds, and sometimes thousands, per day.  More importantly, it’s making a difference in people’s lives.  That wouldn’t be happening, however, without every single one of you who are reading these words right now!  You read it; you respond to it by way of your comments and emails; and, you get involved when it’s called upon you to do so.  So, it’s actually YOU who are making the difference!!

Together, we are changing history!!  I’ve dreamed of this historic moment forever.

A Teen Suicide That Wasn’t

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I was trying to go to bed, actually.  I had finished up what I had to do for the night and was tired.  I rarely ever use my twitter.  For whatever reason, last night I did decide to check it to see what was going on there.  And, right before my eyes, trending at the moment was RIPMatt.  Another apparent teen suicide.  Suddenly, I was wide awake again.

I’m reading every tweet that comes along.  One after the other after another, they were wishing Matt a fond farewell.  And, they were voicing their anger at yet another teen suicide from bullying.  Another bullycide.  So, the natural thing for me to do is to start digging for more information.  I’m following links; I’m asking questions; I’m googling…anything that would shed some light on what was going on.  Nothing.  No news anywhere.  However, I know from past experiences that that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  Often times, the actual news story comes later.  There was one instance earlier in the year where my blog entry was the breaking news on a teen suicide.  Finally, I gave in to my leadened eyelids and called it a night, figuring that I’d exhausted every avenue I could think of.  “There’s bound to be more information about it when I wake up” was my thought process.  And, there was.

As it turns out, Matt is alive and well.  There’s no telling how the rumor started or what made it, at one point, the 4th highest trending story on twitter.  I didn’t ask.  What mattered most was that another teen wasn’t lost to suicide.  The page that was a RIP page when I went to bed had been converted to a community page, “Stop Bullying, End Suicide“.  The creator of the page figured that since there were already a substantial number of people there, initially to “pay tribute” to someone they thought was gone, they may as well keep the page and turn it into a a community for helping.  There are great people out there.  So, please take time out, click that link, and “like” their page.  They’re the newest members of an ever-growing army and obviously great people.

Once the dust settled and we realized that young Matt was, indeed, still very much alive and well, I took a moment (or, two) to reflect back upon what had just occurred.  There are valuable lessons to be learned from this:

  1. Spreading news about a suicide is never a good thing unless there are facts.  I don’t know how this one got started, and it doesn’t matter.  However, it’s apparent that somebody, somewhere, posted something they shouldn’t have posted.  And, it mushroomed around the globe quickly.  People were upset.  People were crying.  What happens if some young person is right there at their own breaking point when they hear something like this?  News of yet another bullycide could be just enough to push them over the edge.
  2. Whereas it’s a great thing that so many people, and from all over the world, are now aware of the great harm that bullying causes and its devastating effects, it’s also important to know that not every teen suicide is due to bullying.  Every single tweet last night was either denouncing the bullying Matt “endured” or speaking out angrily about bullying in general.  While it’s a great thing that so many people are now in tune with the dilemma and are willing to speak up about it, again it’s just as important to know that bullying isn’t always the cause.  Jamie Hubley didn’t commit suicide because he was bullied, although he had been a couple times.  He committed suicide because he suffered from depression.  So, having the facts right is important.  One guy even went as far as to name the “bully”.
  3. I must have read over 1,000 tweets last night.  The vast majority of them were issuing both mandates and pleas for the bullying to stop.  “No one deserves to be bullied like he was”.  If nothing else I say makes sense, I want this point to be crystal clear.  Talking about stopping the bullying means nothing at all without action.  I’ll never know the exact number of tweets that were sent throughout the night.  I can tell you that it was well into the thousands.  Now, ask yourself: “what would this world be like if just the people who were part of the trending last night were to each do something, just one thing!, every single day to help prevent the bullying and end the suicides?

Let your imagination run with that one for a while.  Then, realize that that’s exactly the type of effort we need to combat this.  The bright news is that out of the rubble of last night’s false alarm has come another, new battalion in the army that’s ever-forming in an effort to, indeed, Stop Bullying, End Suicide.  Give them your support as they try to grow their group.  Then, roll up your sleeves.  We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Depression Kills

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With all the emphasis that’s been put on bullying and bullycide, it’s easy to lose track of the reality that those aren’t the only reasons for teen suicides.  In many cases, whereas bullying may have played a role, depression was the driving force.  Depression claimed Jamie’s life even though there had been some bullying.

While educating both students and school faculty about bullying, its effects, and how to prevent it is essential, it is equally crucial for both groups to understand the effects and symptoms of depression.  Education in both areas will definitely save lives.

My friend, Barb Hildebrand, creator of the facebook page Suicide Shatters, shared this on her site.  I think it would be a very effective tool for educating about depression.  In agreement with Barb, I believe this program should be implemented in every school across the country, and around the world.  There’s no way to have enough tools available to fight this plague of teen suicides.  That said, I strongly encourage every one to push to get this program implemented in your local schools.  If you’re parents, if you have younger siblings, if you have friends who could be at risk, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that everyone in their school is being educated about depression and how to deal with it?  I know it would certainly give me a little peace of mind.

Experts believe that approximately 1 in 8 teens suffer from depression.  That’s an alarming number!  Educating yourselves is not important:  it’s imperative.  Then, having the school’s faculty and, certainly, the teens themselves educated as well will go a very long way towards our goal of eliminating teen suicides.