Posts Tagged ‘Suicide’
With “bully”, “bullying”, and “bullycide” now a part of our everyday vernacular, it’s easy to lose track of the real fact that bullying isn’t the only driving force behind teen suicide. Depression, as well as other mental illnesses, also play a large roll in it. Depression, perhaps, just as much as bullying. In fact, some say that depression is the leading cause of suicides.
I received word late last week that 17-year-old Hannah Gabriel Myer ended her life on Wednesday, March 13th after a long battle with depression. The person with whom I spoke will remain anonymous, but she was a longtime friend of Hannah’s. The picture she painted of the struggles her friend endured was heartbreaking:
We lived in Colorado Springs Colorado. She loved to ski and was 6 in our league. She was a beautiful girl who didn’t like herself. Her family was very rich, and none of her parents ever paid attention to her. Her nanny always took care of her. She also had bulimia, but I was the only one who knew. She used to cut. She loved her dog so much, and she told me Spencer, the dog, would be the only reason she stayed. I have Spencer now.
Her parents weren’t around much before she died, so they have asked me a lot. Like, what would she want at her funeral. If she wanted a funeral. Her favorite song, etc. She had a 4.0 and was in 3 APs. She was basically the perfect child but was cracking under pressure and couldn’t tell anyone. I was the only one who knew, and I’ve told counselors etc. But, no one did anything. And, now she’s gone. She was just so beautiful and should never have died.
This beautiful girl had parents who didn’t know who their daughter was. I’m sure that, now that she’s gone, they regret having missed out on sharing in on more of her life. That they can no longer make amends and get to know their lovely daughter is equally as tragic as the suicide, itself. This beautiful girl had a friend, who was her de facto family, in the true sense of the word, who tried to save her friend but knew in the end that “…whatever I do was never going to be enough.” I don’t know which is more frustrating: the fact that, at least in Hannah’s mind, her parents were too busy with their own lives, or the fact that her friend tried getting her counseling but no one did anything. Either of the two is bad enough. Either of the two could be enough, on their own, to lead an already-fragile person over the edge. Together, they form a lethal combination that proved too much for Hannah Myers to overcome. Now she’s gone. Now, her parents are struggling to learn who their daughter was through her friend while coping with the devastation of losing a child. This is never easy for anyone.
For as beautiful as Hannah was, I find it haunting to see the level of obvious pain in her eyes. I wondered if that was just my imagination working after the fact. I was assured by her friend, however, that the pain I thought I saw was, in fact, very real and very visible to anyone who took the time to notice. Her response to my question of whether it was my imagination, or was I able to see the pain in her eyes was: “You can. I saw, but no one else did”.
It’s never easy to write about these teen suicides. In fact, it gets harder every time. Like most teen suicides, if not all, this could’ve so easily been avoided. Hannah Myer didn’t have to die! Once again, we see an instance where sheer negligence led to the untimely death of a young person. The attempt was made to get her some much-needed therapy and counseling by a trained professional. Nothing was done. Again. And, once again, we’re left wondering what is it going to take to get people – adults!! – to realize that we’ve got a major epidemic on our hands!? Why are so many young people dying by their own hands with nothing being done about it!? That is what’s most infuriating!! It’s almost as if the message that is being sent is that these young lives are expendable. That’s a tough pill to swallow; however, the redundancy of the situations surrounding far-too-many of these teen suicides makes it easy for one to walk away with that impression. Certainly, more can be done to prevent them from happening. Obviously, more needs to be done to prevent them from happening. As one parent of a recent suicide victim put it: “…Look at the kids. They’re reaching out to us, and we owe them more than what we’re giving them.” That, from a parent who lost a teenager to suicide. We can do more. We must do much more.
Through this blog, you, Hannah, will never be forgotten. Though most of the people who will read this never knew you, they will never forget you. Or, your smile. Or, the pain in your eyes. I hope you are now at peace.
******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES!!!!!!******************************
I am livid!!! Driving down the highway yesterday, on my way to work, I hear a story on the all-news channel in my area. Apparently, some official medical institution sounded the alarm about teen smoking. “We are currently in a teen smoking epidemic.” Wait. Did I miss something?
Since the time that I was a teen, and even pre-teen!, myself, there’s been teens smoking. Just plain fact. That doesn’t make it good. That doesn’t make it right. Smoking is, in fact, detrimental to one’s health. Cigarettes are the only consumer product that, if used as intended, will kill you. That speaks volumes of the dangers of smoking. True enough. And, teen smoking? Well, that’s surely an issue. By no means do I want to minimize the issue of teens starting to smoke cigarettes. It’s not good and, if continued, it will eventually kill them. Eventually. And, the reverse side of that is if they successfully quit smoking at some point in their lives, the dangers of smoking the known carcinogen goes away. Eventually, completely.
Teen suicides. Well, suicide is permanent. Suicide isn’t a drawn-out process that takes years and, more likely, decades to become complete. (yes, there are some who will say that smoking cigarettes is, in fact, a form of suicide. Just delayed.) And, we’re seeing teens die of suicide every single day of the year. (don’t think for a second that just because we haven’t heard of one lately that they aren’t still occurring. They are.) So, where’s the press release for that!!?? Where’s the “crisis” announcement for the issue of teen suicide!!?? Why do they find it more important to go public with a story about an issue that has been around for as long as I can remember, even longer!, and present it as a right-now epidemic!!??
In my opinion, it speaks volumes to the importance our officials are putting on the true epidemic of teen, and LGBT teen, suicides. And, that is an atrocity. At least in my eyes. Rather than devoted time, effort, and resources into an epidemic that is claiming lives right here in the here-and-now, they’re rehashing information that’s decades old and presenting it as some brand spanking new study and problem. What sense does that make? So, what do we say to the family of the next teen who commits suicide? “Sorry for your loss, but at least he didn’t smoke. That would’ve made it worse.) Is it me? Or, is there a real problem here?
Cigarette smoking is a real issue, don’t get me wrong. I know first-hand because I’ve been a smoker, myself, for almost 30 years. And, it’s always been my opinion that selling cigarettes, a product that is PROVEN will kill its users!!!, should be illegal. That will never happen, though. Political reasons. (for the fun of it, research how much money the tobacco industry gives BOTH major political parties.) However, as stated previously, teens can quit smoking, thus reversing the deadly effects of the cigarettes. Once a person has committed suicide, they’re gone. We can’t reverse death.