I received a disturbing note from an old friend today. The child of a mutual friend of ours had attempted suicide. I don’t have a lot of details other than the child is recovering from this unfortunate act and the family is still trying to get a full understanding on the reason.
The news of anyone trying to commit suicide, especially a child, is disturbing enough. But see, this was the third young person I knew of who had attempted suicide in as many weeks. Unfortunately, the other two were “successful” in their attempts..
It is so saddening to think what could have possible been going through these kids head to want to give it all up. In a way, I can empathize with them. I was diagnosed as being clinically depressed 18 months ago.
My depression had been going on long before I was diagnosed and the damage it caused in my personal and professional life was/is significant. But that is all for another time. What I want to convey here is how desperate these teens must have felt that they would take their own lives.
Even though I suffer from depression, any thoughts of suicide that I have had have been just that, thoughts. I have never had the urge to act on it even though I have thought of several ways to do it. There are times when life becomes so unbearable that I wish I could just die. But I would never do it via suicide.
All I can think about with these teenagers is that their choice to commit suicide and to follow through with it could have been stopped if they were more mature. I am NOT suggesting they were childish in their behavior, but rather that they did not possess the life experiences and maturity that comes with age to think about the full consequences of their actions. I know that this is a very large part of what stops me when I get those thoughts.
What is it that would drive a child to have grown up fears, and pressures which they can not handle?
Are we putting too much pressure on kids to grow up too soon? With the things on the Internet like YouTube and various explicit websites and the type of television programming out there, are we exposing our kids to too many adult type issues which can only be fully understood or appreciated with age? Is this part of the cause of teen suicide?
I am not blaming the Internet or YouTube or television. I am questioning the content that we allow our children to access. It is not the technology , it is the message that I wonder which might be too much for a young developing mind to handle.
I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. I wish I did.