Suicide at 13 was no joke. But then again suicide at any age isn’t a joking matter and when I hear someone say ” I want to die” my antenna goes up. Nobody should be in that lonely place and position that they feel suicide is a better option than living. Living a fulfilled should be the only option for us all but sadly the reality of life is that suicide exists and while we battle against it the number of victims soar. Every town in Ireland has been rattled and plagued by the icy chill of suicide as young and old choose its eery call.
People whom to the outside world have it all, but what exactly is having it all? Is having it all just about having what everyone else wants or what they think makes happiness and contentment. Material goods don’t bring instant happiness, love and understanding to a person life when all they want is to be listen to, understood and to have their questions about what is a puzzle to them explained. But families now never cease to amaze me when explanations are not shared with younger members because its presumed there is no need because they won’t understand or the issues won’t have any effect on them. Untold damage can be done to our younger generations by leaving them out of the loop of family communication and presuming too much.
Never presume anything with children even when they become a teenager. By the time they are teenagers all this lack of information about what should be their family life makes them feel alien from their own family and shoves them into a spiralling downward trend. Because communication is not strong between them and their parents this affects how they communicate in the outside world. The world where they struggle to find a place to identify with others. But then again what is it they have in common with their peers when they can’t identify their own struggles.
Reaching 13 and struggling with the normal teenage anxieties plus a few other things thrown into the pot made me feel unable to cope. Coping wasn’t in my dictionary as life was a process of getting up, attending school while trying to stay out of trouble. But it seemed that no matter what I did trouble found me and it became my middle name. Trouble, with a capital T it seemed followed me around no matter how hard I tried to please. By trying to please didn’t work because I was compared to my siblings by teachers and my parents. But what wasn’t recognised back then is that each of us is unique and do everything to the best of our ability. At times I overheard conversations about me and it wasn’t exactly confidence building to hear your parents say to each other they didn’t know what to do with you.
Entering secondary school should have been exciting but it was a minefield as teachers sang the great academic achievements of your sister in 6th year not realising that you just wanted the earth to swallow you up as yet again you failed tests. All this combined with parents friends reporting your every move outside of the home and a home where nothing was explained about a parent’s mental illness. An illness which shrouded the home like and invisible mist but which was clear enough for you to know this wasn’t normal. What was the point of continuing to struggle under this weight when you weren’t even allowed to see the one boy who you began to see just because the parents considered him too old? Being 13 really was too hard and one evening I decided to show them all that the world would be a better place without me because I just wasn’t really needed, wanted or loved and had no purpose in the great role of life. My mentally ill parent had a stash of uppers, downer and balancers which I took to ease myself out of this shocking place, this place that at 13 I considered to be the loneliest place anyone could be.
Oh gosh! I was found slumped over my books as I had tried to continue studying and very fast everything was put in place for me to be quietly taken to Wexford general hospital in my parent’s car. Hush Hush we mustn’t let the neighbours know what she’s done now. Funny enough years later at an uncle’s, funeral I discovered that my extended family hadn’t even been privy to the information of my overdose. What a strange world we live in where suicide is not talked about because of the shame, stigma and embarrassment it carries with it Let’s break the stigma of suicide and remember to tell everyone “it’s ok not to be ok”
Looking back now I see communication or lack of communication has a lot to answer for as has the way we communicate. Communication on a superficial level is fine socially at events but among family members, it’s not good enough. Family members should know each other well enough to pick up when someone is contaplating suicide or is feeling so isolatated and low that suicide might become a better option for them than life.