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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Terrifying Moments in Parenting

I know that I"m not a parent... believe me, I'm aware of that fact everyday.

Each day I sit and hope that soon I will have the joy of bringing a child into the world. Each day I hope that I will see the wonderment of learning a new thing about the world in my child's eyes. Each day I hope that I will get the opportunity to watch my child and grow and develop into a little person. Each day I hope I will get the chance to talk my child out of suicide??? No, not really. Not at all.

This is the scary reality of parenting. I hope that I never have to face that little piece of "fun" in the world of parenting.

Why write about this? Because a very close friend of mine is dealing with this very issue right now.

It pains me to know that my friend is dealing with a child who wants to end her life. The very life that I ache to create everyday, my friend's daughter wants to end. Why?

Teen years are horrible. Hormones, hormones, hormones. Peer pressure, changing society, and sex. Yes, sex. The pressures are ridiculous and kids don't know how to deal with it.

Here are the basics of the story...

My friend, Susan*, has a 13-year-old daughter, Danielle. I noticed on Facebook the other night that Danielle had posted something like 'have you ever done anything really stupid and wish you could change it because you hurt someone that you cared about? I'm sorry... you know who you are'. This was followed by a response by Danielle's friend Amanda. Amanda said 'i don't forgive you. I would, but you flirted back with him and took off your shirt, so I don't'. Moments later, Danielle had deleted the whole situation from her FB. In that short 5 minutes however, I got smart and took a screen capture. I printed it with the intention of giving the copy to Susan.

I was supposed to spend today with Susan. We are still going to go and hang out, but our day will involve constant check-ins with Danielle. I called Susan last night to see if she needed to cancel. She was having chest pains and losing it. We talked for about 30 minutes about the situation. She told me more. As in, Danielle and Amanda had gotten into a fight, Amanda had dragged Danielle to a boy's house with her and a game of truth-or-dare started up. Amanda was the one who dared Danielle to take off her shirt, and when she did it, Amanda became incensed. Apparently all this crap on FB was followed up by Danielle sending text messages to other girls telling lies about Amanda. I must say that these were lies that Amanda herself was trying to make people believe, but when Danielle told them, Amanda was angry.

So, Danielle is now dreading going back to school and wants to end her life. She has asked other kids to bring a gun to school to end it for her. She has threatened to use a knife. She has threatened pills. Do I think that she's serious? Not really. I think that she THINKS she wants to die, but she has threatened this every other time things have started to get rough. The girl is very dramatic. Do I think that the threats should be ignored... NO. Suicide threats should never be ignored. It's the fact that Danielle keeps changing her method that makes me think that she's not really serious. Is she humiliated? yup. Is she terrified to go back to school? you bet. Is she really going to kill herself? I don't think so. She's not committed to the idea enough... yet.

How do I know? How can I be sure? Well, when I was ready to end it all I knew just how and when it was going to happen. I didn't flounder around. I had a plan.

I have had some very dark days in my past... very dark days. I want to say that those are all past me, but I can't say for certain that they are. I will say that the last year has not produced any days that came within a mile of my dark days, and for that I'm thankful. I have supportive friends, a great job (now), wonderful family, and a life that's getting close to perfect (if we could just solve this infertility thing that keeps popping up). But that wasn't always the case.

In my darkest days as a teen, I contemplated suicide. I won't tell the whole story of why now - it is a very long story - but suffice to say, I was depressed and felt alone. I felt like I had no other options... nowhere to turn. One day after school, when I was about 15, I came home and downed a whole bottle of Tylenol with codeine (I had gotten them for my wisdom teeth extractions). I laid on my bed, hugged my old teddy bear, and started to fall asleep. Then it hit me... my parents would find me there. They would see me. They would have to deal with all the fallout. I had a major sense of guilt and couldn't go through with it. I stumbled to the bathroom and threw up. I spent the next six hours drinking coffee and trying everything to stay awake. Obviously it worked. The next day I went to school like nothing had happened. I never told my parents about this, and I never will. They don't need the guilt or pain of knowing that I was that close to the end.

I am thankful that Danielle feels that she can confide in her mother. And that she feels comfortable confiding in me about all of this. I'm so thankful that I don't see in her the same signs I saw in myself when I look back. I am so thankful that I didn't just close my eyes that day. I'm just thankful that when I think about myself as a parent, that I think that I will have the tools that I need to recognize that darkness in my child. I think that I will have the tools to help my child through the darkness.

I hope that I never have to find out that horrible part of parenting... I hope.

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