If you have a young child in your life at all, whether it be your own child, a friend’s child, your grandchild, a niece or nephew, etc. you NEED to listen to this episode!
In this episode, I chat with the sweetest lady! I met Christine through her bakery in town, Sugar Bean Bakery. Unfortunately, it has since closed, but she still makes goodies from home! Lucky for us residents of Sevier County. 😉 Christine shares a very powerful story! This is one EVERY SINGLE PERSON needs to hear. She shares her own story of what it’s like to be the mother of a child who attempted suicide, as well as statistics and warning signs that her own child was showing and she didn’t even see, until it was almost too late.*
“I knew any one of these parent’s stories could have been mine.” Christine shares the powerful story of how her daughter was putting out several different signals/warning signs that she was not okay, “but when you’re in the midst of it, you don’t really see it.” Christine has an older daughter and they communicate very well. They don’t even have to say anything to know how the other is feeling. “Why would I think my second daughter was any different?” When it came to her second daughter, Jessica, Christine let her guard down a lot. Christine says she didn’t see it coming and that she didn’t pay attention to details and admits she wasn’t there to help Jessica when she needed it.
Christine shares how she thought she had the perfect life. A wonderful marriage, three beautiful children, she was finally a stay-at-home mom and was very active in her church. However, there were cracks in the foundation that were invisible, but were getting bigger and bigger by the day.
There were four things within a 4-6 month period that led to Christine’s daughter’s attempted suicide. The first was the passing of Christine’s father, whom Jessica was very close to. Next, Jessica was at a swimming party across the street from their home where she was assaulted. After the assault, kids at school, including her “friends,” started bullying her. Crack number four was them moving.
Christine thought that moving to a new city, they could leave everything behind. “But little did I know, that black cloud followed us all the way to San Francisco.” Jessica didn’t get better. They saw a new psychologist who put Jessica on Prozac and said it would help her get back to “normal.” Jessica did start to make some friends within the Young Women’s church group and seemed to be doing okay. However, she started to become more and more withdrawn. She was wearing all black from the neck down. She would come home from school, get her chores done, eat dinner with the family and then go to her room and not come out.
One night, after dinner, Jessica’s father asked her if she had taken her pill. They could tell she was on edge and acting different than normal. She stormed downstairs and slammed what Christine assumed to be her bedroom door. About 30 minutes later, Christine’s oldest daughter yelled for them to get downstairs and it turned out, Jessica had locked herself in the bathroom and was not responding. Christine’s husband broke down the door. There they saw the lifeless body of Jessica and her empty bottle of pills. They called 911, but it would take too long for them to get to their house, so Christine and her husband loaded Jessica in the car and raced her to the hospital.
After getting out of the hospital, they took her off the Prozac and began intensive therapy – both alone and as a family. Jessica was finally able to learn how to handle her depression and her family was able to learn how to help her. To Christine’s dismay, Jessica joined a SAVE club. She was thriving. She joined the swim team and won State Champ.
Listen to the full episode to hear all the details.
Some statistics that Christine shared:
-Males are more likely to take their lives than females. 77.9% of all suicides are male.
-Females are more than likely to at least think about it.
-1 in every 10 teenagers is contemplating suicide on a serious level.
-Most of the time (definitely not all of the time), teenagers will give some sort of signal or warning sign. The question is.. Did you see it?
-Surviving family members not only suffer the loss, but they themselves are at higher risk for contemplating suicide.
-Those who have a drug and/or alcohol tendency are at higher risk than someone who doesn’t.
Some symptoms/signals/warning signs that your child or loved one may begin to show:
-They begin to isolate themselves.
-They may no longer participate in activities they used to love.
-They cannot think clearly and/or become unreasonable.
-They may have changes in their personality.
-Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits.
-They may talk about suicide or death in general.
-Expressing feelings of helplessness or guilt.
-Exhibit self-destructive behavior, such as substance abusive, dangerous driving, recklessness, excessive risk taking.
-They may have changes in their personal hygiene and appearance.
-They may complain about anxiety-related physical problems, such as stomach aches, headaches, hives, fatigue, blurred vision.
-They may have difficulty accepting praise or rewards.
Side note: I’m sad I didn’t do an outro on this one! I just realized I didn’t do it, as I was editing. I try really hard not to forget. Anyway, I’d just like to thank Christine one more time for doing this episode. She really did share some amazing insights. I hope you really listen to what she has to say and think about things. Pay attention. Notice what is going on. If you feel like you or a loved one is in danger, PLEASE say something. Reach out to someone. Call the Suicide Prevention hotline – they are available 24/7. Talk to someone you trust. Help is available and waiting for you.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
-When your kids and their friends hang out at your house, take a good hard look at them. Talk to them and let them know you’re available if they need to talk.
-If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, continue to reach out. Even though time has passed and it seems like everyone has “moved on,” their loss and pain is still there.
-Each child is different. Everyone communicates differently. It’s important to know how to communicate with each of your children in their own way.
-Put your phone down in front of your children.
-It’s not normal to feel nothing. To literally feel no emotion is not normal.
-Talk with your children and build a trustworthy relationship with them before they are teenagers.
-Nurture your child’s strengths and help them with their weaknesses.
LINKS TO THINGS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
-If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, please reach out to someone! You can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at any time.
-One thing Christine never leaves the house without: her headset.
-Christine’s song recommendations: Carrying Your Love with Me by George Strait and You Say by Lauren Daigle (listen on the Hard Knocks guest list on Spotify).
-Christine’s favorite book: A Tale of Two Cities.
“Normal is just a setting on the washing machine.”
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