Seriously, I feel like I need to say something here, but my problem is that I wonder if anything I could do or say can really end up making any difference.
Like some of you know, I’ve recently been diagnosed with adult ADHD, the predominantly inattentive type.
While searching the ADHD tag, I stumbled upon other tags, including “suicide”. So I clicked.
Let’s simply say that I wasn’t quite prepared for what I found. The number of posts from people (teenagers, mostly) wanting to die, harming themselves, looking for ways to escape the pain and the emptiness they feel, feeling worthless or unlovable, and so forth is overwhelming!
In a way, I believe that the fact that those who suffer can find other people online struggling with these issues, and hopefully feel better understood, perhaps even find ways to help each other out, is very positive.
However, there appears to be a large number of suicidal people that easily become prey to individuals that use their vulnerable state to inflict even more pain, and sometimes go as far as trying to push them over the edge.
I sincerely don’t know if they understand what they are doing? My guess is that they are deeply troubled and unhappy people themselves (wouldn’t be surprised if there were a couple of personality disorders in there) and gain some fleeting feeling of power and importance through the control and belittling of others.
“If I can prove that the other person here is the real loser, not I; and that he/she is weak enough to “give up”, then that means that I’m better and stronger than they are.”
Except, I don’t believe that suicide is a weakness or a sign that someone is a “loser”. I don’t even believe that it is selfish.
I simply see it as a sign that these people found themselves in a situation where their environment failed to meet their most basic emotional and psychological needs in order to allow the “self” to survive.
The truth is, they are probably the most unselfish people you would ever meet out there! They may have been conditioned their whole lives to exist according to other people’s expectations. They have probably been taught that love was something that they needed to win or deserve, not something that could be freely given to them.
And calling suicidal people “selfish” is once again playing on that inherent and very powerful sense of guilt that’s been implanted in their brains and their hearts by their families and their social environment.
When I look at them, when I listen to their words, I feel like they are my brothers and sisters.
What I feel for them is a great sense of love, empathy, and connectedness. And I wish that there was a way to reach out to them, and make them feel that they are truly not alone. That they are beautiful, that they have wonderful gifts to offer, that there’s nothing wrong with them, and that what they are going through is not their fault.
And if I had the chance to sit down with any of them and listen to all of their individual stories, maybe… Just maybe… I could even find ways to slowly show it to them. Help them go back to the source of “what went wrong”, and work with them in order to gradually undo or heal the damage that was done to them.
Some people suffer from depression because of a chemical imbalance in the brain, true. Simply put, the neurotransmitters aren’t doing their job. Thankfully, there are medications out there that can help restoring the balance and deal with the pain.
However, not all people who are suicidal are going through depression. And I find that, most often than not, psychosocial factors that ended up interfering with the development of their identity and self-esteem are the biggest explanation beneath their desire to die.
I read their posts, and I remember a little girl that spent a large part of her childhood, teenaged, and even early adult years feeling empty inside, and often wishing to die.
She didn’t understand why, and she felt that what she was feeling was her fault. That there was something inherently wrong with her, but she didn’t know what or why. She couldn’t figure it out.
She kept all of these feelings to herself, though. Well, except with a few very close friends that also happened to often wish they were dead. She even had a suicide pact with one of them… But thankfully, none of them followed through (I think they were both waiting for the other to make the first move).
She wasn’t even “depressed”, per say. On the outside, she appeared to be very successful and well adapted. She just felt “empty”. Like she didn’t exist. Like she didn’t belong with the rest of the world. Like there was a big black hole inside that kept threatening to swallow her up.
She lived the “perfect life” with the “perfect family” and the “perfect friends”. She was the “perfect daughter”, the “perfect student” and later the “perfect nurse”. So what was wrong?
Turns out that her main problem was her parents.
She was raised by a narcissistic, engulfing mother that used various controlling techniques to make sure that her daughter wouldn’t be able to individuate, and become fully autonomous on an emotional and psychological level. That mother allowed absolutely no boundaries between them, and used probably all of the manipulation techniques that you could think of on a daily basis.
And her father was a child-like dad, himself heavily abused and controlled by the mother, whose priority was to make sure that the mother’s needs were fulfilled at all times. Simply put, he failed to protect his child from the mother’s influence - if he saw what was happening at all, too focused on taking care of the mom.
It took “that little girl”, a.k.a. myself, a long time to understand and come to terms with the fact that my mother never loved me, and completely failed to relate to who I was as a human being. That I was brought up as a tool, with the sole purpose of fulfilling her needs. I wasn’t allowed to exist as a distinct individual at home, so it is no wonder that I felt entirely empty inside, and disconnected from life in general. I somehow managed to carry that feeling with me at school, and in other aspects of my life.
Simply put, I grew up suffocating and wanting to die, because I wasn’t allowed to be “someone” in the first place.
For the longest time, I carried within me the belief that the only way to be “worthy” of love and even “existence” was to constantly serve the needs of others and meet their expectations. Love equaled approval. As simple as that. Without people’s approval, I was “nothing”.
The reason why I’m bringing that up, is because a lot of messages that I have read from suicidal teenagers seem to deal with parental over control and abuse. Some of them even mention things along the lines of “maybe if I died, than my parents would finally care”.
So I’m going to tell you something that I wish that I would have known years ago.
If you are right, and your parents sincerely don’t care about you, then there is something deeply wrong with them. And nothing, I repeat, NOTHING you could ever say or do will ever “make them” care.
If you do kill yourself, their typical reaction will probably be to exclaim “How could he/she ever do that to me!” and play the victim, to use it as an opportunity to gain sympathy from their friends and family, instead of taking their responsibilities regarding the role that they may have played in their child’s death.
(Mind you, I’m really talking here about parents that suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder, or are chronically abusive, and thus unable to feel empathy for their children and relate to them on an emotional level)
A child has absolutely no power to make his/her parents love him/her.
If they can’t love you, if they can’t fulfill their responsibilities as parents, if they can’t provide you with the empathy and support that you need, it’s their failings, not yours.
If you try to open up to them about how you feel, and you are met with a brick wall, or these feelings are belittled or dismissed, or even ridiculed… It isn’t right. You don’t deserve this. And you did nothing, absolutely nothing wrong to have it happen to you.
Most kids will think “if my parents can’t even love me, then who could?” And that’s probably the most self-destructive false belief out there.
Your parents may lack the ability to care and to love, but there are many people out there who genuinely do. Trust me. The pain and the trauma you’ve experienced may blind you to them (and it’s perfectly normal, don’t feel guilty or wrong or abnormal for this either!), but they are out there, ready to listen and help if you reach out to them.
As for bullies, they are also trapped in their own Hell. Either they try to bring you down because they see your personal strengths, and it confronts them to their own profound sense of weakness and unworthiness. Or because the fact that you are in a vulnerable position makes it easy for them to elevate themselves by making sure that the negative attention stays on you. You are attacked because there is something authentic and genuine about you that threatens them, or simply because they need someone upon whom to dump their own pain.
Once again, the “problem” doesn’t lie with you.
So, before you resort to killing yourself, I would have a huge favor to ask of you.
Find the courage to look closely into your family dynamic, and try to find clues on how that could have ended up affecting the way that you perceive yourself, how you relate to others, and how you feel about your own place in life in general.
In order to make the process easier, find help from a qualified psychologist or psychotherapist that you feel you can trust.
If you find it too hard or confronting to go get some help, but you enjoy reading and would rather try to figure out what’s happening by yourself, then I very strongly recommend this book: http://www.amazon.com/If-You-Had-Controlling-Parents/dp/0060929324 I know that this book was written with an adult public in mind, but I believe that the explanations provided within it can also help teenagers in making sense of what’s happening to them.
Lastly, I wish that I could tell you all “If you ever need someone to talk to, please message me”. And the truth is, I wish that I could help every single person out there who has ever wished to die to better deal with their pain, retake control of their lives, and accompany them through the whole healing process that can sometimes be long and painful, but that I know can be achieved.
I’ve witnessed it both in myself, and in others.
But I know that this is a pretty unrealistic objective… If you do feel like messaging me, I will listen and do my best to answer, but I may not be the most reliable friend or resource for you that there is out there.
I am also fighting a lot of my own battles right now (besides ADHD, I also have ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, sleep paralysis, idiopathic hypersomnia, hyperinsulinism, IBS, and so forth…). So I can’t promise to always be there for you, no matter how much I would wish to.
It was nevertheless very important for me to reach out to you today in order to say that there is hope, and that there are people out there that sincerely care.
I know I do.
I wish you eventually find love and happiness in life,
And if you ever end up deciding to leave us (no matter how much I wish none of you would ever end up making that choice), I wish you peace,
Just know that you did deserve better, and that you were not weak, nor selfish.
Big hugs to you all!
X X X
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