By now, we’re all familiar with losing someone we love. Someone we had classes with, walked next to in the halls, went to school dances with, hugged for the last time, heard laugh for the last time. It wrecks your heart, doesn’t it? Knowing you’ll never listen to them talk again, hear what’s on their mind, have a laugh with. It stabs you in a tender place you almost didn’t know you have.
Humans who kill themselves at such a young age will never feel the relief of putting their high school years behind them. That, in it of itself is one of the best feelings in the world – the release of a 7 class day, ridiculous tests, petty drama, forced conversation. They’ll never get accepted into college, pursue a career they’re excited about, fall in deep deep love with an incredible person, watch their love walk down the aisle/ be waiting at the end of the aisle for them. They’ll never go through a mid-20’s life crisis, buy their dream car, have their own children, watch their kids develop into unbelievably complex, hilarious, sweet humans. Humans who kill themselves don’t see that, though. They see exactly what’s in front of them.
High school sucks. There’s no denying that. But there is more, guys. High school is just four complicated years of growing and blooming into more mature, thoughtful, yet still confused older people.
If you come from a wrecked home where you don’t feel accepted, loved, or cared for – know that despite what’s happening at home, there are people who will love you. You are capable of being loved, you will be loved. You are loved. You’ve been loved since before you were born. Our Father, Who created you is love. You are His creation and His love isn’t human. It’s unexplainable, but it’s real. Reach out to Him. You don’t have to know what you’re doing, you don’t have to know what to say. Just talk out loud like you’re talking to a friend.
Losing a friend is unforgettably painful. The suddenness of it is striking. Be there for each other, ok? Let each other know you care about each other and that despite all the hopelessness, there is a future where you’re happy and feel loved.
I know a lot of you have been reaching out to the students. Believe me, it does wonders. But there’s going to be some kids who seem fine but aren’t going to talk about what they’re feeling. That’s who I was. I convinced myself I was fine ’till it was almost too late. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want anyone praying for me or talking to me or telling me one day it’s gonna be ok. I didn’t want to go to therapy and listen to someone try to help me.
One of the best things my parents did for me was not pry. They didn’t know the extent of my depression, but when they found the cuts on my wrist, they scheduled me therapy sessions and when I told them I didn’t want therapy, they didn’t schedule me any more sessions. What I wanted to know is that despite my flaws, they were gonna be there for me. They didn’t really have a sit down with me and try to figure out what was wrong. What they did was provide themselves for comfort when I needed them. I talked the people I felt would tell me what I wanted/ needed to hear.
A lot of kids don’t have parents like mine. I know that if my parents had tried to do everything to figure out what was wrong, I would have felt invaded and forced to have a conversation I didn’t want to have. Depression is tricky because you’ve already emotionally separated yourself from everyone and anyone who tries to force their way in seems like a trespasser.
Let your kids know that you love them. But it has to be from a sincere heart – that you’re truly telling them you love them because that’s all you want them to know, not because you’re hoping they’ll open up to you. You might not be the person they open up with and I know that’s hard – that all you want to do is be the one they go to. Sometimes parents are too close to home. Sometimes we need to talk to someone who’s a little separated from us.
So coming from a young person who’s been through this, in every situation, provide a tender heart, a hopeful answer, a comforting hand. If your child fails a test and doesn’t seem to care, ensure them they’re still worthy of your love and while there’s tremendous value in doing academically well, it’s not anything that makes up a single drop of their worth. If they lash out and say unkind words, soften your heart, take a breath, and yes, absolutely let them know they have no right to speak to you like that, but understand that high school is hard. It’s mentally, emotionally, spiritually stressful. As students, they are going through far more than they talk about. And that’s when they have to know despite all their messed up thinking, there is a person who’s going to love them unconditionally.