The most difficult topic we need to discuss
Content warning: This story involves discussion of suicide in minors.
There was a time long ago and far away when I didn’t have children. Even all the way back then, I could empathize with parents.
I remember one time when I was on a charity sports team and one of our Honorees’ parents came to speak to the team. I was maybe 24. I knew I’d have children one day, but they weren’t even in my five-year plan quite yet.
But these people had a one-year-old with cancer. They had a one-year-old who had been through cancer treatment. They had a one-year-old who they could have lost. Who they still could lose. I just couldn’t imagine it. I had to wipe away tears during that presentation.
I’ve always been especially sensitive when it comes to parents losing a child. When I heard, around the same time, of a couple who had lost their pre-teen daughter to suicide, I was absolutely beside myself. And every time a hear about a young person committing suicide I feel the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
In my Invisible Illness column, I talk about some pretty heavy stuff. My first story in II, in fact, was about my daughter’s mental illness, and it was heart-wrenching to write. But talking about the abject fear that a child’s mental illness could cause them to do something that can’t be taken back is a whole new kind of terrible. It feels awful, but I think it also needs to be said. Ignoring mental illnesses and their consequences doesn’t, after all, make them go away.
I’ve been shying away from it, but I’ve finally written it. You can check out the draft here. I’d love to know what you think.
This month’s Q&A for Inside-Access Patrons will probably need to be asynchronous due to the ridiculousness that has become my entire life. I’ll post it Monday and try to be online for an hour or so from 11-12 EST, but I’ll come back to it a few times during the week as well. Looking forward to seeing you there!