My heart hurts. That’s what I want to say. This past week, two stories crossed my path that broke my heart. In Texas City, Texas, an 18 year old girl killed herself in front of her family. They begged her not to do it. This young woman was a victim of cyberbullying. My heart broke. My husband told me of a young man in New Braunfels, Texas who parked his truck on the side of the highway and walked in front of a semi. He was 17 years old. I checked to make sure it was true. It was. My soul cried.
Teen suicide prevention is something near and dear to my heart, but I don't know how to help.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-19 year old. Ten years old! There is so much life to live and they leave at 10 years old. I wish I could say I don’t understand, but I do.
I've been there, in the dark, wanting the pain to go away and not caring how it it was done. I've felt so alone that I knew if I left this world no one would care, or miss me. I have sat in my room planning the deed knowing that everyone, including my family would be better off without me; my weight and depression a drain on them.
But it's not true. I have two wonderful sisters who showed me they loved me. They helped me get the assistance I needed. The deep and dark started in high school, and I have a wonderful best friend who did not abandon me like the others. We are still friends today, after mmmph years. She lives in Colorado now and although we don't talk as much as we'd like, I do know if I need her she'll hop on an airplane and be there for me.
If I had checked out like I planned, I would not have the wonderful life I have today. I have a husband who accepts me as I am. That weird, crazy, creative, me. I have two beautiful kids who are too smart for their own good. I work in a bookstore. I love books. I'm a writer. What better place to work? I play bass guitar in a band. Yes, it's the praise band at church, but it's a band. How cool is that?
Was it easy? No. Life is hard, but it is wonderful. I still have depression and anxiety. I have days where it's so hard to get out of bed, but I do. I have family and friends who love me. I see a counselor. I'm on medication. It is good. I had a pastor tell me that's why God has doctors – to help.
I have written a book titled, The Girl in the Golden Cage that deals with bullying, depression and teen suicide. It is young adult fiction. It's in the editing stage, and some days it is hard for me to work on. It brings up a lot of memories for me that I would rather not remember, but are important. The reason I wrote this book is I want teenagers, young adults, or anyone to know it gets better. I want them to know that in the scheme of their life, this time is infinitesimal. I want them to talk to their parents. If for some reason they can't, please talk to a trusted friend, teacher, anyone. You will miss something wonderful and beautiful.
My plan for this book is to donate ten percent of the royalties to help prevent teen suicide. I don't know what charity yet. I've got some research to do. This is a hard time of the year for a lot of people. Please know there is help. Please know this time is short and you can get through it. Please know you will be missed. Please stay.