Seven years ago this week my son was committed by us to an inpatient program for kids age 4-11 that are a harm to themselves or others. We were in fear for our 10-year-old’s life and the people around him.
Walking away from the hospital after we committed him was the absolute worst moment in my life that also represented the best moment because it meant the beginning of stability for our son. The doctor we found there – by chance – was the right doctor because he focused on our son being functional in the world. He was focused on meds that would help him participate in life through school and friends and activities. That appropriate treatment lead to a young boy working his way out of depression and suicidal thoughts and actions and to a young man who is happily a junior in high school, a volunteer job and figuring out what his future plans are to support himself.
He’s doing amazingly well at living life. If there are bad times ahead and he is no longer stable I hope he has enough years of stability behind him to know that stability is possible and life can be better and even good if he keeps doing what he is doing. I don’t ever want him to lose sight of the fact that he’s a survivor.
This is a strange year for me and this anniversary. It feels odd to mark it, to celebrate it because my head is so consumed with other issues. I know the political climate is certainly a trigger for worry and stress but that has been there for almost twenty years for as our son is approaching adulthood, so why the worry this year in particular? It’s rough out there contemplating a culture in which your kids aren’t valued because they are considered in a vulnerable population and my attention has turned away from celebrating him and what he’s survived and endured.
His life, his ability to do well in school, be an engaged member of that community with responsibilities some adults do not have, reminds me that surviving trauma is possible. Things may look bleak, obstacles may seem impossible to get through, yet, it’s possible to thrive, and my son is proof.
It makes me think of friends having difficult issues with their children, it makes me think of difficult issues I have personally had to deal with surrounding some trauma I experienced a couple of years ago and it makes me think of what some of us are going through watching what is happening to our country. I believe we are seeing it dismantled. Some people are finding it hard to believe we have a leader for “all people” with the choices that are being handed out and throughout the current political climate. I said a lot of things to him during those dark, dark times that apply to my world today. The words from those horrific days of pulling knives out of my son’s hands, taking away ropes that he put around his neck and holding him in a restraint hold while we were both weeping…
“We can do this. We will survive this. We have each other. We will find a way to survive this. We will never, ever give up on you. We will find something to ease your pain. We will find something to help and we will keep fighting until…”
Six Years Out
Five Years Out
Four Years Out
One Year Out
On this Day of Suicide Prevention, I remember
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