A hurricane turns into a super-storm. Fear. Anxiety. Devastation. Destruction. Lives are changed forever.
Life is full of storms. Some do more damage than others.
As I have watched my daughter struggle with addictions, depression and self-harm it has often felt like watching an approaching hurricane. Finding bloody tissues in her trash can. Suspecting she was hiding something from me when she would come in past her curfew. Smelling cigarette smoke on her clothes.
I know trouble is coming but I am powerless to stop it. I am aware of the danger, but there is only so much I can do. I am powerless. When she was under eighteen I could do more to try and help her. But once she was an adult things changed.
I can only do the best I can to take care of myself and be prepared for what may come.
I remember when I felt very discouraged and depressed about my addict daughter. I was wilting from the strain of her destructive choices and behaviors. I felt like I was stuck in a drought, languishing in a heat wave with no end in sight. Is the heat chipping away at your confidence and trust, causing you to give in to worry and fear for your child? Do you wonder if they will ever be okay? Have you lost count how many times they’ve been arrested, gone to rehab or relapsed? Have you forgotten how many times they’ve been hospitalized or Baker Acted? So many arguments. So much chaos. Their lives appear to be drying up and fading away.
It may feel like yours is, too.
Music has always been an important part of my life. I was a music major my first two years of college and have enjoyed the flute for most of my life. Music is also an important part of the lives of a couple of my family members. My dad and one of my daughters, Renee. My dad was a band director for over 35 years. (He passed away this year at 92!) My daughter is a song writer and singer. She seems to have inherited her grandpa’s music gene.
I have found music to be a powerful force. When I’m sad or worried it soothes me. When I need to, it helps me cry. When I have been depressed it uplifts me. Other types make me smile and laugh. I have even found music could heal my heart when it has been broken. Through music I also worship my Creator. What a gift. I can’t imagine my life without the beauty and comfort it has brought me.
Today I thought I would share with you a song my daughter, Renee, wrote. It’s called, The Nothing.
There’s something very special about the songs she writes. They speak of her journey and her story. Some of the words are quite profound, the melodies and harmonies uplifting.
This is the story of a suicide survivor. I watched it the other night and it was so moving. I just had to share it. It gave me a lot of hope.
It could be your son or daughter. An adolescent from a loving, involved family. Depression. Alcohol. Discouragement. Feelings of hopelessness.
His parents offered help. They took him to counseling. but he wouldn’t talk. Refused to open up. Thought it wouldn’t do any good. Sound familiar?
Then the unthinkable happened. Confronted with his alcohol use he attempted to end his life. What happened next is truly remarkable. A miracle.
Has your son or daughter expressed thoughts of suicide on their social media sites? Have you discovered email messages or texts that cause you to think they want to end their life? They may use any form of social media to do this such as – Facebook, twitter, email, tumbler, or even as a Youtube video. According to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline these are a few of the warning signs to look for in their writings:
- Writing about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
- Writing about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Writing about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Writing about being a burden to others.
- Writing about seeking revenge.
- Click here to go to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline’s website to see more information and resources on this subject. Go “like” their facebook page, too!
If you have made this discovery about your child you now have another problem . . . fear. In the past I have found fear about my child’s welfare to be a constant unwelcomed guest. It harasses me during the day and hounds me in my sleep at night.
The fear of suicide is the biggest fear you could have for your child. What could be worse? It’s like having a hideous monster under your bed or in your closet. It’s an immobilizing sense of dread. It’s the nightmare you can’t get over that feels so real after you wake up. It’s the shadow lurking behind every corner; the crazy cat hiding in the bushes for the right moment to jump out, scaring the ba-jeebers (is that a real word?) out of you.
But as the responsible parent you can’t let this awful fear stop you from taking action. You have to do something to try and save their life. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recommends you report it if you see this kind of content on anyone’s social media site. But this is your child we are talking about, so you what do you do?
Here are a few ideas . . .
Has your child told you they are gay? Are you still in shock? Are you wondering how this could happen to your son or daughter? Is it causing you much pain and heartache? Are you wondering what to do, how to respond? Do you feel the need for more understanding and guidance? How would you like to hear from a former lesbian who wants to encourage parents just like you?
These are insights a former Lesbian (for 23 years) shared with a support group my husband and I lead for hurting parents. Her words were so encouraging and helpful. Her goal? To give parents a new sense of hope.
S.O.S. It is a well-known universal plea for help, a distress signal. Do you know what those three words stand for? I didn’t. I had to look it up. It means Save Our Ship! As a parent I equate my “ship” with my “family”. As desperate parents whose children are involved in all kinds of destructive choices and behaviors or who suffer from mental illness that seems to be destroying their lives, we have sent out S.O.S. messages. Some of us have sent out many pleas for help.
Our message? Won’t someone please come and save my ship? I think I’m sinking! Maybe yours feels like the Titanic story. You thought all was well, then you struck an iceberg. You knew you were in potentially dangerous waters, but you believed all would be well. Then it happened and now your ship has been ripped open. You’re taking on sea water. You may be a Christian. Jesus is on the ship with you, but he seems to be sound asleep, unaware of your desperate need.
My daughter has suffered for a long time now with drug and alcohol addiction, self harm, mental illness (depression/bipolar disorder) and the long-lasting effects of being raped. For years my hope has been that she would one day be healed – physically, emotionally and spiritually. That she would “recover” and be whole – – no longer controlled and effected by all of these things. At times I have seen great progress and answers to my prayers, then at other times she regresses and I do, too. It’s a 3 steps forward, 2 steps backward situation . . . over and over again. You may know exactly what I am talking about.
Then there are the times of waiting. Deep, dark valleys of waiting, hoping and longing. When I am in that hard place, everything begins to look bleak. Glimmers of hope flicker like a weak candle’s flame. My heart rises with anticipation, only to fall again . . . it’s a wearisome rollercoaster ride. Have you been on it, too?
While having these hopes is not a bad thing, I am beginning to see that God has a better hope for me