Suicide. You hear that word and you immediately form an image in your mind of the type of person that would do this. Quiet, fragile, unstable, unpopular. I’m sure there are many potential descriptors, but these are the words that pop into my head. Suicide for me was the stuff of anxious waif-like teenage girls or financially distraught middle-age men. Yes, I have watched too many movies, lol.
But bad news, friends. Everybody is doing it and one size does not fit all. Wouldn’t it be convenient as a parent or a teacher to be able to look at a child and decide if they meet the suicide profile? Unfortunately, as in the case of my son, it can be very, very tricky.
John and I certainly did NOT see this coming. Luke had a lot going on, and I will detail the rise and fall of Luke Inwood in the coming weeks, but he just wasn’t THAT kid. King Luke had friends and was popular at school and was handsome as all get out (because that matters). When I ask his friends group if they thought Luke was anywhere near this point in his thinking, it is always met with a resounding “Hell No”. I will forever be haunted by the words of Logan when he found out that Luke had taken his own life. “But Why?” he asked.
And that’s how we all felt. What could possibly be so wrong with his life that he felt he needed to end it? That he couldn’t imagine spending one more day on the Planet Earth? Turns out it was a lot and it wasn’t just one thing or one moment. It was a lifetime that led up to that fateful day. It was his perception of self, and wrongs against him from childhood, and teenage drama. It was unacknowledged anxiety, and undiagnosed depression, and incorrectly medicated ADHD. It was school, and detentions, and being targeted by teachers. It was a nagging mother who pushed him to meet his potential and a father on a pedestal whose ideal he would never live up to. It was life. Some of these thoughts were true, and some of them were perceptions that Luke had created in his own mind. Turns out, the perception is all that mattered.
So, here’s what I need you to know: If your child died by suicide, you need to try and forgive yourself. The guilt is enormous when a child dies in this manner and “why didn’t I see this coming” is a question you will ask repeatedly. The simple answer is because your child didn’t want you to. John had approached Luke that very Sunday to talk about what was going on in his world and to lend support if he needed it. “I don’t need your help” he had replied with a sarcastic laugh.
I also need you to know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens. “More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease COMBINED” – the Jason Foundation. Most importantly, suicide for teens has increased 70% from 2006 to 2016. 70% friends!! So even though it might look like an adjusted child, and talk like an adjusted child, and walk like an adjusted child, it might not be. Somehow, we have to work together to figure this out. #NotOneMore Xxx