A Cry For Help
Today My Son Wanted to Kill Himself
It sounds so cliché, but life truly can change in an instant. We hear it so often that I think we become immune to its power until we are reminded with brutal force. I know this because in an instant my life could have been tragically different today.
I am not writing this as a “writer” so there will be no effort to make this perfect.
I am writing this in one of those very moments.
I am writing this as a mother.
I am writing this in hopes that this very moment in my son’s life will perhaps change someone else’s who may be in a similar moment.
A few hours ago, I received a call from my son’s school. He was sitting in his therapist’s office and had reported that he is having thoughts of killing himself.
I feel…devastated. Scared out of my fucking mind. Unprepared.
I also feel proud. Grateful. Hopeful.
My 17 year-old son has autism. Life has been exceptionally difficult for him every single moment that he is capable of remembering, and even before then, when only I can remember.
Apparently, today was especially hard for reasons I may never know — teen angst, angry that I told him to clean his room this morning, an issue with a peer?
Communication takes valiant effort on his part. But here is the thing, HE TOLD SOMEONE. He didn’t come to me, or his father. But he spoke up. And because he did, he is still here in this moment. There are not words to convey how grateful I am for that, or for how proud I am that he spoke up.
Mind you, we are not out of the woods. Not nearly so. There is a safety plan implemented. There will be endless hours of worry. He is safe right now. What about tonight? Tomorrow? The day after?
Tomorrow is promised to no one. I know this. But today, my son chose life and that is why I have to share this deeply personal and painful moment.
We preach about removing the stigma, yet when you get this call, an instinct kicks in to not want to share publicly that this is happening. But it is. It is happening right now in my family. It may be happening in yours.
Thankfully, last year my son fell in love with the song “1–800–273–8255” by Logic. Maybe it saved his life today because an artist decided to help remove the stigma and talk about it. Maybe my writing this right now will do the same for someone else.
Whoever you are out there reading this, if you are in that same moment, I hope you speak up. I hope you tell someone. I hope you choose life, too.
1–800–273–8255 — The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.