My heart is broken today. The tears won't stop coming. Let me start by saying that for my family members reading this, please do not call us and offer your wisdom or words of advice, or ask us how this happened or tell us you know of a good doctor or therapist or how did we not see this going on. Our lives became more stressful in a matter of minutes than anyone can imagine and the last thing we now need is for anyone to start interjecting the stupid comments like, i knew something wasn't right with him, i knew something was up. He gets what he wants, has everything handed to him, you spoil him. While all of this could be true, it's not the reason that he is struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.
This blog post has nothing to do with Autism or Autism awareness. It has nothing to do with learning disabilities, Nothing to do with special education. There is no child abuse, no drugs involved, But there is pain, there is suffering, there is unhappiness, there is depression and there are thoughts of suicide. And believe me, there are tears, and they will not quit coming.
He is a high school junior. His grades since i can remember were all either straight A's or maybe a B here or there. He has won many academic awards growing up. He plays high school football and is passionate when it comes to school spirit. He has an amazing group of friends that come to our house and often spend a weekend night hanging out. You can typically find 6-8 kids sleeping over on any given weekend. Last year at one time I think we reached 20 that slept over. He works out almost everyday. He does not smoke and has not experimented with drugs. He has a dream of going to a good college in California and working for Google doing computer programming. He is a somewhat quiet kid but according to his teachers, he participates in classroom discussions and generally a very pleasant kid to have.
Yesterday was his junior prom. He had a date, was meeting up with all his friends and their dates and then going to the prom. He decided that us taking pictures wasn't going to work for him. He simply did not want us to be involved. He refused to have a real conversation with me. After a semi heated argument about his attitude with me and the hurtful things he said, I decided that i would take away his car, his phone, his iPad and computer and possibly his TV and allow him to see what life could really be like but I thought about the poor girl who's parents bought her a dress and who probably spent the day getting ready to go to prom. How in the world could I live with myself knowing that I affected the life of a girl, now not going to prom and being stood up just hours before. So we let him go. Go to prom, have your night and I will exact your punishment tomorrow for being disrespectful and rude.
Prom started at 6 pm and somewhere around 6:40 or so I got a text from him telling me to please pick him up and if I do, he will talk to me. I tried to find out what was going on but all he would say is "I don't like dances and don't want to be here, please come get me and I will talk to you." Unfortunately, I couldn't rush there to get him, and the text kept coming, "are you on the way, I want to leave, please come get me". The poor girl, his date, what would happen with her. Thoughts in my head were very confusing but mostly I was incredibly angry. This was just the icing on the cake for what was the most incredibly rude things my son has ever done or said, and all in the same day. So I went to the prom and picked him up and on the advice of a friend of mine, decided to drive around for us to talk so he could not get mad and get out of the car.
After a little bit of silence and me telling him I am listening. What is going on? He decided to share with me this. "I am depressed and have been for years. Even when I should be happy I am not. I think about killing myself but don't want to. I am not being bullied, my friends all love me. I am not doing drugs as i am not stupid. I want to go to a good college and I want to play varsity football and if I do drugs i won't be doing that. I don't like parties and don't like being around a lot of people. I like being with smaller groups of people I am comfortable with. I want to see a therapist and get help". When i asked why he never said anything to us about this, his response shocked me. He said i was a hard person to talk to and he didn't want to put further financial hardship on us trying to afford an expensive therapist for him.
It was at this moment of hearing that my oldest son, a kid I love more than life itself, had thoughts of suicide that I lost all my anger for all the things he said to me and Lisa that day. I don't know how any parent could survive their child committing suicide. I have often asked myself how bad the relationship must be for a mom or dad to not see the signs and not to be able to prevent this type of tragedy.
We talk to our sons everyday. We are very involved in their lives. They see doctors when they need to. We do teacher conferences regularly. Our house is the typical go to house for friends. There are weekly family dinners. They have new clothes, phones, computers, beds to sleep in, food and snacks in the fridge. The most important thing they have though is an unconditional LOVE from 2 parents that would give their lives in a second if it meant saving one of them. So how did we not see this?
Lisa's first thought was how bad a parents must we be to have failed him. To not see this. I don't know. Kids don't come with instructional videos. All I know is our hearts are broken and the tears won't quit flowing. My suggestion to anyone reading this, go hug your kid.