There Were Times I Didn't Know If My Son Would Live to See Another Birthday


My son turned 21 last month. There have been many days in the past when I did not think he would live to see another birthday. He lives with severe depression, suicidal thoughts and sometimes psychosis. He lives and he is thriving. Some days I don’t know where he finds the strength, yet he does. He is a fighter.

There have been times when he has said to me:

“I don’t want to start over, I just want to finish.”

“I don’t want to go on, I just want to give up.”

“I don’t want to feel this way anymore, I just want to die.”

And he’s kept fighting. He has gone on to establish a life for himself, a life that he has chosen on a path of his making and he is happy.

A year and a half ago, my son was struggling to find a reason to live. In the past I would have jumped right back into my co-dependent relationship with him, but this time I didn’t. I stepped back instead of charging forward. I stood by my boundaries instead of caving in. I took a risk instead of taking over. And because I did, and because of the steps he took, something shifted in him. He changed, he grew and he found a reason to live. This was not an easy thing to do for either of us.

My son had spent 17 months in residential psychiatric treatment, he had learned many positive skills to help him cope and he knew the boundaries that were in place. I wanted to coddle him and protect him, but that was no longer healthy for me and no longer helpful for him. He had to take responsibility for himself. It could have been the wrong choice, but at that moment it wasn’t the wrong choice.

I recently asked my son about that difficult time in his life and he said, “I never want to be in that place again.”

September was Suicide Awareness Month. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention the warning signs of suicide are:

*Talking about death and dying

*Reckless behavior

*Withdrawal and isolation

*Giving away possessions

*Saying goodbye

*Sleeping too much or too little

*Aggression

*Depression

*Anxiety

*Irritability

Knowing the signs of suicide can save a life.

Remember suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. No one knows what life will bring in the next hour, day, week, month or year.

I love my son very much and want the best and brightest future for him. A future that he choices for himself and one that creates happiness and peace in his life.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.


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