Tuesday, November 15, 2011


N is talking quite a bit more about suicide again.  It started with a friend that made him angry.  N wanted to lash out at this friend.  At the same time, N's health class tackled the topic of suicide.  The teacher was talking statistics - something like 30% consider suicide but only 17% have a plan.  N was angry with the discussion.  He described comments made by the other students, but that "they don't really know how it feels."  And "I'm one of the 17% with a plan." 

This was all poured out to me in the car as I drove him to a friend's home.  I've always heard that suicide is a cry for help, so I told him that and asked "how could I help?"  His response was that just by listening and taking him seriously I was helping.  I could tell he felt better after our hour-long conversation.

A few days later or earlier (I can't remember now), I had been telling my husband the story of one of my high school friends who shot herself in the middle of an orchard.  We knew she had been talking about suicide.  We even knew she had a gun.  But she had been talking about it for so long, that we really didn't take it seriously.  I asked my husband, "why didn't we tell anyone?"  I can't believe we didn't do anything about it.  (Actually we did tell some adults, but they didn't really take her seriously either).  We tried to talk her out of it and we tried to love her, but it wasn't enough.

Anyway, as I thought about this past story, I wondered why I wasn't taking N more seriously.  No, I don't think he is suicidal, but I do think that he thinks about suicide.   And I do think that he needs some additional attention - and to be taken seriously. 

So, we've made an appointment to see N's therapist.  It's been two whole years since we were there last.  I talked to the doctor briefly enough to ensure that this would be the best place to take N.  I like that they have a past relationship and that Dr. R gets that anorexia is a major complicating factor and/or cause.  Dr. R did recommend getting N onto an antidepressant.  I'm reluctant.  I'd rather tackle the issues than throw meds into the mix - especially where suicide is an increased risk with some antidepressants.  But I'd do it to save my son's life.

My shoulder's ache with the constant heavy worry about N.  It never stops.


Anonymous said...

I wish i could say more.
Keep in mind that your son is telling you this - he wants you to know. He doesn't want to actually do it. He's in pain. But it sounds like in his own way he's reaching out.
he's lucky to have you.
Sending prayers and hopes and hugs xx

Wendy said...

Thanks! I think you're right. He is doing much better now.

Erica said...

My d has been battling depression and was suicidal. A combination of therapy and low dose Prozac has really helped. Yes, her suicidal thoughts increased the first week she was on the meds, but now I am so grateful she is on them and she is doing so well.

The meds can really help, and your son doesn't have to be on them forever. Also my d's therapist uses CBT and DBT therapies to help my d build skills.

Depression is hell. I have you and your son in my thoughts. Let me know how it goes.

Wendy said...

Thanks Erica. I remembered that some meds had helped your daughter. I've just been so nervous to try. He has a therapist appointment next week. I hope that will help enough - if not we may have to explore other options.

Thanks for being an understanding friend!

K said...

This post really touched me. I have anorexia, and there was a point in the beginning of November where I became so depressed, and felt so trapped by the intense emotions and feelings of hopelessness and despair, that I took an overdose (twice in fact). I'm doing better now, but it was a scary time, and my parents were so worried. I didn't want to die, I wanted to find a way to escape my situation because it felt hopeless and I couldn't cope anymore.

For me it was a cry for help I think, and I've been getting more support now. I think that it's good your son is talking about his suicidal thoughts - i struggled to talk about them because I felt people would think they were stupid.

Since I've started planning to go back to university, I feel so much more motivated and the suicidal thoughts are only there at my lowest now, and thankfully they are less frequent now. But I have now been prescribed antidepressants, and i think they are helping a little. If your son is depressed, I recommend medication cause its almost impossible to change your mood (it will over time, but if it gets worse then its not worth the risk!)

I'm glad things are a little better! You're an amazing mother. Make sure you take care of yourself too!

Wendy said...


Thanks so much for your comment. I would give you a big hug if I could! I'm glad you are feeling a bit better. We are exploring options for meds right now - but are still unsure. N says he doesn't want them.

Glad to here from you.

mmk11 said...

I know these posts are years old. But oh my gosh, they are exactly what im going through now. I am exhausted. But so relieved to see I finally googled enough and hit enough sites to find other parents that have or are going through anorexia with a young boy. Cant wait to read more, was feeling alone in the struggle to interpret what s best for my son. Not just following blindly every suggestion anyone (dr) ( therapist) has.

Wendy said...

Please don't hesitate to reach out. It was a hard road that we had to pave ourselves because there were no appropriate therapy models available in our area. But we did it. It was difficult, yet what was necessary, to figure out that many anorexia practitioners are pretty stuck in old treatment models. Once we freed ourselves from those assumptions and followed the new research, we saw almost immediate improvement that ultimately led to his recovery.