For the past three years, I can say with confidence I’ve lived through hell.
Have I survived? That remains to be seen. Most days, I would say yes. Some days, the answer is no.
Today, it’s a no.
For the past three years, my family has walked through the minefield of teenage suicidal tendencies and only now do I have permission to share with you how hard this has been.
Normally, I’m an open book when it comes to my life. I believe in transparency and if what I’m going through can hep someone else, then I’ll be the first in line to share what I’m struggling with or what I’ve leaned. A few times I’ve been able to give you a glimpse of what it’s like dealing with a mental health situation, and there are those of who you have held my hand, given me hugs and shared with me your own stories.
I can’t even begin to describe what a life saver that has been.
I had to wait until my middle daughter was okay with me speaking publicly about our ordeal. Above all, I want to respect her and her journey.
She’s in such a better place today than she was three years ago and it makes this momma’s heart lighter to see the smile on her face and hear her laugh with excitement.
But this journey wasn’t all about her.
There’s this saying:
You don’t know what you don’t know.
It’s so true.
When someone you love struggles with suicide, you have no idea how to help them. You feel lost, bereft, empty and helpless. There’s nothing you can say, nothing you can do to save them, and that’s the hardest thing to realize.
As a mother, it’s my job to protect my daughter – but how can I protect her from her own mind? How do I combat the voices in her head and the feelings in her heart? How do I show her that she is loved and wanted and worthy? That living is better than dying and that it does get better, eventually?
All I wanted to do was wrap her tight in a hug, but she wouldn’t accept my hugs, my words of love, or even my support. I was her biggest cheerleader and her strongest punching bag.
Looking back, I can see how I floundered in quicksand, how I lived in a daze and all the mistakes I made. But looking back never does anyone any good. All I can do is learn from my mistakes and move forward. Right?
For every two steps forward, I seem to take one step back. Even now, three years later when my daughter is in a much better place.
The effects of suicide never disappear. Even when the one with the tendencies is healthier. That’s something I still seem to be learning.
There’s a ripple affect that continues on and I’m not sure it ever go away.
Earlier, I mentioned today was a day I wasn’t sure I’ve survived my walk through hell.
I made a lot of mistakes these past three years. One of those mistakes was not fully seeing and accepting how much this journey has affected my oldest daughter.
Today, my heart is heavy with guilt because I sacrificed the many to save the few. Or in this case, I was so focused on my own daughter that I didn’t see how my other two daughters were affected.
My daughter is alive despite her multiple suicide attempts. I will thank God for that every day for the rest of my life.
But today, I’m going to continue to ask for the strength to walk through this valley as I listen to the hurt, the anger, the pain in my other daughter’s heart.
One day, we will be a healed family. One day, we will be able to look back and be proud of how we survived without crumbling. One day…
You don’t know what you don’t know…I need to remind myself of that before I let the guilt wear me down.
For the next little while, I hope you will take this journey with me as I am finally able to share with you all we’ve done through as a family.
My hope is that it can help someone – feel less alone, let them know they are doing the best the can, and that there is hope. Because there is…hope.