Tag Archives: suicide

When a Child is Suicidal

My world turned on a dime two weeks ago. In an instant, I felt like I was in a fast-moving vehicle on the highway, skidding out of control, yet time defied the law of physics as the wheels screeched, the car spun out, fish-tailing and beginning to flip. It may still be on its side, mid flip, and I’m praying my son is in his seat belt and that we will land safely off to the side of the hectic freeway. That’s how it felt when I learned my nine-year-old nearly committed suicide last year. Thank God he told me. I’m beyond sad. And, everything else has come into sharp focus for me. ALL of my choices. ALL of my daily activities and where my attention goes on a daily basis is all under sharp scrutiny. My life for the past nine years has slowed down in my mind, frame by frame, allowing me to analyze how I have been living. I’m making brave choices right now too, as it’s becoming drastically clear what I can—and should—be doing differently to make my baby a priority. I guess you can say I’m in triage mode.

Two weeks ago I found out my baby, who was home with his big brother on a Saturday morning when I was teaching two yoga classes, actually got severely depressed. His big brother, doing what big brothers do, decided to go out with friends and let his little eight-year-old brother play on the XBox. But the gaming got my youngest depressed and sad. He said he thought about all the boys who had been bullying him at school. He thought about how my life would be better if he had never been born. He said he knew his big brother and I would still be living in London with his dad—that his dad would never have left, had he never been born. My heart exploded. My youngest put a knife to his throat and allowed it to make a mark as he said he listened to two voices: one saying to do it, that he didn’t deserve to live, that he was a bad kid. The other saying not to do it, not to crush his mother or his brother. I thank the angels who must have intervened that day and convinced him to put the knife down.

My heart aches. Six months went by and he never told me. Last week, he tried it again. Or he tried to grab a knife again. I took it away from him. All knives are hidden in my house now. How can he not see how adorable, kind, loving, smart and fun he is? How can he not see the lovable and deserving person he is? We’ve been doing gratefuls every night since he was born. It’s not enough. I got him a life and sport coach two months ago. A kid who is beyond inspiring and fun. They exercise, they create mantras and goals for the week, but it works temporarily. Like exercise in general, my son gets the lift from the exercise, but the next day he’s down again. I put him in a brain study at USC and it proved his IQ is very high and that he is emotionally and intellectually about 3 grade levels above his level. This week the neuroscientists concluded he feels isolated because the boys in third grade bore him or are too physical with him. Much too physical.

So I’m exploring my options. I’ve reached out to therapists. One wanted $300 /hour and six months of therapy payment upfront. Um. NO. One of the neuroscientists at USC is working on finding me someone who takes insurance.

But really, my little guy just needs a friend. I was insanely shy when younger, but I had that one BFF. It makes all the difference in the world. In Hermosa Beach, capital of volleyball and a town that attracts professional athletes, most kids at his school are very active, cocky and surf boy stylish. James is cerebral and artistic and would rather read a book that most sixth graders are reading He isn’t fitting in. He’s been hit, kicked, slapped, punched and even had a baseball bat to his gut on the playground. Nothing done.

So, I’m exploring my options. But being a full-time single mom who can now never, ever leave him alone, it’s scary. I won’t lie. I have no family here who can help on a daily basis, I can’t afford a nanny, and know few friends who get it, or who I could trust, or even who have kids this age. But I’m hopeful. And I’m making major changes that need to be made.

Within two weeks, I broke up with someone I had only been dating a month. He was selfish. He demanded a lot of my time. He whined and kept asking me to drive long distances to see him and he gave nothing in return of significance. He didn’t understand what I’m going through, nor does he really care. Done. I’m not dating, AT ALL, for a long time. My son comes first. I’m dropping teaching yoga classes that are in the evening or require three + hours of my time to open the studio, and to lock up after, as my son can not be alone, ever. And I can’t risk something happening while my older son is babysitting. Can you imagine? That would be cataclysmic.

I’m looking into alternative schools and seeing if they will offer scholarships based on the findings from the USC study. Next week I take off most of my yoga classes and have put my son into an advanced science rocket camp at the California Science Center. I’ll drive downtown every day and hang out there in case he needs me, squeeze in some writing time. I’m trying to talk with his dad too, as he’ll be seeing the boys for a few weeks in early August. He can’t leave his son alone, ever. I’m scared too death. But I have to trust the Universe, trust that his big brother will be ‘on’ during their vacation and I’m choosing to believe my son who promised he won’t try to hurt himself again. And, I’m getting a pet. That’s a BIG compromise for me. I’ve honestly gotten ‘over’ pets. I grew up with them: cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, frogs, you name it, we had it. But now I’m tired of fur everywhere: choking on it in bed, or having wet dog or cat food smell in a small house. It turns my stomach. But we need more unconditional love in this house, so I’m getting a pet this weekend. Something for my son to love, to help take care of, and to look forward to seeing when he returns from visiting his dad.

Life is hectic right now, but also beautiful. I’m razor focused on the love I have for my boys. I’m focused on the kind of life I need to live to keep them safe, to help them feel loved and to one day thrive. Eventually I will find the support I need. Instead of focussing on what I don’t have and what I can’t do, I’m focussing on what I DO have and what I CAN do. I miss my mom desperately, who died of early onset Alzheimer’s. She was amazing with my kids and such a kind soul. But life goes on. USC will likely be my boon for finding support. A concerned therapist gave me her cell phone number. I’m beyond touched by their kindness and open hearts. The owner of the main yoga studio where I work, is adjusting my schedule so I can mainly teach morning classes and another studio in town is hiring me for day classes only. And my oldest will have to pitch in for now when I need help. His little brother can never be alone until stable.

IF I don’t blog in a while, just know I’m focussed and wishing you love & light.

Laura x

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Guest Post: Father’s Day as a Married Man

Kimathi

This is truly a year of firsts for me and for my beloved family. My name is Kimathi Thompson. My wife Melissa, also known as Meli, and I are coming up on our first wedding anniversary this July. We went on our first family vacation to the beach a few weeks back with both of our boys. (In the past they’ve all gone with her girlfriends and another of my oldest son’s friends.) I stay back because my work schedule usually doesn’t permit me to be away for a number of days consecutively. My biological son, Journey, (almost 2 ½ years old), Meli and I have been to the beach a couple of times without my oldest son, Jyson (9 years old), because he was away visiting his biological father.

As I write this, we are all in Columbia, SC attending Meli’s father’s family reunion. This is not only a first for me and the boys, but also for Meli. Family reunions are very few and far between for many families, including ours. (The last time Meli’s dad’s family had a reunion was 30 years ago until this weekend!) Meli never attended that reunion because she was living with her mother (now deceased from cancer 27 years) in New York at the time. We are actually pretty excited to get to meet everyone and learn more about her dad’s side of the family.  It will be fun seeing the boys meet and interact with all of their cousins and great aunts and uncles for the first time.

This will actually be the first Father’s Day that I recognize Meli’s dad as my dad as well. During the goodbye part of a recent phone conversation with her dad, Meli told me he said that he loved me too, after telling her he loved her and the boys.  Needless to say, that was a first as well!  It really touched my heart to hear that he said that. Yesterday I bought him a Father’s Day card and I will give it to him the day before Father’s Day at the family reunion. We are going to head back home Saturday night to get ready for the week and relax at home as a family on Father’s Day.  It will be one of the rare days that we all get to be together without a ton of activities or me having to work.

The picture of all of us is from the first wedding that we all attended together. It was the first time Journey ever wore a tuxedo as he was the ring bearer! He was so cute and handsome and grown looking all at the same time. I was, and am, so proud to be his father (as well as Jyson’s) and I am so blessed to be received so well by Jyson as a father figure—despite the fact that he has a very good relationship with his biological father (Jise). I have never been in a relationship with the unique dynamics of sharing the role of fatherhood with someone else, being that I just had my first biological son not too long ago. However, it really helps that Jise and I actually get along rather well. When he comes down from NY to visit Jyson, he stays at our house. Jise actually loves Journey as if he was his, and it is all very confusing for anyone outside of our family. But the fact is, there is absolutely no animosity or jealousy to be found. Jise and I communicate openly about the raising of Jyson and his development as best as anyone could imagine. I know this may be hard for some to understand, but it’s critical we all get along for our boys.

Of all of the aforementioned firsts, one of the most memorable mile markers in my life is the fact that this year is my first Father’s Day as a married man.  I am so blessed to have such a beautiful, smart, and loving wife with whom I can share my marriage and boys. All of the experiences that have recently been firsts for me have been due to the fact that I am now finally married, and my wife challenges me to explore and experience things that I’m sure I would not do on my own.  Getting married to someone whom I will share the rest of my life with and raise a family with has been a lifelong dream of mine that has now finally come true!  Something that I realized while writing this blog is that all of the firsts that were mentioned would not have happened if I wasn’t married. I’m a sentimental guy, and I now have the family that I have always wanted to help me create and share sentimental memories.

To me, marriage brings a sense of permanence and dedication to the table that is only a concept if you aren’t actually in a marriage where both people have that mutual intent. As a married father, the challenges are big, but they require me to grow and stand for things that I would normally run from if I weren’t married.  Some men aren’t ready for all of the challenges, and I think the difference for me is that I rely on prayer and my faith in Yahweh to get me through the most challenging times. I also grew up with a dedicated mother and a father.

That is, up until my mother’s illness spiraled. When my mother committed suicide from bi-polar/manic depression (I was 15), for a time it felt like my dad and I were all each other had. Although my grandparents were helping out a great deal behind the scenes, my father and I were adrift, together. That has always stuck with me, and if nothing else, has fueled me to be there for Meli and the boys. What I’m trying to say is that my father’s presence in my life was magnified that much more once my mother passed.

I want my boys to grow up with the same example and sense of love of family and dedication as I grew up with. There was always a feeling of stability that came with my family because the family unit was intact up to the point where my mother died. Even after she passed, my grandparents really stepped up to give me a sense of stability that I eventually grew to know I could always turn to.  That’s not to say that they were always there to bail me out of some tough situations that I created for myself, but I always knew where to go to find love, and I always had people to answer to when I was doing wrong. That’s important when a child or young adult goes running amuck, like I once did. It always brought the reality of things back to the forefront of my life and made me realize that in order to have the family that I always wanted, I had to get myself back on track.

All of that being said, the sacrifices of raising my boys are well worth it!  Truthfully, they are investments that I am making in their future and in Meli’s and mine as well. Jyson sees our sacrifices and soon, Journey will begin to as well. My hopes and prayers are that I am passing on and instilling in them, the same foundation of love, dedication, and stability that I grew up knowing and drawing from when I need inspiration. This first Father’s Day as a married man signifies the beginning of my dreams come true. Now I have so many more awesome experiences and firsts to come, due to the fact that I am a happily married man and a proud father of two beautiful young men!