Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Wanting to Die
“I need to kill myself!”
These are the horrific words my son screamed as he ran from me in a sprint. He was in a mental state that I’ve never seen before. It all started when I discovered that he shoplifted a piece of candy from a store. When I asked him about it, he just lowered his head and admitted everything. He then became overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow, even screaming for me to call the police so they could lock him up since his brain makes him do bad stuff.
Now, I know that some of you may be thinking that my son was being dramatic to get out of trouble. Believe me, I know what that looks like and this was nothing like it. I immediately called his therapist for guidance on how to handle the situation. You see, this was the second episode of seeing my son slip into a deep depression. The last time was less than a week ago and I knew I needed to be prepared. But nothing prepares you for seeing your kid slip away mentally.
After getting detailed instructions from the therapist, I went to help my son. The more he thought about his shoplifting, the more he hated himself and starting begging me to “just kill him”. He cried out that there was “no more good left in his life” and that all he ever does is make mistakes.
Then, unexpectantly, he bolted out of the room, screaming with intense urgency “I need to kill myself”. I immediately started sprinting right behind him, making sure that I was only a step away so I could prevent any harm he might do. I didn’t know if he would jump over our balcony or if he’d run himself into the sliding glass door. He was so fast and erratic. When he got downstairs, I then had to keep him out of the kitchen where the knives were. This went on for at least 15 minutes. Whenever I got close, I would talk calmly and remind him that he was so loved and that I wouldn’t allow him to hurt himself. My son just cried out, then again would be overcome with an impulse to sprint to another room screaming that he was going to kill himself.
As he started to wind down, he instantly became very frightened. His scream sounded primal, I even saw his pupils enlarge as he screamed that his “eyes were playing tricks on him” and he was seeing a monster. I continued to reassure him of my love and that there was no monster until he eventually calmed back down.
I don’t know if any other parents reading this have been in this type of situation. It’s like a car accident, you just go through the motions while you’re in the middle of it and after it’s all over you breakdown and sob.
After this incident, I was struggling with two things, obviously, I was deeply concerned about what was wrong with my son and how we’re going to help him. The other issue was, how do I raise my boy to grow up to be a good man someday when I can’t even teach him that shoplifting has consequences. I know that in the scheme of things, this is such a small issue, but as his parents, it’s our job to teach and prepare our son for his future and this disease has changed everything. How do you parent a child that can become unstable is so quickly? Where do we go from here?