03 Aug Lack of Connection and Suicide
Published in the Trinidad Guardian Newspaper by CARE Parenting
By Stacey Camacho | Psychotherapist | Director- MindWise Project | www.mindwisett.org
According to the United States National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we can help prevent suicide by removing the stigma and sharing our own stories and dark moments.
Encourage your children to talk about their despair, disappointment and rejection, always responding with compassion, skillful support, and understanding. Lead by example and establish honest and open self-expression as a recognized strength. Feelings of isolation, unworthiness, hopelessness, and emptiness are the pervasive experiences of depression that lead to suicide. Cultivating inner resources that combat depression are way more vital than having a to-do list of prevention.
Be an ambassador for self-worth by doing your own self-work as a human being. We pass our legacies on to our children, so when this introspection leads to freedom from limiting and hurtful ideas, our children blossom into confident beings with high emotional IQ.
Healing your childhood wounds and feelings of inadequacy and living authentically, despite imperfections, is a model that will inspire fearlessness and self-acceptance.
If you notice isolation, sadness, and frequent irritation, ask “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?” Face these painful moments with them, rather than cover it up with cake and ice cream.
It may seem like a lot of heavy lifting, however, parents shoulder the responsibility for childhood emotional and psychological wellbeing. Just as viruses pass around, depression and anxiety also pass around. Dispel stigma and allow your children to share their pain honestly, offering love and compassion. Let them be seen for their talents, beauty, success as well as their challenges, losses, and heart breaks.
Openhearted curiosity of your child’s inner world is the path to suicide prevention. And when needed, with increased awareness, you can then take skillful action to include a mental health professional.
Listen for negative thoughts that come from the depressed brain, such as:
“My life sucks”
“Everything bad happens to me”
“I am not good enough”
“I am not worthy”
“No one likes me”
“I hate my life”
They do not know that these dark thoughts about themselves are false and are coming from poor mental wellness.
While this is an extremely difficult experience for a parent, having the courage to stand in the discomfort with an open heart and clear mind, lets the child feel some form of connection which is lost due to the disease.
This article is not to make parents feel they are doing something wrong, rather it is to equip them with the pertinent information and guidance that is just not in common knowledge.
Many children who have committed suicide are popular, and exhibited seemingly positive lives. This is evidence of the rupture between their external and inner worlds. To combat this parents can encourage their children to accept and express all the parts of themselves versus wanting to kill or fix the parts of themselves that society may not deem as acceptable.
Talk to your children and be a model to them with the importance of nourishing their mental health, and that drugs, material possessions, popularity, social media and sex don’t lead to everlasting happiness.
The causes of suicide are not from the external world, but from a disrupted inner world and brain. You cannot control your child’s environment one hundred percent of the time, but you can control their need to escape their inner world and life.
When a child commits suicide, society plays the blame game- looking for reasons and then quickly offboarding the incident. We need to awaken to the fact that depression and suicide affects us all and we cannot pretend this is not about us, and go on with our lives as usual.
When a child is living authentically and demonstrating self-worth and self-love, it is only then that they can experience true connection and love.