- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
This is a heavy conversation to have, but in light of the recent events where a young man jumped off a bridge to his death because he felt there was no alternative for him, I feel the need to talk about this subject, "Teen Suicide".
I found out that it is the third leading cause of death for young people the age of 15 to 24. Thousands of young boys and girls take there life each year feeling too lost, lonely, broken, and shattered to stay here in their human bodies. The majority of these suicides are male.
It is hard for most people to go through their teenage years. Hormones are at peak levels, social and peer pressure are intense, and finding your own self amidst all of this is at best, difficult. I had suicidal thoughts as a teen. My home life was difficult and I felt that suicide could be an alternative to dealing with it all.
What I see now looking back on it, was that I was being pretty dramatic and was not looking at the big picture. I remember my girlfriend and I were writing notes back and forth to each other at school about it. We would talk about how everyone would feel bad when we were gone. How our suicides would make an impact on all of those that hurt us, or treated us badly. They would all feel horrible when we were gone.
The thing that we forgot to think about, was that we would be gone, never to come back. The finality of it was not in our thoughts. The truth about suicide is that it is final. I know a little about this because my brother committed suicide. It was one of the most painful things that I have ever experienced.
I loved my brother so much. He never talked about killing himself. He was not a teenager, but much older when he took his life. It has been nearly eleven years now, and the pain of his loss is still with me. It was final....shocking....no going back....no changing the outcome. I miss him every day. Suicide is final, and devastating for anyone who loved that person. I felt helpless and excruciatingly sad for the pain he must have felt to have taken his life by hanging.
Nearly four years ago a 17 year old girl from a school near where I live, hung herself from a tree on a cold winters night. Her mother discovered her after finding her car off a rural road. She was an only child. I can not imagine the pain and suffering that this mother must be enduring still. I do not know how a mother could survive this. It is said that this girl did this because her boyfriend left her for someone else. Tragic and completely unnecessary.
I tell all of my teen students that no matter how sad or unhappy they might be about any situation, things always change, and your feelings do as well. You must love yourself before you can love or be loved. There is no one you can not live without. There is no situation that you can not survive and thrive from. There is nothing that is worth taking your life for. This is your life and it is a journey of many experiences, ups and downs, and twists and turns.
This is what life is; good, bad, fun, sad, hard, easy, magical, difficult, joyful, challenging, interesting, boring, and all of the emotions that you can think of. When you think that life is horrible, something will happen and suddenly it can turn around and be spectacular. You never know what tomorrow will bring. I have heard so many peoples stories of how they were on the brink of destruction and suddenly something showed up to bring support, help, and positive change. This has happened to me numerous times.
If you are practicing mindfulness, and all of the ways I write about to take care of yourself, you will have a much better outlook towards your life. If you are experiencing depression or having suicidal thoughts, find someone you trust to talk to. Reach out to a counselor, teacher, friend, family member, or anyone that you can feel comfortable with. Find an agency in your area through the internet that helps with teen suicide. There is always someone to talk to and someone to help.
I know the feeling of wanting to commit suicide. Aside from my teen years, I have had those thoughts in difficult times in my life. I know that it is never an option for me, even though it is a thought. I know that things always change and tomorrow is a new day. I practice my mindfulness and stay out of negative thought more now than ever. I practice what I preach.
If you know of anyone who is feeling depressed or suicidal, offer them your ear and help them find the support that they need. Suicide is final, the drama around it, is not. Any life is precious..... and yours is no exception.