I decided to revisit a few posts that made my readers think. Please let me know what your thoughts are!
As kids, most boys were told not to cry. They were told to be tough, to be “real men”, and those men didn’t cry and show emotions. They hid their feelings, no matter the cost.
This piece of advice has had terrible consequences, leading to high substance abuse rates, violence against women and children (among others) and other issues. When you can’t let out your feelings in a healthy way, it tends to come out badly. It also leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety and lack of self-care.
Everyone needs to take care of themselves, physically and mentally. This is a well-known fact. Men have a harder time acknowledging this because of the stigma they face in doing so. This will be covered in a later post, so stay tuned, but here are a few examples of what many men fear when going for help:
This information is in The Stigma of Mental Illness
Untreated mental illness can also lead to suicide, which has a higher rate in men, and men usually use more lethal means.
This fact breaks my heart each time I read it. Suicide in itself is heartbreaking and has far-reaching consequences.
As a mom, I’m teaching my kids that it’s okay to cry. My sons know it’s okay to have emotions. In light of numerous teen suicides in the news and those that I have lost to suicide personally, I feel a huge responsibility to watch out for my kids’ mental health. It’s HARD to be a kid these days.
Cameron started taking daily naps when he started middle school, and at first, I thought it was a phase. Then I worried about his heart because his SVT is pretty severe and can tire him out easily.
He told me that he felt fine, that school was just tiring him out. My next question was if anything was bothering him, and thankfully, he said no. Cameron is a pretty chill kid, but you never know.
Julian is pretty quiet, but he knows where Mom is if he needs to talk. So does Lily, but she is NOT the quiet type. The point of this is, please talk to your kids, no matter how rough it may be. Just check in.
What can we do for the men in our lives?
Of course, if things are going downhill quickly, please seek immediate help. You can go to the nearest ER or call 911.
If you are more comfortable seeking help online, this BetterHelp link will be helpful for Michigan residents, but the entire site is full of good information.
Spring is FINALLY here! Yay! Let’s welcome it with some great reads.
**Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide. Please read with caution.**
Cameron wanted to watch “13 Reasons Why” and while I’ve never watched it, I didn’t want to hold him back. I sat him down for a chat before I would allow him to watch. We discussed what it was about, how Hannah’s death impacted her friends and if Cameron thought it would upset him.
He said that he would be okay watching it, his friends had told him about it. He asked me if I wanted to watch it, and I told him thanks but no thanks. (My former therapist advised me to not watch it.) He watched it and was a bit sad but otherwise okay.
After Cameron finished the series, we talked again, only this time, we talked about suicide itself. I just wanted to see where he was. He said no, he had never thought about it or never been so depressed/angry that he thought about it. I was relieved.
He knows that he can come to me about anything, but I also know that many who consider suicide don’t always go to someone when considering it. I asked him if he knew anyone who might even be thinking about it or is hurting, and all I got was “Nope, I think everyone is good, Mom.”
I was relieved.
Thanks to my work with kids around Cameron’s age, I know this conversation doesn’t happen in every home and/or doesn’t go so well. I’ve seen teens angry as hell that their attempts were not successful.
There isn’t really a timeline on how often to check in, but I would go for it every once in a while. Just see what your child is thinking.
Admitting that your child needs psychological help is not an easy thing. I’ve had to do it. Taking Julian to a psychiatrist was one of the hardest things I have ever done as a mother, but it was well worth it. It will be worth it for you, your child and your family.
Your child may need in or outpatient help, or a combination of both. If your child needs medication, that is not terrible. Please consider the pros and cons before starting medications. There is no shame in doing either and please remember, it is not a reflection on you as a parent. It took me years to learn that.
If your child seems fine, this is great. The talk you have can change gears into how they can help a friend that isn’t okay. Again, the world we live in can be overwhelming for some teens. They may need a friend like your child who can listen, offer a hug and maybe even a laugh or two. Laughter can go a long way with teens when they are not doing so well.
Compassion and empathy can go far when your child has a friend who is struggling through their days and need someone to remind them that it is okay to not be perfect. Everyone has difficult times and needs someone to reach out to. Your child can be that person to someone. This can end up being a good lesson.
Depression can hit at any age, for any reason, at any time. Please remember this when you speak to your teen about this issue. Handle the discussion carefully and don’t judge them. You may lose their trust if you do so. Please see my Resources page for more information on depression and suicide resources.
Information for this post from these resources:
Pics courtesy of unsplash
I’m surprised at the number of topics I have covered on this blog- I still have so much left to discuss.
Here are five interesting posts to ponder: