A quick Google News search of “teen suicide” yields a plethora of poignant headlines depicting one death after another across every region in America. It almost seems, as a society, we’ve grown numb and somewhat accustomed to such atrocities. As parents, we cannot let this continue
One of the reasons Dr. Fall (my father) and I decided to write our book, How to Get Your Son Back: 7 Steps to Reconnect and Repair Your Relationship, was to shed light on the abhorrent tragedy of teen suicide. Furthermore, we endeavor to arm parents with knowledge and the proper tools to effectively lead their teen or young adult toward a path of prosperity and a life of happiness.
For those not familiar with the book mentioned above, as a teen, I was moments away from taking my own life in graphic fashion. An NFL owner best described the sensation when he said, “I felt lower than a crippled cricket’s ass” in reference to his starting QB getting injured at the beginning of the season. That pretty much sums it up!
Now that I’ve so eloquently illustrated how being suicidal feels, it’s important to turn to how I became suicidal in the first place—these are things for parents to watch out for. There were five major contributing factors that almost led me to do the unthinkable.
Low Sense of Self: Self-confidence is something I didn’t have until my twenties. After my parents divorced when I was around five, they moved about 8 hours from each other. Essentially, I was the man of the house, living with my custodial mom. But I didn’t have a clue how to be a “man.” I couldn’t fix things around the house or in the garage. Hell, I wasn’t even strong enough to pull the rope to start the push mower. What was I good for? I was a worthless incapable fool. Such low confidence and feelings of worthlessness made me impressionable and also laid the foundation of my demise.
Bullying: In junior high, I was constantly bullied by juniors and seniors in high school. I was a bigger kid from a very small town, so that automatically placed a target on my back for the upperclassmen to aim at. Each day I worried about going to school and thought about how I might defend myself if attacked. I was scared but had too much ego and pride to let anyone know—especially the peers in my class. Instead asking for help or talking to someone resourceful, I took my anger out on others to make them feel as bad as I did. Pretty ironic. “The Bullied Bully.”
Depression: Around age thirteen I began to notice a change in the way I perceived life. It wasn’t a dramatic shift that raised red flags and set off alarms, but my joy in life was undoubtedly declining. As time progressed, I began to notice the darkness more, but I didn’t know what to do about it. No one mentioned anything with respect to mental health, so I didn’t have a clue what was going on. As the floodgates of darkness opened wider, I turned to various forms of negativity and other coping mechanisms to mask the pain.
Drinking: Alcohol was my escape, as it temporarily alleviated the constant misery that was my life. When I was drunk, problems temporarily dissolved, which felt like a bulldozer being lifted off my chest. I relished the feeling and rush of the booze flying through my veins. But before I knew it, I was failing in school, getting into violent fights, and having frequent run-ins with the law. During my sophomore year, I dropped out of high school and became known as one of life’s losers in my hometown.
Shame: I was internally embarrassed about who I was and did everything I could to try and hide my failures and insecurities from the public. Asking for help, in my eyes, was a sign of weakness, so I continued to plow forward—each step becoming more laborious than the one before. I’d earned a reputation as a tough guy and that reputation was all I had left. After dropping out of high school I knew I was exposed for the phony I truly was. I got a dead-end job I absolutely hated at a local brick plant and worked there as long as I could. One morning I woke up and realized if I had to choose between putting a gun to my head and going to work, pulling the trigger would have been an absolute pleasure. I had nothing left. I hated everything.
My low-confidence caused me to interoperate being bullied as a personal defect. Not knowing how to properly channel the pain and frustration from being bullied prompted me to act out and hurt others so they could feel what I felt. All the while, clinical depression was doing a number on me. To “cure” the depression I began drinking heavily and found myself in major trouble with the law. I had failing grades and ended up having to dropping out of school. The shame from all this was more than I could take. Killing myself seemed like the only sustainable conclusion.
Parents, this does NOT have to happen. You have so much power to lead your son or daughter in a more positive direction. We walk you through the steps in our book, which is available HERE.
Some of you might feel as though your teen is too far gone. That’s not true. That’s crap for an excuse. Look at who I was, a depressed, suicidal, felonious high school dropout…
Fast-forward 10 years: here I am a college graduate, #1 bestselling author, and nationwide speaker helping parents avoid what my dad went through. No son or daughter is irredeemable or unsalvageable. To be of better service, we also offer the most comprehensive parent consulting services available. For inquiries about a consultation with Dr. Fall, please visit our website: https://lifedoctor.com/consulting/