About the stories
The following are stories of youth struggling with suicidal
thoughts, the suicidal behavior of a friend, and the feelings
caused by the suicide of a family member or friend.
are based on real life experiences of teens in Maine. They are
not meant to imply that problems have "easy solutions" or
that grieving is not a painful and long process. Help is available.
There are many people in your community and in Maine who want
you to know that you are not alone.
It is strange, the other day in health class we were talking about suicide and the teacher asked people in the room to raise their hand if they had been affected by suicide. I raised my hand but didn’t really want to, I mean I did not know my mom’s brother at all, I wasn’t even born but I know that he did. I know my mom still misses him sometimes and I have heard her cry about it. I don’t get it, I mean sometimes all I feel if anything is mad at this guy I never knew for doing something that I feel like was so selfish. I wish he could see my mom being sad because I think he would have changed his mind and not done it. I don’t know why people feel like their life is so bad that they have to make that choice. I just don’t really get it and I think it is really weak. My mom and I talked about it once and she told me that she did not feel that way and that she had talked to some professionals and read a bunch of stuff on suicide after it happened so she could understand it better and that it really helped her. I guess that is a good thing and maybe if people knew more it then it would not happen so much or be so hard to understand. That would be good since it really is such a sad thing.
Last year my cousin Laura attempted suicide. Since neither of us has any siblings, we act like sisters. We spent lots of time together until she moved away. That is when she started to get depressed. She started IMing me sometimes about wanting to "not deal" anymore, that life was "too hard." I was concerned but never told anyone. Then one night Laura IMed me all this stuff about how she loved me and that I was her best friend and that she never wanted to hurt me. It totally freaked me out since it was not like her to talk like that. I asked her what was up and she said "nothing." I remembered what we learned during our Lifelines suicide prevention classes and this sounded like a warning sign of suicide. This was one secret that I knew I couldn't keep. I'd rather have my cousin mad at me than to have her dead. When I got off the computer with her that night I told my mom about it. She called her sister, who found Laura in her room with an empty bottle of pills and took her to the emergency room. I'm proud that I saved her life. My cousin started taking an antidepressant and going to therapy. She's doing much better now. She even said that she is glad I helped to save her life too. We're closer than ever. Help really is available.
Sarah and I had been going out for three years and I really love her. Two weeks ago I found out that she had been lying to me. Now we are not talking, and every time I call her cell phone she hangs up on me. I feel so messed up and I don’t have anyone to talk to. I want her to know how bad I want her back, without her I don’t really know why I should keep on living. My friends don’t get it; in fact, I bet any one of them would date her if they could. My parents don’t understand how much I love Sarah, they think it’s just young love and keep telling me that I’ll find someone else. My teacher, Mr. Johnson, asked me to come by after class to talk. I knew he could tell something was up. I’m relieved that he did because I was scared of what I might do to myself. Together we called the crisis hotline (1-888-568-1112) where the person asked me a few questions and then provided me with a referral to see a counselor in my area. I’m glad that I talked to Mr. Johnson; he knew what to do and was able to get me the help I needed.
It's not easy to be gay in my town. As a matter of fact, where
I live, it is dangerous. I've been called faggot and homo for
as long as I can remember and guys were always beating me up.
I used to lie to my parents about all the cuts and bruises I
came home with. I've felt so alone and trapped that I have seriously
considered "checking out" of my life. I didn't really
want to die; but I felt so tired of the endless harassment. Things
changed for me when a teacher noticed my bruises and asked me
about them. At first I lied to him, but he didn't buy my stories.
So I told him the truth. Come to find out, he was picked on when
he was a kid because his family was poor and they didn't have
enough money for "cool" clothes. He understood. He
put me in contact with the Gay
Lesbian and Straight Education Network and we started a chapter
at my school. He even volunteered to help me to talk to my parents.
I thought that Mom and Dad would go through the roof, and they
were pretty shocked, but Mr. W had information from Parents,
Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays for them and after
a time, they accepted me for who I am. I never knew that there
were that many resources for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered,
and questioning (GLBTQ) teens and I learned that some pretty
famous people have been gay. When I graduate, I'll be leaving
this place because it still isn't very gay friendly, but I'll
never forget Mr. W and how he helped me.
I was so angry with Michael. He killed himself and didn’t even tell us why. I felt like if he had just talked to me, that I could have saved him. At first I was really confused why someone so confident and popular would want to kill himself, but then I just became angry. I was angry because he left us here, he gave up, and he didn’t even say good-bye to me. I felt guilty about being so angry with Michael, so I talked to my pastor. He said that anger was one to the stages of grieving. He told me it wasn’t my fault that Michael killed himself and encouraged me to remember the Michael that I knew and liked. He told me that it was OK to talk about him and have special memories. I decided that I wanted to do something special in Michael’s memory, so I asked the school if I could create a scrapbook that other kids could use as a grieving outlet, so they could also remember Michael. When the scrapbook was done, I gave it to his parents. They thanked me and it really seemed as though it made them feel better, and it definitely helped me.
When I first heard that my parents were going to send me to school in America for a year I was so excited, it is the dream of all my friends to come here and I was very proud. When I arrived, my host family was so kind and friendly, their house was huge and their daughter was really nice to me. After a couple of months I started to get really homesick for Korea. I hadn’t made many friends and I wanted to call my family every day but it was expensive and my parents couldn’t understand why I was unhappy . I thought that I was going to have fun all the time and make so many new friends, but really I was so sad and lonely and I had nobody to talk to. I started thinking that my friends and family back home had forgotten all about me and that nobody here even knew that I was alive. I didn’t want to go back home and disappoint my family and I didn’t want to stay here all alone. That’s when I thought everything would be easier if I were just dead.
One day my host sister heard me crying in my room and came into talk to me, and I told her what I had been thinking. We talked for a long time and she told me how it was really hard for her to start a new school and she understood what I was feeling. She told me that when she was in this situation that her parents suggested that she go to see her school counselor. She even volunteered to go with me. So we went and counselor recommended that I join some clubs at school. I did and now I have so many friends that I am sad to think that I will have to go back home soon.
I felt like my problems were growing every day until I just couldn’t take it anymore. Although considering myself a perfectionist, I still couldn’t keep up with the unrealistic academic standards my parents were setting for me. I did well in school and had a number of friends, however my parents were never satisfied with how I lived my life. Eventually, no matter what I did felt disappointing even to myself. Suffering from terrible self-esteem and feeling completely irredeemable, I got involved in drinking alcohol often, sometimes at parties and sometimes by myself. My life was spiraling out of control and it took a serious mental toll on me I felt terrible for wanting to kill myself but it seemed to be the only way to solve all of my problems at once.
Thankfully, one of my friends noticed the way I had been acting lately and talked to me with honest concern for my well-being and advised me to seek help. I went to the school drug and alcohol counselor and found out that she didn’t need to tell my parents about my drinking unless I was in danger of hurting myself. I’m working with her to prepare to talk to my parents about their unrealistic expectation and to find out ways to cope without drinking. Life is still challenging but now I know that I am in control of what I do and the future looks brighter every day.
Kids can be very mean. Just ask me. I know. In middle school kids picked on me, I don’t know why, they just did and no matter what I did, it just got worse. I would pretend to be sick so that I wouldn’t have to go to school and after awhile I didn’t have to pretend anymore, I was sick, sick and tired of everything. At my high school orientation the guidance counselor talked about the Civil Rights Team. She passed out this literature that said that I had the right to feel safe at school and that no one had to right to bully another person. When the bullying continued, I decided to talk to her about what was happening to me. You know what - she listened and explained our anti-bullying policy and told me about my options. It wasn’t easy standing up for myself, but I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose. I joined the civil rights team myself because I didn’t want other kids to go through what I did. Not only am I doing better now, but I’m helping others.
My name has been in the paper five times in the past month because everyone thinks I’m this great athlete. I’ve had Division I schools scouting me since I was a sophomore, and my dad wants me to go to the school he went to, and there’s just so much pressure being placed on me. I’m scared that I won’t be the star I am now if I go to a big school. I don’t even know if I want to go to school. These days I haven’t wanted to do a lot of anything except sleep and be by myself. I didn’t want to talk to any one about this because I knew the other guys on the team would make fun of me, tell me I was a baby and that I should just “be a man”. I started drinking a lot and smoking marijuana. It was no big deal; lots of kids were using drugs. One of my teammates caught me trying to buy a bag in the hall. He told me he had noticed that I had changed in the past few weeks and he was worried about me. He told our coach what had happened and my parents were called. I thought they were going to be really mad at me, and they were at first, until they understood how I had been feeling. I had to see a counselor, I didn’t want to, but once I realized he was an outlet for me and he didn’t make fun of me for worrying about all this stuff, I began to actually like going to him. Things are better for me now, I have a plan about what I will do when I graduate high school.
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