Everything i wish i’d known
Now is the time to be kind to everyone - your teen, yourself and who ever you come across in life. Just be kind.
Depression is about the past. Anxiety is about the future. Which means the present for a person who has both anxiety and depression can be a terrible place: dark, gloomy and bleak. Being in the present is a place they just don’t want to live. If they don’t want to live in the present because it just isn’t nice, then why would they want to keep going?
Suicide seems like an appealing option for someone who doesn’t want to live. They are trapped in the prison of their present with no escape rope/ladder/steps. Suicide is scary, yes. They don’t actually want to die. But they also don’t want to live. Suicide takes courage but right now, to them, it will feel better than where they are.
This battle they’re going through is not about you. It has nothing to do with you, or what you should or should not have done in the past. When they tell you “I don’t want to live”, or “I want to die”, don’t take it personally. This is their life. I’ll say it again. This. Right. Now. It’s not about you.
Right now all you can do is be in the present moment. When they tell you how bleak they are you thank your lucky stars that they trust you enough to share. You sit next to them. Cuddle up with them. Shut up. Stop talking. Be silent and wait it out.
The waiting things out bit is huge. You’ve got a busy life to lead! What’s the most important thing to you? Your child? Your job? Your friends? Your spouse? The waiting out can be impossible when you have a million and one things on your to-do list. They’ll have to wait. This is more important.
Now is not the time to be talking about solutions or reasons. Your mind will be going a million miles an hour trying to figure this out. But don’t share any of that. Just sit with them. Tell them you’ll be there with them. Thank them for letting you help them. Tell them you don’t know the answers but you’ll help them figure it out. And sit with them. Breathe into their pain and that is how you begin to share their burden.
How long will this take? It’s hard to say: everyone is an individual. Don’t underestimate the importance of this stage. Right now you are their anchor. The work is with being with them, conveying the expectation that this will pass and they will get better.
And remember that thing about being kind.