Every Mother's Nightmare

My firstborn son was my life. After Scott was born, he hardly left my side. He was a happy baby and was loved by adults, who found him to be polite and sweet. He was our only child until he turned nine. That’s when all the trouble started.

The year our daughter was born was hard for our family. We lost our home and had to move in with relatives. It was also the year Scott started homeschooling. Three years later, we were able to get into our own home again, and so we moved.

Right around that time, Scott started having lots of issues. He didn’t want to do school work and he argued… a lot. He didn’t seem to have many friends, and stayed by himself all the time. I sent Scott back to school thinking it would help him, but it just got worse. He started getting into trouble and we could barely talk to each other. I was devastated. I had no idea how to help this boy who used to be my mini-me. Now he couldn’t even stand to be in the same room with me. After a couple years at the local middle school, we ended up enrolling him in an online public school. Things got worse with his school work, and we were fighting constantly. He seemed to have no respect for me or his father at all.

One night, I walked into Scott’s room to tell him to turn his stereo down. I was horrified to see a pile of marijuana sitting on the desk in front of him. I immediately freaked out and started yelling at him. We’d talked to him since he was very little about the dangers of drugs, as some of our family members have struggled with addiction. I couldn’t believe that he had been lying to me about it. He told me that he had it because he was depressed and it was the only thing that made him happy. He told me that night that he had planned on either smoking all of that marijuana or killing himself.

I went to get his dad to tell him about the drugs, and when my husband came into Scott’s bedroom, he immediately started yelling. He was blaming the drugs on my relatives and wanted to call them up and yell at them as well. My husband also threatened to call the police. The scene became so heated that Scott pulled out the hunting knife his grandfather had given him. I was absolutely terrified. I wasn’t sure whether he intended to use it on his dad or himself, but either way, I knew I needed to get that knife from Scott. At that point, I didn’t know whether Scott would use it on me, but I said a silent prayer, put my hand over his, and calmly asked him to give me the knife. I was so relieved when he did, but I was also processing through many other emotions at that time: anger at Scott for lying, anger at his dad for his reaction, sadness that my son felt he had nothing to live for. Most of all, I had an overwhelming fear that I would wake up in the morning and he would be gone.

I had an overwhelming fear that I would wake up in the morning and he would be gone.

I spent that night sleeping on his floor to make sure he was OK. We talked for a long time as we both tried to process through what had happened, and Scott began revealing even more horrifying details of what he had been going through. I realized we had dodged a bullet — literally — when he told me that a “friend” had given him a gun to bring home multiple times, and he’d sat in his room all night deciding whether or not to use it. Thoughts flashed through my mind of one of my other children walking into that horrific scene. I remembered how horrible it had been when I lost my cousin to suicide years before. How absolutely devastating it had been to the family. I was so thankful that Scott was still alive, but I was so lost as to how to help him.

I spent most of the next day in a haze on the phone with counselors, his pediatrician, and his school, trying to figure out what to do. In between calls, I kept tabs on where he was, requiring him to keep his bedroom door open so I could look in on him often and make sure he was still OK. I felt like a failure as a mother. How could I have let my son become so depressed that he wanted to take his own life? It was a dark, scary place to be. I was afraid for my son, and I was embarrassed that I had been so naive about his drug use. I didn’t want anyone to find out because I was afraid of what they might think of me if they knew I had a suicidal, drug-using teen. I was also embarrassed at the thought of putting him on medication. I have been an outspoken advocate against prescription drugs for several years because I feel there are so many more natural alternatives. In fact, I own a business selling natural wellness products. I felt like a fake, and most of all, I felt like I was letting Scott down because I was too afraid to experiment with natural remedies to find what would work for him when I knew the pills would work much faster. I have never felt more helpless as a mother in my entire life. The power that his depression had over our family was absolute. It was constantly on my mind, eating away at my heart and soul.

Slowly, with the help of his counselor and anti-depressants, my son began to come out of the depression. I started catching glimpses of who he used to be, and we were able to start having fun together again. He started taking Taekwondo classes and seeing a girl from class. Lately he has been doing great in school and will probably graduate a year early. Things have definitely turned around, but I still catch my motherly instincts kicking in sometimes. I wonder if he’s spending too much time with certain friends or whether he still has thoughts of hurting himself. I wonder too, if the fear ever goes away once you know your child was close to ending his own life. If your child has thought about suicide, and if you can relate to my feelings of shame and fear, you’re not alone. I encourage you to reach out and talk with someone who can listen and support you on this journey. Leave your contact information below, and someone on our team will connect with you soon.