Thursday, April 26, 2018

Article: 'Suicide Epidemic' by M Teresa Clayton

Suicide Epidemic
Article by M Teresa Clayton, Sunday, 6 August 2017
Reposted with permission from her Facebook profile 

A friend asked the question - why are there so many suicides these days (paraphrasing). Here is my answer:
I have a theory on this very subject. My first degree was in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. I've always been thankful for that education because it helps me to understand the world, in all its incarnations, over the years.
Each generation deals with its own demons. Mine was actually post Timothy Leary era and the Haight - “turn on, tune in, drop out”. Many protested and there was plenty to protest against. We were a force to be reckoned with. We felt we were changing things for the better. We felt a purpose in our lives that was a passion that fed on itself.
I was confused when the war ended in Vietnam and people began to return to being the worker ants they had always been. It was if someone had come in and turned the light off and I was surrounded by darkness. I wasn't depressed, but many were. These older friends of mine finally relented, got jobs, got married, had children (not necessarily in that order) and life went on. When you have a family to consider - you lose touch with what is going on in the world outside your door. You begin to live in a world you have created for yourself - your own reality.
My parents grew up in times of poverty and wars - Korea and Vietnam. Their parents grew up with WWII. There was a feeling of emergency, of inevitability, of our own mortality. Churches began to fill with people looking for an answer or salvation. However, the generation of our parents did have their decadence - Playboy was rising in popularity and so were Key Parties. There was plenty going on behind closed doors or closed parties. Children were allowed to roam the streets from sunup to sundown. We went unnoticed for the most part, unless we were in trouble. Those kids with heavily religious upbringings answered to very strict parenting. I was in the group left to my own devices. Though I loved my upbringing, I did not learn discipline in the sense of the working world. I also had an opposition to authority that made working difficult. I was terribly displaced and feeling it more and more with each year.
I had children out of wedlock and they were my incentive to earn a living. I think I did pretty good, considering I was one of those falling into deep despair and suicidal in my early 20's. I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was lost and in pain.
In addition, wars were coming into our homes nightly in black and white and then in living color! - we now allow our children to kill at will in games they hold on their laps, without ever looking up and seeing other people, real people, hear their words, feel their emotions, etc. I fear that we have reached a time when killing in games is no longer enough - so we kill for real. To the shooter, it is a game - not real, not humans, not like them. THEY NEED TO FEEL. WE ARE LOSING OUR ABILITY TO FEEL and with that we are losing our EMPATHY and COMPASSION for everyone else.
I raised my children in an era of no spanking and allowing them to become... well, bratty and spoiled. I spanked and I was a strict parent. My two girls understood the need for education and I made sure they saw what poverty really looked like by driving them through poor neighborhoods and lecturing them with visual proof of what a lack of education and work would reward them with...
My children were not drug addicts or alcoholics (not that I'm saying that others who had other types of upbringings were as a result). I feel successful in producing two beautiful and successful young ladies who can speak up for themselves and others and were never occupying that darkness I once knew.
My grandchildren are not so fortunate. Between my kids graduating from University and their children being born - drug use has become a horror. Meth made in kitchen sinks with ingredients that astound me. Heroin epidemics everywhere. It touches all families in one way or another. Children are not disciplined and THEY know they can make a call if they are. What does a parent do with a child who knows they can play that game? The child begins to make decisions they should never make and are taken in by their new families - their peers.
It doesn't take long to become an addict. Death. It doesn't take long for kids to form their "families" (clicks) and literally destroy the minds of less aggressive children. Those who feel they have nowhere to go for help (and the schools really do look the other way in spite of rules typed out at the start of the year.) and if a child could be singled out - it became sport to totally destroy them. How does a young person, never taught how to deal with such a thing, find their way through experiences like these? The mind can believe anything if exposed to something long enough. These children do not believe life will ever be any better and they really don't want to go on in a world with this kind of emotional abuse.
Hell, many adults cannot do it either.
When the pain of waking up is greater than the pain one goes to sleep with - you find suicides escalating.
Also, many are not suicide - it is drug overdose, it is death by ignorance and no real understanding of love and support. Parents are addicted and have no interest in children. The drug becomes their god.
Where do these vulnerable children go? They go to their deaths in a variety of ways, including death by cop.
These children often do not trust the words "love, good enough, worthy, support, success, future...."
Our society is in ruins right now and a greater nation could come in right now and knock us to our knees. Our judicial system has become a "for profit" legal system that, once you enter, you never can escape. Alcohol has become the drug of choice for many adults with no sense of survival. Promiscuity is rampant and young kids are engaging in sex with no ability to handle the rejection that usually follows. I could go on and on.
Each generation has its own horrors. Ours has now become one of staying alive and seeing to it that our young ones stay alive. This means we need to be aware and present at all times and teach each of our children how to deflect the insults without becoming the bully.
I often post a recital of Black Sheep by Karen Finely. It resonates as much now as it did when she wrote it near the early 90's or late 80's when AIDS was the horror.

There are a couple of lines that really scream out to me in my experience: My sister says I don't understand you !
But I have hundreds of sisters with me tonight.
My brother says I don't want you !
But I have hundreds of brothers with me here tonight !
My mother says I don't know how to love someone like you !
You're so different from the rest !
But I have hundreds of mamas with me here tonight !
My father says I don't know how to hold you !
But I have hundreds of daddies with me here tonight !
We're related to people we love who can't say -
I love you Black Sheep daughter
I love you Black Sheep son -
I love you outcast, I love you outsider

I am at my loneliest when I have
something to celebrate and try
to share it with those I love but
who don't love me back.
There's always silence at the end
of the phone -
There's always silence at the end
of the phone -
Sister - Congratulate me !

Sometimes, some sheep are chosen to be sick
to finally have average, flat, boring
people say I love you.
Sometimes, Black Sheep are chosen to be sick
so families can finally come together
and say I love you.
Sometimes, some Black Sheep are chosen to die
so loved ones, families, countries
and cultures
can finally say
Your life was worth living !
Your life meant something to me !
I loved you all along !

Black Sheep can be family to strangers
We can love each other like MOTHER
We understand universal love
We understand unconditional love.
We feel a unique responsibility
a human responsibility for feelings for others
We can be all things to all people -
We are there at 3.30AM when you call
We are here tonight cause I just can't
go to sleep. I have nowhere else to go -
I'm a creature of the night -
I travel in your dreams
I feel your nightmares
We are your holding hand -
We are your pillow, your receiver,
your cuddly toy.

I feel your pain.
I wish I could relieve you of your suffering.
I wish I could relieve you of your pain.
I wish I could relieve you of your death.

Silence at the end of the phone.
Silence at the end of the phone.
Silence at the end of the phone.

You see, today - we no longer know to receive love though we feel the pain of the absence of love - so we are able to give love, but those who need it most rely on it to justify the love they get. They are not looking to be saved. They are looking to be loved - even if it means dying to win it.

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