Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Sense of Hopelessness

Since I've started down this path of trying raise awareness to the troubles and issues dealing with teen/gay-teen suicide and bullying, I've come across quite a few young people who, for lack of a better term, exuded a sense of sheer hopelessness.  I have a problem with that.

When you're 18, 19, 20 years old and feel hopeless, there's a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.  With some, I'm sure that depression plays a huge role.  As adults, and as parents to these young people, it is imperative that we not only know what depression looks like, but know exactly what to do when we see it.    We can never lose sight of the fact that teen-aged depression is at the root of many of the teen suicides.

Today, on three separate occasions, I heard from young people who sounded thoroughly defeat.  None of them were over the age of 21.  One quote was "what's the point?".  Another defeatist remark was "whatever happens, happens...I've grown tired and careless."  Is it just me, or is there a deep-seeded problem here?

I've said this several times before, and I'm sure I'll say it many more:  it's the adults, THE PARENTS, who need to be educated first and foremost.  In two of the three "cases" I mentioned, I know that the home environment is hostile at best.  One, an 18-year-old, is making plans for just leaving home and trying to make it on his own.  Not necessarily a bad idea, all things considered.  In another case, the youngster is constantly "bullied" by his parents, belittled and even laughed at because he's gay.  When I was in my deepest depression, following the sudden death of my closest friend at the time, the best my mother could offer me was "get over it."  That doesn't work. (and, again, thank God that I'm a resilient person.  Even though it took a couple decades, literally, for me to honestly be at peace with the loss, I did survive)  When there's little-to-no home stability, when there's no support system in the home, when taking it to the streets as a means of rescuing oneself, the issue is clearly that of the adults in their lives or, more specifically, THE PARENTS.

What's at stake, clearly, is the lives of thousands of young lives each year.  With their emotional stability in the balance, it's foolish to think that we can begin to lower the number of teen/gay teen suicides without also addressing the home environment and the parents.  There has been cases where the teen was fully supported and greatly loved by his parents and family, and he still committed suicide.  So, what, then, is the risk factor for the teens who live in hostile or non-supportive (which is equally damaging) home environments, who has parents who range from just not giving a damn to being actually emotionally abusive?  Where does that leave them?  That's an easy answer:  It leaves them with a sense of hopelessness.  And, out of that sense of hopelessness, rarely does anything good come.

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