I don’t know what to say….

Sunset in Arizona.
Sunset down the road.

Not to get too morbid, but the past two weeks have been hellish. I feel my last week’s posts have focused on death. But it’s what is happening in our lives. I feel raw from the sadness of losing our friend Mark, and then I got a phone call late Friday night from a fellow swim mom. It’s not like her to call me. We haven’t talked much since our daughters graduated college with our swim parenting days behind us.

She started the call by saying, “I have something awful to tell you, but it’s not about Kat or Megan.” Kat and Megan are our daughters who swam together at the University of Utah. It was about one of their former teammates. He committed suicide.

I was getting texts and calls. Everyone was worried about my daughter and how she’d take the news. She was at work, and I asked everyone to talk to her once she got off work. In the end, her coach from Utah made the call and they cried together. Then my daughter went to her brother’s house and sat with his girlfriend. I’m so thankful and grateful to have them so close.

I am devastated for the loss of this young man of 24. He was the type of person everybody wanted to be around. He was tall, good looking, smart, funny. He had a hearty laugh that was contagious. He was so polite and well-mannered that when we went out to dinner with him, he’d stand when I got up to use the bathroom.

I’ve heard from swim moms that his teammates are devastated. Nobody had a clue that life was less than perfect for him. Nobody knew that he was suffering. There weren’t any signs.

I cannot imagine how his family is doing. I enjoyed his parents so much and often sat with them at swim meets beginning in high school through college. His older sister is one of my daughter’s best friends and the three of them spent tons of time together.

I asked my husband, “How much pain are we able to take?”

This makes me worry about the mental health of our youth more than ever. I want to know if social media has made depression and anxiety worse? There’s a difference of three years between my son and daughter. Social media was only MySpace when my son was in middle school and early high school. By the time my daughter was that age, social media was so much more prevalent and popular. Is this a result of growing up on screens?

I had this conversation with my daughter before this tragedy occurred. We were talking about anxiety and depression. She thinks that people her age and younger are much more open to getting treatment. And that they are more open to talking about mental illness. She doesn’t think social media is causing more young people to have depression or anxiety. She thinks the numbers are going up because more kids are getting treatment.

I tend to think it may be a combination of many factors, social media included, and her generation being more open to talk about mental health. I think I’m searching for a reason. Something to blame for the loss of this young man’s life.

What is your opinion? Do you think mental illness in teens and early 20-year-olds is increasing? Or are they more open to discussing it? What do you see as the causes?

25 thoughts on “I don’t know what to say….

  1. Mental health is most definitely on the rise. One billion percent. My opinion, which is only my opinion, is that this generation has been handed things and been told that life is fair. They’ve been shielded from the realities of life and when something doesn’t go their way they freak. Kids haven’t been taught to cope, they’ve been placated with trophies and drugs as miracle cure alls. They haven’t been expected to be responsible. People want to be “friends” with their kids. They have friends, they NEED parents. But I am sorry you’re experiencing all this. It sucks. Sending love💗

  2. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear this sad news. It’s good that you can talk with your daughter as I am sure she’s hurting as are all the others who knew him. God bless…so sad. I have a few friends whose kids committed suicide and it was devastating. I think that mental health is a topic that’s not talked about enough and even though the kids may be more open to talking about it, they need direction, help and solutions as well as learning resilience, coping mechanisms and mindset shifts. My heart aches for them and for those whom they leave behind. It breaks my heart.

  3. Your post hit my heart and also my latest post which is about how life if full of pain, all kinds of pain and how do we process it. Since I have several friend, either experiencing pain themself or have family and friends going through pain. Today is the funeral of a man whose wife I am friends with. He died at 48 suddenly from a massive heart attack. I cannot tell you how many people are looking for comfort because of his death. Christians are the shoulders they run to for comfort, to cry on, to ask questions. Death is not a bad thing to discuss or write about because we all will face it. For me I don’t want to waste it for it could be the one time someone seeking leads them to talk about death. The Bible says it is better to go to a funeral instead of a place of eating. I am thankful for my daughter part in this loss of the friend husband. He and she are teachers where my daughter is a Para. The whole school knows my daughter is a Christian so she has had lots of opportunities to give our an answer for the peace that some are experiencing over this. The man who died had a deep walk with God and so does his wife. Of course the question why comes up most of all, why him , he was such a good man, why? As to the why now at 47, only God knows that but as to they way, we all live in frail bodies not meant to live for eternity in. But, God has new bodies in that will never die…Knowing these truth does not elimanate the sadness though, all death is sad because of those they leave behind especially. But I can tell you for sure many are thinking of their death someday at this time of sadness.

  4. We just heard about a young man who committed suicide as well. It was not someone we were close to but had been my youngest daughter’s first boss at Starbucks. The family that he comes from was a troubled family and siblings had gone to school with my older daughter. It is a terrible shame. I don’t know if there were signs for this young man either, in fact he had just recently gotten married. Such a helpless feeling when something like that happens. More hugs to you!

  5. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing so much loss.
    I wish I knew what the answer was, but I don’t. But if you don’t know what to say, continue writing your words and letting your emotions out. We are here to listen.

  6. My husband had two suicides in his immediate family, both were older (50s and 80s). Suicide has always been with us, I just think it wasn’t labeled as such because it was looked at as a family stigma. I don’t think any of us who have not personally visited that dark space (which, thank goodness I haven’t) should speculate as to why others have. Fortunately I think more people are willing to seek help nowadays.

  7. Where did we go wrong, teaching the younger kids that life needs to be perfect? Shit, I am in my 60’s and still looking for that elusive perfect hour. I long ago gave up on a perfect life, year, month, or day. I am now down to an hour.

  8. I think it’s a combination of both. I’m glad that the stigma on mental health is slowly being lifted but there is a lot more work to be done. I also have seen statistics that the use of social media in teens increases anxiety and depression. Moreover, men are more likely to commit suicide when they are depressed because they are told to “man up” and that “boys don’t cry”. Sadly, my husband is trying to teach this messed-up concept to my 6-year-old son. My son is very in tune with his feelings, as I have taught him to be. He is empathetic and kind and sensitive. He isn’t a crybaby but he is very expressive. He cries during movies and I think that’s amazing. Yesterday my husband and son were watching a tv show together and it’s not for my sons age but my husband doesn’t care or listen to me. Anyway, my son was silently crying when one of the characters was kidnapped. He tried not to show my husband his tears because he knows my husband disapproves of boys crying. So he went and washed his face and tried not to make it obvious but my husband caught it and mocked him for crying, telling him ” men don’t cry”. I had an argument with my husband in front of my son then and there, telling my husband that this goes against my teachings for him to express all his feelings freely. Afterwards, my husband explained that he doesn’t want our son crying at school and getting bullied for it because other boys will make fun of him, especially since our son is already petite for his age. I told him “then tell him not to cry at school. He is smart and I think he already knows not to cry at school, but at home is his safe space where he is allowed to express all his emotions” so my husband said “well not during movies, real-life events okay but not movies” so I said “okay then, when he cries during a movie, just remind him indirectly that it’s not real. Don’t tell him not to cry”.

    • My daughter said the same thing about men committing suicide. Your son should be able to express his feelings, especially at home. I understand your husband’s worry about being bullied also.

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