Watching the story of Alexandria Valoras on the evening news hit home to me in so many ways. She was an exceptionally bright young lady ahead of her years. She achieved a lot in her short 17 years on this earth. Then her parents were blindsided by her untimely suicide. Her journals spoke volumes of the pain that she was enduring on the inside.
Read this article and share this with everyone you know.
As you know, September is Suicide Prevention Month. This is subject that is near and dear to my heart. As a mental health sufferer for a quarter of a century, I’ve witnessed and lost people who I know to suicide. My classmate in high school was no more than 17 when she committed suicide and my mother has attempted suicide many times throughout her life.
I know exactly what it feels like to endure such tragedy and unspeakable pain. The hurt is so unbearable that there are no words to describe it all. What you don’t realize is that many people mask their pain and live in denial. Some turn to alternatives such as drugs, alcohol, self-harm, food, or journaling to numb the pain. I’ve been there.
When I heard about Alexandria’s story, I was emotional. From the outside, she looked like a normal and happy teenager. Yes, she accomplished a lot and was an honor student. Was she stressed? Probably. Was she suffering internally? Oh yes. The pressures kids today have on them are a lot. She turned to her journal to express her true emotions. There is always more than meets the eye. In private, she was suffering. Probably had some bad depression and couldn’t take it anymore. As a fellow sufferer, I understand and see the struggle everyday. Teens have the highest suicide rate and is one of the top killers of teens, too. Think about that.
Watching her parents tell her story was hard. If it were my child, I don’t think I would handle it well at all. When they found her journal and started reading it, they were beyond shocked by it. Me, too. It’s hard living in darkness and most people even your closest family have no clue about what’s going on.
Communication and being involved with your children is important. There is always time to talk with your children or loved ones about mental health. This is an important and crucial subject to talk openly about. This is a life or death situation.
After I watched that small clip of her story, I was immediately transported back to high school. I remember being back in the year 2000. One of my classmates (a year older than me) was killed in a motorcycle accident and I was best friends with his sister. She had to be hospitalized because she saw the whole incident right in front of her. He was coming towards the house when their dog ran into the road and he crashed his bike. He was killed on impact due to severe head trauma and massive internal injuries. For a while, she suffered in silence. Not long after that, a different classmate was just like Alexandria. She was a great kid. Bright and exceptional. A great student. She had aspirations of becoming a professional performer and had a ton of friends. Little did we know that she had inner demons that were eating away at her.
She smoked a lot of marijuana to help numb the pain. When she got busted for smoking in the girl’s room, she attempted suicide in the principal’s office. When she got home, she got out her father’s gun and shot herself in the head. Everyone was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t know that she had mental health issues. Her best friend attempted suicide after her death. She was hospitalized for a long time.
The same with my mother. She used to work for the IRS and can’t work now because of her mental health. She’s been declared “mentally disabled”. She has schizophrenia and major depression. She has attempted many times throughout the course of her life and mine. She does ECT treatments 4 times a year and hasn’t been hospitalized once in the last 5 years.
So it begs the question, what are we doing as a society when it comes to mental health? Are we communicating and spreading the word about how important this is? Alexandria’s parents are doing something about it. They’re getting their story out and helping others. I am, too. Are you?
If you know someone who’s suffering, then contact 1-800-273-8255 or follow their website https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Talk about this with everyone you know! Your health is too important to ignore.