The week before July 4th, for the second time, I tried to take my life. The first time I thought about dying, I was eight years old. A girl in my Catholic School class was hit in the head by a swing. I never liked Regina Rowland but the day of her funeral, buried in her Communion dress, I was asking God why He didn’t love me enough to take me instead of her.
The worthlessness I felt then continued into my adulthood and I finally have a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. Between the abandonment of my father and a stressed out mom who thought constant beatings and emotional and verbal abuse were a form of discipline, I grew up feeling worthless. I fight the feeling now but at times there are triggers that bring me back to the worthless feelings and/or the feeling that something beyond my control, is my fault anyway.
This is such a morose subject matter, especially while I am trying to sell children’s books, but if I can drill into parent’s heads what you do now, as your child is young, has an impact on them for years to come, it will be worth it.
Save your child years of pain. Just love them now. Love them and find a way to deal with your problems without putting them in the middle of your mess. Get help. Explain things to them. Tell your child when there is chaos, it is not their fault. It’s not too late. It’s never too late. Most of all, if you’ve made a mistake, admit it. Be an example to your child. Caregivers are their heroes. They depend on you for the most basic of things: food, clothing, shelter, most of all love.
Let them know whatever happens in life they need to love themselves first. The rest will come! Is it ironic I wrote “Looking in the Mirror” to teach children to love themselves and yet I struggle to love myself? NO, I say. It is the very reason I wrote the book. I know how important it is. I see how different my friend’s lives are and my daughter’s life is because they have a healthy sense of self.
Suicide and depression doesn’t make you crazy. Halle Barry once tried to kill herself. Justin Beiber’s mom tried to commit suicide. Joey Pants wrote his book on depression. Ms. Zeta-Jones suffers from depression. Millions of people have issues. Try to take care of your children the best you can when they are young so they have the best chance to grow up as healthy as possible. That is a parent’s responsibility. If something is wrong, seek help a.s.a.p.
For the most part, I live a fairly happy, zany, life. I enjoy my daughter and my home, and I have the best friends in the world. I wish those lapses in judgement, those memories of the past, those feelings of worthlessness that can be triggered just by someone blowing me off, didn’t exist, but they do. I’m working on it and one day I will appreciate the wonderful human being I know deep down inside I am and I’ll be able to say, ” Hey, I love myself anyway!”