September 10, 2012 is World Suicide Prevention Day. It's a day that I'll probably blog about and I'm sure to think about quietly as I watch my 13 year old son go about his day. I've been thinking a lot about suicide because just this week a public figure, director Tony Scott, jumped off of a bridge.
There is a very distinct difference between mental health treatment and kidney transplant. For both of the kids failing kidneys we always knew they'd need dialysis or a transplant to survive. There was a goal. A finish line and that was kidney function or fake kidney function (dialysis).
Treatment for debilitating depression is obviously different for each person and for a child who has had a kidney transplant it is even more complicated. Just about nearly everyone wanted to pass his treatment on to someone else. Finally, after we admitted him to a psych hospital, we found a doctor who agreed to treat him. Treating him involved working closely with a transplant care team and pharmacologist. It involved the doctor knowing or researching certain drugs to make sure they wouldn't interfere with anti-rejection meds and/or be toxic to the one healthy kidney we longed for and was successfully working in my son.
When I think about World Suicide Prevention Day I think about all of the people who are struggling with suicidal tendencies, I think about the loved ones who've watched their people die to suicide. I think about doctors that aren't afraid to treat patients - especially those complicated, tough cases. I think about sisters and brothers who endure years living in difficult circumstances with siblings who are suffering from mental illness. I think about parents.
I think about us. I think about the day we drove away from the hospital and entrusted them with our son because we couldn't keep him safe. I would do anything not to feel that way again and talking* about it, writing about it and remembering it gives me hope that if we can deal with it better next time.
We're always at risk for a next time.
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Julia Roberts is a writer, speaker and strategist. She can be found at TheOtherJuliaRoberts.com *My son knows and supports writing about his issues publicly and I will until he has an issue with it. We talk about it a lot - about the time he was so sad he wanted to die. It never leaves any of us, least of all him.