Why I’ll Tell My Son About My Suicide Attempt


When I was 15 years old, my family moved from suburban Detroit to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was the mid-’90s — there was no texting. No Facebook. I didn’t have an email address, and long-distance phone calls were seven cents a minute. In a matter of months I lost touch with all of my friends, most of whom I’d known since the first grade. I fell into a deep depression and attempted suicide.

With the help of counseling and medication, I recovered. My brother, diagnosed with bipolar disorder just two years after my attempt, was not so lucky. When we were in our early 20s, he took his own life…

I think that to keep a family history of mental illness a secret is to perpetuate the stigma. By not telling our children about our experiences with mental illness, or the experiences of other family members, we are telling them that there is something to be ashamed of. That shame is what keeps people from asking for help. That shame is what killed my brother…

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