Our young males are dying prematurely!
My heart is heavy and my mind grasping at solutions at the news of the rise in young male suicides.
As a mum of two gorgeous dare to dreamers; Sam, twenty- four and James twenty, I understand totally the need to teach our boys the importance and relevance of being able to express themselves openly without mocking or ridicule.
Hugs are commonplace in our home as are our heated debates, quickly followed by silences. Then it's over. Words expressed, expletives hollered, but 'the issue' is out, no longer festering in the murky depths of their souls.
Are we doing it right? I now ask Is there something I or my husband Wayne 'should' have done? How do I know they are really ok?
I look at them and their lives and what they are creating, they are young, hopeful, full of promise with their sights set on success, happiness, financial freedom, making memories, friends, great sex (too much information sometimes).
I hope and pray (yes I admit I ask for Divine Intervention) that they are not sinking in the silence of depression and the quirky activity of anxiety.
I affirm that 'all is well' on a daily basis and keep my doors open and my ears ready to listen when they call.
Maybe as a loving and conscious parent, that is all I can do.
When Sam was a post traumatised three-year-old (read why in my first blog 6.9.2016 or my book Awarded By Angels, Angel Alison Ward), we were quickly shown that we needed to adopt an open communication policy in our family.
Sam would often ask (in the middle of Sainsbury's) or at the pizza restaurant whilst playing with his dinosaurs; "Mummy why did Graham (his natural father) stab you?" I would stop. Ignore the questioning stares of the fellow shoppers as they searched for evidence of the stabbings and get down to Sam's level.
"I don't know Sam; Graham was poorly in the head but I will never know the answer".
As a parent we feel we should know all the answers but in truth we don't. I decided to own up and admit many times that I didn't know the answer.
This open and honest policy seems to have served us well.
I like to think that now my boys are adults we are now friends. We no longer need to parent them, maybe they too don't have the need to be parented, yet is there something we have missed?
I can't imagine the horror of finding your young son found hanging from a lengthy rope, heart no longer beating, soul left for home.
So as a nation what can we do?
Be open, teach our boys that it ok to cry, give them a hug, often, let them know you will always listen, then simply be totally present when they present their issue to you.
You may not know the answer or the solution. That's OK, you have listened with your ears and heart without judgement.
It is not a weakness to feel sad, low, depressed. Simply acknowledge how it is you are feeling. Yes that damned word 'feeling' are men meant to 'feel'?
Yes! you bloody well are! Embrace this aspect of you, it's a gauge informing you that something is amiss.
We are made up of not only our physical and mental aspect but also our spiritual and emotional aspect. If we continue to ignore this part of us eventually this omission may create a sense of separation from self which then begs the question; "what is missing from my life?"
Stress, anxiety and even depression is born, looking for its fuel supply.
So come on you gorgeous men, admit you're not fine when asked. Seek help from a loved one, friend or the numerous charities out there who will listen.
We don't want you to leave this life prematurely, feeling unheard and responsible for this deep sense of darkness. Your thoughts and feelings are valid. There is another way.
I for one am offering free calls to any young male who is feeling anxious, distressed and depressed and have other experienced fellow therapists lined up too.
YOU are not alone in this dark no man's land.
Alison Ward. All rights reserved @2016.
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