By Kyona Robinson
“I’m not depressed, I’m hurting.” This is what my soon to be 15-year-old son said to me less than a week after his cutting attempt. He was in tears telling me that he felt hopeless and had no will to live. It broke my heart because I know that feeling very well, as I have bipolar disorder.
After his confession, I made several phone calls and took him to the emergency room. I explained my concerns and waited for several hours to speak with a doctor. As we waited, he poured out his emotions in detail. After meeting with a counselor and a pediatrician, they released us with a list of resources.
I don’t hold any stigmatizing views when it comes to mental illness. Although I believe in a holistic approach, if you’re sick, you should take medicine if you need it. So I called more than a dozen psychiatrists and therapists. It was a struggle to find adequate medical care, even though I have insurance through my employer. Pediatric mental health care is very limited in my home state.
My psychiatrist wouldn’t see him and referred me to someone else. I was able to schedule a video appointment with a psychiatrist who prescribed him Prozac. I knew the side effects of Prozac, one of which is increased suicidal thoughts insometeens. However, I thought he’d be the exception.
Ten days later, he said the meds would work until the third period of the school day, and then he’d be back down. I reached out to the psychiatrist for a second time, and he prescribed an additional medication, Lexapro, and increased the dose for the Prozac, since it was helping.
Two days later, he was out of school for a snow day and was home alone. I was confident he’d be fine. He texted me saying he was feeling a little down. I told him I’ll pray and that he should do the same. I called him on my lunch and he was crying hysterically. I couldn’t clearly understand him at first and then I heard him say, “I didn’t mean to do it.”
I went home immediately and facetimed him while I walked to my car, begging him not to do this to me. I tried to drive and talk with him at the same time. I finally got him to relax and I called my mother to let her know what was happening. She was quiet and did not offer much. I felt alone again, having to decide what to do about my son’s mental state.
As I sped home in the rain, I was numb. I just wanted my son to be okay. My heart was broken. How can I live in a world where my son doesn’t exist? I hated everybody in that moment, especially his father who rejected him to pursue his own selfish endeavors. He’s a big part of my son’s pain.
But I couldn’t cry, at least not in that moment. I pulled into the driveway and walked in. He was seated and wearing his black-hooded coat at the kitchen table. I could tell he was ready to go back to the hospital. He seemed remorseful and very aware of what had happened.
I pulled myself together and we talked for a minute or so, until we were interrupted by the police banging on my door. One of the men mentioned something about my grandson, and I knew it was my mother who called. I didn’t feel so alone after that.
My mother didn’t know if I would make it home in time. She asked the police for two things: the first, a mental health police officer, and the second, not to shoot my son. I invited both officers in. They talked with my son and took down our information. Afterwards, we went back to the emergency room to get my son more help.
Some days it’s just too much — too much pain, worry and darkness. So, we’re just taking life one day at a time. But ever since that awful day, something changed him, and he decided he wanted to live. And that’s all I needed from him.
Kyona Robinson a single mother, author and blogger @liveinabundanceblog.com. Kyona is learning how to apply her biblical beliefs as she navigates through life challenges, temptations and unavoidable awkward moments. She designed her blog to encourage and inspire women of all faiths and walks of life!
We’re always accepting submissions to the NAMI Blog! We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well with mental illness. Most importantly: We feature your voices.
Check out our Submission Guidelines for more information.
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741
Find Your Local NAMI