2: A Teenager's Will to Live

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

The teenage years are trouble! There's a naive carelessness that comes with the territory of adolescent passage, an invincible disregard for consequences. It's liberatingly admirable and yet moreover morose.

Oh, what I'd give to have such self-confidence again; but, oh, what I'd give to have had better tools to combat catastrophizing.

8.9% of 9-12th graders have made one or more suicide attempts in the last year. So let's say that the average public high school teaches to roughly 500 students. The way the math works out, this means that an astounding 45 young lives walking their high school halls are acting on suicidal ideation each year. Playing the probability, it stands to chance that you knew someone struggling... or, just maybe someone knew you.

Looking back on my own high school years is confusing. I can recall exciting adventures of attempts to attract attention by singing and dancing in the back of that top-down red Mustang and midnight runs to Whataburger. I also recall much darker memories themed of decluttering my physical life so as to relieve the future burden I might leave behind.

Family is a fickle function. As the "baby"--generationally separated by a 10-year age gap to the next youngest and a 22-year gap to the oldest--sibling relationships were delayed and complicated by physical and emotional distance. Regardless, and by some divine intervention, just as I was succumbing to a deep low, I went to live with one of my sisters in Corpus Christi.

From what I remember, my primary role was babysitting three of my nieces and nephews. While this originally felt like an interruption in my grand plans, caring for children gave me a purpose.

Kids tend to complicate things... but for me, in that time, they did the exact opposite. The simple lens through which young children see the world is refreshingly clear. My own end-of-the-world worries shrunk to their rational size and I grew full of love.

Dallis, Sydney and Jack resurrected my will to live.

(Dallis, Sydney, and Jack)
Dallis, Sydney, and Jack


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255


text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741