B E E N  T H E R E:  T E E N  S U I C I D E

April 1997

Tori was so depressed about her mother's illness and about not liking her looks that she began to think of suicide as a solution to her problems. After she almost died from an overdose, she got the help she needed to control the depression and sort things out. She now writes poetry and feels confident about her ability to handle whatever comes her way.


The InSite: When was the first time you thought about suicide?

Tori: In 6th grade, someone came to our school and talked about teen suicide which is something that no one in my family had ever talked about. I'd never even considered suicide. Then when they came, instead of making it better that started giving me ideas. I'd go, "Wow! Maybe that is a way out."

TI: That's pretty much how it all started...

Tori: Me saying, "Oh, I want to kill myself!" once in a while. You know, just being stupid. But I never really meant it at all in 6th grade. My parents made me go to a psychiatrist, 'cause I kept on saying I was going to kill myself. My dad was really mad, and I didn't know that counselors were confidential then. I thought that everything I was saying she was going to take notes and show my parents. So I would not tell her anything. I was like, "Oh, yeah. Life is great. I don't know what they're talking about!"

Toward the end of 7th grade I was really, really depressed. I was really upset with my weight, especially about my looks. I'd be walking home from school and someone would say, "You're fat. Just kidding." And I'd start crying even though I wasn't fat.


...someone would say,

"You're fat. Just kidding."

And I'd start crying...


Deep, dark, painful
It stabs your soul,
Kills your hope.
You start all over again,
Each tear cuts through your skin,
The tears are razors,
But not skin deep.
They slash and stab your heart,
You cut your arteries,
The blood separates the pain,
It stains the agony,
It pierces the skin,
Like an acupuncture needle,
Prick, Prick, Prick.
The blood leaks out,
One by one,
Leaving dark red drops behind,
Staining skin,
With cloud stricken patterns,
When the blood reaches the ground,
it thumps
Like a pin.
Now, there's a new stain.


Then in 8th grade, we were on a field trip on a bus and this one guy had carved all these scars into his arm with a safety pin. All these signs and stuff. And I said, "Oh, wow, that's cool! Will you do it to my arm?" And he did it. It didn't really hurt, and I just loved how it looked on my arm! I remember we went back to school and someone went and told the counselor and the vice-principal.

So the vice-principal calls me down with the counselor and says, "Let me see your arm." And she takes me to the nurse and makes her clean it with alcohol, and she starts yelling at me and says, "We're going to call CPS (Child Protective Services)!" And I said, "What are you talking about? I did this myself! This has nothing to do with my parents." So then she calls my mom and tells her that I'm cutting up all over my arm. My dad was in San Diego for a business trip. I guess my mom started freaking out because she paged him.

So I get home from school and my dad calls and starts totally yelling at me and says, "I can't leave for one second without you getting in trouble!" I hated the school and I felt they called my dad. At that point I was starting to feel depressed again and they called a psychiatrist, and once in a while I was seeing her. And I was starting to talk to her a little now. So they put me in school counseling and counseling outside.

TI: Did the counseling help?

Tori: I was referred to another psychiatrist near where I live and she prescribed anti-depressants for me 'cause I was really depressed, and by then I would cut up my arms on a daily basis. I'd get really upset, so I'd go in my room and take scissors and mirrors, glass, you know, anything and just cut my arm.

I tried to stab myself in the stomach,

but it always hurt too much.

TI: Didn't that hurt?

Tori: I was so mad. It just hurt a little, but I didn't care. I tried to hang myself with a belt, but that didn't work. I tried to slice my wrists, but the knives were always too dull. I tried to stab myself in the stomach, but it always hurt too much. And then I could never find my dad's guns that he had in the house 'cause he hid them once in 6th grade when I told my mom that I wanted to kill myself. I'd get into fights with my mom and every time I'd get so mad I'd run into my room and just go slice myself. And my dad was getting really pissed off at me, and all this stuff happened, and I promised him that I wouldn't do it any more.

By now I was seeing counseling once a week. And I wouldn't talk to her that much because she'd say, "I won't tell your dad but when you tell me you're going to kill yourself, then I have to tell him." So she'd always ask "On a scale of 1 to 10 how are you?" and I'd always lie. Because I knew she was going to tell my dad, and my dad would be all upset. You know, like "Why am I spending all this money if it's not helping?"

TI: What was going on that was making you feel like killing yourself?

Tori: I was really, really depressed about my mom being in a wheel chair. She has multiple sclerosis. [A neurological disease whose symptoms include muscular incoordination and weakness. The nerves gradually stop being able to send messages to the muscles, so a person can't move.] And I was very depressed about my looks. Who I was, you know? About friends. About everything! Adolescence. Everything!

I was feeling really sad. And my dad said if I didn't stop cutting myself up they'd take me to a mental hospital. One day I was really depressed when I woke up, and I got in a fight with my mom, and I thought about cutting myself. I went into the bathroom and opened the drawer, and I found a pocket knife. I tried to do a scar on my upper arm so that my dad wouldn't see it. But then I thought... I don't feel the same doing that. I felt really bad.

I don't even know what I was thinking, but I just barged into my room, my friend was over too, just sitting on my bed. I was depressed because she was going out with a cute guy, and I was stuck with an ugly boy. I just took about 20 of my anti-depressant pills and put them in my mouth and swallowed them with water. I don't even know how they all fit in my mouth! They went down my throat and then about five seconds after I did it I realized what I did and I was like "Ohmigod! I can't believe I just did that!" I ran to the bathroom, first thing and I kept trying to make myself throw up, but nothing would come out. I started getting dizzy. I started getting headaches.

About two hours later I told my mom. My mom starts crying and freaking out. My aunt and everyone starts panicking, and I started to feel really sleepy. Finally I went to the hospital and on the way there I threw up all over the car. Then I ran into the emergency room, and they were talking to my mom and they said "Do you believe that she didn't try to kill herself?" And my mom said "Yes!" And so did my friend. So they didn't refer me to Mental Health or something. They just said they want me to keep on seeing both of the psychiatrists. 'Cause I told them it was an accident. That I woke up and I was going to take my one pill and I accidentally took too many. But of course they knew.

When I thought that I was, for real, going to die, I really chickened out.

TI: So that scared you, didn't it?

Tori: That scared the crap out of me! When I thought that I was, for real, going to die, I really chickened out. When you're so mad you don't really think, but then it happens to you... I got so scared. I said, "I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" I thought, "Ohmigod! My life is over!" I was freaking out. The physical pain that I had was the worst feeling. It was like a hundred million times worse than butterflies in your stomach. And my throat felt all weird. And I'd be totally hot, and then I'd get the chills. It was the worst thing for me. Before that I didn't know anything about overdoses. I didn't know what I had done. I just thought that maybe it would hurt me just a little. I had no idea that you could die from an overdose.

TI: It sounds like this overdose experience was so scary it woke you up.

Tori: It totally woke me up! That's why I'm totally for life now. I used to smoke weed once in a while with most of my other friends, but I don't do any drugs. I don't drink.

TI: So when you get really really pissed what's different now?

Tori: My dad got me a punching bag with punching gloves. I take all my anger out on that. Before that what would help was punching things, but I never had anything to punch, so I'd always punch my walls and cut up my knuckles. So now I have a punching bag so I can punch safely without hurting my own hand.

TI: You sound like you are much wiser now than you were in 6th grade.

Tori: Very much! I'm more mature than people my age. When people talk about making themselves throw up and killing themselves, I can't even think about that any more and the sad thing is I was just like them. I used to think in the same mentality. I guess no one is going to change no matter how many times you tell them, no one's going change until... either they never really felt that way or they have to experience something like that themselves.

TI: How are things at home now?

Tori: I get along much better with my mom now. I get along with everyone in my family. I can tell my dad and mom just about everything. Before I had so many secrets. So many lies. Now it's just all out in the open. I still get depressed. I have my breakdowns, and I start bawling, but it's nothing abnormal. And it's nothing I can't handle.

Before I had so many secrets.
So many lies.
Now it's just all out in the open.

Check out Tori's poetry


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