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Teenagers need to be assured that even if the world may seem otherwise, you are and will always be there. Can you try to be that parent?
I know what you are feeling. Trust me, I know. Many of my friends have experienced this, including me. You think you are the only one who feels no one loves you? Like nobody cares about you and what you are going through? That’s the feeling most of us are going through.
You feel like you are alone, your friends have left you and they just don’t care anymore. You’ve stopped talking to the people with whom you used to talk every day. Your friends and classmates just think it’s the stress of your school or you are sleepy. So you feel there is no chance of staying in this place where everyone hates you but the truth is they don’t know what’s going on.
Every few minutes, someone thinks their life is unworthy and does it – what you have been planning to for so long. You’ve written those letters over and over again. Imagine you have taken all the pills, every single one of them. Then you will be just gone, gone forever and there is no way that you are coming back.
There is an assembly at your school, mourning your death. The whole audience is silent, so silent you could actually hear a pin drop. Your friends are crying. Each one of them is thinking why they didn’t tell you how beautiful and smart you are. They all think it’s their fault. They knew what you were going through but never thought it would get this bad, this bad for you to end it. All your classmates are realizing how they never noticed what you were going through. The bullies are thinking why they never told you they didn’t mean what they said and did. The popular girls are thinking why they made fun of you and why they never talked to you. Your teachers think about how they were too hard on you. Why they never realized what you were going through and how they couldn’t help you.
You should know and I’m telling you, you are loved even though you may not think so.
At your funeral, your whole family is there. Can you see them crying?
They never thought the bubbly girl, the one who always had a shoulder for them to cry on, the one who would fight for them, the one who would cheer them up when they were feeling low, was going through this. The thought that no one was there for you when you were feeling low in your hard times is killing them.
Can you see that even though you may not think that they loved you, they really do?
Many people cared – your family, your friends, your teachers and your classmates – they all cared. You are loved, even though sometimes you may feel otherwise and they may not express it. Though I hope and wish they did.
Share your loneliness with me so that I can share mine. We can be together in our loneliness. You are not alone, I am there.
This letter full of honesty, empathy and courage was written by Ayushi Dugar, a grade 8 student, during a creative writing program I conducted. (I have shared it with her permission).
The letter is a cry for everyone to know and accept that dark thoughts are a part of growing up. It is an appeal to all the parents to know that it is not teenagers who trouble you – they are far more troubled. Listen to their urge that please don’t judge us. Can you see that the problem is not that they go through an identity crisis, or have self-doubt, suicidal thoughts, and depressing feelings? The problem is they don’t get an emotionally safe environment to share these feelings.
At the stage where the whole world is enough to make them feel a ‘misfit’, as parents, don’t be a party to it. How you should dress, look, speak, behave – let at least home be a place where they can be away from rules and be themselves.
Be there to hold the space for your child when she is sailing in the teenage blues. On the boat of acceptance, sit next to him/her. Listen, without putting your child’s emotions in the boxes of right and wrong. Rewind to your adolescence and share your moments when you felt you were ‘weird’ and ‘odd’. Only in sharing and acceptance is there healing.
When your teenager pushes you away when you try to hug or kiss, know that it is a tantrum just like the ones s/he used to throw as a kid. His/her heart is devoid of self-love. Till then, take it upon yourself to be the source of love and fill it up. They need to know, day in day out, that they are loved. They need to be assured that even if the world may seem otherwise, you are and will always be there. That you will be standing there with unconditional love.
Say ‘I love you’ when they leave home or shut themselves in a room. Even if they don’t bother to raise their eyes, reply back or turn around, the sound of these three magical words will echo in their heart. Now and for years to come.
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call.
Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669
Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050
Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704
Sahai, Bangalore: 080 – 25497777
First published here.
Image via Unsplash
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Manmeet is a writer by passion and a facilitator by choice. She works primarily in
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